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From much-loved Bitzie to —?

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gbr2004uk View Drop Down
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    Posted: 30 Oct 2017 at 12:51pm
I bought the Bitzie with associated cable (Lautus I seem to recall) in 2013 and I've been delighted with it.  Recently I've gone back to serious music listening.  The volume knob on the Bitzie has developed a bit of a "shuffly" sound if I turn it during listening which I guess is probably easy to fix.  I guess something has got loose?  I don't necessarily want or need to change it for another Slee product, but I've been looking at Headphone amps.

I got a Sennheiser HD700 (I recall a controversy years ago about Sennheiser headphones but I must say I've used them in various editions for many years and have always liked them -- I love the HD700, which anyway was the max I could afford!)

As I said I've been looking quickly at the Headphone amps list on this site and wondering if they'd give me any significant advantage over the Bitzie?

Oh, and if I return the Bitzie for servicing (if that's still possible) how long would be the turnaround time, approx?

Thanks in advance for any help with the main question re headphone amps, and meanwhile I'll keep looking through the forums.

At my age (don't ask!) I do have some — I guess wearily normal — age-related hearing loss, although it doesn't affect my enjoyment of the music.  My guess is that the Sennheiser might make up for any high frequency loss.  (I only wear hearing aids for watching television and at meetings in halls -- though I wish audiences wouldn't clap so frequently!!)

All best
Brian
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Oct 2017 at 2:34pm
Is the "shuffly" sound from the Bitzie in the left channel, right channel or is it in both? Graham stands by his products and their reputation and will be willing to help resolve your problem.

In my personal opinion, connecting a headphone amp like the Solo Ultra-Linear DE to the Bitzie doesn't add anything additional to the sound reproduction. Just my opinion, of course, and only for the Sennheiser headphones that I used. The Bitzie is a tremendously good headamp on its own. Just a shame its USB only.
Bitzie, Majestic, 4x Proprius, Lautus USB, Lautus coaxial, Lautus phono-XLR, Lautus-R3 TRS-XLR, Mark Audio Alpair 10P/12P/12PW
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gbr2004uk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Oct 2017 at 5:11pm
Many thanks Ash.  "Shuffly" was the best, not very good, work I picked for what you can get on the volume knob of, say, a much used old radio (perhaps kept in the kitchen), it's not, I'm sure, a real problem with the inner works of the Bitzie, and sounds to me like something adventitious happening to the sound on the way out of the box to the phones!  It's both channels.   I could try taking a screwdriver to tighten the little screw on the volume knob without doing any damage.   If I don't touch the vol. knob during play, the sound is perfect.

Thanks for your comment on the Solo U-L DE amp as possible addition to the Bitzie (I realise it's your opinion, but I regard it as pretty expert!).  

I used to experiment a lot with the Foobar2000 a few  years ago but the only thing I've added now that I've gone back to it is the Dolby Headphone wrapper.  Has foobar2000 changed its appearance?  I seem to remember when you went to Preferences, there was more of a "double spread" look to the page, and you could bring various things from one side (column) to the business side, adding it to what foobar actually played -- I don't seem to be able to bring that column up any more.  I must be missing something.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Oct 2017 at 6:51pm
My current Bitzie was almost new when I bought it second hand. The volume dial was a little scratchy (mechanically, not electronically!) around about the 12 o'clock position when I first used it. After a few turns, the slight scratchy sound vanished completely so it just needed physically settling in. A Bitzie I owned in the past had an occasional "shuffly" sound in the left channel only and only when I moved the volume dial. It was inconsistent and I was never able to ascertain the exact cause. May have been a small issue with a volume pot batch perhaps as the Bitzie is NOT faulty electronically (I'm not bashing it and my current Bitzie does not have the issue). It's one of Graham Slee's best products in my opinion as the price to performance ratio is really astounding.

I'm no expert Wink; I'm a sensible listener and have some experience, that's all. The simplest signal path is often the one that sounds the best. To improve on the Bitzie with standard Lautus bus-powered cable, I think a Lautus powerwire with a high quality 5V power supply would probably be more beneficial for the music than adding another Lautus cable to a PSU1-powered Solo headamp. This is my reasoning because the Bitzie is limited by the quality of its power supply, not the quantity. There is more than enough power available for driving most headphones to high enough volumes. It is that bus-power from a computer will introduce anomalies/distortions in the signal being transferred. (My opinion)
Bitzie, Majestic, 4x Proprius, Lautus USB, Lautus coaxial, Lautus phono-XLR, Lautus-R3 TRS-XLR, Mark Audio Alpair 10P/12P/12PW
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gbr2004uk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Feb 2018 at 2:26pm
Hi again -- I'd forgotten this exchange and glad I've just found it again.  I'm getting the Solo ULDE on trial.  I need to check if I need a special cable to connect it up with the Bitzie.  (It might come with the trial package?)   A number of people have told me it will make a big difference to the sound, for the good.  But if not, I'll get back to you because not being a techie I didn't understand what you said about the Lautus powerwire (my Bitzie is connected to the USB port on the desktop with a Lautus).
All best
Brian
Voyager 2009, Bitzie+Lautus cable 2013, Sennheiser HD700 & 650, Yamaha Clavinova
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gbr2004uk View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gbr2004uk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Feb 2018 at 2:49pm
PS  Just been checking out https://www.hifisystemcomponents.com/dacs-digital-audio/bitzie-usb-dac.html which pretty much answers my question.
Best regards
Brian
Voyager 2009, Bitzie+Lautus cable 2013, Sennheiser HD700 & 650, Yamaha Clavinova
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Feb 2018 at 10:57pm
Adding a Lautus phono-phono dual mono cable and Solo ULDE onto the Bitzie analogue output is not guaranteed to provide any improvement. It depends on what headphones you're driving. Some models will possibly benefit from the Solo ULDE circuit configuration (e.g difficult loads such as some Grados) and some models can benefit from additional power availability (inefficient devices like the AKG K1000). Others however won't improve at all, in my opinion. The Bitzie is a tremendously good headphone amplifier. Its bus-power is the weakest link, not its output.
Bitzie, Majestic, 4x Proprius, Lautus USB, Lautus coaxial, Lautus phono-XLR, Lautus-R3 TRS-XLR, Mark Audio Alpair 10P/12P/12PW
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