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Al Krow

The best headphone amp available today?

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Not going to be cheap, but it looks lush!

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  • The HA-2 is a high resolution USB audio interface that supports PCM playback with up to 384 KHz sample rate/24 bit resolution
  • On DSD playback, sample rates of 2.822MHzand 5.644 MHz are supported
  • Rechargeable lithium ion 
  • Also functions as a headphone booster amp as well as a pre amp to drive powered amplifiers
  • Both passive and active instrument inputs with a 2 band EQ that handles both guitar and bass
  • Master Volume, Input Gain, Treble/Bass for instrument input signal, Headphone jack, Line out, Input, AUX input, Micro USB for battery charge and digital interface
  • Frequency response of 10Hz-40KHz
  • (WxDxH) 3”x 5.9”x 0.9” weighs 0.6 lbs

The street price will be around £300 (US$359)

 

 

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I don't get the digital part - where is the digital input?

That is an amazing amount of money for a headphone amp though!

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4 minutes ago, Woodinblack said:

That is an amazing amount of money for a headphone amp though!

and not in a good way!

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19 minutes ago, paul_5 said:

and not in a good way!

No, more in the 'take £250 off that and it would be a good thing!"

 

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4 hours ago, Woodinblack said:

I don't get the digital part - where is the digital input?

That is an amazing amount of money for a headphone amp though!

usb port for digital interface

agree, though, it's a LOT of money. The PJB Bighead v1 which a lot of folk have raved about is a not inexpensive £200 and seems to do a lot of what this new model does.

And tbf, I think I'll be entirely content to continue with my B3n as a headphone amp.

Edited by Al Krow

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Not sure what exactly is improved apart from a nicer case and higher sample rates nobody would need.

But my Bighead is a keeper, I can only get enough volume out of the B3n by cranking the master volume, which introduces unwanted distortion. So I set the output level to unity gain then feed into this.

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8 hours ago, Al Krow said:

And tbf, I think I'll be entirely content to continue with my B3n as a headphone amp.

Have you used the Stomp for this purpose yet? It’s marvellous, and I suspect you will be shelving your B3n shortly.

8 hours ago, dannybuoy said:

Not sure what exactly is improved apart from a nicer case and higher sample rates nobody would need.

Agreed. Maybe a slightly better battery but that isn’t worth an extra £100+. If it was an updated product being sold at the same/similar price to the original Bighead then there would be a realistic market for it. At present, sadly, I suspect sales will be quite slow.

Edited by CameronJ

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2 hours ago, CameronJ said:

Have you used the Stomp for this purpose yet? It’s marvellous, and I suspect you will be shelving your B3n shortly.

Good to hear! But the Stomp is going to be living and wired up on my pedal board, whereas my B3N is now footloose and fancy free in its own bargain basement laptop bag => portable headphone amp with amp sims and multi fx, looper, drums and aux in. Definitely not worth shelving for the paltry used price it would fetch :)

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I seriously doubt it. You only have to look at some of the hi end hifi headphone amps to see that this is small fry compared to whats out there.

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For listening to music I'm sure plenty will 'hear' the difference and happily spend the cash, as has been alluded to, the hifi world of golden ears and one-way cables has plenty of ways to separate cash from audiophiles. But it looks like PJB is specifically marketing this towards bassists and guitarists. I honestly can't see any way that this is meaningfully better (and a few ways in which it's a lot worse) for that purpose than a small mixer for less than half of the price.

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2 hours ago, Jack said:

For listening to music I'm sure plenty will 'hear' the difference and happily spend the cash, as has been alluded to, the hifi world of golden ears and one-way cables has plenty of ways to separate cash from audiophiles. But it looks like PJB is specifically marketing this towards bassists and guitarists. I honestly can't see any way that this is meaningfully better (and a few ways in which it's a lot worse) for that purpose than a small mixer for less than half of the price.

Because... PJB.

same with the headphones. Obviously must be good for bass players cos PJB.

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20 hours ago, EBS_freak said:

I seriously doubt it. You only have to look at some of the hi end hifi headphone amps to see that this is small fry compared to whats out there.

E.g.: https://en-us.sennheiser.com/sennheiser-he-1

$52,000 may seem a lot, but as it has a marble plinth, it doubles as a high-end cheeseboard.

And of course you could hack in these $120,000 cans: https://audio46.com/shop/foacl-utopia-tournaire/ 

...although what shocks me most about those is that the stand is extra: $12,000! For that I would expect the stand to be a tame velociraptor that I could ride to the shops.

Edited by Kevsy71
  • Haha 1

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44 minutes ago, Kevsy71 said:

E.g.: https://en-us.sennheiser.com/sennheiser-he-1

$52,000 may seem a lot, but as it has a marble plinth, it doubles as a high-end cheeseboard.

And of course you could hack in these $120,000 cans: https://audio46.com/shop/foacl-utopia-tournaire/ 

...although what shocks me most about those is that the stand is extra: $12,000! For that I would expect the stand to be a tame velociraptor that I could ride to the shops.

There we go. Now we are talking.

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13 hours ago, Jack said:

For listening to music I'm sure plenty will 'hear' the difference and happily spend the cash, as has been alluded to, the hifi world of golden ears and one-way cables has plenty of ways to separate cash from audiophiles. But it looks like PJB is specifically marketing this towards bassists and guitarists. I honestly can't see any way that this is meaningfully better (and a few ways in which it's a lot worse) for that purpose than a small mixer for less than half of the price.

Hardly any small mixers are designed with a high impedance input suitable for directly plugging in a passive bass, plus the PJB has a built in rechargable battery. But if you're using a preamp pedal anyway and don't need to be mobile, a small mixer would perhaps make more sense. Sound quality may well be better on the PJB though compared to the lower end of mixers such as Behringer. There is zero hiss/noise coming from mine even at high volume.

But I got my Bighead used for about £70, it's well worth that amount to me!

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20 hours ago, EBS_freak said:

Because... PJB.

same with the headphones. Obviously must be good for bass players cos PJB.

I'm going to torpedo my own argument here, but I use (and like) the PJB headphones. Admittedly I'm not the best judge as an ear problem means that headphones = vertigo for me but when necessary they do work well.

9 hours ago, dannybuoy said:

Hardly any small mixers are designed with a high impedance input suitable for directly plugging in a passive bass, plus the PJB has a built in rechargable battery. But if you're using a preamp pedal anyway and don't need to be mobile, a small mixer would perhaps make more sense. Sound quality may well be better on the PJB though compared to the lower end of mixers such as Behringer. There is zero hiss/noise coming from mine even at high volume.

But I got my Bighead used for about £70, it's well worth that amount to me!

See, if this product was £70 then that would make a lot more sense. I'm sure that some people will appreciate the battery, but if you really are 'on the go' (with a bass?) then does one really care about the final word in sound quality? Indeed I am truly spoiled by the Soundcraft Notepad 5, but it has the hi-z input, 2-band eq, usb soundcard functionality and great headphone output, in fact everything aside from the battery, all for £80. And it's, like, a mixer so when you're not using headphones you can mix things.

 

I don't know why I'm so down on the PJB*, Mrs Jack constantly tells me that I don't need so many watches as "they all tell the time the same anyway" so I do get the PJB. I'm just not going to be getting one.

 

 

* Yes I do, I have the worst man-flu known to science and I may actually be about to die of misery.

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Can anyone recommend something similar to the PJB v1?

Cannot find them 2nd hand anywhere and reluctant to pay 200 quid for one.

 

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5 hours ago, dand666 said:

Can anyone recommend something similar to the PJB v1?

Cannot find them 2nd hand anywhere and reluctant to pay 200 quid for one.

Check out this from Palmer.  It's not as "pretty" as the PJB but doubles up as a useful little preamp.

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5 hours ago, dand666 said:

Can anyone recommend something similar to the PJB v1?

Cannot find them 2nd hand anywhere and reluctant to pay 200 quid for one.

 

The Vox Amplug (specifically the newer generation for bass) is quite good, which was a surprise to me as I had the original version years ago and binned it. It was horrendous! For ~£30 you can’t go wrong really.

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, CameronJ said:

The Vox Amplug (specifically the newer generation for bass) is quite good, which was a surprise to me as I had the original version years ago and binned it. It was horrendous! For ~£30 you can’t go wrong really.

Some folk complain about the "hiss" on this - which I dealt with by dialling the tone right back on mine and also the plastic build quality. There was another similar model which someone mentioned recently that seemed to be a nice little step up from the Vox for another £20 or so...hmmm I think it came up on the "Best gear purchase of 2018" thread. Let me see if I can find it...

Edited by Al Krow

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You can always buy the Behringer BDI21 for £18 but £300 is not that expensive when you look at the other bass pre-amps on the market.

The value totally depends on the performance. Phil Jones will always be using quality components and prices himself at the higher end of the market. If you can hear the difference then £300 may be worth it.

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It's not necessary a pre amp I want, mainly just a Headphone amp. Something I can plug my bass into, as well as an AUX input.

 

Thanks for the help guys! Appreciate it !

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I used a Behringer MA400 in the past with great results, only thing is it has a mono XLR input (along with a stereo aux), so it's fine if you were intending to use it alongside a DI/preamp.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, CameronJ said:

The Vox Amplug (specifically the newer generation for bass) is quite good, which was a surprise to me as I had the original version years ago and binned it. It was horrendous! For ~£30 you can’t go wrong really.

There’s one for sale in the marketplace btw

@dand666

Edited by Geek99
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