TTVJ & TTVJ

When I received the TTVJ Slim, I was curious on how it would compare to the TTVJ Millet Hybrid Portable. Conveniently enough, Todd had also shipped me the TTVJ Millet Hybrid so I can do a comparison to the new one side by side.

Although quite different in their topology, both TTVJ amplifiers definitely have the same house sound sound. You can tell that both are developed by the same person with a good ear for musicality. The TTVJ Slim may be a solid state design, but it is far from sounding like a dry solid state. As a matter of fact, it not only matches the musicality of the Hybrid Tube TTVJ portable amplifier, but it actually outdoes the Hybrid’s Sound Quality.

The TTVJ Millett Hybrid is a hybrid tube design that utilizes a miniature vacuum tubes on the gain stage, followed by a solid state buffer. The volume knob that sticks out from the front panel hints the use of a conventional potentiometer volume control. When the amplifier was released to the market, it was the first portable, battery powered tube hybrid amplifier. It was quite a sensation, utilizing lithium-ion batteries to supply the power supply unit that supplies both high voltage power for the tubes and a lower voltage power for the solid-state output buffers. However, the vacuum tubes can’t withstand a lot of shock, and impacts on the casing, as well as vibrations from plugging and unplugging the headphone sends a “ping” sound that’s audible on the headphone. These were known as the tube-microphonics, and there were no way around the problem.

The newer TTVJ Slim amplifier is a new design that no longer utilizes vacuum tubes. The newer amplifier sounds like the Millet Hybrid, but better. One of the things that Todd did was by installing a 32-step stepped attenuator to minimize degradation from the input signal. Everything is more controlled and precise, instruments are less mixed up, and they have a better separation with the TTVJ Slim. Technology certainly have its merits.

I am not sure if it’s the stepped attenuator, or the newer circuitry of the TTVJ Slim that does this, but everytime I listen to the TTVJ Hybrid, the bass sounds muddy and uncontrolled. The TTVJ Slim is definitely superior, presenting just as much bass impact, but much cleaner and better separation on the low frequencies. The highs are also better on the TTVJ Slim, where the Hybrid can sound a little harsh in the treble.

The new TTVJ Slim comes with a bunch of other improvements as well. It has a very usable three gain position switch, and along with the 32 steps stepped attenuator, makes listening to the most sensitive IEM trouble free. The highest gain is setting is enough if you have to drive big full size headphones with big impedances. The rechargeable battery doesn’t require a dedicated charger, as you can charge it from any USB port. And most importantly, it is rid of the tube-microphonics issues that is present on the Hybrid portable.

All these improvements, and the better sound quality, come in a slimmer package too! The TTVJ Millet Hybrid portable amplifier is a great amp by itself, but it’s hard to go back to the Hybrid portable after you’ve heard the new amplifier.

  • rhythmdevils

    Nice review! Thanks.

    please compare the ALO Rx to the TTVJ Slim! Anxiously waiting for impressions on the differences but nice reviews thanks.

  • Mike

    Hi,
    I just published an article that would answer your question:

    http://www.headfonia.com/amplifiers/shadow-ttvj-or-rx/

  • Lei Xu

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the great review!

    I have few question i would like to ask.

    I am struggling between P-51 and TTVJ slim, would you please tell the difference? I know that you have compared Shadow with TTVJ slim and ALO rx, i wonder if the Shadow's disadvantages against TTVJ (less power, worse sound stage, etc.) wouldn't be the case for Mustang since it has a 3 level gain switch and a bigger size? Or it is still the limitation due to its size? Or is it some kind of signature of all Ray's amps?

    Thanks in advance!

    Lei

    • Mike

      Hi Lei,
      I no longer have the TTVJ with me as I've sold it and have moved to the RSA Protector, so this is talking from memory.. Between the TTVJ Slim and the Mustang, I'd still go with the TTVJ as it have a very sweet mids and overall a more refined sound. The Mustang's SQ is really not that different than the Shadow, other than the fact that the Mustang is able to drive higher impedance cans (on high gain setting). I would still prefer either the ALO Rx (for instrument and classical), or the TTVJ Slim (for midrange and vocals) than the Mustang. I would not say that Ray's amps are bad though. I still think that the SR71a is one of the best, and still one of my favorite portables.

  • Lei Xu

    wow Thanks a lot Mike for your quick reply, i didnt expect you to reply that fast knowing that this article has been posted for a long time. Greatly appreciated!

    Your comments are really helpful to me.

    and BTW just curious, have you get the chance to hear the pico slim prototype or real product? what other newly released portable amp would you recommend? my iem is SE530 and headphone is SRH440. Thank you in advance.

  • Mike

    Lei Xu,

    I haven't heard of the Pico Slim, but I am waiting for the delivery which Justin@HeadAmp says may start as early as this Monday (yay!). And, yes, I'm definitely writing a review on the PicoSlim.

    You may want to check out the Headstage Arrow at
    http://www.headphonia.com/The-Arrow-Amp/Headstage

    (Headphonia is not related to us, Headfonia)

    People who has owned the Headstage Arrow seems very happy with it, and looking at the product itself, it looks like a great product!

  • BulManXXI

    Mike,

    Have you heard the Arrow 12HE? Do you think the TTVJ Slim is worth a premium of $100 USD over the Arrow 12HE? Thank you.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Yes, I've heard of HEADPHONIA's Arrow 12HE, far from a few years ago when it was still being developed by them. I actually never heard of the amp until now, Robert is not very happy over the choice of name we have for this site. So, unless one of my friends buy one, I probably won't ever hear how it sounds. :(

      Sorry, I can't be too much of a help.

  • Golden Ears

    I own the Tube one…it can drive my Ultrasone Edition 9′s to club like levels with throbbing bass sing an Imod and ALO dock..  will this provide the same amount of current?