• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Arcam rHead opinion

Joined
Jun 5, 2018
Messages
75
Likes
8
#1
Hi, I was looking for an amp for a new HE4XX that I ordered and came across some reviews of this on InnerFidelity and some other sites. Some people here seem to own this and it would be great if you could give some opinions.

I am looking for a neutral amp which can drive a HE4XX well. I also would like it to pair well with any DAC, as I don't want to change my amp if I decide to change my DAC (vice versa also). I am hearing a lot that some amps (with its own colouration of sound, I guess) does not pair well with some amps. I was looking at O2, Topping A30 and EL Amp when I came across this. There are no real measurements as far as I could see, but it seems to have a well-regulated power supply. I was also intrigued by the volume pot on this. The output impedance of sub-1ohm on both outputs puts this above Topping A30, at double the cost. Output power is better than O2, other than that, I have no idea how this fares against O2.

So, any opinion regarding its sound signature, neutrality (transparency, as I don't want it to take any input and make it neutral, I guess), power output with something similar to HE4XX (49 ohms, 88.3 dB sensitivity according to InnerFidelity) would be really helpful. Thanks.
 

maxxevv

Active Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2018
Messages
196
Likes
45
#2
If you're looking for something in the "budget"range, you can take a look and check out for reviews of the Breeze Audio HA5000 based headphone amp. Discrete output stage and sub 1 Ohm output impedance and plenty of power to boot.

I have NOT heard it myself but I have seen maybe 2 (personal, non-pro ) reviews of it being pretty good. They are sub-US$100 if you look in the right places.

Edit: I have NOT heard it myself. My apologies.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 5, 2018
Messages
75
Likes
8
#3
Breeze's HA5000 clone looks good. But, I can't seem to find much info on it, other than the head-fi thread. @maxxevv What other gear did you use with this? AliExpress site mentions the Alps 27 pot and other good quality components in use (though these could be clones). Looks like a solid challenge for Topping A30, though measurements seems lower (other than better output impedance) at the same price point. I will add this also to the units in consideration.

I wouldn't mind spending some more money, but I need something which would last me for a few years (something which stops me from looking for a new amp:D) . I am waiting on @amirm 's review of A30, in the mean time, I am exploring other possiblities. Also, the impedance issue since I also have other low impedence IEMs and headphones.
 
Joined
Jun 5, 2018
Messages
75
Likes
8
#5
I didn't realise I missed the important word "NOT".

I think I remember reading someone's comment on DIY Audio. Let me search a bit...

Ah... here:

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/head...ifier.html?s=6f71c62333316c925e6da60b19278327
Oh, thanks for the clarification. About the link, I saw that one, but mistook it for a head-fi page. Still, looking good for the price. If only Topping A50 had that kind of output impedance. Seems like they have an A50 in the making with lower impedance, but can't be sure of the output power at this point. Their response was that it might be lower. And I also assume the price to be around $200.
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2018
Messages
2
Likes
1
#7
Can any rHead owners provide some feedback? Anything would be helpful...
first post!

So I've gone thru my fair share of headamps (lyr2, magni2, ican, ican pro, jotunheim, creative x7, probably a few others I'm missing) and I really love the arcam rhead. I'm in the US, and I got it from a UK store for like $200 (I think it was analogue seduction?). I think the initial list was more like $600 when I decided I wanted it, so I was thrilled to find it so cheap.

I haven't had a lot of time to do some critical listening, least of a with my HE-400s's, but I cant try this weekend and report back. With the HD600's it works great - very very smooth. I think I tried it with my HE-6, and it wasn't GREAT, but it worked. If memory serves, it also worked well with my etymotic ER4XR. And the build quality is SOLID - it feels like a solid hunk of metal in your hand. Anyways, I only had it a short while before I had to pack it up and move, and now I'm in the midst of unpacking. If you have any specific questions, I can probably try to answer.
 
Joined
Jun 5, 2018
Messages
75
Likes
8
#8
first post!

So I've gone thru my fair share of headamps (lyr2, magni2, ican, ican pro, ...
Thanks a lot for the reply. I have read somewhere that it is a bit warm sounding and smooth, consequently losing some amount of detail. I have also come across reviews saying they are very detailed and nuanced. Which do you think is true? What did you feel about transparency and level of detail?
 
Joined
Mar 29, 2018
Messages
7
Likes
1
#9
Hi, sorry if this is a bit delayed.
I currently have the rHead, using it with the E-MU Teaks. Did not have many headphones and amps in the past, most notably HD650 and Bottlehead crack.
The rhead seems like a quality product, been using it for a few months. Can't really give a definitive answer if it's warm or not since i did not perform extensive tests. If it is, it's just a bit, you don't lose any detail, i feel.

Obviously i like it, since i did not return it. My recommendation is to try it if you can, it really is great. Not in the sense that it will blow you away with amazing sounds you never heard before, but what it does, it does right.

People's opinions tend to be quite different depending on age, headphones, the music they listen to and many other things. Over the years, i've learned to ignore them.

Get it if you can, return it you don't like it. I think it's a great amp.
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2018
Messages
2
Likes
1
#10
Hey all, sorry for the delayed response. I got a nasty sinus infection and half my hearing went out the door for a few weeks. Just set back up a portion of my headphone stuff to do a run with the rHead vs my Jotunheim using my HD600 (stock).

In general - I kinda hate the jotunheim with the HD600. A bit bright, very veiled, even dark, and yet, all the base was sucked out. rHead sounds great though. I can't really judge warm or not in absolute terms, only in comparison (in this case to the jotunheim) and it is definitely warmer, but at the same time has tons more detail retrieval. That's not to say overly warm though, guitars and voices sound about right with the rHead, where as the jotunheim, I wondered where they went. Almost like listening thru a pillow or something (and these are songs I know very very well)

I have way more dacs than amps, so I can't really compare to anything else right now. However, I do have some he-400s's, ety er4xr, dt 990's, HE-6's, and probably a few other pairs of headphones I can compare the rHead on if you want. Hope this helped!


**update**
Not sure I'm a huge fan of the rHead with my etymotics. Haven't been able to identify it yet, but something seems lacking. I typically listen to the ety's with my earstudio es100 portable dac/amp/bt receiver gadget. Anyways, maybe just isn't great with IEM's. Surprising to me, is just how high I have to crank the volume on the rHead (sitting probably at 11 oclock right now, the HD600's were about the same)
 
Last edited:

mi-fu

Active Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2018
Messages
153
Likes
116
Location
New York
#11
Hey all, sorry for the delayed response. I got a nasty sinus infection and half my hearing went out the door for a few weeks. Just set back up a portion of my headphone stuff to do a run with the rHead vs my Jotunheim using my HD600 (stock).

In general - I kinda hate the jotunheim with the HD600. A bit bright, very veiled, even dark, and yet, all the base was sucked out. rHead sounds great though. I can't really judge warm or not in absolute terms, only in comparison (in this case to the jotunheim) and it is definitely warmer, but at the same time has tons more detail retrieval. That's not to say overly warm though, guitars and voices sound about right with the rHead, where as the jotunheim, I wondered where they went. Almost like listening thru a pillow or something (and these are songs I know very very well)

I have way more dacs than amps, so I can't really compare to anything else right now. However, I do have some he-400s's, ety er4xr, dt 990's, HE-6's, and probably a few other pairs of headphones I can compare the rHead on if you want. Hope this helped!


**update**
Not sure I'm a huge fan of the rHead with my etymotics. Haven't been able to identify it yet, but something seems lacking. I typically listen to the ety's with my earstudio es100 portable dac/amp/bt receiver gadget. Anyways, maybe just isn't great with IEM's. Surprising to me, is just how high I have to crank the volume on the rHead (sitting probably at 11 oclock right now, the HD600's were about the same)
thanks for the review. i have also been considering arcam rhead. but the lack of reviews makes me hesitate. thanks for sharing your thought on it.
 
Joined
Jun 5, 2018
Messages
75
Likes
8
#12
Hi, sorry if this is a bit delayed.
I currently have the rHead, using it with the E-MU Teaks. Did not have many headphones and amps in the past, most notably HD650 and Bottlehead crack.
The rhead seems like a quality product, been using it for a few months. Can't really give a definitive answer if it's warm or not since i did not perform extensive tests. If it is, it's just a bit, you don't lose any detail, i feel.

Obviously i like it, since i did not return it. My recommendation is to try it if you can, it really is great. Not in the sense that it will blow you away with amazing sounds you never heard before, but what it does, it does right.

People's opinions tend to be quite different depending on age, headphones, the music they listen to and many other things. Over the years, i've learned to ignore them.

Get it if you can, return it you don't like it. I think it's a great amp.

Thanks for the opinion. What is your opinion of the level of details or resolution with this amp, compared to any other you had? Also, do you use any specific DACs with rHead?
 
Joined
Jun 5, 2018
Messages
75
Likes
8
#13
Hey all, sorry for the delayed response. I got a nasty sinus infection and half my hearing went out the door for a few weeks. Just set back up a portion of my headphone stuff to do a run with the rHead vs my Jotunheim using my HD600 (stock).

In general - I kinda hate the jotunheim with the HD600. A bit bright, very veiled, even dark, and yet, all the base was sucked out. rHead sounds great though. I can't really judge warm or not in absolute terms, only in comparison (in this case to the jotunheim) and it is definitely warmer, but at the same time has tons more detail retrieval. That's not to say overly warm though, guitars and voices sound about right with the rHead, where as the jotunheim, I wondered where they went. Almost like listening thru a pillow or something (and these are songs I know very very well)

I have way more dacs than amps, so I can't really compare to anything else right now. However, I do have some he-400s's, ety er4xr, dt 990's, HE-6's, and probably a few other pairs of headphones I can compare the rHead on if you want. Hope this helped!


**update**
Not sure I'm a huge fan of the rHead with my etymotics. Haven't been able to identify it yet, but something seems lacking. I typically listen to the ety's with my earstudio es100 portable dac/amp/bt receiver gadget. Anyways, maybe just isn't great with IEM's. Surprising to me, is just how high I have to crank the volume on the rHead (sitting probably at 11 oclock right now, the HD600's were about the same)
Hi, thanks for the reply. This sounds good. How do you like it with Hifimans and Senns, especially the HE400s and HD600? Also, how does it respond/match with different DACs? Some examples might be useful.

About Jotunheim. I kept reading they were bright and couldn't control base properly. But I also kept hearing a lot of good things about Schiit, even to a fanatic level of admiration. I was looking at JDS Element, so if you have any experience with that or O2 amp, that comparison would be helpful.

I have also read somewhere that rHead smoothes the highs too much and loses details due to that. What do you think about that, since you have used headphones with decent treble with these?
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom