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Just received...my Altoid Cinnamon amp!

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
Well, I came home from classes today to find a very pleasant surprise to relax to...a downright gorgeous amp hand built by JMT (Thanks JMT! ), contained within a Cinnamon Altoid tin can. Construction-wise, I must say, JMT REALLY knows what he's doing. I'll admit I'm an extreme stickler for perfect looking equipment with no scratches, and the first thing I did was look all over the amp for any signs of stray scratches or marks, or anything that might be out of alignment. There was none to speak of. The holes around the headphone jack and volume pot are very clean, no jagginess. And everything lined up perfectly. Basically, very top notch construction. And all topped off with the fresh smell of cinnamon.

I'm still giggling over how darn cool the amp looks...but I'll move on to the sound...

The overall sound with my Allesandro MSP reminds me very much that this is a solid state amp...very clean, crisp, fast sound. No sibilance so far, and the midrange is clean...while I know the MSP is capable of warmness in the midrange, I don't even get a hint of that with the Altoid amp. The bass is very fast and taut. If I could wish for more, I'd want a bit more impact to the bass, and that the soundstage could be a bit wider, but it wouldn't be fair to ask that much of such a small, cute and cuddly portable amp.

As a portable amp, I think it sounds cleaner and clearer than the TA...I remember the TA as sounding a bit dark, with emphasis on the upper mids and bass, especially once the crossfeed was on. However for those that want the crossfeed feature, you might still want the TA.

Anyways, I'm really digging this amp...anybody who wants one, I believe JMT will work with you on a one on one basis regarding what type of tin you want, etc. Dealing with him was exceptionally easy and great...I'd gladly deal with him again (and I just might have to! ) Even if you don't need a portable amp (like I personally don't...), it's still great to receive one of these beautiful amps for nostalgia's sake!
post #2 of 38
Cool
Just out of curiousity...about how much do these cost?
post #3 of 38
I think you would need to contact JMT to get an estimate based on your particular wants/needs.
post #4 of 38
Thread Starter 
Yep, you'll have to contact JMT directly to get the pricing since it'll depend on how you want your amp designed.
post #5 of 38
Congratulations, Vertigo. Once again, I find myself in agreement with just about everything you said regarding the build and sound quality of this marvelous little amp. However, to my ears, the bass sounds fine..........nice and tight, with just the right amount of slam. How would you say the Altoid compares to the RA-1? This is going to sound like heresy, but to my ears, while the RA-1 sounds smoother, it doesn't seem to possess the dynamic sound of the Altoid. It's almost as if there's a roll-off in the high end somewhere. It's a very non-fatigueing sound, as Grado Labs notes in its literature on the amp, but it doesn't seem to have the liveliness and presence of the Altoid, At any given time I can prefer either one, so it's nice to have both. What are your thoughts on the sound of these two amps?
post #6 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
This is going to sound like heresy, but to my ears, while the RA-1 sounds smoother, it doesn't seem to possess the dynamic sound of the Altoid. It's almost as if there's a roll-off in the high end somewhere. It's a very non-fatigueing sound, as Grado Labs notes in its literature on the amp, but it doesn't seem to have the liveliness and presence of the Altoid
Agreed...as we two seem to be doing a lot of lately. Yeah with Grados I notice a sense of smoothness across the top...which is why I kept saying how well the RA-1 pairs with Grados (which reminds me...I haven't used my RA-1 with my MSP yet, good thing my RA-1 hasn't sold yet). It smooths off that agressiveness that Grados tend to exhibit sometimes.

As for the bass, I only notice this in comparison with heavyweights like the Home and the RKV. It's pretty obvious to my ears that my RKV especially has a much fuller, richer bass response...but I mean, it's like in a whole different class. I think the Altoid rather pairs up nicely with Grados...a fast amp for a fast headphone.
post #7 of 38
joelongwood: If that is the truth - I am VERY happy right now.....
post #8 of 38
Wow. JMT must have the freshest breath in the world.

Perhaps he can market these as "the curiously strong amp".
post #9 of 38
Vertigo, even though that amp is optimized for Grados, I'd like to hear your impression of it and the HD 600.
post #10 of 38
Quote:
Originally posted by huy_ha

Wow. JMT must have the freshest breath in the world.
Naw, I usually send the mints with the amps. However, I do brush at least twice a day.
post #11 of 38
Thread Starter 
Oh my, and I thought the Altoid amp could drive Grados well...this thing can drive my Sennheiser HD-600s into overdrive! It's goes loud and clear, and with TONS of gain to spare. And the sound is very dynamic, clear...ahh all those words that are normally associated with solid state gear. You lose a certain lushness to the midrange that you would get with tubes, but it's replaced by a cleaner sound. Once again though, there is a lack of slam in the bass, which is especially noticeable with the Senns since Senns can probably produce the deepest bass next to the Sony V6s...but otherwise, the Altoid amp drives the Senns VERY well.

And if it can handle the Senns so well, I'd call it safe to go ahead and throw anything at the mighty ALTOID AMP!.
post #12 of 38
Quote:
And if it can handle the Senns so well, I'd call it safe to go ahead and throw anything at the mighty ALTOID AMP!
Of all the amps I have, the one that seems to do the best job with the AKG K340s @400 ohms is......................you guessed it..........the Altoid! It even makes those AKGs sound dynamic. Amazing! Thank goodness more and more people are discovering the beauty of this little metal box, as produced by JMT. Now I know I'm not crazy.......................well, not completely anyway.
post #13 of 38
Penguin, Altoid - what's the difference?

I must say, tho, my 495s sound REALLY good with the Penguin....amazing, almost, considering the cost...almost like a whole new headphone...
post #14 of 38
Quote:
Penguin, Altoid - what's the difference?
I believe the Penguin has slightly better "highs" due to the caffeine.
And I think JMT will have to quit his day job soon to keep up with the demand that threads like this are sure to engender.
post #15 of 38
Quote:
joelongwood said...

And I think JMT will have to quit his day job soon to keep up with the demand that threads like this are sure to engender.
// looks up in the middle of putting JMT's number on speed-dial...
What demand?
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