Ferrum Audio Oor + Hypsos Impressions and tidbits

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by jexby, Dec 15, 2021.

  1. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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  2. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    Let's jump into this Prodigious Product Pair from Poland shall we?

    There are many professional reviews elsewhere, these contributions pale.
    This is more about synergy, interesting feature findings and flexibility provided by Oor.

    Hypsos:
    wow, firmware built into a power supply that configures it for dozens of devices (not simultaneously)? neat.
    you want 0.1V increments (up or down) from Setting X for a component? go for it.
    apparently anything from 22V to 30V into the Oor makes subtle changes to softness or edginess. not tried yet.
    can be paired with Apple Remotes.
    Has a trigger function (input or output) to turn on the downstream device. haven't tested.
    LED lights have custom settings: off, 0-10.
    Display has auto off (seconds to minute) setting
    Firmware updates can be done via microUSB on back. updater app for macOS available on web site.

    Oor:
    Esthetics spot on with Holo Audio Spring3 KTE.
    how is this DEAD quiet with no AIR or HISS with CA Solaris 2020? (SE jack, Low Gain)
    how can Oor also power Susvara (very well!) in High Gain with great technical qualities from bass to treble.
    the high 6V out of Spring3 XLR helps in this regard.
    amp gets warm to the touch, never hot. I do not stack these separates.

    3 gain levels of Oor make it amazingly flexible IMO.
    ZMF VC Blackwood on Low or Medium gain is lively, taught, clear, precise.
    Layering is good. Stage width is very good.
    not 2D, but 3D - hearing the room acoustics happens.
    tube-like depth? nah, not like EC amps.

    Cymbals, high hats, drum ticks- all sound spooky realistic. no haze, no shiney glare.
    high quality micro details delivered easily in space with no brittleness, no sharp edges that cut.
    warm? no.
    rolled? no.
    neutral? yes.
    harsh? never

    All of the above products not yet burned in. (except for ZMF VC Blackwood).
    too soon impression claim: Hypsos + Oor are in summit DSHA3F territory for SS headphone amps.
    (may be edited in future to protect the innocent)
     
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    Last edited: Dec 15, 2021
  3. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    Is the power supply required with the Oor? If not, how does the Oor perform alone?
     
  4. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    The Hypsos power supply is not required. Oor ships with a power brick and cable which provides complete functionality.
    Reports elsewhere indicate that Oor without Hypsos delivers "less" of what it's great at: clarity, precision, dynamics, stage width, etc.
    am suspecting "how much % less" is going to be transducer dependent.

    IEMs Oor and NO Hypsos: In limited listening with CA Solaris 2020 on the Oor without Hypsos, I did not detect any major losses in quality but this was in under 1hour, and listening to a handful of songs / genres.
    More investigation needed.

    Susvara / ZMF VC Blackwood to Oor and NO Hypsos:
    TBD
    (will edit here perhaps over weekend)
     
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  5. pure5152

    pure5152 Friend

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    Hate to be that guy, but would love to hear if you have further thoughts on this if you have the time!
     
  6. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    it’s near impossible these days to sit with audio equipment for consecutive hours. What follows is by no means gospel and comes from an hour of back and forth, because switching power supplies is a PITA.

    was everything warmed up? I believe so.
    was volume match good by leaving the vol pot in same position? I believe so.
    do I have measurements of V / A coming out of the switcher? no.
    can I see the output power (V / A) coming from Hypsos during playback? yes.
    do I have bat ears like Hands? no.

    Here was the config:
    Roon (no upsampling) —> Spring3 KTE USB —> XLR —> Oor —> ZMF Verite Closed African Blackwood (XLR silver coated copper cable)

    Spring3 KTE USB module is awesome, have no reservations using for critical listening.
    Oor on Lowest gain with VC to allow range on pot, loud listening starts at 10am on the pot. scales up nicely to 12n.
    One reason for low gain may be the 6V (spec sheet) coming from Spring3 KTE XLR outputs into Oor.

    Subjective notes below in trying to identify differences in power supply.

    Oor with Hypsos power supply and ZMF VC:
    very good staging width, layering
    snap of drums is good, not overly sharp or hard
    sub bass goes low with good pull
    easy to follow bass guitar lines, instrument separation
    cymbals have shimmer and nice airy float
    an up front presentation, not laid back. never slow.
    honestly VC sounds as great as possible on Oor as an SS amp,
    on par with what I recollect from DSHA3F.

    Oor with switcher power supply and ZMF VC:

    no huge drop offs in quality from above.
    bass a bit less tight, sub bass slightly less enveloping
    staging width close to the same, yet can’t “hear the room” as easily
    presentation maybe even more up front
    perhaps slight decrease in clarity (cymbal shimmer) but microdynamics remain
    no reduction in speed or detailing
    tone and timbre unchanged

    sorry can’t dive into finding the best dynamic swings of song X vs song Y and see if the jumps make big deltas at the power supply level.

    In First Summary: folks with ZMF cans should feel comfortable first buying an Oor without the Hypsos power supply to see if sonic strengths match up with rig synergy.
    for that last 5-8.78% of improvement with Hypsos it’s YMMV to determine if it warrants the spend.

    With the open, transparent and neutral Susvara to me it seems more sensitive to Ferrum power, and using Oor WITHOUT the Hypsos power supply has obvious differences.

    The Susvara on Oor with no Hypsos becomes “shouty” with an upfront presentation, vocals in your face.
    with the vol pot not having moved, the switcher power supply sounded louder.
    there is fatigue in the treble, seemingly sharper and brighter.
    layering and presentation collapse inward some, not as spacious.

    Putting the Hypsos (24V) back into Oor, and vol pot not changing-
    Susvara returned to greatness with more openness, width, solidity and a step back in presentation with better layering, no longer shouty.

    In Second Summary: would heartily recommend the Hypsos to bring out the best in TOTL Susvara + Oor.
    Unsure if Hypsos would necessarily translate with other planars or not.

    HTH
     
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  7. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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  8. Josh Schor

    Josh Schor Friend

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    Glorius reviews, I have a Studio B with Jenson cap upgrade and tkd volume pot, Linlai global E 300 B tubes sound wonderful do you have any experience to compare them? Thats a lot to asl I know just amazed with the power supply and how you can adjust it for different sounds and HP.
    best
     
  9. CharlesM

    CharlesM Rando

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    Hi
    I just saw that Ferrum launched a DAC/AMP as well, seems a bit based on the Oor for the amp section. Product is called Erco (pronounced Ertso)

    https://ferrum.audio/erco/
     
  10. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

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    Most have their DAC sorted out before they go high end amp. Not sure DAC/AMP makes sense to me. I would rather get AMP and power supply and will bring my own DAC. But that’s just me.
     
  11. Madra

    Madra Acquaintance

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  12. Koth Ganesh

    Koth Ganesh Friend

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    A few people in SBAF know that @jexby and I get along well for the most part except when it comes to Michigan ( He's been constantly misspelling it but I digress :p).

    Anyway, after I read his review on the Ferrum OOR, I ordered the amp along with Hypsos. I am a tube amp guy and have been hunting for a versatile SS amp for the longest time. I do have the Phonitor 2 but it's a little laid back for me. Prior to that, I owned the EC BW and have been craving that organic, almost tube-like sound.

    My set up these days is the Rockna Wavedream Net feeding the Rockna Wavedream Signature balanced DAC via I2S. For convenience of switching multiple DACs and amps, I run everything through the Freya S (belated shout out to @ChaChaRealSmooth). My HPs are the Susvara, the Abyss 1266 and the Utopia(all using XLR cables). The only genre of music I hear is rock. Setting up the OOR and Hypsos was a breeze with the setup menu in the latter. So, on to impressions, mostly with the Susvara since I felt the amp was tailor-made for this HP (tl;dr right here).

    Right way, the amp had/has no problems in bringing out the best in the Susvara. I used the add gain selector on the amp for best results. The overarching impression is the organic presentation which had me go "Ok, the BW in a new iteration". As people know, the Susvara is a bright HP but this amp tamed the highs of the headphone to make it a very enjoyable experience for me. It brought out the low end capabilities of the Susvara very well (my test track for this is the song Someday performed by Mark Knopfler on the album Eric Clapton & friends: the Breeze). The gravelly voice of Knopfler is presented beautifully. Overall, this amp provides spades of the experience I am looking for: low end heft, mids that are bit forward and pleasant treble. This does not imply roll-off on the top end. Far from it. However, I must place it in the context of my ability to hear well only up to 11k. The presentation is very 3D and the stage is reasonably wide for a HP.

    For music with complex passages my preferred tracks are "Telegraph Road" by Dire Straits (especially the latter portions of the song) and "Invincible" by Tool in Fear Inoculum. Again, the amp was right up to the task of preserving the dynamics and layering in the music which in turn was a layup for the Susvara in rendering them.

    I have not spent time at all with the other HPs since the OOR-Susvara combo is really excellent. I did not bother with experimenting listening to the amp with and without the Hypsos. Heck, I paid for it and I might as well use it. In that sense, my impressions will be less useful for those that might not want to invest in Hypsos. Anyway, @jexby has done a thorough job of doing this comparison so there's that.

    Bottom line, I'm very happy with this amplifier with its ability to be musical with great tonality and transient response, and importantly not be sterile like a few SS amps I have heard in the past.
     
  13. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    When you do get around to plugging in your Utopia I would be interested in your impressions. I too have a SS hole in my lineup since selling my EC BW, and the Utopia is my go-to.
     
  14. Koth Ganesh

    Koth Ganesh Friend

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    It has been Utopia with the OOR all day today. Same source chain. On the Freya S, the volume knob was at maximum and at 1x gain. On the OOR, I experimented with the -db and the zero positions on the gain knob. I settled with the knob at the zero position which translates to a gain of +6db.

    The combination is wonderful. The resolution on the Utopia was always outstanding and there’s nothing here to change this opinion. If anything, this comes with the added bonus of the stage actually sounding wider than normal. Tonality, transient response and dynamics are rendered exceptionally well. The bass goes deeper and it’s very well textured. If I were to nitpick, I am noticing more of the Be effect at the top end and sometimes the cymbal clash did elicit an ouch. For the most part, the top end continues to be very well behaved . The mids are just gorgeous; I was listening to Nils Lofgren and his guitar playing on Keith Don’t Go is rendered beautifully with the plucking of the strings sounding so realistic.

    Overall, the music is so organic that I forget that this is a SS amp.

    Trust this helps.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2022
  15. dubharmonic

    dubharmonic Friend

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    @Koth Ganesh thanks for the post! Which amps are you comparing to?
     
  16. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    I'm going to try my dambdest to get a loaner of this combo. Please say prayers everyone!
     
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  17. Koth Ganesh

    Koth Ganesh Friend

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    Hi, I have only one other SS amp to compare to at the moment and that’s the Phonitor 2. From memory, I have had the THX 789, Asgard 2, Magni 3 (any comparison to the latter two amps is suspect since it’s been a while since I heard them). I also owned the Mjolnir 1 even prior and that amp had a lot more slam and was a bit faster than the Oor.
     
  18. dematted

    dematted Friend

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    Not sure if it had to do with the dac which it was hooked up to, (and obviously take all this with a grain of salt because meet conditions etc.) but I was genuinely unimpressed by the OOR + Hypsos combo at Canjam. I listened to it with a couple different things: my Mini, a Utopia, and a few other ETA's. Overall, it sounded very reminiscent of two much cheaper amps: the JDS Atom, and Magni Heresy. In short, it sounded like a cheap op-amp implementation. Now, I'm not sure if that's how the amp is actually designed, but the sound overall was, despite being pretty clear and for the most part timbrally correct, very dull and unengaging. Transients lacked edge and slam, microdynamics were almost completely absent, and the music sounded, though not "off", as if it really lacked (to use a term Ferrum likes) "Soul". This is probably attributable to the fact that the amp just didn't seem to dig very deep, and smeared over the finer gradations of music (what many refer to as "texture" or "plankton"). I think it tries to get away from some of the characteristic problems with SS by having what is definitely a warm tonal bent, but this just ends up masking over some detail in the treble, I think. It also sounds pretty "Slow": not in a "rounded transients" sort of way, but more in the sense that individual notes were not particularly visceral or immediate sounding.

    Overall, I'd expect this amp to cost somewhere from 300-500, not $3000 with the Hypsos power supply. The iFi amps, by contrast, (even the cheaper ones, like the Diablo and Gryphon) had much more character and engagement. Maybe it does better with planars, which I did not try it with. Or maybe this unit was a dud, or maybe the dac it was hooked up to just wasn't great. Or maybe my ears just don't jive with it for whatever reason. Anyways, a big disappointment for me, as an SS on the level of 3F at an accessible price which can be easily purchased would be a great thing. But to my ears, it didn't come anywhere close to the 3F. No solid state amp I've heard does.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 28, 2022
  19. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    if the Oor sounded low value $300-$500, it was either broken, Hypsos not set up properly, or some garbage DAC was involved.

    the Oor is not some "planar only" amp, it drove ZMF Blackwood Verite Closed wonderfully on medium gain with detail retrieval (not huge airiness however) and bass impact. hardly slow.
    I have a Gryphon mainly for IEMs, and would not call it "desktop endgame" despite being my favorite portable unit.
     
  20. Darkstar1

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    I also listened to the Oor/Utopia combo at canjam. I went both days and was interested in hearing the Utopia on multiple setups because it is my main headphone.

    I thought the high lights of the amp were speed, Clarity and dynamics. The amp for me is the step right before an amp gets too analytical for my tastes. Neutral with a tiny hint of darkness. Also I could tell the amp was quiet and had grip. On some tracks the music seemed pretty flat but then on other tracks the sound was very layered and spacious. I think it was more of a reflection of the recording than the amps capabilities.

    I personally like a bit more warmth and a more "musical" amp but I thought it sounded like an expensive amp. It played up to the strengths of the Utopia and I could easily see why many would go for this setup.
     

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