Jump to content
Todd

Apex Butte and a loaner offer for Head Case

Recommended Posts

HI All,

Pete and I have introduced the Apex High Fi Audio Butte headphone amp. It is a great starter amp and sells for $495. Tyll put up a review of it on Innerfidelity today see it here.

I would like to make a Butte available to 6 members of Head Case to audition in their own rigs and write up a little review of it. You can email me at [email protected] to sign up. You need to send me your Head Case user name, and shipping and contact info. You will get the Butte for 2 weeks and then you will send it off to the next participant. The Butte can ship to the first person signing up tomorrow.

I hope to hear from you soon!

Todd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a lot of respect for Pete's work, but I have a bit of a problem with "a starter amp" and "$495" in the same sentence? A Cmoy (or mini3, or Starving Student) is a great "starter" amp... Kinda like when you read a review in Stereophile of a $5K preamp and hear it described as "budget" gear rofl.gif

Nice of you to make it available as a loaner to HC

Edited by Pars

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't personally see a problem with $500 being a starter home amp. Anything I've seen for less has generally been awful. Like make things worse awful. You can't compare commercial products to DIY of course.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are right, but I was talking more in terms of newbies who might think that $100 is an expensive set of phones... and now I need what? An amp? $500? You're kidding, right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

and a newbie buying $100 headphones would be ill served by buying a crappy amp.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's obviously a matter of perspective. Some of us don't want megabuck headphone amps (I fall into this category, though I grant you this may change if my wallet ever fattens), and are perfectly happy listening to music on systems that others would describe as barely adequate. For people who aspire to higher pricepoints, $500 buys a starter amp.

Thanks for the review offer, Todd.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't use a headphone amp at all, just what's built into my preamp and iphone. But what i've heard of cheaper non-portable headphone amps is they're mostly not worth it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just remember when I started into this (with my early '90s SR-60s being the only phone I owned), building my first Cmoy/A47 and how badly it kicked the headphone out on the Hafler DH-110 preamp I had at the time...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Gilmore Lite, v2 etc were genuine steals for commercial desktop amps under $500, but I guess if you scrutinize they were based off DIY designs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

and not for sale anymore :)

I have faith that Pete's done something comparable, tho.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just saw this thread, and fuck, do I miss my Gilmore Lite V2 (not that I have headphones anymore, but still).

Just curious, but why no headphones anymore? I mean, I can see selling off all but one pair, but not all of them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently (okay, it's been a while at this point) developed tinnitus in one of my ears and using headphones, especially IEMs, aggravate the symptoms. I do still have my Etys to use as earplugs when I'm using loud equipment (leaf blower, etc).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I recently (okay, it's been a while at this point) developed tinnitus in one of my ears and using headphones, especially IEMs, aggravate the symptoms. I do still have my Etys to use as earplugs when I'm using loud equipment (leaf blower, etc).

That's too bad. For me, using an IEM is sometimes better than headphones because I don't have to play the music as loudly and it doesn't worsen my tinnitus. The louder things are the worse it is for me. If I'm in a crowd that is cheering loudly then my right ear goes completely nuts, and I have to physically plug my ear or I get overwhelmed by the roaring sound and distortion.

Anyway, maybe you could zero in on a headphone or IEM that doesn't aggravate your tinnitus? I know speakers offer better imaging, but the ones that seem to offer the same level of micro-detail and natural timbre seem to cost a lot more than any of my headphones. If you have such speakers and don't have to worry about bothering others, then I can understand moving away from headphones.

As a suggestion, for very quiet listening I find that my JH13Pro (or UE11Pro) work pretty well, with a good u-shape frequency response so I don't need EQ or high volumes. I can usually listen to my ES5 louder than other phones without trouble, and same with my HE-60. But a few IEM did make pianos and trumpets resonate in my right ear too much to use, including Freq Show and Klipsch Image X10, and I also get a little of that with the LCD-2 sometimes (less when paired with certain sources/amps).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

JH13 was actually the worst offender, thus the reason I no longer have them. Koss KSC35s have been the least painful ones, so they're the ones I use if I'm watching/listening something on my laptop late at night. Otherwise, I just use my speakers for any listening I do now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

JH13 was actually the worst offender, thus the reason I no longer have them. Koss KSC35s have been the least painful ones, so they're the ones I use if I'm watching/listening something on my laptop late at night. Otherwise, I just use my speakers for any listening I do now.

Well, what causes my tinnitus and hyperacusis isn't going to be the same as yours, nor will the frequencies involved be the same. I still think you could keep trying until you find something that works for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I should have said, Apex High Fi Audio's least expensive home amp. We consider it a starter amp in that it does improve the sound quality and does not cost over $1000. I have heard many amps for less that not only did not improve the sound but seemed, to my ears, to degrade the sound. We feel that at $495 it is a very good value and that it will perform at a level higher than its price point.

And this thread was about letting some ears hear it... but so far no takers. Is no one interested in trying out the Butte?

Todd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Todd, how soon can you ship it? cool.png It does look like an interesting unit and if Tyll likes it then it is worthy. grin.gif BTW, I could pass the amp to either Carl, Mike, Vicky, Alex as you see fit. Cheers and thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi mrarroyo,

It can ship out as soon as you send me an e-mail with your shipping info - or at least within a day or so of me getting it. Any of the other Floridians ho would like to hear it are also welcome. Please let me know if you give it to someone else so I can keep track of it.

Todd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Todd, I was out for about a week due to a death in the family but yesterday (9/21/2011) upon my return the Butte was in. I fired it up right away and I was very pleasently surprised with the wonderful its wonderful sound. It looks like a brand new unit so I left it burning-in and hope to have more comments early next week (at least 100+ hours).

The size surprised me, it is much smaller than the pictures led me to believe and the fit and finish is top notch. Of course the sound is where the rubber meets the road and based on about 1/2 hour of listening time you all have a winner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First I would like to thank Todd of TTVJ for the opportunity to listen to the Apex Butte in the convenience of my home with my music and cans. Second the quick impression ... this is one heck of a nice sounding amp! Made in the USA for $495 to boot.

The closest amp I have to compare the Butte to is the Graham Slee Solo SRGII with the PSU1. According to Graham’s website the Solo SRGII with the PSU1 sells for $434 BP about $671 USD. Or you can buy the Solo SRGII with a switching PSU for 314.25 BP about $486 USD.

Both units were fed from the same DAC (using RCA spltters), music and cables. The initial cans used were the HiFiMAN HE300 w/ the HE6 OCC cable and the Superlux HD661 and the Grado RS-1. The music was by Jim Hall, Jimmy Smith, and the Jazz at the Pawnshop CD.

I thought the SRGII and the Butte sounded very good and it was just a matter of preference in sound reproduction. The differences I heard were not pronounced and could be summarized by stating the Butte ...

1. The treble is a bit more extended.

2. The soundstage is a bit narrower.

3. Not as mellow sounding.

4. The music is presented closer, as in being in the front row versus the 10th row in a venue.

5. Great bass impact.

I moved to the Grado RS-1 with flats instead of bowls. The Butte has indeed a more in your face presentation, for now I prefer the mellower and warmer presentation of the Solo SRGII. I should mention that the sound differences are not significant and some/many may prefer the Butte's presentation. My wife listened to both amps via the RS-1 and depending of the music one amp sounded better to her than the other. She did agree the Butte has a slightly narrower presentation with a more extended treble.

The DAC used was the one included in the HLLY SMK-II via the fixed RCA outputs. The music was fed via USB from an iMac 21.5 using apple lossless files using iTunes 10.4.1

Once again thanks Todd for the opportunity and this is definitely great sounding amp which will make many users very happy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×