I Love It, but.... but....
Posted by pneeko from Jersey on 2010-12-04
HeadRoom Micro Amp
It's been a very bumpy ride. In the course of using this product (micro stack [amp and dac]), I've always had that question hissing in the background, more bothersome than the audible life stream you hear laying down in a room that should be utterly quiet but isn't, asking me the question, "It has all the markings of quality, but why is it not registering or performing like the way I think it should be?"
I knew this wasn't a reference amp, but still a formidable, well-made piece of equipment.
I would go to sleep one night very pleased thinking I had finally figured out what was missing. That I had finally learned how to tweak it, until I woke up the next morning just as disappointed. I was off to the next scapegoat.
At one point I thought that the contacts of all the connectors had to be made of the same alloy, for example, a brass/gold plate-ended adapter could not touch a mostly tin/aluminum one. Or that the sample rate being fed into the unit had to be 44100/24 instead of 44100/16 or 96000/16 instead of 96000/24.
I thought the cable length mattered, that short was better, but then sometimes that long was better than short. Or that having the stack to the left of the monitor mattered, or having it on top of the computer chassis facing downward might affect the "sound quality."
It got so bad I started to consider the possibility that the evangelical radio hosts that sporadically got picked up by my unplugged pair of speakers in the back of the room had something to do with the performance inconsistency, or my personal uncertainty that was ruining my listening experience.
Until finally.... By accident, I moved the stack, as a matter of convenience, on top of a huge 500mm fan grill on the top of my new computer case because I could not reach the front panels because they were stuffed behind my monitor.
I turned down the volume (to avoid short circuiting), while it was hooked up to my computer playing music, and moved it on top of the fan, unsuspecting. When I turned up the knob, I didn't know what to say.
I thought, "Oh, just another fad phase, it will pass." It sunk on me, and stuck with me, and the sound quality difference did not change. The inconsistency was gone. Hours became days, and still that perfect, "I'm getting my money's worth sensation."
This thing is fantastic. I feel that if I stay here, with this product, I will be satisfied. I also feel that in the case that I do upgrade, I will be able to appreciate the upgrade more, rather than be plagued by more shortcomings.
The notion of cooling never occurred to me for amps and DACs, just CPU heat sinks, GPU coolers, and other PC equipment, or for radiators in car engines.
There's no need to modify the unit to accommodate an elaborate cooling system, this micro stack will respond keenly to a cool breeze on the outside because the innards are tightly bound to a solid chassis made of aluminum.
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Posted by pneeko from Jersey on 2010-08-12
Beyerdynamic DT 990 - 600 Ohm
Sturdy, solid, comfortable fit. Great emphasis where it counts.
Earcup enclosures are painted metallic, but are not metal.
Right out of the box, on a Headroom micro amp & dac, they sound terrific. The highs have a lot of punch, but don't give you a headache like the AKG 701s after extended listening periods.
This is my first reference-grade pair with a 1/8 inch jack. Since I have an amp with a 1/8 inch jack, I might be getting a biased perspective comparing them to other headphones. More fittings or adapters can only mean more obstacles for that smooth electric signal, so that may be why I think these sound so much better than the AKG 701s and the HD650s.
As mentioned in the product description, I can confirm that you will need an amplifier, because these sound faint on high volume with standard equipment like laptops or mp3 players.
Look & Feel
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