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Mini Torii Noise Issue with Headphones? (Read 2839 times)
Steve Deckert

If the 1st watt
sucks why continue?

Posts: 3534
Mini Torii Noise Issue with Headphones?
09/26/14 at 20:31:19
Hi Steve,
I have unhook the source components and interconnect from the amp even before I started emailing you the situation, thus I could confirm that the noise definitely come from the amplifier. As I have mention before, the crackling sound only appear on the left channel in a intermittent fashion, but very distracting. As for the noise level in general, indeed, I did not use the amplifier for about 6 months and in the meantime, I changed my headphone. However it was from Audeze LCD-2 to LCD-3. When I changed my headphone from Hifiman He-6 to LCD-2 last , I also experienced the same increase in background noise level, which was why I sent back the amplifier last year.
When I bought the Mini Torii in 2010, it was touted to be amplifier for planar headphones, and yet every time I switched from one pair of planar headphones to another, the amplifier just had this level of background noise which I felt was totally unacceptable. I also own the DNA Stratus Tube headphone amplifier and every planar or dynamics headphones that I use with it, the background is completely silent/black.

So far the issue I see that still needs troubleshooting is the intermittent crackling sound on the left channel, the rest I can explain in the next paragraphs.  Are you saying that you have sat there with the amplifier unplugged from all sources and with the headphones on and listened to it intermittently crackle?  How long does it typically take between crackles?  

Now, about the noise... when you bought the Mini Torii in 2010 it was touted to be the amplifier for planar headphones by several people on headfi.org.  In response to that we offered a headphone jack option on the amp.  Many people purchased our Mini Torii for use with the power hungry planar headphones, despite the amplifier clearly being designed for speakers.  Soon people began buying it for use with LCD2's which at the time were the only headphones Audeze made.  We were so impressed with these phones that we wondered how good they might sound with a purpose built amplifier designed specifically for them.  I did just that with our Taboo MK III, which was a large success.

The original Taboo MK III prototype was voiced for my own hearing using LCD2's and sent to one of the self proclaimed reviews on headfi who complained of the amplifier running out of power on his LCD2's.  Impossible I thought, but after investigating and getting the unit back it turned out the reviewer was hard of hearing.  I removed the attenuation that ensured black backgrounds with NON LCD2 headphones in an attempt to appease this reviewer who after getting back simply loved it. There was still black backgrounds with the LCD2 and everyone was happy until the LCD3 came out which was far more efficient. With the 3's you could hear background hum. Since that time we offer the Taboo MK3 with the optional Hi-Lo output configuration to accommodate both phones without noise.

You might be wondering why the big wrestling match with output power/headphone efficiency vs. noise.  The answer is that the quieter you make the backgrounds, the lower the dynamics will be, not to mention openness and overall enjoyment of the sound.   This is why you're e-mailing me rather than just selling your Decware and listening to your other unit that's so quiet.

I would be more than happy to modify your Mini Torii's headphone output to be noise free on the LCD3's, but do not have a good way to accommodate the wide range of phones you've used, He6 - LCD2 and now LCD3 without compromises.  I would say if you plan to stay with the LCD3's than adjusting your amp should be a permanent solution.

If the intermittent noise you hear on the left channel is not tubes, not interconnects, or source, and not a loose tube in one of the sockets, then the amp will have to come back here for testing at which time we could also adjust the headphone output for the LCD3.

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Re: Mini Torii Noise Issue with Headphones?
Reply #1 - 01/11/17 at 01:15:21
I got a pair of LCD 2 headphones as a  present and liked them with the MT, but a few weeks back one channel went dead, yada yada yada, end of story I got a pair of LCD 3 as replacement from the supplier. And while I'm a very happy customer I notice that these are a little more powerhungry, can the MT be modified to give a little more SPL on these cans?

Very sorry if this is totally a stupid question, but I was just wondering.

PS To my ears there isn't any notable difference in hum between the two cans, I have some but haven't been problematic on either, still sometimes I could enjoy a little extra uhhmf
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