Setups, headphones, amps & wish list.

What follows are some lists of gear I use to enjoy my music. Keep in mind that I change my setups to test new stuff.

Home “Hi-Fi” setup: Swissonic CDMP 1 V2.0 CD Player -> Lake People G103-S Headphone Amp -> Beyerdynamic DT880 Premium / Grado SR80i

Computer setup: Laptop/Desktop -> Creative Labs E5 DAC/Headphone Amp -> Grado SR80i / Superlux HD330 / Shure SRH440 (If I need noise isolation)

Commute setup: Sony Walkman NWZ-E580 Player -> Knowledge Zenith ZST Pro or Knowledge Zenith IE8 (I might use portable amplification to test new earphones)

Travel setup: Sony Walkman NWZ-E580 Player -> M-Audio Bass Traveler Headphone Amp ->  AKG K518 / Superlux HD330

IMG_20170223_165203
KZ ZST Pro

On the shelf right now:
Beyerdynamic DT880 Premium (250 Ohms)
Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro
Grado SR80i (With new pads)
Shure SRH440 (With new headband)
Superlux HD330 (With Beyerdynamic parts)
AKG K518
Knowledge Zenith (KZ) ED2 Special Edition
Knowledge Zenith (KZ) ATE S
Knowledge Zenith (KZ) ZST Pro
Knowledge Zenith (KZ) ED12
Knowledge Zenith (KZ) ZS3
Knowledge Zenith (KZ) ATR
Knowledge Zenith (KZ) IE80

Amplification:
Lake People G103-S
Creative Labs E5
ART HeadAMP4
Creative Labs E1
M-Audio Bass Traveler

IMG_20170316_194318
Creative E5 DAC

Wish list:
Nothing at this time, yes I know it’s amazing.

On the way:
Knowledge Zenith (KZ) ZS5

Updated: 15 April 2017
KZ ZS5 on their way to me.

Some updates on my gear.

So I bought a new CD player on Thomann, its a cheap Swissonic but for the money it’s pretty impressive.

Massive bonus is the fact it has XLR outputs.
I’ll be sincere I wont use half of the pro specs it has.
It’s a pretty solid piece of gear for the price, the fact its designed for a rack also helps.
Now why the hell did I buy a pro deck..because there isn’t any good Hi-Fi deck on this price range. Second hand is not an option, CD players are awful deals unless you really know the seller, have mad skills at repairing or have plain luck.

Also because I wanted free shipping I had to stack some more stuff on my order.
So I also bought two original Beyerdynamic DT-880 headbands and new pads for my DT-880…Always nice to have those in stock even if I know mine will last at least 10 or 15 years until they get awful but better safe than sorry.

I also bought a fender cap, the blackout model. I love this model plus its one of the few ones that actually fits my head. Fender I love you!

Also two months ago I went for a 8Gb Sony Walkman NWZ-E584, my BQ Aquaris E4 smartphone was OK for music with a portable headphone amplifier but the Sony packs a punch even with my Grados. Where it truly shines is with the active noise canceling headphones that are included, sure you lose some details but on a train or bus they are a thing of heaven.
Anyway to comute I use my Sennheiser CX 3.00 in-ears and with the Sony they sound really nice. I don’t enjoy expensive gear when I comute don’t want to get mugged for something stupid as too much bling.

As a follow up to my Beyerdynamic DT-880 purchase I did buy the Lake People headphone G103 and its a match made in heaven.
I don’t actually review gear but the Lake people is not build like a tank, the darn thing is build like a aircraft carrier! 😀

@chiisai-fukurou we both love Japan, you more than me but dude I also love German engineering!

I also got some cheap portable headphone amplifiers one from Creative Labs and one from M-Audio.
The E1 from Creative one can be a nice simple DAC also, as for the M-audio Bass Traveler like the name says it’s has a nice bass boost function that I enjoy using when I comute. I recommend both as entry level headphone amps, they drive my Grado and Shure headphones with ease.

This is a half year list of purchases related to my hobbies, thus it might look like a lot of things but it isn’t all that much if compared with more hardcore  audio enthusiasts.

The hero of DIY audio, Pow Chu Moy.

It came to my attention that Pow Chu Moy the man behind Head-Wize and the Cmoy headphone amplifier passed away in Reno Nevada (US)  on February 12, 2016.

Kevin Gilmore was the bearer of the sad news in the headphone community Head-Fi.

I never had the pleasure of talking with Chu Moy, mostly because his forum went down more or less at the time I finally had access to the Internet, but I know a lot of his work, specially the Cmoy amplifier.
Chu Moy is one of those rare online personalities of whom you can’t find a picture via google.
It’s amazing that a man so loved by the DIY audio community never placed a photo online for us to know his face, but something tells me he didn’t want fame or money.
If that was the case maybe Head-Wize would still be around sponsored by audio companies and with draconian rules uphold by professional moderators to protect the flowing of money.

Chu Moy is probably the best example of a true patron of DIY audio. Others tried to emulate his work but they never achieved his fame, after all he does have a amplifier with his name.
All headphone audiophiles know the Cmoy amp and sooner or later some build it or buy it.

Pow Chu Moy is to DIY audio what Sony was to Portable audio in the 80s.
I offer my deepest condolences to his family, with hope they know his importance to all of us headphone enthusiasts.

Update: 21 Out 2016
More shared online about him. 

On innerfidelity.com, the user Jssnow1 wrote:

“I was saddened to hear about Chu’s passing. I attended high school with Chu and just googled his name to see what he was up to and came across this sad news. As there does not appear to be much info about Chu, I can share a little bit. Chu grew up in Chinatown, NYC and attended Poly Prep CDS before going to Yale for undergrad. He was a very nice person. He was reserved, mostly kept to himself, very studious and hard-working. I will attempt to post a picture of Chu from high school (class of ’79). Best”

On lowyat.net, Jssnow1 also shared: 

“Hi, I was very sorry to hear of Chu’s passing. I was a high school classmate of Chu’s and was just trying to catch up with what he might be up to. Foe some background, Chu grew up in Chinatown, NYC and attended Poly Prep CDS in Brooklyn. He was a very serious and good student; extremely straight-laced with excellent principles. A very nice person. After high school, he went to Yale, and I lost track of him after that. I’ll try to dig up an old photo and figure out how to post it. Best,”

powchumoy

On head-case.org  Tyll Hertsens wrote:

“So I decided to call Frank Patten  at the Washoe County Public Administrator office to see if he could tell me any more about Chu.

He was surprisingly forth coming. He said Chu was “traveling light”, and had few if any possessions. He was renting a one-room apartment week-to-week. It was almost completely empty but for an unopened Amazon box with a Bissel vacuum sweeper inside. There was no bedding.  They could find no job or source of income. He did have a PayPal account but the only thing they found is a few contributions to political parties and disaster relief efforts. They found his deceased dad, and they think he had a sister but can’t find her. He was born in New York. He evidently died suddenly and inexplicably.

And yeah, being alone doesn’t mean he was lonely…but boy, it was a little hard hearing that stuff.”

The NwAVGuy mystery.

I have a deep respect for the NwAVGuy work on the O2 amplifier and like so many other enthusiasts around the audio circle I wonder what happened to him, so I really wish he is well and happy.

There are some theories behind his disappearance. NwAVGuy’s death or the death of someone near him, got a job on a big ass company and must remain quiet, JFK style assassination paid by some audiofail companies (this one is a joke, OK) or maybe he just got tired of all the circus behind audiophile gear and stopped working for community for free. Removing the death by assassination, I think all of those options are valid

but I’ll go for the real death of NwAVGuy. Nobody knew his age for sure so he might have kicked the bucket without telling his family about his endeavors. If he is alive I’ll be truly happy, but after so many calls from the community and so many time gone by, something really went sideways in his life for sure.

Dead or alive his legacy will not be forgotten by the community.

JRC4556, shipment prices and other rants.

Sometimes I really hate living in Portugal, If I want to buy some JRC4556 for my low impedance headphone amp I must pay 18€ of shipment doesn’t matter if it’s 1 or 30 op-amps, if the purchase doesn’t go above 65€ the shipment must be paid.

I get people must get paid to make my shipment but 18€ for some ICs sent via UPS airmail, what about normal mail these days?
I’m not in a good mood because I can’t find that JRC chip locally.
Requested 10 samples to the JRC factory but I really don’t believe they send them to me. Grado uses that 4556 op-amp for a reason, it drives low impedance loads like a marvel even if audiophiles say it’s a piece of shit.

Curious note is the fact many audio companies use it for their headphone stage…yea engineers know better as usual.
I have lots of JRC op-amps but none of them beats the 4556 specs for the low impedance applications.

On a side note I had cold feet about two of my favorite diy headphone amp websites and downloaded both using Wget, I know its wrong to mirror a website but I have a feeling those sites will go down the drain one of these days.

I also download manually some important Korean forum topics made by the amazing Sijosae, about 120Mb of data safely stored for future reference.
Sijosae made amps from 2002 to 2006 and they are really amazing things layout wise. These days I think he enjoys cycling more than headphone amps and I understand him because they guy build almost all diy headphone amps there was to build and also designed some more, so yea I’m sure he got tired of diy.

I must admit one thing, building audio gear isn’t a good idea on the long run, because I don’t want to have tons of gear stored at home, I must think about what I’m gonna do with old projects. Electronic gear is a bit futile, it’s different than building a wood box, a chair, table or any other type of long term projects. Even so it’s really fun to do on my free time so I don’t want to stop now.

Believe or not I didn’t have resources to do this kind of stuff when I was a teen, stores on my area were expensive and I didn’t have the internet to help.

Anyone has some JRC4556AD chips to sell for a decent price? I shall sit down on this one. lol it will be a long wait.