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Opamp rolling with Matrix Audio M-Stage HPA-3B Headamp

pkane

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#1
My HPA-3B was purchased used and already modded by the previous owner. Before I received it, it was updated with the Sparkos 15v regulators (lowering rail supply from 18v). The opamps were replaced with Burson v5i (list $69 for two), so I have not heard or measured the stock 3B.

Based on a recommendation from @trl I decided to try TI's OPA1652 opamps. This took some doing due to the necessary conversion from the tiny form factor to the 8 pin DIP socket. The good thing is that 1652 is cheap as chips (!) at about $2 each @ quantity 1. Armed with a rework station, soldering paste and a magnifying glass, I spent a few hours making the proper connectors and installing the chips ...only destroying two of them in the process. One by using too much paste and causing all pins to be fused together, the other just didn't work for some reason although everything looked right.

HD650 and HE560 headphones using balanced cables sounded great. Going back to Burson, everything still sounded excellent. I couldn't tell the difference, although OPA1652 do generate a little more heat. Next up, did some quick measurements using Apogee Element24 as a DAC and ADC. Turns out, there was really not much of a measurable difference between these two opamps in the 3B circuit.

Burson v5i, 1kHz:
Burson.png


TI OPA1652, 1kHz. Very slightly higher third harmonic, but for some reason lower 60Hz mains frequency. Probably unrelated to opamp swapping:

ti2.png


Multitone test is also almost exactly the same for both opamps, other than the 60Hz component (blue is the Burson v5i):
multitone.png


Opamp rolling didn't seem to have any effect on the frequency response:
FR.png


In conclusion, the much less expensive OPA1652 appears to be every bit as good as the Burson v5i when used in Matrix 3B, with no obvious audible or measurable differences. YMMV :)
 
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JohnYang1997

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#2
If used in different circuits. V5i will be considerably worse even. Also you may as well try opa1656 and opa2189.
 
OP
pkane

pkane

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If used in different circuits. V5i will be considerably worse even. Also you may as well try opa1656 and opa2189.
I suspect the rest of the 3B design is what sets the upper limit on the performance. Without some extra mods that @trl tried, I don’t think it will get much better with a different opamp, but I could be wrong.

As it is, the 3B performance is excellent enough not to bother, but curiosity is a powerful drug ;)
 

JohnYang1997

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I suspect the rest of the 3B design is what sets the upper limit on the performance. Without some extra mods that @trl tried, I don’t think it will get much better with a different opamp, but I could be wrong.

As it is, the 3B performance is excellent enough not to bother, but curiosity is a powerful drug ;)
Yeah. The difference will be very small. The rest of 3b is definitely the limit.
 

FireLion

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#5
@pkane opa656 goes great not sure if its burn in or what but it has grown into my amp of choice. It also has double the power of a 789 @300/600 ohms.
 

trl

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#7
They managed to install it: https://www.audiofanatyk.pl/recenzja-wzmacniacza-dyskretnego-sonic-imagery-labs-994enh-ticha/, feel free to translate it online and make up your mind if it worth buying these opamps or not.

I personally think that these opamps could fit inside the HPA-3B, but given the bigger size I'm not sure about the temperatures after couple of hours of operation. Also, from a measurement perspective, I don't think these opamps will improve HPA-3B's SINAD much, but feel free to give it a try.
 

FireLion

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#8
They managed to install it: https://www.audiofanatyk.pl/recenzja-wzmacniacza-dyskretnego-sonic-imagery-labs-994enh-ticha/, feel free to translate it online and make up your mind if it worth buying these opamps or not.

I personally think that these opamps could fit inside the HPA-3B, but given the bigger size I'm not sure about the temperatures after couple of hours of operation. Also, from a measurement perspective, I don't think these opamps will improve HPA-3B's SINAD much, but feel free to give it a try.
I am thinking of trying this? https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000462692178.html?spm=a2g0o.cart.0.0.37813c0076ABOT&mp=1

@MatrixAudio will we ever see a successor to the HPA-3B? running mine with OPA1656 opamps and it's amazing.
Would love to see something the same shape as the Matrix Audio QUATTRO II with XLR and maybe 4.4 for IEM's. If the DAC was built in that would be a bonus.

Sidenote: HPA-3B works well with sensitive IEM's but it seems to be something other manfactueres are overlooking. IEM's are getting big.
 
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#9
I am too wait fully balanced amp with dip8 opamp. Because there is no alternative to HPA3B on market in this price. In build dac don't need because price will rise.
 

FireLion

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#10
I am too wait fully balanced amp with dip8 opamp. Because there is no alternative to HPA3B on market in this price. In build dac don't need because price will rise.
I fee like this amp did not the exposure it deserved. If they sent one to some of the Youtubers now I think it would do well. The best thing about this amp is it has practically double the power of a 789 at 300/600 Ohm.
 

MatrixAudio

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#14
I am thinking of trying this? https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000462692178.html?spm=a2g0o.cart.0.0.37813c0076ABOT&mp=1

@MatrixAudio will we ever see a successor to the HPA-3B? running mine with OPA1656 opamps and it's amazing.
Would love to see something the same shape as the Matrix Audio QUATTRO II with XLR and maybe 4.4 for IEM's. If the DAC was built in that would be a bonus.

Sidenote: HPA-3B works well with sensitive IEM's but it seems to be something other manfactueres are overlooking. IEM's are getting big.
Unfortunately, we have no plan on updating HPA-3B.
 

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