Looking for an affordable Amp to pair with my MrSpeakers Ether

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by microCuts, Feb 23, 2016.

  1. microCuts

    microCuts Acquaintance

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    Hi All,

    I have an Ether 1.1 and Mojo with me and would like to improve it further with an addition of dedicated amp.

    I have been searching info since yesterday and noticed that most of the amps suit Dynamics more, especially those with high impedance. On the contrary, Ethers are low impedance Planars and relatively new I am yet to find people recommend it with something affordable..other than those expensive Liquid Carbon / High End Schiit. Always interested in the DIY kit but they are designed for dynamics more, if I am not wrong?

    I intended to use Mojo as a DAC only (with Line Out function) and looking to pair it with an Amp with budget <500 usd.
    Slightly over budget is possible if it can make the Ether sings really well. I also have an Eartech CIEM triper drivers CIEM (45 ohms) on the way to home too.

    What am I looking after? Warmer therefore Smoother, More Body, and of course more Bass.

    Thank you all of you!

    *Note that I used to really like LCD3 but it is so damn heavy so i got rid of it already.
     
  2. Ice-man

    Ice-man Friend

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    First of all, welcome!! Ether responds well to good clean power. If you budget is $500, consider grabbing a lyr2 and a pair of Orange Globe Amperex tubes. It will be tough to do better at that price point with that hp IMHO. Also you might consider Project Ember 2 if you are looking to save money.
     
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  3. PoochZag

    PoochZag The Shadow knows - Friend

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    I agree, I had an Ether Lyr pairing and I thought it worked really well. Also gives you plenty of power and allows you to tube roll (or go solid state). Seems like a good consideration at that budget

     
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  4. microCuts

    microCuts Acquaintance

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    Thanks for all the opinion! How is Ember 2 compared to Lyr 2 besides the price? If Lyr 2 is obviously "better" I do not mind paying more than the former amp.

    @PoochZag, which Lyr do you have? Does Lyr 2 sound better than the 1? Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016
  5. Skyline

    Skyline Double-blindly done with this hobby

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    Is the Lyr better? Perhaps.

    Obviously better? No, I don't think so.

    And I'm a big Schiit fan, so keep that in mind.
     
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  6. Ice-man

    Ice-man Friend

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    Ember is incredibly flexible in terms of tube rolling, gain and impedance matching etc. It's a very good amp for the price. The lyr2 build quality I would say is better with the nice machining of it's aluminum chassis and heft. Having owned both, I'd also give the nod to the lyr2 on dynamics and overall performance, but the Ember is not miles behind. Either is a good choice.
     
  7. PoochZag

    PoochZag The Shadow knows - Friend

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    I was speaking of Lyr 1. I also paired the Ether with a mjolnir 2 with the exact same tubes as the Lyr (orange globes are a good suggestion) which I really liked too. The Lyr 2 is essentially a single ended mjolnir 2,and would suspect it would be at least as good as Lyr 1

     
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  8. microCuts

    microCuts Acquaintance

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    Appreciated your feedback. What kind of improvement you noticed from a Lyr 1 with the orange globe? Or should I rephrase it to what changes can I expect by pairing it with a mojo (line out mode)? Thanks again!
     
  9. PoochZag

    PoochZag The Shadow knows - Friend

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    Improvement relative to what, stock tubes? The orange globes are a little warmer imo, not night and day but worth the change from stock. I can't speak for the chord mojo as I've never heard one, sorry.
     
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  10. microCuts

    microCuts Acquaintance

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    Thank you all of you. Will most probably settle with schiit stuff Will report again when I have it already.
     
  11. hifi01170

    hifi01170 Facebook Friend

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    @microCuts , have you heard about the AMB M3? For under 500$ it is a great amp! If I recall, I think @Marv mentionned that he "liked" it if I recall correctly.
    I have limited experience with headphone amps but I have an o2, a headstage arrow and a dangerous source.... and the M3 is quite better than those. It has I think the kind of sound signature you are looking for. It drives well my HE5LE so the Ether might not be a problem. just my 2 cts
     
  12. microCuts

    microCuts Acquaintance

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    Updates..

    Was looking schiit stuff in a shop in Singapore but all the schiit stuff are sold.
    I asked the boss to recommended me an amp which cost <700usd but instead he asked me to try an amp from Cayin cost 1000usd because not many choices over there at that price range. The A/B test was conducted as following:-

    Track - Muse : Muscle Museum
    Mojo only : The "Default" sound which I am still not satisfied yet. Wish to have more bass actually.
    Mojo with Cayin Amp : Instrument separation is improved, multiple instrumentation sounds during climax in rock song are no longer all cramped together which i appreciate very much. Soundstage is bigger? Perhaps due to the better sound separation though. Bass is slightly better too, more apparent, cant explain in details.

    I forgot to write down the model name. Cant find the Cayin amp model from the website too.

    After the test I spotted the Stax SR L700 on the table. Requested to try them because it impressed me during Canjam Singapore last week. Tried the L700 with Blue Hawaii Amp and Vega Dac, it is still amazing, neutral, smooth, very airy, very good instrument separation, just abit bass shy. Then I put on the 009, needless to say everything is improved, the bass is sufficient and spot on, almost flawless, just freaking expensive.

    Then I was told that the L700 is only for sell at 1600sgd (1150 usd), and the driver 323s for it is 1250sgd. My eyes are wide open instantly, it is just slightly more expensive than the Ether i bought somewhere else in Singapore!

    Without second thought I requested to try the SR L700 and 323s combination by using my Mojo as Dac line out. The sound is still smooth, very good instrument separation which I find alot IEMs and headphones fail at when playing with rock songs which I listen quite frequently. Airiness is even greater than Ether which it has a lot too. Soundstage / Treble is almost draw, sorry I didnt pay attention much in this part and can't find much difference. L700 has more details which is a big plus too. Bass is light on L700, Ether produce better percussion "thump" I think most of you who tried Ether will familiar with this. Overall, this setup blow Ether out of the water, especially the SMOOTHNESS which I cant describe in words! Not to mention the friendly cost of Stax...

    Now I have two choices to explore,

    1.) Get an expensive amp to improve the SQ which beats the Stax SR L700 (Need to fork up more $$$$, perhaps 1k ~ 2k usd)
    2.) Sell the Ether and pay abit more to get the Stax SR L700 and 323s. (Just a few hundreds usd)

    I know Stax has its drawbacks too such as home use only, not transportable friendly, amp can't be shared with normal headphone/iem, sound leaking way too much bla bla bla...

    Now I am even more confused! What is your opinion? Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2016
  13. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The road to STAX is one way. If you want to go back to dynamics, you will need to start all over. Id' say try a better STAX amp like the SRM007 or SRM727 in your area before you commit. Both of these amps will gel well with the L700 which you said sounds on the leaner side. I've never liked the SRM323, there's a "hollow" quality to it. If you can find a used KGST, go for it.

    The only word of advice I have is beware the beguiling nature of the STAX stuff and understand that STAX stuff will never "slam". Only time will tell if you stick with STAX.

    As for the Ether, you are right that it isn't a a very resolving headphone, but speed in the high-end is almost electrostatic like. The thing is that if you get a good amp for the Ether, you will be able to use it with any other headphone in the future. And there seems to be a lot of development on new headphones every year (although most seem to miss the mark given their prices.)

    I know, none of what I said helps.

    P.S. The best bang-for-buck amp I've heard for Ether is Mjolnir 2. There is excellent synergy here with the Mjolnir 2 providing warmth, power, and grip on the Ethers. Roll bassy impactful tubes like the Russian 6H23 (6922) for Ether. These tubes can sound murky in other gear, but they work for Mjolnir / Ether. For less, you can go for Lyr 2. I would go for the Lyr 2 over the Ember (another good amp) for this specific headphone.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2016
  14. microCuts

    microCuts Acquaintance

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    I could be remembering the wrong amp model because I just noticed that some of their amps look quite similar according to the website. I will check again with them..
    I did try the Ether with one of the top amp pairing with Vega..Dunno what is the maker of the amp, it is an amp which can drive Electrostatic and Othos headphone. I did A/B with this setup but the L700 holds my heart. Ether is good...but after hearing L700 from this setup, the Ether sounds muddy as soon as I put on. Perhaps Ether doesnt like this amp. This is the last part of the story I havent mentioned in my previous post though.

    You are right too, investing in Stax means no Dynamics/Orthos/IEM for me. It is one of my concerns too..Unless I m willing to spend on the Amp I mentioned earlier that can drive Electrostatics/Dynamics/Othos which cost 6k SGD according to them..I certainly will not spend that kind of money for that.

    Schiit is difficult to get here, I have to wait for them to restock then only I can tell if I really favor them..must resist at this moment.

    This hobby is really expensive, I started from ksc75+sansa clip few years ago and I cant believe now I am considering a few grands setup. The worst is I just sold all my fuji gears and waiting to upgrade to full frame.
     

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