Simple Headphone Setup.

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Comments

  • codycatalistcodycatalist Posts: 1,012
    Ended up getting the Bravo v2 instead of the ocean. I don't like the open design but the blue on the ocean killed me.

    Should arrive today for me to get some first listening sessions in, more than likely will upgrade the stock tube in the near future.
  • MrBuhlMrBuhl Posts: 1,776
    Let us know how she sounds! Looks like its also 12au7. Lots of cheap options, that blue, yea, its a deal breaker.
  • codycatalistcodycatalist Posts: 1,012
    MrBuhl wrote: »
    Let us know how she sounds! Looks like its also 12au7. Lots of cheap options, that blue, yea, its a deal breaker.

    Will do! I plan on upgrading the tube for sure. Going to do some research on affordable reliable warm sounding tubes.
  • codycatalistcodycatalist Posts: 1,012
    edited May 22
    Opening thoughts and gear used

    Package received today, no damage bit a little but of glue on a capacitor in the back. I easily peeled it off but worth mentioning. I expected the tube to NOT be installed upon arrival but it was, I can only guess people breaking it not knowing what they are doing previously initiated this change.

    Overall she is pretty and better looking than I anticipated by the photos. The tube's label is simply "12AU7 CHINA" in red lettering.

    Turning it on for the first time started the blue (under tube) and red (behind tube) LEDs and I let it warm up for a good 10 minutes before I plugged my IPad Pro 3.5mm to RCA into the amp. Streamed via Spotify at "Extreme Quality 320kbps", headphones used were Grado SR80e via 1/4 in adapter.

    Sound

    Off the bat I know these Grados aren't the best and are a wee bit bass shy to some but not I. The open back design I feel gives a great sound stage at least beyond my experience with cans. The first song I started off with is one I have been listening to a lot lately:

    #1 Linda Ronstadt - Tracks of my tears

    This being the first song I didn't know what to expect and you know what I thought it sounded JUST like plugging into my Yamaha AV34, obviously some doubt crept in but hope was still there. The sound was nice but just nothing different with decent solid state sound just a tad Brighter than the aforementioned AV34 which I did not like.

    #2 Houndmouth - Otis

    This was the artist I wanted to specifically test with this tube pre. Starting the song off was still a bit sterile but about half way through more warmth was introduced and the highs tamed a little, bass was nice and controlled but not heavy. The soundstage started to open up more and I heard ambient noise that I couldn't hear though my SDAs. Starting to get impressed.

    A couple songs later...

    #6 Fleetwood Mac - Silver Springs (Early Take)

    This is where I started to float away with the beautiful atmospheric guitar and Stevie's raw voice tearing through the middle. At this point it was when I thought I made a wise investment. The highs were there but never too fatuiging although could be more detailed, mids were silky smooth and seldom too forward. The bass is hard to judge as it is also the headphones I was using that contributed to the lack of bass but it was still present just not pronounced when sometimes it needed to be. No tone controls either. :(


    Overall First Impressions

    I feel my money was very well spent on this amp and getting some new tubes in I believe can fix most of the SQ gripes I may have however few I listed. There was some crackling in the music from time to time which I figured was the tube breaking in so I didn't worry too much. If anyone is thinking about one of these simply as a nice little cheap amp I would say snatch it up. Just wat h out because this thing gets hot in very little time, mostly on the heat sinks as the tube's top stays cool to moderately warm.

    Like I said she is purty though...

    3h8lzio14cow.jpg

  • HzTweakerHzTweaker Posts: 372
    Very cool review @codycatalist ! A couple days later now, is the tube starting to warm up the sound? Maybe bringing a little more bass/midbass to your OB headphones?
  • codycatalistcodycatalist Posts: 1,012
    HzTweaker wrote: »
    Very cool review @codycatalist ! A couple days later now, is the tube starting to warm up the sound? Maybe bringing a little more bass/midbass to your OB headphones?

    Thank you! Yesterday I threw some more genres at it and experimented with some of the same tracks I did initially. I only have maybe 2 hours into this tube but it is starting to warm up the sound a bit and reinforce the bass. I still feel it could be better but once again that can be attributed to the headphones themselves.

    I'm not sure of the "normal" warm up time for tubes but usually I will turn it on when I get home and start listening about 20-30 minutes later, I have yet to listen to it without giving it some time to start up.

    I still plan on trying some other tubes to experiment with the sound and try and get it closer to my ideal sound. Will report back when that happens as well.

    I still reinforce the value of how great this little amp is for the money.
  • concealer404concealer404 Posts: 7,449
    Thanks for trying that amp. Been looking at one for awhile under the "Little Bear" brand.

    I'm currently running a Modi2/Magni2 Uber Schiit Stack with some ISK HD9999s (Hilariously nice for $80), but i never really thought to swap out the old USB cable i rummaged around to find sitting in a dusty box.

    Think that's something i should look into getting? Schiit has one for $20, or is there any others i should be looking at besides the one you got?
  • codycatalistcodycatalist Posts: 1,012
    Thanks for trying that amp. Been looking at one for awhile under the "Little Bear" brand.

    I'm currently running a Modi2/Magni2 Uber Schiit Stack with some ISK HD9999s (Hilariously nice for $80), but i never really thought to swap out the old USB cable i rummaged around to find sitting in a dusty box.

    Think that's something i should look into getting? Schiit has one for $20, or is there any others i should be looking at besides the one you got?

    I don't have experience with any other budget tube amp/pre amps so I can't say with confidence which to choose or look out for. I basically had some prereqs.

    1. Looks good (I don't like the open design but it looks good enough)
    2. Easily replaceable tube for decent prices
    3. Lots of options for tube replacement
    4. Cheap

    I feel I hit all of that with the Bravo v2 although the v3 with tone controls would be nice but I have that @F1nut philosophy "If it is good enough speakers and equipment you don't need tone controls". The main selling point on the v2 was the 12AU7 tube, I know I can find plenty of them online in all price ranges in all makes and models. That alone made it worth it.

    I read about a couple other amps (mostly Nobsound, other bravos and little bear) but either the price was too high for me to test the waters or the tubes were not as easy to find as the 12AU7.

    Hope this helps some.
  • codycatalistcodycatalist Posts: 1,012
    Sound warmer and bass better. Soundstage is good but could be better. We will see how it progresses.
  • codycatalistcodycatalist Posts: 1,012
    Scratch that. Just put on Soon of a preacher man covered by Aretha Franklin... HOLY S*@$ that is a huge soundstage.
  • HzTweakerHzTweaker Posts: 372
    Thanks for trying that amp. Been looking at one for awhile under the "Little Bear" brand.

    I'm currently running a Modi2/Magni2 Uber Schiit Stack with some ISK HD9999s (Hilariously nice for $80), but i never really thought to swap out the old USB cable i rummaged around to find sitting in a dusty box.

    Think that's something i should look into getting? Schiit has one for $20, or is there any others i should be looking at besides the one you got?

    @concealer404 If your curious about cables Skip @DSkip is the guy to talk to. I tried wireworlds entry level USB A to mini (the Chroma) and found that it improved the headroom and made the sounds stage slightly wider. IMO that isn't a bad upgrade for ~$20-30 shipped. Of course the sky is the limit.
    Sound warmer and bass better. Soundstage is good but could be better. We will see how it progresses.

    Thanks for checking back.
    Scratch that. Just put on Soon of a preacher man covered by Aretha Franklin... HOLY S*@$ that is a huge soundstage.

    ^Awesome!lol
  • concealer404concealer404 Posts: 7,449
    Cool, thanks!

    Yesterday i realized where my cable came from: My vinyl cutter. I'm sure sonic clarity wasn't in the requirements when produced.
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