Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Head-Direct HiFiMan RE-262, Purchased from Head-Direct $149

Great IEM, best I have heard.  Only lasted two weeks, then left ear stopped working and returned.  A few cool features, wired for balanced amplifier, comes with extra cables for non balanced play back.  Also can be worn over the ear or with wire coming down.
Great review of RE262

Thursday, July 7, 2011

PLCC Extraction Tool

Square IC PLCC Extraction Tool, $9.99, Radio Shack
  Have started opamp rolling in the iBasso D4, need to use an PLCC Extraction Tool to remove the opamps.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

D4 Topkit

iBasso D4 Topkit, $60 purchased from HiFlight on
  Purchased D4 Topkit with optional L/R opamps.  Sound Quality has a larger soundstage, seems more powerful than before and "natural sounding", like the sound opened up and more musical.  Still need to try the optional L/R opamp.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Behringer UCA 222

Behringer, $30.63, Purchased from Amazon, Returned, Refunded
Behringer UCA 222 - For $30 what a great deal!  The Sennheiser HD201 and UCA 222 may be the perfect $50 setup.  Not very loud and not as musical as the uDAC, but detailed and fun.  Not as powerful as iBasso D10, not as detailed, not as spacious, but a 10th the cost, pretty darn good!

iBasso D6

iBasso D6, $275, Purchased from iBasso, Returned, Refunded 
iBasso D6 - Silver, still deciding if I like the silver, I ordered in black and silver arrived.  Switches more solid feeling than the D4.  Potentiometer quiet on turn on, Gain and Battery / USB switches quiet.  On first listen, D4 sounds more powerful with more air than D6.  Smaller soundstage than D4, more intimate sounding.  More analytic sounding than D4 and a little "brittle" sounding. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

ibasso D4 vs. D6

iBasso D4, $199, D6, $275 purchased from iBasso

iBasso D4 - Potentiometer a little "squeaky", makes a mechanical echo noise on turn on, as if something is vibrating inside the case.  Gain and Battery / USB switch throw too long and feel cheap.  Slightly thinner case than D6.  Larger soundstage, more air, blacker background than D6.  Non rechargeable 9V battery

iBasso D6 - Silver, still deciding if I like the silver, I ordered in black and silver arrived.  Switches more solid feeling than the D4.  Potentiometer quiet on turn on, Gain and Battery / USB switches quiet.  On first listen, D4 sounds more powerful with more air than D6.  Smaller soundstage than D4, more intimate sounding.  More analytic sounding than D4 and a little "brittle" sounding.

Tested with Beyer Dynamic DT770 Edition 250 ohm

Friday, June 17, 2011

Case Logic Case

Case Logic Nintendo Case, $9.99
Wonderful hard sided case, will fit Nuforce uDAC or iBasso D4 & D10 perfectly.  I keep my 6" USB in the cable compartment.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

iBasso D10

iBasso D10, $245, iBasso, Returned, Refunded
Good amp, but not as good as the D4.  Don't need optical in, thought it was important, but not needed.   The soundstage is not in the same league as the D4. 

Build Quality - 6.5, potentiometer a little funky, not as well made as uDAC
Bass - 7
Mid Range - 6, mids a little recessed
Treble - 6, a little bright

Rating 1-10, 10 being the best

Beyerdynamic DT770 32 ohm

Beyer Dynamic DT 770, 32 ohm, $249.00, Amazon, Returned, Refunded
Great headphones, would keep except the Beyer Dynamic DT 770 250 is more dynamic.  The the felt covered ear cups.  A little big for bringing to the library, but would rather deal with larger headphones with great sound quality.

Build Quality - 7, Plastic hinge seems a little delicate
Comfort - 8.5, very comfortable, ear cups fully cover ears
Bass - 9, Tight, rich bass
Mid Range - 7, mids a little recessed
Treble - 8, balanced treble 

Rating 1-10, 10 being the best

Audio-Technica ATH-A700

Audio-Technica ATH-A700, $127.34, Amazon, Returned, Refunded
Stereophile rates the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700 "Class A".  The Audio-Technica ATH-AD700 is an open headphone, while the Audio-Technica ATH-A700 is a closed headphone.  Maybe the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700 is very different is character than the Audio-Technica ATH-A700, because the Audio-Technica ATH-A700 is not in the same league as the Sennheiser HD800 or HD650 (both also rated "class A").

Hoping that the Audio-Technica ATH-A700 was an inexpensive closed headphone in the league as the DT770 32ohm, but no such luck.  The soundstage is small and compact, sounds like the instruments are right next to my head.

Build Quality - 6, Lot's of plastic, doesn't feel like they will last very long
Comfort - 6.5, large ear cups fully enclose ears, the headphones feel as if they are falling down my head 
Bass - 5, thin sounding bass
Mid Range - 6, Realistic sounding 
Treble - 6.5

Rating 1-10, 10 being the best

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Beyerdynamic DT770 32 ohm vs 250 ohm

Beyerdynamic DT770 32 ohm vs 250 ohm
Started with the DT770 32 ohm, the best sounding closed headphone to date (except the Denon 2000).  Then compared to the DT770 250 ohm, larger soundstage and dynamic range.  Will return the DT770 32ohm

Compared with the iBasso D4

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Chinese BBQ

When I bought the D10, I plugged in the unit and got a strong smell of electrical circuits.  Now I understand some of the "Chinese BBQ" comments on HeadFi.  The iBasso D4 is a great unit, but it does not have the fit and finish of the Nuforce uDAC.

After comparing the D10 to the D4, shipping back the D4, first I got a price of $108 for shipping to China using UPS, no way.  Then priced USPS, $64.58, still expensive, but within my "hobby budget".

I don't want to add up all of my shipping costs, afraid what I might find.  A down side of the hobby is many of the vendors are in Asia and shipping back and forth is expensive!

iBasso D10 vs. iBasso D4

iBasso D10 - Sort of a pain to charge, the D4 is simple remove rear cover and insert 9V.   Compared to the D4, sounds distant and shallow.  Optical input improves soundstage width, but still not a match for the D4 soundstage, too much in to small a space?   If the D4 sounds better through USB, no reason to get D10.  Not sure how else to say it, the optical has more air than the USB, but D10 sounds distant.

iBasso D4 - Bigger soundstage than D10, also more power more authority.  Running from 9V seems to have more authority than USB.  Plenty of power for HD650, always want more but boy do they sound sweet, not sure what people were talking about "can't use D4 with HD650".  Simple easy headphone amp/DAC, more authority and dynamism than D10.  Curious about the Topflight kit, will order.   Will order short USB.

Comparison with:
Sennheiser HD650
Beyerdynamic DT770 32ohm
Sennheiser HD201

Saturday, June 4, 2011

1000 Paintings

I had an Art teacher, one day she said to the class, "a student asked me, "how do I know a good painting?", and I answered go see 1000 painting and you will know".

Don't know if I will make it to 1000 headphones.

Portable Amps

Portable Amps
  1. iBasso D10 - Smaller than imagined, Chinese BBQ smell, a little unnerving, also the potentiometer makes a click when turning on that sounds like something is loose.  Not as well made as I imagined, potentiometer does not track well, from 6 to 9 seems out of proportion to 9 to 1.  Makes me appreciate the uDAC craftsmanship. More detailed than 222, but not as spacious or detailed as NFB-12, makes me want to try Nuforce HDP.  Curios about USB vs. optical.  Black background.
  2. uDAC-1 - Not as detailed as D10, not as powerful, not as detailed.  But for half the price pretty damn close.
  3. Behringer UCA 222 - For $30 great deal!  HD201 and UCA 222 may be the perfect $50 setup.  Not very loud and not as musical as the uDAC, but detailed and fun.  Not a powerful as D10, not as detailed, not as spacious, but a 10th the cost, pretty good.

HD650 vs DT770-32 vs DT250-250 vs HFI-780 vs HD201

$100-$400 Headphones
  1. Sennheiser HD650 - Sound Dark with the D10, blow away the DT770 32ohm (not fair comparing open HD650s to DT770s).  Love these phones, curious about comparison to HD600, less dark sounding?  Listening at about 1 o'clock on the D10, USB.  Made in Ireland.
  2. Beyerdynamic DT770 32 ohm - So far my favorite closed headphone, comfortable, musical, good soundstage.  Big to carry in my bag.  Well made and easy to listen to all day. Made in Germany.
  3. Beyerdynamic DT250 -250 ohm - Remind me of the Sony MDR7506, very detailed and but not engaging. Think they would get tiring for a full day of listening. Smaller soundstage than DT770 32ohm.  Very dry, just sound right.  Engineered for mixing, not recreating music. Comfortable, not as comfortable as the HD650 or DT770.  Eat cups a little small, don't sit around ears.  Toughest to drive of the four, need to change high gain and turn up volume.  Made in Germany  
  4. Ultrasone 780 - Smaller soundstage than DT770 32ohm, funny sound stage, pianos above my head? Music from the middle of my head?, almost an IEM sensation.  Like the form factor, ear fold flat and ear cups fit over ears.  Doesn't sound musical or engaging, like the sound is being played in the next room.  Soundstage opens up with D10 compared to UCA 222, more detail, but funny soundstage, not 180 degrees, more left right sounding.  Weird soundstage, drums coming from right then left, drums are directional.  Making me nauseous, like someone running around room with the microphone.  Too bright sounding. Made in Taiwan. 
  5. Sennheiser HD201 - Still amazing $20, going from HD650 to the HD201, big difference, but the HD201 are still without major fault.  Would like to try rewiring.  Made in China.
  1. All listened to through iBasso D10, USB
Next steps:
  1. Order DT770 250 ohm, compare to DT770 32 ohm
  2. Return Everything except HD201
  3. Order iBasso D4
  4. Order uDAC-2
  5. Try Fostex
  6. Order case or bag for DT770
  7. Order Topflight kit $60
  8. 6" USB to mimi USB

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

uDAC and NFB-12

Starting at Zero
Returned the Audio gd NFB-12, finding that the Sennheiser HD650 need more amplification than I thought and the 20 watts of the NFB-12 is not doing it.  Also curious about tube amps and Orthodynamic headphones.  Once the return has gone through going to try a tube amp.

Sold the uDAC, as much as I loved this amp sold it for $40.  Curious about he difference between the uDAC and the uDAC -2.  Going to try a comparison between the uDAC-2 and the iBasso D10 and see which I like better.

MDR-7506 vs. MS400 vs. HD201 vs. HD 25-1 II

Really interesting comparison.  Bought three sets of headphones to compare to the HD201 and returned all three of them.  It came down to comfort and fit.  The MS400 and the HD 25-1 II sound great, but not comfortable for more than an hour.  Of the four the HD201 is still the most comfortable and although not the same class as the other three, comfort wins.  

1. Sony MDR-7506 - Best fitting of the the three. Very dry analytical sound, with limited sound stage.   The analytical sound is fun!  If I was to keep one of the three this would be the pair to keep.   Would swap out the coil cable for a straight cable.
2. Phiaton MS 400 - Fun involving sound, the most musical of the four, also the most colored.  Found the fit bothersome, they sit on the ears instead of around the ears.  Loved the hard side case!
3. Sennheiser HD201 - Okay soundstage, fairly neutral sound quality.  Very comfortable, the ear pads rest around the ears. 
4. Sennheiser HD 25-1 II - Best sounding of the four, but the low comfort puts them in last.  Hurt my ears, others have said you need to give them time, but after two days of hurting ears I called "uncle". 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sennheiser HD448

February 16, 2011
Sennheiser HD448, $99.95, Purchased from Amazon
I keep trying, I love the laid back Sennheiser sound, but it seems only certain headphones have the sound.  HD201 have it, HD650 have it, HD600 have it, the HD448 don't.  The HD448s sound forward and bright, like Sennheiser is trying to be Grado.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sennheiser HD595

February 4, 2011
Sennheiser HD595, $126.88, Purchased From Amazon
The trouble is I listened to the HD650 and HD800 before I listened to the HD595.  In comparison the HD595 sounds thin and less dynamic.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Hearing magic

 It is a very special moment, you put on a new pair of headphones and listen.  Where do the headphones take you?  Are you transported?

Yes, it happens.  I was sitting in a stereo shop, tried on a pair of HD 650s played through a PS Audio GCHA and magic happened, I was transported.  It was like my head opened up and in came music.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sony MDR-7506

May 10, 2011
Sony MDR-7506, $97.21, Purchased from J&R
Maybe the most accurate headphones I have heard.  Hear every sound, although not necessarily musical, but wow, accurate.  Very black background, going between 7506 and MS400, the MS400s sound muddy, with lots of background noise.  Small soundstage, like the sound is coming from the center of my head.  Fold down to a small package.  Very well made, red for right, blue for left.   If I keep them would want to change out cable for non coiled.  At $97.21 they are a good value.  Tiring to listen, clearly made for sound editing.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Phiaton MS 400

May 9, 2011
Phiaton MS 400 (Black), $187.99, Purchased from Amazon
Okay I am spoiled, between the Sennheiser HD 650s and the Sennheiser HD 25s, I have gotten used to very high sound quality.  The Phiaton MS 400 are very nicely made and and have a great travel case and sound really fun!

But..the sound is sloppy, like I don't know where to listen, find myself searching for the instruments.  The bass is over boosted and sloppy.  Going back and forth between the HD 25s and the MS 400s, the HD 25s sound like the treble is over boosted (but I think it is the opposite, that the MS 400s bass is sloppy).   Even with the sloppiness, they are very musical.   More than the sound, its the fit on my head.  Although they are "Circumaural", they sit on the ears instead of around the ears.  Love they way they pack up in the travel case, but the fit on my head doesn't work.

Friday, May 6, 2011

NuForce Icon uDAC

September 7, 2010
NuForce Icon uDAC [Refurbished], $74.25 Purchased from Nuforce estore
I can't listen to headphones without the uDAC, the uDAC separates the instruments, creates a larger soundstage and makes the sound more musical.

Sennheiser HD 201

June 11, 2006
Sennheiser HD 201, $33.90 Purchased from Headroom
These cheap unassuming headphones have been my benchmark.  They are lightweight, comfortable, good soundstage, no over boosted bass, hard to beat!  I keep a pair in my bag all of the time.

Sennheiser HD 650

March 15, 2011
Sennheiser HD 650, $359 Purchased from Headroom
Besides the Sennheiser HD 800 these are the best headphone I have heard !  Comfortable, dark sounding, big soundstage.  Love 'em.

Audio gd NFB-12

May 2, 2011  
Audio gd NFB-12 $237 Purchased from Pacific Valve
I love this amp, small enough for my desktop, very detailed, very large sound stage.  Friends are right the 8741 does seem to be the most musical.

Sennheiser HD25-1 II

Sennheiser HD25-1 II, $199.95 Purchased from J&R Music
I love these headphones!  Maybe the best sounding of all of the headphones I have heard, big soundstage, very detailed with a little of the "Sennheiser veil".  They just aren't comfortable, this is the second time I have bought these phones.

Audio Technica M50s

May 6, 2011
Audio Technica M50s, $119.00 purchased from B&H, RETURNED
Returned the headphones today.  Too heavy and over boosted bass.  Like the looks and build quality of the headphones and except for the HD-25 II, they are my favorite sounding closed headphones to date (the Denon 7000 sound better, but not going to spend $1000 for closed headphones).  But too heavy on my head and too bulky to carry in my bag.