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Review: ALO Rx - Double the battery, double the fun

post #1 of 142
Thread Starter 
Pardon me for the interruption, but I am formatting this for my official and paraphrased review of the ALO Rx. Ken was kind enough to lend me it for review, and I was almost instantly snatched up into a frenzy where my wallet popped out of my hands and pretty soon, I was the proud owner of the Rx!

The official review will be hosted on TouchMyApps, but I will post a point-formatted review here with pertinent links to the original. Suffice to say that this is a very good amp with a few small caveats which make it a good buy, but not perfect.

Spoiler: it is even Stephen from iems to full-size phones, not suffering any 'noticeable' roll off, or other sound degradation on any headphone I have tried it with. For users who are on the go and at home, I will whole-heartedly recommend this as a do-it-all amp. If you are stuck to your desk or hi-fi only, get a home amp as while this is very good for full-size phones, it will not drive the same sort of image as a much more powerful amp will.

I have also published an interview with the Rx's designers, Matt MacBeth and Ken Ball. You can read the whole thing here.

ALO Rx Portable Headphone Amp in Review – Double the battery, double the fun

REVIEW START

Build
ALO and GR9's design is slim, pocketable, but quite wide. It fits the dimensions of an iPod Classic or touch very well and is well-suited for either one, but its shiny exterior is scratch-able. I keep mine in an iPod sock for protection (go figure) which is both slim, looks colourful, and feels cozy. Despite its wide footprint, this bad boy is very light indeed, perhaps the lightest in its class (size). The input/output are well-arranged and if you want, you can fit fat cables into the ins and outs at the same time, but when plugged into the mains, changing volume or turning the amp ON/OFF is a bit tricky.

Features
Matt loves the Dual stepped attenuator and Ken the dual battery. Me? I tend to love the attenuator. The power is evident: it drives iems perfectly and even big phones very well. Forget iem amps unless you just want size, this is perfect in both driving ability and volume steps. The attenuator ROCKS. It is completely even from 0 to 100% and, even drives headphones better than 95% efficiency at 100% (something most amps do not do). The battery is rated for 24 hours - I think ALO are going with a safe number here as I get more than that, perhaps from 25-30 hours with IEMS and with headphones, about the same.

Sound
Even Stephen - absolutely. It is a detailed sound with excellent placement with every headphone I have used, but more impressive is that it suffers NO roll off in any frequency on ANY headphone. No spikes either, and with IEMS, a very small amount of hiss, but acceptable. Great bass and mid presence - fabulous! Highs aren't shiny, but free from grain, yet the amp is edgy, punchy, and fun.

Very little distortion (very little) meaning it will sound clean with ANY earphone/headphone. No smear, no blurring of any spectrum. Consider it a beautiful machine.

Negatives: small amount of hiss with sensitive earphones (even the JH13Pro if you are sensitive to hiss) and when power is engaged, a small, but clearly audible and poppy thump. For the price, I am surprised about this.

Conclusion
Still, it is worth its price, though buying it is not an easy decision for the penny-pincher (I did it!). Well built, but scratcha-able, this amp is a delight to look at and hold. Battery life is good and powers anything quite well. You won't replace a home amp for full size headphones like the DT880 or HD600 with it, but it is amazing nonetheless - better than most portable amps I have used. For IEMs, though there is a little hiss, it simply rocks. Full resolution from 20 - 20 000 Hz and lushly musical.

As you can see in the TMA review, I kissed this badboy - hallelujah!
post #2 of 142
Thread Starter 
I made a mistake and posted in the portable source section. That thread will be allowed to die and this take its place. In any case, review expected completion in less than 10 hours.
post #3 of 142
Looking forward to it Shigzeo. I completely trust your knowledge and opinion and was/ am considering this amp.

Please let me know how well these might work with the ER4S.
post #4 of 142
post #5 of 142
Thread Starter 
Unfortunately, my ER4S was sold long ago, but if this amp can drive the JH13Pro (and it can), then it can drive the ER4S like duck soup.
post #6 of 142
post #7 of 142
Thread Starter 
Sorry for the frustration: I have to delay publishing for 24 hours as I hit a major snag at the end. Very sorry.
post #8 of 142
post #9 of 142
Awaiting the review eagerly. Will there be RMAA data for this one?
post #10 of 142
No frustation :I Have Mine RX.
But all is question of taste and synergie bw source- cable-Headphone...
Waiting for you review.
post #11 of 142
Fail...I think Alo sent me the wrong charger for my amp lol because the termination is big and the hole on the amp is small and no way is that working out
post #12 of 142
Thread Starter 
Okay sorry for the wait. I am working out the kinks now and hopefully have it done before bed-time. The kinks by the way is my again faulty MacBook Pro.
post #13 of 142
Thread Starter 
post #14 of 142
The iPod touch 2G, too, is a technical piece of audio kit. Put under pressure, it will can outperform almost any other mass-produced portable audio player in nearly every measurable category.

Typo aside in your haste to get the review done, I dont have any measurements other than my ears but I respectfully disagree with this statement. I'm not an Apple basher - I would buy the 3G Touch tomorrow if I had the cash - but this spoilt an otherwise enjoyable review for me. The combination of 'almost' and 'nearly' tells me that even you don't completely believe it.
post #15 of 142
Is there really noticeable hiss with the JH13 when the gain is at minimum? ... or is that not minimum you were referring to, shigzeo?

Thanks for the review!
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