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Just got my (practically new) ALO Mini^3 amp....!

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 

Just got my ALO Mini^3 amp(2 months old) that i bought from a fellow head-fier.I plugged my Q40's in them and used a Ultralink Discovery 3.5mm mini to mini into my 6th generation ipod not expecting a big difference from my new ibasso D2 Boa.And...Wow!!I never thought i could get power to those drivers with mad vibrating bass from a portable headphone amp!!At least a $200 poratable amp.Also with fantastic highs and a full midrange too compliment.Keep in mind i am sort of a "newbi" when it's comes to portable headphone amps.My search for the perfect portable headphone amp is over!For now at least.Review to be continued.
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post #2 of 39
Thread Starter 
The former owner who has more experience with portable amps told me he thinks the ALO Mini^3 is only bested by the Preditor.And has better sound quality then the Hornet and P-51 Mustang.And judging by the sound of this marvelous amp i believe him!So far this amp has not been played more then 150 hours.So hopefully further burn in will evolve an already warm,tight,punchy and detailed sound.
post #3 of 39
Thread Starter 
Loving this amp.It has a non fatiguing sound.Sounds great with all my full sized cans.Highs are little bright, but no doubt getting better and very nicely extended as well as the bass.Love the tight,fast paced,punchy bass.Great with dance,electronic,trance...!Midrange is upfront and detailed,yet warm.No clipping,hiss or distortion detected.Definitely source influenced.Bad and good sounding mp3's will influence the sound.The amp has an aggressive yet effortless sound quality.These are my initial,early,pre-burned opinions though.
post #4 of 39
for low impedance cans this amp is a killer, for it's price it's a bloody killer
I feel the same as you, iBasso D2 Boa amplifier section is just not so good and not powerfull at all :| but i find the DAC section to be great.
post #5 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarKu View Post
for low impedance cans this amp is a killer, for it's price it's a bloody killer
I feel the same as you, iBasso D2 Boa amplifier section is just not so good and not powerfull at all :| but i find the DAC section to be great.
Yes The D2 Boa's DAC is great and i was thinking of keeping it just for it's DAC.My Klipsch 2.1 Promedias never sounded so good.And i have an Auzentech Prelude sound card.I sent it back and am thinking of exchanging for the D3,but i'm very happy with my ALO.
post #6 of 39
Great news on your amp Nirvana, there is no better feeling than buying an amp and it living up to your expectations and giving you the sound you want. Is the ALO mini3 the one which uses the higher end audio caps?
post #7 of 39
Any chance you are willing to open it up and take some photos of its internals?
post #8 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickyboyo View Post
Great news on your amp Nirvana, there is no better feeling than buying an amp and it living up to your expectations and giving you the sound you want. Is the ALO mini3 the one which uses the higher end audio caps?
Thanks.This is my second high quality portable amp purchase.And yes it's a good feeling when you are satisfied without a bunch of costly purchases in search of the sound quality your looking for.Here is ALO's upgrades quoted from their website.Some people think they only made minimal changes which don't require the cost compared to the original Mini^3.But ALO's version is a fine competitor in this category of portable amps. "We begin with a proven solid AMB.org Mini3 "High Performance" model pocket amplifier board and add our own modification to upgrade the original design. We first use Black Gate capacitors on the voltage rails to the opamps to offer better bass and weight, punch, and control. The stock caps are used as bypass caps and the BGs are used in parallel for extra rail "stiffness". Next we changed a few resistors in the signal path with a brand that we believe offers a less grainy top-end and has more extension and is more effortless sounding. Because these resistors are directly in the signal path, they have a noticeable influence on the sound and we believe the upgraded resistors offer a clear improvement to the sound of the already wonderful original AMB.org amp."
post #9 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by M3NTAL View Post
Any chance you are willing to open it up and take some photos of its internals?
Yes!I am interested myself.And i will post pics as soon as possible.
post #10 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nirvana1000 View Post
...Here is ALO's upgrades quoted from their website.Some people think they only made minimal changes which don't require the cost compared to the original Mini^3.But ALO's version is a fine competitor in this category of portable amps. "We begin with a proven solid AMB.org Mini3 "High Performance" model pocket amplifier board and add our own modification to upgrade the original design. We first use Black Gate capacitors on the voltage rails to the opamps to offer better bass and weight, punch, and control. The stock caps are used as bypass caps and the BGs are used in parallel for extra rail "stiffness". Next we changed a few resistors in the signal path with a brand that we believe offers a less grainy top-end and has more extension and is more effortless sounding. Because these resistors are directly in the signal path, they have a noticeable influence on the sound and we believe the upgraded resistors offer a clear improvement to the sound of the already wonderful original AMB.org amp."
when reading any ad copy from a company, i think it's important to try to separate the chaff from the wheat.

regarding the Black Gates, you need to try to reconcile ALO's statement with amb's technical information, lifted straight from the Mini^3 site:

Fully direct-coupled
There are no signal-degrading coupling capacitors at the input, output or negative feedback loop.


as for the resistors, substituting even spendy boutique parts here will still result in a cost differential equivalent to the amount of change you can pull out of your sofa in any given month.

i give credit to ALO for getting behind a solid design, but in the end they are a business and, like all other businesses, they need to justify their price tag. and when cold hard facts are scarce, flowery language takes its place. it's hardly a pioneering tactic in the audio world, though "extra rail stiffness" is a new one for me.

in any event, the case is a lot prettier than my plain Hammond. i gotta admit that :]

enjoy your new Mini^3. i find it pairs particularly well with Yuin PK1s and Grados.

imho, caveat emptor, and all that.
post #11 of 39
+1

When the Audio Hyperbole begins to be more prominent than the engineering, I start to look elsewhere. I'm not saying the ALO Mini^3 isn't a nice amp, or that the improvement they made to the AMB design don't help - I just wish ALO would back off from their "Monster-ish" tone. (pun intended)



Quote:
Originally Posted by PhaedrusX View Post
when reading any ad copy from a company, i think it's important to try to separate the chaff from the wheat.

regarding the Black Gates, you need to try to reconcile ALO's statement with amb's technical information, lifted straight from the Mini^3 site:

Fully direct-coupled
There are no signal-degrading coupling capacitors at the input, output or negative feedback loop.


as for the resistors, substituting even spendy boutique parts here will still result in a cost differential equivalent to the amount of change you can pull out of your sofa in any given month.

i give credit to ALO for getting behind a solid design, but in the end they are a business and, like all other businesses, they need to justify their price tag. and when cold hard facts are scarce, flowery language takes its place. it's hardly a pioneering tactic in the audio world, though "extra rail stiffness" is a new one for me.

in any event, the case is a lot prettier than my plain Hammond. i gotta admit that :]

enjoy your new Mini^3. i find it pairs particularly well with Yuin PK1s and Grados.

imho, caveat emptor, and all that.
post #12 of 39
All accurate/inaccurate product descriptions aside: Congrats on finding an amp you like.
post #13 of 39
I can't wait to see the insides!

I thoroughly enjoy my Mini^3 in regular low gain high-performance mode!
post #14 of 39
Is this Mini3 by ALO any different than the usual (say, AMB one) Mini3?
post #15 of 39
if you read up a few posts, it uses higher quality caps but whether the difference is worth the price is debatable
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