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Tuesday, July 01, 2008
GIGA Headphone Amp Review
[ZOMBiE CyGiG] ranted at 11:19 PM --- Post#2772337084067989981

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The GIGA amp is RA1 Clone with AD823AN, nicely boxed up. The RA1 Clone isnt really a clone, I would rather call it a Clone Mod. The circuit is similar to the USD400+ Grado RA1, but its using Wima instead of Solen caps. The original OPAMP is the 4556AD, but i changed it to AD823AN.

The DIY Works
The RA1 Clone comes as a DIY set selling for $30. That excludes the jacks, battery pads, batteries, the casing, volume knob, switch...which churns up to a lot more cash involved, esp the casing..its hard to find one that fits locally in Singapore. I rampaged SLT just to find this nice looking one.

Soldering up the PCB is easy. The points are near to each other. The difficult part is the irritating external jacks and battery pads.

For flexibility and quality, Home Grown Audio's pure copper wires are used.

I changed about 3 to 4 casings in total, just to find one suitable for this. Its hardly portable, but not that bulky as well. given the 2x9V battery, candy boxes are out of the list. I broke a couple in the process of drilling. What i can say is that packaging it is more much tedious that the soldering work.

The Sound
So how does it sound like? Looking at the circuit, its nothing more than a simple cmoy, seriously the original is selling at USD400+? A comparable circuit will be the Crossroad portable amp.

With the original 4556, it sounds kinda muddy, though elements of dynamics is there. Its quite well balanced.

With the AD823AN, things become much clearer, the bass tighter. U can hear an increase in the frequency range as well. A much better improvement. But i feel it sounded rather raw, some harshes here and there, not much of imaging and sound stage. And to me, its still not clear enough. Some white noise can be heard in the background.

I notice the battery drains very fast, even w/o switching it on.

This amp's performance do not exceed that of Go Vibe Petite for sure, depending on your choice of opamp, it may outdo the Crossroad portable amp.

This is more of a project to learn about electronics, soldering, craft skills, than to build a killer amp. For starters, the size is a bit too big liao.

But think again, this kit cost only $30! For $30 u are getting Wima caps and ALPS potentiometer, i think thats quite a bargain! U can go online and order opamps from Farnell and experiment on your own.

I had yet to try the orginal RA1..would love to..

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