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Best Portable Amp to replace home amp

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
So, I've decided that I just don't use my Presonus Central Station enough to warrant it's existence in my lineup... So I am now looking at replacing it with something similar in quality, as far as price I would like to stay under $500. I tried to find some info for this sort of question, but I didn't find anything that applied to my situation as I am kind of looking for the top end of stuff and have enjoyed the Presonus. As far as inventory goes I have the SR325i, the HD600, and the ER4S, with a possibility of getting the SE530 as well. Any ideas for me?

Thanks,
Don
post #2 of 26
I haven't been apart of these forums for very long but I think most agree that Home amp > Portable amp, I understand wanting one for portable use but replacing a home amp with one? hmmmm I really don't know, unless this Presonus Central Station is a crappy home amp then finding a portable to replace it probably won't be too easy, but I'll just let the experts give their advice
post #3 of 26
if you want a powerfull portable amp drivind demanding headphones, i think it will be RSA SR-71A or iBasso P3
post #4 of 26
How could you miss the LISA
post #5 of 26
Is a DAC also needed? I find the CS DAC to sound very good and the amp also. Between my Pico and CS I think I'd choose the Pico just on size alone. I've never tried to do a critical test between the Pico & CS. I bought my CS new at a great price, it's an amazing value considering all it does.
post #6 of 26

Questions and thoughts

You said you weren't using it much but were looking to replace it.

Why are you replacing it? Are you looking for something more multi-purpose or are you just looking to change things up a little?

This thing you are not using looks like a lot more than a headphone amp. and it appears to have a remote control option. Do you have the remote, and do you want a remote on the replacement.

Sorry for the interrogation, but i was reading through the thread, and about to respond when i realized i really didn't know what you were trying to accomplish.

I may be in a similar situation where i had a home rig that wasn't getting used much, and a portable rig that was really turning into my work rig. So... i bailed on my home amp, and i'm working to unload my Hornet to replace it with a Predator. I pinged Ray to ask him about leaving the predator plugged in full time (24x7). He told me he actually ran his that way, so there'd be no worries.

Anyway... ???
post #7 of 26
Why will any one replace desktop amp for portable ?
post #8 of 26
i got rid of littledot mk4se and gilmore lite.
now, with hd600, i'm using pico as my desktop dac/amp and portable amp.
no regret in getting rid of the desktop amps.
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 

More info

Alright, so to get more in depth as to why I'm choosing to do this I figure I'll go over all the reasons for the drastic change... I'm choosing to do this since I rarely ever use the CS and although I love the CS, it doesn't get enough use to justify having it. The CS was my first true home amp and I've found that I just don't use a home amp enough, and I recently sold my car so I now have a need for a portable amp, but I would like to get one that has a dac so that I can use it at home too when I want to. I'm leaning towards the predator since it seems to be the one that has the longest battery life. I would still love some more input though...

Thanks again,

Don
post #10 of 26
Perhaps
I
Can
Offer some more advice. Go with your gut feeling.
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deac311 View Post
So, I've decided that I just don't use my Presonus Central Station enough to warrant it's existence in my lineup... So I am now looking at replacing it with something similar in quality, as far as price I would like to stay under $500. I tried to find some info for this sort of question, but I didn't find anything that applied to my situation as I am kind of looking for the top end of stuff and have enjoyed the Presonus. As far as inventory goes I have the SR325i, the HD600, and the ER4S, with a possibility of getting the SE530 as well. Any ideas for me?

Thanks,
Don
I would pick the Predator, but would not discount the idea of the 2MoVE or Pico . The Predator has better low volume knob balance and control for the SE530, can still power the HD600, sounds good with Grado and with my de-podded IM716 with 47 ohm resistor in place of the pod (should sound similar to ER4P). I was disappointed in the sound out of the box (unburned-in), until it matured after I reached 350 hours of burn-in. But then it just took off from there to end up sounding solid like a full size amp by the end of 1,000 hours. By 600-700 hours it beats most portable amps, in my opinion, although the other portable amps are extremely close. If you get this, you'll want to run it for a full month with a 1 hour break a day to let the caps form, and then it will be ready to impress.

The Pico is good with all of those but not quite as full in the lower mids with the Grado, and difficult to adjust the volume to very low with SE530 for sleeping (must use the Shure volume attentuator). The Pico's big strength is power, and it is one of the few portable amps that can drive my 600 ohm AKG K240M adequately. It also has wonderful synergy with the Denon D2000 as well. But with my Edition 9 and RS-1 the Predator is better.

The 2MOVE has a little more forward soundstage with HD600 than I prefer, being more forward than the Predator and especially the Pico. I really liked it with my Grados which I use a lot, as well as with my Edition 9 and IM716 and SE530. I didn't own the 600 ohm AKG at the time I borrowed it for a review, so I did not test it with those. It has good power, but also shows problems at very low volumes with channel balance with SE530, and you need to use the Shure volume attenuator with it. Battery life with a 9v is great (50-100 hours depending on the battery).

While the VividAudiTech.com V1 dac/amp has loads of power and can drive the 600 ohm AKG; and it sounds good with HD600 and SE530 and IM716, it is one of my last choices for Grado because it bumps their upper mids even more. Battery life is poor, < 13 hours, but it recharges every time it is plugged into the USB port. So, maybe skip that amp unless you don't mind switching to Grado flat pads to fix the sound (except the SR-325i don't have a big upper mids peak, it is more of a treble peak and it might work better with those than with my RS-1 and MS-1 and SR-60).

A great desktop amp that happens to be portable but without a DAC (hint: I said desktop amp that happens top be portable) is my TTVJ portable Millett hybrid tube amp, which is about the size of my 80gb ipod video but thicker. I call it a desktop amp because the tubes can ring if you bump the amp, but you have to flick it with a finger to do that - sitting on your lap or in a pocket on the bus wont do it. It does not generate any heat fortunately. It has incredible synergy with all the Grados, and does great with HD600 and some harder to drive IEM like Klipsch Image X10, IM716 and q-JAYs, so I suspect it will pair well with the ER4P. However, you will need that Shure volume attenuator with the SE530, because gain is a little too high for them and the low volume knob channel imbalance comes into play.

See the following for more information (including the questions and answers throughout the thread): UPDATED 9/8 MINI-REVIEW of 9 USB DAC amps - Predator, Pico, 2MOVE, D2 Viper/Boa & D1, Headstage, HR Micro Amp, Vivid Tech V1 - Page 33 - Head-Fi: Covering Headphones, Earphones and Portable Audio
post #12 of 26
HeadphoneAddict, any particular reason you do not mention the iBasso line of products. As I recall from reading your portable amp/dac comparison the iBasso ranked 2nd! Yet you do not mention it above.

Has something happened to make you not recomend or mention the iBasso? I had a D1 and currently have a Viper and a D3 on the way. I also owned a P2 and I was very pleased w/ their sound, plus many of their products allow you to taylor their sound by rolling op-amps.

No, I am not against Ray's gear. On the contrary I find his portable amps amongst the best, heck last night I ordered an SR-71A.

Just wondering.
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrarroyo View Post
HeadphoneAddict, any particular reason you do not mention the iBasso line of products. As I recall from reading your portable amp/dac comparison the iBasso ranked 2nd! Yet you do not mention it above.

Has something happened to make you not recomend or mention the iBasso? I had a D1 and currently have a Viper and a D3 on the way. I also owned a P2 and I was very pleased w/ their sound, plus many of their products allow you to taylor their sound by rolling op-amps.

No, I am not against Ray's gear. On the contrary I find his portable amps amongst the best, heck last night I ordered an SR-71A.

Just wondering.
He is replacing his home rig with a portable amp, and I recommended the top 3 portable USB/DAC currently available for sale that could function as a home amp, and addressed his specific headphones. I mentioned the V1 DAC/amp that is powerful enough albeit with compromises with Grado, and threw in one with no DAC that sounds and powers like a full size.

I then linked him to my review if he wanted to read about ALL 9 of the DAC/amps I have tried, but I didn't want to recap the entire review here, that would be silly.

As for iBasso - I feel they need to stop selling "Model of the Month" and pick a product line or model to develop and support. If the D2 Viper was available I would recommend it as a desktop replacement in a heart beat, if infused with the right opamps. Prior to that I loved my D1 and for a while it was my only desktop amp, and then I added a P2 in December to have a smaller portable with bass boost and socketed opamps. But both were discontinued after only a few months on sale. Then they started selling the D2 Boa, and D3, and P3 all in a short period this summer and fall, and I wonder how long before iBasso stops selling those too? The Boa sounds nice, and would make anyone happy, but it could use more power for HD600 and HD650 are even harder to drive (and don't even think about using it for a 600 ohm AKG, and I doubt it will even drive a K701).

A few more comments of mine have to do with customer service and the high costs of shipping back to to China. Every time an iBasso amp goes bad I'll have to pay $30+ to ship there and $15-18 to get it back. I only bought the D2 Boa so that I could get people to stop bugging me to do a review, and based on the fact that my D2 Viper has proven to be very reliable - so my fears about returning a defective one were lessened (my one bad D1 and two bad P2 cost me $$$). I'm passing on trying the D3 and P3, but might buy the replacement for D1 (with optical digital input).

I'm sending you a PM about my experience with the three bad amps...
post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks HeadphoneAddict for the in depth reply, I think I'm going to go with the Predator... Now I just have to find a buyer for my Presonus hehe...
post #15 of 26
Thanks HeadphoneAddict for your info. BTW, I am getting a P3 and a D3 and after burn-in would gladly ship them your way. I would also include a MiniBox-E+ w/ AD797 (if you have a pair of AD8610 you can roll them in to hear the original sound). I would also in clude the latest Xin Reference (circa 9/11/08). Will keep you posted.

BTW, the offer entails either shipping them to dw6928 or him to you.
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