I am still waiting for the second Panda S2 to arrive as Aune reckon they have changed some of the inner workings and want me to compare the two.
I really "shouldn't" be commenting on the first one without having a listen to the second "revised" one so I won't
The idea was to rig it up with one of my CD players as source but, instead, I decided to go down the computer as source route as that (it would appear) is what most punters are doing these days.
Nothing fancy..... Asus Xonar DX, optical out into a modded Musical Fidelity X-DAC V3 with standard wallwart (not even a Little Pinkie!)...... I'll try them both with this configuration and maybe then hook the S2 up to my highly modded Marantz CD17 KI.
All the files on my computer are Apple lossless, it works for me, and I am used to the sonic signature of said medium
A few pics:
I'll say it again, the build quality is SUPERB, these guys major on aesthetics and precision engineering, no doubt about that...... just look at that power supply! Fully linear / regulated and housed in a solid aluminium enclosure.... look at the amp! erm, words are not necessary are they? ROCK solid and as stylish as F&@k...... I'd just be a miserable bastard if I were to criticise ANY aspect of the build quality, it is simply supreme.
By the way, I won't be selling any of these, they're too damned heavy to ship I sell the T1 DAC / amps but won't be getting involved with the S2. Whatever I "do" end up saying about the SQ of the S2 will (as always) be 100% as I hear it and not influenced by anything OTHER than the sound.
It will be passed around the UK members and they can audition and review it too (either number one or two, whatever one is deemed the best sonically)...... Sorry but only UK members can have a shot of this puppy, it's too heavy to expect members to punt it around the globe.... I will have a word with Aune and see if they can get a sample over to Europe / ROW.
I know I said I wouldn't comment on the SQ but that wouldn't be like me would it? Straight out of the box it sounded like TURD, it had been sitting out in the workshop and was freezing cold. Like the Kit Panda it needs time to stabilise (warm up)..... it's been playing away for about 4 hours now and there is nothing bad, at all, to report..... it's all good.
It's a very refined listen, nothing is overly accentuated, it's neutral and it is accurate....... I'll say no more Oh hell, yes I will....... Don't even "ask" how it compares to a "solo" or a "Musical Fidelity" etc.... it doesn't..... it's leagues above.
P.S. If one is made available for the U.S.A. circuit, then perhaps there should also be an option to purchase the evaluation unit at a small discount after the reports are posted? Could be awkward if all reviewers want to buy it though.
Rabbit has entered the country but not the building yet. Probably Sunday, Mike. Stuck in Norwich now for a short while.
The T2 looks the business. What great enclosures.
Do you know what they're doing with the second version. Mike? Interesting that they're using our ears for tweaks. Nice touch.
I wonder if the weight will have a bearing on its selling price?
Also, is it a 'mini' Panda? If it is ...... wow!!!!
Panda "two" has been here for a few days:
I cannot detect any "audible" difference between Panda one and two, they both sound the same to me......
Ian, I will send you Panda two (the version Aune will be selling)..... hold onto it and take your time..... It's best left powered up all the time (imo) and good to go after about 1 hour from inititial start up.
OK...... here is the one Aune advertise on their website:
Here are the two I have got:
The one on the left was the first sample, the one on the right is the one which AUNE reckon "may" sound better.
The one on the right (as can be seen) has had 4 capacitors removed, apart from that I can see no difference.
I have listened to BOTH extensively and honestly cannot differentiate between the two. I have tried a lot of different headphones (including my highly revealing HD-250ll) and cannot, for the life of me, say that one sounds better than the other..... they both sound the same to my ears.
I would LOVE to say that the one with the extra caps sounds better, then again I would love to say that the "slimmed down" version sounds better but I HONESTLY cannot detect a difference / improvement when switching between the two.
My head hasn't really been in a good place recently and maybe my usual aural "antennae" is not accute as it normally is..... I can usually detect the slightest of changes in an amp when removing / adding capacitors but, on this occasion, nothing, nada, zip, f&%k all!
I'm getting back to my old self, day by day, but am not yet ready to do a review on the Panda S2..... I need my mind to be FULLY on the task at hand and it's not there at the moment.
I would like to entrust this review to Ian (Rabbit) and hope he has the time and desire to do it. I trust his ears, I value his opinion and I know he will give a warts and all, no holds barred / unbiased opinion.
If that's OK with you Ian I will send you BOTH of the S2 amps (unfortunately there is only one power supply) and you can spend time (hopefully) listening and comparing the two.
I will mark one as "Panda A" and mark the other as "panda B"..... I will also add a piece of tamper proof tape so you won't be tempted to crack them open to see which is which.....
The basic "idea" here is to see if one sounds better than the other..... your antennae are not as depressed as mine are (at the moment) and if there is a difference I'm sure you will be more than able to pick it up.
I'm really sorry for not being in the frame of mind to zone in on this challenge (at the moment) but am working through my problems and hope to be back, focusing on all things audio related, in the not too distant future.
If that's all OK with you Ian, and you have the time, then let me know and I'll get both off to you at my earliest convenience.
Totally off topic....... NEVER get involved with a woman who has been engaged ELEVEN times and married three times..... will I ever learn?
I've been stuck into a £500 DAC and boy it sounds nice!! I'm going to miss this box when it goes home.
The new Aune amp certainly looks the business. I really like the look of the enclosure.
Mike, now the bad weather's coming down on you, I wondered whether you've ever tried those lights that are supposed to help people with the continual dark and cheer them up a bit? I've even thought about one for the winter down here!! For those times when you get pissed off - I thought, 'switch a light on and see if it works' but I've never tried one.
You need a big heli to smash up.That would take your mind of these women!!! (And probably cheaper too) Is this the last girl that was engaged 11 times? Perhaps you need a good highland fling with someone with not to many strings? Just have a good time.
Have to chime in here about the lights. They are called S.A.D. lights. I have friends that lived in Alaska for over 20 years and they are sold in stores everywhere. There are only about 3 or 4 hours of light in the winter there and in some places it stays dark for months. Here is a link about how they work. Sorry it's American.
I'm going to buy one of those SAD lights, I always get pretty down in the winter and just want to hibernate (as the article suggests)..... that feeling "coupled" with the break up of a relationship is just a total bummer..... a fantastic summer and now it all of a sudden descends into a type of "nothingness".... not a good feeling but it never is when love turns to nothing and the autumn leaves begin to fall. I'll go and order one right now
Glad to hear you are going to give it a try. Make sure it's close or at the 10,000 lux brightness. My friends say the the brighter the better it works. And they say it does work. Sit in front for a while in the morning and you feel better all day and sleep better at night. I might just buy one myself. I turn a little slug like in the winter.