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Review: Portable amp roundup! 56 portable amps reviewed and compared - FINAL update 12-20-10... - Page 189  

post #2821 of 3234
Thread Starter 

Thanks Miguel! Will do.

post #2822 of 3234

I would be looking forward to that. I'm in the market for a new balanced portable. I would love to see how this compares to the more expensive options. Right now looking at the specs, it seems to good to be true(I hope it is, that would be easier on my wallet). Hard to believe something so small could have that kind of performance at that price. You usually pay a premium for a decent sounding portable that still doesn't compete with the performance of a good desktop.

post #2823 of 3234

Which one is better the audio meier stepdance or the ibasso toucan. I heard good things about them both but there is a significant price difference between them.

post #2824 of 3234
I can only speak for the stepdance it is really powerful even in low mode the bass impact and control is incredible. Best I have heard and I have heard just about every hi- end portable amp.
post #2825 of 3234

This sucks, it really sounds like the Stepdance might be perfect for my MD and M50 or anything for that matter.  If only it had the Arrow's form factor.  The Arrow should be a nice step up from my E5 anyway.  

post #2826 of 3234

Hey Skylab, 


Thank you for your great reviews, they really helped a lot in decided what amp to buy.

 

Only got a 3MOVE recently, but now I'm tempted to purchase a Stepdance...oh dear!

 

post #2827 of 3234
Quote:
Originally Posted by radiohead7 View Post

Which one is better the audio meier stepdance or the ibasso toucan. I heard good things about them both but there is a significant price difference between them.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by travisg View Post

I can only speak for the stepdance it is really powerful even in low mode the bass impact and control is incredible. Best I have heard and I have heard just about every hi- end portable amp.


I haven't heard the Toucan either.  But when I had a couple of Stepdance prototypes here to evaluate and offer feedback, I thought the sound, timbre, tone, frequency response was a little better than my RSA protector balanced or single ended.  The soundstage was pretty close as well but not quite, but with HD800 the Stepdance had noticeably better synergy.  I didn't really get to focus on power comparisons because the prototype ran only on 15v wall power, but it was fairly strong sounding and did well with hard to drive full size headphones.  The one and only thing I didn't like about the Stepdance was it was big like the 3MOVE and didn't have the crossfeed.  I can live without a DAC since I have several of those that run on USB power only.  It also compares favorably vs a $995 ALO Amphora.

post #2828 of 3234

How does Stepdance compares to HDP?

post #2829 of 3234

Quote:

Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict  


I haven't heard the Toucan either.  But when I had a couple of Stepdance prototypes here to evaluate and offer feedback, I thought the sound, timbre, tone, frequency response was a little better than my RSA protector balanced or single ended.  The soundstage was pretty close as well but not quite, but with HD800 the Stepdance had noticeably better synergy.  I didn't really get to focus on power comparisons because the prototype ran only on 15v wall power, but it was fairly strong sounding and did well with hard to drive full size headphones.  The one and only thing I didn't like about the Stepdance was it was big like the 3MOVE and didn't have the crossfeed.  I can live without a DAC since I have several of those that run on USB power only.  It also compares favorably vs a $995 ALO Amphora.


The synergy with the HD800 doesn't surprise me. I am early hours but the Stepdance is doing more with the DT880/600s than I had expected. The low end is weighty - that's not bad for driving 600 ohms off a 9 volt battery. It is too early in burn-in to say more though - except that the soundstage is opening up hour by hour.

post #2830 of 3234
Quote:
Originally Posted by kostalex View Post

How does Stepdance compares to HDP?


I thought these two amps were on a similar level in sound quality/performance, and both seemed less colored in the upper mids and more neutral than the Protector which is slightly more aggressive sounding (a benefit when using the balanced JH13Pro, HD600 and HE-5 LE, but not with the ES3X or HD800).  The sound coming from the Stepdance was a little sweeter than the HDP with my HD800, but the HDP was maybe a little more neutral and detailed.  The HDP definitely offers a little extra punch for the HD600 which can rattle your brains using the combo.  Both amps can sound a little strident with HD800 at high volumes, but at normal non-damaging listening volumes it's not an issue at all (more of an issue of the phones than amp).

 

I would put the Stepdance prototype in the top tier of portable amps, while having more power than most other portable amps and less than many desktop amps.  In high current mode the 9v is doubled to 18v for better performance with high impedance phones.  I can't say that any of my other portable amps (other than Amphora) were better performers, although a few came very close.  If the Stepdance is too big for you as a portable and you don't mind a little less power, then you'd probably also be happy with the P-51 or opamp rolled iBasso D4 - these were my previous favorites among the amps I had at the time I tested the Stepdance (6 months ago).  But if absolute performance in a small portable package is the primary goal, the Stepdance would probably be my choice to drive full size phones. If I didn't need portable, and a 24/96 USB 24/192 SPDIF DAC was important, the HDP would be more versatile as a budget desktop amp.

 

Another note - the Stepdance prototype's 32 step digital volume control wouldn't go down to zero, so with IEM it could not go to extremely low volumes if left in high gain mode; but I could still play the music as quietly as with the HDP before the HDP starts to get into channel imbalance.  I didn't try low gain mode, and there is also a low current mode as well. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cooperpwc View Post

Quote:


The synergy with the HD800 doesn't surprise me. I am early hours but the Stepdance is doing more with the DT880/600s than I had expected. The low end is weighty - that's not bad for driving 600 ohms off a 9 volt battery. It is too early in burn-in to say more though - except that the soundstage is opening up hour by hour.


Even the 3MOVE with 9v could do a decent job with my 600 ohm AKG K240M, which was better than almost all my other portable amps with them.  I don't recall which ones, but only 1 or 2 out of 12 amps did almost as well as the 3MOVE.  I never tested the Stepdance with 600 ohm phones, but with the voltage doubling I suspect it should be better.

post #2831 of 3234
Hi Skylab:



Since each time when you do a review on a new amp and place it in one of your categories or tiers, you are mostly doing it out of memory when comparing to other amps in the same category as you really cannot keep 54 amps around and listen to them each time. Could you and would you mind commenting on the difference between the Protector and the Stepdance? They are two of your most recent reviews that are both in the same tier. I am not asking which one is better per se, or their physical difference like se vs balance which I know, but I just like to know how are they difference with their sound signature or characteristic. For instance, do you feel the Stepdance is stronger in certain aspects than the Protector and/or vice versa? Thanks for the good work that you did.
Edited by Jalo - 9/3/10 at 9:52am
post #2832 of 3234
Thread Starter 

Hi Jalo:

 

I use a combination of "from memory" (which is pretty suspect, frankly), and more importantly by keeping some "benchmark" amps around.  I can use the benchmarks to help determine what tier things belong in.

 

I only offer direct comparisons if I still have both amps around, and sadly I do not have the Protector anymore - that was a review loaner, and so it went back to RSA as soon as the review was done.  I only keep amps if I buy them.  So I can't really offer too much about the Stepdance versus Protector, other than to say unless you have balanced headphones, I would probably go for the Stepdance.

post #2833 of 3234

hello guys

 

just want some opinion about portable amp that suitable for treble centric IEM that doesn't cost more than headsix/xxs, maybe an amp that boost low and mid region to compensate with the treble domination of my IEM... any idea?

post #2834 of 3234

Skylab if you can please tell the synergy between the ED8 and Stepdance (I have ALO RX amp with ED8 and I've found them pair very well,but I also have RS1,HF2,DX1000 and AD2000 and want to know if the Stepdance pair well with them ) ?

Another point I would like to know how you put the ALOR X in your Ranking,in case you have a chance to try ALO RX,which I've myself found better than Mustang (just listen to Mustang shortly,may be I'm wrong here)

thank you 

post #2835 of 3234
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post

Yes, I will A/B the Stepdance with the Lisa II Mini.


my money is on lisa

 

as always u do not dissapoint

 

dude thank you!

 

do u know when she will be available?

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphone Amps › Review: Portable amp roundup! 56 portable amps reviewed and compared - FINAL update 12-20-10 added RSA SR-71B