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Looking for a portable amp under $200.00

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 



I have been searching the forums for advice on a portable amp to match up with my iPod touch.  There are several threads devoted to "amps under $200.00" but most are couple of years old now and I want to know what the most up to date reviews are.


I was considering getting a portable DAC/AMP combo but I found out that there is no convenient direct transport out of the iPod.  There is the Wadia 170i, but it's a dock and I would like something like a cable for on-the-go use - if there is a direct transport cable out there please let me know.  Could someone also tell me how best to get a line level out from the iPod to my amp?


Since I can't make use of the DAC I am looking for a decent portable amp.  


I have looked at a number of options from several different makers (Ibasso, Headstage, Little Dot, Head Room, and few others), but without being able to hear them it's a bit of a crap-shoot.  Ideally I would like something that is easy to charge (a Li-Ion onboard), smallish size, has a 1/4 " input, and sounds good with ATH-M50.


Nice to haves: the power to drive a higher impedance phone (longevity).


Any thoughts on what might fit the bill?





Edited by BriX - 6/12/10 at 11:15am
post #2 of 13

Haven't heard it myself, but from what you are saying in your post you may want look into the Headstage Arrow HE:




From what I've read; good battery life, really nice size, nice settings (gain, bass, imp) amp only and capabilities to drive quite high impendance phones.

Only prob is it's out of stock and a there's probably some HF'ers waiting to receive theirs..

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hi Trentino,


I have looked closely at the Arrow and it has pretty much everything I'm looking for except for the price.  I really don't want to spend more than 200.00 on an amp that I will use primarily with my iPod.  The quality and power would make it all around excellent amp - for home and on the go - but part of me thinks, if I'm spending north of $250.00 why not say to heck with the idea of getting a portable; for $290.00 CAD I can get an LittleDot MK III, be thrilled with the home setup, have a tube injection for my stereo system, and settle for a less impressive sound on my iPod...grrr...stupid money and not having it.



Thanks for your response,


- Jeremy

Edited by BriX - 6/12/10 at 7:26pm
post #4 of 13

There's a really great bloke from DownUnder who makes fantastic, inexpensive amps, ships them everywhere and is very easy to deal with. He's a Head-fi type too, a member of the trade who sells stuff on eBay. Here's a link to his Feedback page on eBay as he sells amps all the time so sending you a listing would be useless:




Here's his Feedback page on Head-fi:




Fred_fred2004 is his user handle, Howard is his name. I have bought 4 amps from Howard, 2 portables and 2 desktops. They are without doubt the best bargains I've yet found in real hi-fi.


Do yourself a favor and drop him a note. The TPA6111A2 portables are very good.


No, I'm not his mother, father, sister, brother or business partner. Just a hi-fi tragic. Howard is the real deal. But if you just have to buy a name brand, mass produced amp, oh well...

post #5 of 13

Like an iBasso T3? =3

post #6 of 13

I would recommend ibasso D4, but its 20 dollar over your budget not including shipping.


+1 @Mad Max, If the ibasso D4 price isn't to your liking the T3 is also a great portable amp

post #7 of 13

I'm also looking for a starting portable around $200, for use with Beyerdynamic DT880 600 ohm version. I'm planning on getting a desktop amp eventually, but I'd like something that can adequately power them for a while for use with my laptop and desktop. What about the iBasso D2+ Boa? How much better is the D4?

post #8 of 13

Cmoy Bass Boost 2.02 all the way for PORTABLE, meaning actually taking it outside of your home.   $40 that compares to the D3 python, cant beat it. 

post #9 of 13

Fred_Fred I second the recommendation. He sells a little amp with 1/4 jack.that might interest you. LineOutDock jack-see a fiio L1 jack on eBay-cheap and will work

post #10 of 13

Yup, the Fred_fred2004 amps are fabulous and really any cMoy that's decently built will give an iPod a substantial quality bump. The thing is, most common bit-rate files don't usually deserve any better. Neither do portable headphones.

post #11 of 13

I've been pretty happy with my cmoybb

post #12 of 13

Another fan of Howard's amps here. I have one of his mini-cmoys and it does a good job. I'm currently waiting for one of his 18v rechargeable desktop amps to arrive. Got outbid by a small amount in the end but he sent me a second chance offer and it totally turned my day around.

post #13 of 13

Headsix, which can be bought off of head-fi. RSA Tomahawk can be bought from the FS forum.

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