Archive for the ‘music’ Category

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Penguin Adventures

November 21, 2008

I love gadgets.  In fact, I am a sucker for gadgets.  You guys should see the “junk” I have in the house.

4 watts of pure joy

4 watts of pure joy

 

 

 

 

From my IPOD to my affinity to cheapo watches (I have about 30 watches now) to the Heathkit 4 watt vintage amp, I just can’t get enough of this stuff.  I consider myself a typical gadget freak.

With two kids and mortgage payments, I am also a cheapskate gadget freak.  

I have, like any respectable geek, set aside a “slush” fund for my gadget addiction habit.   First of all It is not a lot of money and I can choose to save for months and blow it all of on the latest, newest greatest, or buy small buy lots of it.

I actually have not bought anything for the past couple of months and my slush fund was aching to be spent.

Enter Headphone Amp…  : )

I was always intrigued by headphone amps.  I always wondered why one would want or ever need a headphone amp.

Many of the audiophiles and the purist suggest that in products like the IPOD and other portable MP3 devices, suffer from being under powered.  They say it is like driving a Hummer which was fitted with a Honda Civic engine.

I had searched online and given my massive shopping budget, I was drawn to the CMOY headphone amp.

Quote From Wikipedia.org

(some technical jargon… bring out the aspirin)

A CMoy is a pocket headphone amplifier originally designed by Chu Moy on the headwize.com Headphone Resource Site and public discussion Forums.

 

The headphone amplifier is designed around single or dual-channel op-amps such as Burr-Brown‘s OPA2134 or OPA2132PA, however, a wide variety of op-amps have been successfully implemented.

The amplifier’s design is quite simple. It consists of only a few components, can be assembled on a small section of protoboard, has a lower parts cost than other headphone amplifiers, and can run for many hours on a single 9 volt battery.

Inspite of this, a well-made CMoy amplifier can drive even demanding headphones, like Sennheiser’s HD600 or low impedance Grados quite well. These characteristics have made it very popular among DIY hobbyists, especially those who have not built an amplifier before. The CMoy headphone amplifier can be fit into Altoids tins and can often be found for sale on eBay (search CMoy).

 

That intrigued me.  I can on the cheap, get my curiosity for headphone amps satisfied and spend some time at home doing this, therefore making the wife and kids happier.

But….  I have not held a solder in years and my soldering skills is less than stellar.

Enter the Penguin

penguin-tin

 

There are actually quite a few reviews of this headphone amp.  But I really did like the one done by the Headphone Addict from http://www.head-fi.org

Apart from the really cool designation of Headphoneus Supremus, his avatar was what convinced me.  It was a turntable wielding yoda…

 

headphone addict

headphone addict

 

Seriously, the Headphone Addict had the most comprehensive review of the Penguin Caffeine Amp.  Check it out here at this address http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/review-penguinamp-caffeine-portable-headphone-amp-w-bass-boost-aka-headstage-lyrix-262751/

My curiosity had turned into lust… I just had to get one.  Checked online and looked for other options and finally found that www.ebay.com was my best bet to get my hands on these puppies.

I just got to have it.

Many of you know I live in Bangkok… Bangkok is a place that never ceases to surprise me.  On my lunch break, I had wandered off to Panthip Plaza yet again and surprise.  A small hole in the wall shop was actually selling The Caffeine Ultra Amp!!!

 

p-ampp2p3

The shop was also selling a range of great fun and fantastic headphone related gadgets.  The shop is located on the ground floor of Panthip Plaza towards the back as you enter.

The shop owner / keeper hardly spoke any English, but despite this he was extremely, extremely helpful.  He had let me try stuff and to his best ability, answer my headphone newbie questions.

Needless to say.  I bought my headphone amp right there and then.

Everything was which was written by the Headphone Addict is true.   I will not rewrite what he has written so just head on over to his site here http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/review-penguinamp-caffeine-portable-headphone-amp-w-bass-boost-aka-headstage-lyrix-262751/

 All I can add to his review is.  It is worth getting a headphone amp be it the Caffeine or any other headphone amp as it really improves the listening experience way beyond a mere swtiching of a loud button.

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the Generic Asian