The Penguin tin amp.

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KoThreads

Well-known Member
I decided a couple of weeks ago to get a headphone amp due to the fact that for some reason while using my Zen Touch with my Sennies that the volume was almost at full and sometimes on lower level mp3's was at full blast probably wasn't doing my headphones or the Zen much good.

Eventually I won one of the Penguin tin amps (the 2200uf one) It arrived and I was so stunned at what a difference it made, no more sennies sounding overloaded, that I decided to give it a bash with my CD player with the same result.

Being a total non-believer I now realise I was totally wrong.

So can anyone tell me just how good/bad this little box is and is it worth going any further with PX100's and HP 25 SP's.

Thanks.
 
I'm going to say the words you don't want to hear. Yes the penguin is good as a starter (and I really don't mean that in a patronising way). I have a mini amp and mini amp pro (called mini box) that will make the penguin sound like the difference you heard between the penguin and no amp :cool: I am going to be selling my mini box 'standard' for £75 (as it's second hand) and the pro version for £150 note the penguin has no charger with it that would cost you about £10 - £20 and the batteries. So if you brought the peng amp for say £50 the standard that I have is about the same cost (batteries built in and last for about 1000 charges). I will be advertising them here soon. If you want I could loan it you for the postage cost and you could see for yourself. The difference is day and night. I only like day and night differences :D

The penguin amp has a high noise level (you don't think so cause you haven't heard the mini amp). It's amplification is also limited (again compared to other amps) but it does improve standard headphone out.

We all start of doubting (look at my signature).
 

StevieDvd

Active Member
Not knowing the Zen at all but having a quick peek at the specs it does not appear to have a line-out. So with that as a source and the headphones you mentioned the setup is shall we say balanced. The headphone out would limit the effect of a quality headphone amp.

If your CD player is a good one then yes it would be worthwhile to get a better headphone amp but that would probably lead you onto getting better headphones as well.

Usually it all starts like this with a cmoy (penguin) amp and ends in an empty wallet. :devil:

Run away now!

Steve
 
Steve we should be the guardians of this forum warning all those who enter herein...... Don't come in stay out. LIke in those horror films don't go into the woods and ask "is anybody there" run now...
 

KoThreads

Well-known Member
StevieDvd said:
Not knowing the Zen at all but having a quick peek at the specs it does not appear to have a line-out. So with that as a source and the headphones you mentioned the setup is shall we say balanced. The headphone out would limit the effect of a quality headphone amp.

If your CD player is a good one then yes it would be worthwhile to get a better headphone amp but that would probably lead you onto getting better headphones as well.

Usually it all starts like this with a cmoy (penguin) amp and ends in an empty wallet. :devil:

Run away now!

Steve
Thanks.

My Zen Touch doesn't have a line-out only the headphone socket, and you really notice how low the output is when I fed it through my NAD C352. I was surprised how far I had to turn the volume up. The Penguin does give it more power but the Zen volume is still at around 65% giving the penguin a cut/boost on higher/lower volume level mp3's. I'll just see how it goes and I think you are right. Better amp to better player to better headphones to etc etc.
 

KoThreads

Well-known Member
Reano said:
Steve we should be the guardians of this forum warning all those who enter herein...... Don't come in stay out. LIke in those horror films don't go into the woods and ask "is anybody there" run now...
As I said to Steve I'll see how I go but I think the lack of a line-out limits what sound I'll end up with.
 
:devil: Thats what you think (que evil laugh) ha ha ha. Even with headphone out you can get remarkable sound improvements with amps. I've tested my headphone out vs lineout on ipod and to be honest not loads different (yes line out is better) imho (even though being amped twice e.g. volume control then amp). I would stop at the mini amp I said earlier. I have a penguin amp in my work rucksack and never use it unless i (mini amp) run out of power accidentally. It is going back on eBay this week. The difference just in the noise on the line (e.g. background noise) would be enough alone. You hear so much more (I know how you feel your fighting it) but I did and took the plunge. This is not a subtle difference it's night and day. When you go back to the penguin you find it very hard to listen too. Sorry <---- :devil: Don't die having not heard your music properly :devil: resistance is futile .....
 

KoThreads

Well-known Member
Reano

Have you any links so I can see what this 'mini amp' kit looks like.

I've googled but only come up with d-i-y diagrams or guitar amps.

Cheers

Why am I even looking, My penguin is still brand new?
 
Here goes I cannot official sell here yet, well I'm finding out the details first from moderator then I will advertise them here but I kid you not they will make the penguin sound poor 'really'! It's a night and day difference not something only you can hear!!
 

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StevieDvd

Active Member
Reano,
You just need to do a thread in the FS section and make a link to it here to get the right focus for the ad. You won't be allowed to do it solely in this section.

The FS rules here are a bit stricter than other forums. Other than that you could do the whole thing off forum as it's possibly a private deal between two people.

Steve
 
I know, I'm not actually selling yet but I'm going to go down the advertising banner route on this site as I intend to have a few built a month as the UK does not really have these types of portable amps. I am intending to offer a 7 day 'hear the difference' warranty :) as people won't get chance to listen before they buy. I think I will aim it primarily at people who want a portable rig for work or home and not for those that use a player just on the move. As the investment requires serious listening but it will be a no bull**** product you will hear the difference ...
 

Nic Rhodes

Distinguished Member
Your tin 'amp' is a lovely little amp and well worth the money. For me this simple circuit does what many others do in a 'more commercial' shop based market place. I feel this is the recommended starting level for everyone as quality is good and value is good.
 

StevieDvd

Active Member
Sorry Reano I mis-interpreted the above as you selling one amp to the thread starter.

I'd be interested to see the details of the amp, I don't recall actually seeing it mentioned elsewhere but here and I've seen a few mentioned.

Steve
 
I will get the details to this forum with spec sheet and pictures but to say it sounds good is an understatement hence me backing it up with a return policy. Of course if you already have an amp I'm not saying this will beat xyz just that it sounds really good for anyone that wants a good portable rig and besides the connecting cable it comes with everything required e.g. charger, batteries, carry box (well hopefully), etc.

:devil: Temptation is coming all you forum lurkers :D
 
Here is the spec sheet for the 'standard' version. Will have the pro spec soon

HAND BUILT TO A HIGH SPECIFICATION
&#10061;3 x PCB's.
&#10061;1% 0805 resistors.
&#10061;9400uf total Power supply Caps (20pcs x 470uf caps).
&#10061;NTK pot.
&#10061;2* AD8610 Analog Devices Op-Amps (smd)
&#10061;6* Bur Brown BUF634U (smd)
&#10061;Aluminium Case

PACKAGE CONTENTS
&#10061; Aluminium suitcase *1
&#10061; Mini Box headphone amplifier *1
&#10061; DC Power Adapter/Charger (UK Adaptor Included) *1

TECHNICAL SPECIATION
&#10061;Size &#10065; 3.2" (W) x 0.9" (H) x 2.7" (D) or 81(mm) * 24(mm) * 69(mm)
&#10061;Weight &#10065; 300g
&#10061;Battery type &#10065; unremovable Ni-H batteries 10*1.2V connect in series.
&#10061;Battery Life (playback time) &#10065; Up to 15 hours of continuous playback from fully charged batteries. Using passive speakers or high-power headphones may reduce the playback time
&#10061;Loading range &#10065; 16ohm ~ 300ohm
&#10061;Output Power &#10065; 60mw / 100ohm
&#10061;Signal to Noise Ratio &#10065; Up to 98 dB (Headphones)
&#10061;Power on display &#10065; 3mm, Blue LED
&#10061;Channel Separation &#10065; Up to 66 dB (Headphones)
&#10061;Frequency Response &#10065; 100ohm loading: 1~900KHz 0~1.5dB
&#10061;Headphone Out &#10065; 1/8" or 3.5mm stereo mini jack
&#10061;Source Input &#10065;1/8" or 3.5mm stereo mini jack

And some more pictures, note the batteries are built in and could be re attached but good for a minimum of 500 charges so if charged say twice a week should last a good 5+ years anyhow. I've highlighted some of the spec in bold
 

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dodger747

Well-known Member
Hmmm... I might well be interested in one of them. They look very nice indeed.

Whats ort of price are you aiming at?
 
Not 100% sure but around £150 (inc postage). The UK equivalent price for these (equivalent amp's in states) is at least £199. This is for the Pro version better than the one you see here. The one here maybe £100 - £110 but I am so convinced people will like it they have 7 days to return it (gulp)....:D
 

Nic Rhodes

Distinguished Member
Quite a difference from the price of the 'tin', 5 to 10x what I paid, I would hope it is an upgrade, along with the competition that already exists at this price. If you are going to commercialize this, is there going to be a power buy here?
 

StevieDvd

Active Member
It's a difficult thing to explain why you would need a cmoy at first and then why the leap in prices in the next level of amps.

From a little lurking & some joining in over at head-fi there seems to be a few distinct levels

  1. First cmoy diy or bought approx £30
  2. Next level £100-£150 (marketed cmoy/mint etc using pcb and case) or smaller portable (Xin supermicro for example)
  3. Desktop £200-£300 (semi-serious user)
  4. Portable £200-£300 (serious user)
  5. Desktop £300 plus (serious user)
  6. China amps - nice looking, cheap to expensive but to me a gamble as quality varies to much and shipping can be the biggest hit.
I know this is over simplified but it can highlight how you can traverse from the cheap end to the top end either in steps or in jumps.

I know my first jump from a cmoy was limited by a self imposed budget which made amp choice difficult, and as I've stated elsewhere I would have saved money jumping in at the deep end if I'd had a little more knowledge.

Woud I say there is a market for a UK amp in the £100-150 range - yes. The big thing would be getting it known and probably reviewed over at head-fi to find it's place in the amp heirarchy.

With some smaller US makers (one man concerns) the UK or European buyer would like a more local supply I am sure and prices may not be attractive to the US in comparison but most European prices are like that anyway.

So Reano I guess I'm saying you need a group buy to get some circulation here or a one of each sent out for review by a select few.

Someone in another thread is looking for a £150 amp, yours would seem to fit the bill but it's difficult for me to recommend it as it's a unknown one to me.

Steve
 
I think your right I will do a group buy. I make it with a guy from states :)

Think about the Penguin amp it costs about £55 (mine was from eBay). Then it cost me £15 I think for the power supply and about £5 for a set of rechargeable batteries. I think in all it was with postage and the poor extra long cable about £80! Now Just the standard amp is about £20 pounds more + postage and it is at least twice as good! Why twice? The noise is at least half maybe less. The amplification is probably twice as loud and the quality in sound is 'better' (of course can't quantify) and then there is the build quality which is miles better.

Like Steve so expertly put the price does not always mean it's twice as good but the cost of assembly or the parts are a lot more for a reasonable gain. Same for cars, TV's anything. But like I said before this is a no bulls*** amp you will hear the difference over the likes of the penguin amp (which its own advertising says is better than the normal cMoy). It's a night and day difference not subtle at all. Ok tell you what who wants to be guinea pigs! I will send three out to people (preferably those who would want to buy) so those with say a penguin amp or the not so capable portable headphone amplification (would consider the serious guys too like Stevie) but are serious listens (say at work, etc). I will pay the postage gulp :rolleyes: :suicide: and if you like you keep and buy it at a discount but you must report the good sound improvement (especially over the likes of the Penguin amp). Well who's up for that? Now of course it's not for now (maybe a couple of weeks so nearer Easter) cause once I have I will send then if people like, etc I will post an advertised banner on this site and a powerbuy but will probably need about ten people to make it worth it. Note in the US like head-fi it is almost impossible to choose an amp they have such a choice but in the UK we have the likes of boostaroo, penguin type amps then you move to the desktop models not these portable rigs.
 
I'm convinced it would beat that and the Penguin (well I know it beats the Penguin as I have one myself and it's going back on eBay). I'm primarily looking for people that dont have very good portable setups as those with serious setups should not require this amp but I do want to issue to some serious reviewers as well. I only have three that I can send for initial review (obviously going to cost me to post, etc ) so want to ensure it is going to a potential purchaser 'no pressure' :D but if your looking for something to replace your penguin potentially then you can be my first guinea pig. Does that sound fair?

After that I intend to get about ten made up and see how it goes from there. Who knows even get it into What hifi :rotfl:
 

Nic Rhodes

Distinguished Member
I am a potential purchaser as always, it was me who suggested a power buy!!! You can never have enough headphone amps ;)
 

fantastic dan

Active Member
Nic do you have that amp mentioned above? Is it any good because it's exactly the type of thing that i am looking for but i have to say that site doesn't look the best. Particularly when you get to the checkout.
 
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