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Did I just kill my SCHIIT FREYA?!

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i haven't tried the Headphone Stage of the Freya. I normally plug my headphones straight into the AudioGD R2R-11 DAC because i'm lucky it's a headphone amp as well. I watched Z's review of the Freya and he mentioned the headphone plug isn't routed into the tube stage inside Freya because the unit was designed as a speaker preamp? 

 

@MattyW  - do you have any recommendations for portable tubes headphone amp that small enough to be used at work? 

I'm happy to demo the Vincent amps when you're around Sydney... 

 

It is a good time, although i have to admit that my bank has been broken hehehe. I have exactly the same problem as you, second 2.1 system is being planned in the lounge on a higher level since I'm not listening in near field mode. I'm just researching for floor standing speakers now, the sonics quality definitely is going to be different, and got to be better! :) 

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Posted (edited)

I've found that the Xiang Sheng TA-01 is excellent as a headphone amp though it's built-in DAC is rubbish. It has a low noise floor and is suitable for high efficiency headphones (like the Symphonised Wraith 2.0). I can't see it listed anywhere so it may no longer be available :(

 

My pick for lower efficiency headphones (around the level of cheapie AKG K121's) is this JLH 1969 Hood class A based amp which is nothing short of spectacular. Can sound bright until broken in though has imaging that I usually expect from tubes only. Exceptionally transparent. Experimentation has shown that it's noise floor can be dropped with proper grounding so I may open it up and attach the ground to the case at some point:

 

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F142434188439

 

I think the best DAC/headphone amp I've tried is actually this cheap little unit with the OPAMP replaced with a single Burson V5i-D OPAMP. No tubes though it sounds so good as to be unnecessary. A low noise floor when run on its own power adapter so suitable for high efficiency headphones:

 

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.de%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F253331950162

 

Here's my work setup:

 

IMG_20180730_121426.thumb.jpg.55174a4c1c3d6b9894326d06e64119eb.jpg

 

What amp are you going to use for the second system.  I can wholeheartedly recommend the Chinese Oatlon W2-1000F speakers which work out to $2,300 after shipping,  import duty and GST. Very flat frequency response with extended highs and very impressive bass. You still want a sub for movies though.

 

Frankly the only speakers I've heard can better them are Mike Lenehan's top of the line floor standers.... Bit of a jump in price though.

 

These are 4ohm 97db efficient monsters and work extremely well with tubes. :)

 

IMG_20180624_163948_HDR.thumb.jpg.a512b474950c911433d33832681e4cdb.jpg

 

The picture isn't quite current.  I've since added a Tascam PA-R100 to my equipment rack for movies and use a high level to line level adapter on the main speaker outputs to run it into my tube amp with a Dali Ikon Vokal 2 centre and little Yamaha NS-E100 surrounds and Wharfedale SW150 sub :)

Edited by MattyW

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Hey MattyW, thank you so much for the extensive info on the portable headphone setup! Looks like both the DAC and the HP amp is in my budget range, so i’m going to try it. The DAC has the same AKM4490 chip as my Klein DAC SE, so that’s good. My source will be using Pioneer XDP-300R, and it’s using ESS Sabre 9028 chip, which is a bit more on the bright side. If i can by pass the internal DAC in the pioneer and use that DAC that you suggested, that’s probably great and can give me a warmer sound. Love the knob on that DAC BTW!

 

Did you replace the opamp yourself or the seller did it for you? I have zero solder skills so it’s not an option for me. 

 

The headphone used will be Focal Listen, i love the sound characteristic of that.. a bit more on the ‘V’ shape, but much better than my Audio Technica ATH M50X.

 

For the second system I’m planning to pair up the Parasound JC1 mono blocks, with JC2 preamp. Maybe roll one of my DACs, see what works best.  

 

Re: Chinese Oatlon W2-1000F — I couldn’t find a lot of info about them on the net such as reviews etc, they seem to be pretty unknown or maybe a new player in the market? I like the price, the front port, the 10” drivers, the design. Never had any experienced with horn design tweeter before. Would this be a nice ‘rock n roll ‘speaker as well as Jazz, Metal, Funk & Pop? The JC1 is not tube amp though. Interesting that it’s in 4ohm. So each JC1 mono block would give it 800 watts! :) 

 

Nice system that you have there! I spot Digidesign Eleven perhaps? Nice guitar setup and rack too! I play a little bit of guitar, more in keyboard. My guitar gears are more ‘in the box’ setup.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

That  little DAC I linked has USB input only so only suitable for use with a computer or Bluetooth for your phone unfortunately.  The OPAMP is socketed so it's a really easy swap.

 

If you need a full on DAC with optical and Coaxial the cheapest I've tried that sounds pretty special and comes somewhat close to my Gieseler Gross is a Weilang Audio AKM 4497EQ based DAC though it unfortunately needs a 240 to 220v step down transformer to avoid hum which pushes it's cost up somewhat.  Really quite special with a pair of inexpensive Chinese fully discrete OPAMPS in there. I'm going to get mine modified with output transformers rather than OPAMPS eventually.

 

DAC:

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F182872464544

 

OPAMP: 

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com.au%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F263325049949

 

Step down:

https://www.tortech.com.au/step-down-transformer-australia/european-transformers-to-australia

 

I may see if I can source a proper 240v power supply to replace the 220v one in the DAC eventually too. Saves on having another box. No soldering with that as it simply screws in. :)

 

The Oatlon are totally unknown outside of China.  It was a bit of a gamble for me though it paid off. You may find more information searching for Kingprints W2-1000F instead.

 

I use mine for rock, jazz, pop, folk, grunge, maybe a little electronica and country.... That's about it really.  They've prodigious bass though the sense of air at the top end really is dependent on the source. The Chinese discrete OPAMPS have better air than the Burson V6 Vivid's for example.  I may go back to those some time.

 

Yes, I did try to learn guitar two years ago though didn't get very far. To save space I've integrated the Label IRT-Studio and Eleven rack into my stereo system.  Every component in the rack, including the main speakers for the Tascam PA-R100 AVR runs through the ART MX622 mixer, and into one of the inputs on my Oldchen KT88-K3 amp.

 

I run the Laney into the Elevenrack for cabinet simulation or can just plug the guitar straight into it. Not that I've picked the guitars up for over a year now, which is a shame.

 

Both guitars have had wiring harnesses done and pickups. The Agile AL3010SE with Seth Lovers and a vintage wiring harness, roller bridge, Gotoh stop bar and Grover locking tuners. The Chinese Fender copy with Tonerider Hot Classics, new wiring and two push/pull pots (can't remember what they do now) and Vanson looking tuners. I lined the pick-up cavities with copper tape for shielding though noticed no real difference doing that.

Edited by MattyW

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Thanks MattyW. The DAC is probably too big for work purposes. I'm not allowed to put stuff on my desk and told to store things in my locker. 

 

For home, i already have a few selections of DAC to choose.

 

Nice to hear that the gamble with Oatlon paid off! I will do more research on this speaker.

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Haha,  you posted back while I was editing my post to reply to the guitar stuff. You'll be happy with the headphone amp though.

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Hmm that is weird — that post came out as an image! Oh well...

 

 

I just realised with what you said about the Weilang Audio DAC, wow if it can compete with the Gieseler GroB DAC it must be something special!

 

The music genres that you listen sounds similar to mine, so that’s a good indication. Some people just strictly listen to classical, but i’m not like that.

 

Your guitar experiences is similar to mine. My first instrument is keyboard, but i love the sound of distortion guitar, so i tried to learned it and clocked 6000 hours with it but still felt i don’t have the control that i had in mind with that kind of hours spent. I haven’t played for almost a year now. The last time i tried to pick it all my calluses are gone and it was a bit painful hahaha. I used Line 6 POD Farm for my sound, so no outboard gears for me. 

 

Sounds like your guitars are heavily modded too. I have an Ibanez JS1000BP with push pull pot, and it was done to convert the hum bucker into single coil pickup, usually for nice clean sounds. Nowadays my pride and joy is Ibanez JCustom RG-1880.

 

Re: Portable Tube Amp — I just found this link on Massdrop. It looks quite interesting and i like the design too.

https://www.massdrop.com/buy/appj-mini2013-6j1-6p1?utm_placement=1&referer=MX5SQ2&mode=guest_open&utm_campaign=Automated Daily Promotional 2018-08-05&utm_source=SparkPost&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Daily Promotional&utm_content=1533464724808.356484500531308821874015

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Posted (edited)

Yes,  getting the tone you enjoy is heavily tied to the guitar itself. The nice thing about rack gear is you can easily insert whatever functions you want into the rack itself.  I've a feedback destroyer in there to help protect my ears from feedback, also the ESI ESU1808 interface for backing music and karaoke wired in there. The rack itself was also quite cheap at under $100 on eBay with fully vented sides. It was a 10U rack from memory.  Really filled up fast.

 

Pretty much any tube stereo amp can be used for guitar with a modelling amp in front which is fantastic. Got to love modern technology :)

 

Those little APPJ amps are reasonably well thought of on Audiokarma.

 

The Weilang comes close to the Gieseler Gross though make no mistake,  the Gross is better. It's going to be interesting to see just how close it can sound once I get it modified. I sourced some transformers from China for $60 posted ;)

 

Really the only classical I enjoy it the Blue Danube conducted by Herbert Von Karajan. Don't much like the rest of it.

Edited by MattyW

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I'm surprised you didn't go to the route of AxeFx. 10u rack + filled up fast = 😀 yeah its pretty cool we can just use normal speakers with modelling amp..

 

Cool I'm gonnaread some more on appj amp.

 

Yup the GroB SHOULD be better otherwise the econony of price doesn't make sense anymore :) you are such a tweaker!! Buying your own parts to upgrade.. wow..

 

i like classical pieces in the line of 'eruption' by the famous composer of eddie van halen - in the key of Em. 😃

 

 

 

 

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I figured that the AxeFx is way above my skill level.  Besides,  the Elevenrack is supposedly easier to use. Assuming I pick the guitar up again I suspect I'll never outgrow the Elevenrack :)

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