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March 29, 2012 / btgaudio

Apex Butte: Day 1 – Unboxing and initial thoughts

TTVJ is kind enough to offer a loaner program for almost the entire Apex line up.

Lets start off with the unboxing!

Oh no! Wheres the amp!

Oh, there it is! Along with a mess of cables. 😛

I realize that my testing situation may not be ideal, but when I tell people I don’t make a lot of money off what I do…… I’m not lying.

Here is a map of what I am using currently. ZuneHD>SPC 2″ mini to mini>OFC Y-splitter 3.5mm>Apex Butte>1/4 to 1/8 adapter>Recabled and modded Skullcandy Aviators.

I have bought an iPod touch along with some Shure SE215’s which will be coming in shortly. I will then borrow my girlfriends UP-OCC SPC LOD for the IC to the Butte. Hopefully I will be able to get enough money to repair my cMoyBB Amp which keeps blowing the U2 so I can get a better comparison.

I will also have a chance to MarkL mod some D5000’s!!!!! I will definitely use them to test out this amp and give my customer feedback on the MarkL Mod.

Lets start the day 1 review:

First I had to get reacquainted with my Skullcandy Aviators. So I spend a little time just running them off stock Zune HD. I just listened to C418, my favorite artist, and relaxed to the deliciously smooth techno of C418.

I chose C418 because he utilizes the entire spectrum of audio, from deep bass hits to the tippy top piano keys and usual square wave tones. Also, I converted the files from FLAC to the highest AAC that my Zune could manage. I’ve tried windows lossless, but saw no difference in the quality of AAC to WMAL files.

After being reacquainted with the sound of my stock zune and modded Aviators, I began to plug in the amp set it all up and pushed the power button. Unfortunately I was wearing my headphones and a loud “POP!” went off as the amp started up.


I then sat there and just listened for any noise in the system. I had the volume all the way down but still heard noise.


I then turn off the amp and noticed the light fade off. I’m not a EE yet, but I think it means the amp drains it capacitors when you shut it off. At anyrate, I plugged my Zune in and turned it on (this time with my headphones around my neck). My ear were open, as I had not read any reviews on the Butte and had no idea what to “expect”. Typical of my ears, I noticed no difference, but I kept on listening just so I could give my ears shock therapy when I switched over.

After the switch, I immediately noticed that the bass was different. Unable to describe the difference I found a few segments of tracks with different types of bass. Fast pounding, deep long piano, and anything else I could find. I A/B’d for a while and found that the Butte helped the Zune’s bass extension fairly noticeably. It also increased the impact, but not the quantity.

I am a rather sensitive person to bass and prefer the mid range, hence me buying the Aviators, and I could feel the Butte giving me a bass headache. Switching over to the ZuneHD, the headache subsided. I knew that this could not just be placebo because it was physically causing me pain.

Just to be double certain, I did the best I could to match up the volumes and even bump up the Zune’s volume to try to see if I could get a headache from it!


I’m not criticizing the bass at all, it’s just not MY ideal sound signature. I love how the impact is amplified, but I don’t like how the VERY lows come out more and give me a slight headache.

I did not notice anything in the mid range or treble. No extra detail, no extension.

And that concludes day one of reviewing! I’ll continue to listen and amend when needed. The next review will be when I get at least one of the following;

  • Shure SE215
  • iPod Touch
  • Dennon D5000

Thanks for reading!


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