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Neco Soundlab DUAL MONO 18v portable headphone amplifier?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Has anyone seen/used the "DUAL MONO 18v portable headphone amplifier" from Neco Soundlab (see here)? I've seen positive reviews of his regular 9V portable amp and of his MOSFET desktop amp, but I haven't seen anything on this one.


I note that he can customize the high and low gain settings (default settings are 4 and 8.5, respectively). I currently have the following cans:


- Sony XBR-MB700 (24 Ohms impedance, 106dB sensitivity)

- Shure SRH840 (44 Ohms impedance, 102dB sensitivity)

- Denon AH-D2000 (25 Ohms impedance, 106dB sensitivity)


When using the headphone jack on my Beresford Caiman, I find that the volume pot is mostly hanging out around 8 or 9 o'clock and I would prefer to have more playroom on my amp. Any thoughts on what a suitable low-gain setting would be for my current cans? Would 2 be excessive? I believe I remember reading a review of Neco's portable 9V amp where the reviewer stated that even 3 was a bit high for some of his headphones.


My next set of cans will almost certainly be a pair of Sennheiser HD650s, so I assume it is fine to leave the high-gain mode at the default 8.5 setting, but any input would be welcomed.




post #2 of 14
Thread Starter 

I doubt anyone was holding their breath on this subject, but I just thought I would answer my own questions. I contacted Neco and he confirmed that a low-gain setting of 2 or 3 would be fine for the headphones listed above, and a setting of 8.5 would be perfect for the Sennheiser HD650s.




post #3 of 14

No that's a new one of necosoundlabs by the looks of it. Like all his designs a bit of a tank, but the guy is a talent.


Really I have his old dual mono portable V2 (mine was 9v not 18v - that is a beast!) and it never ceases to surprise me when I leave it alone for a while.


Clean, crisp sound, wonderfully controlled right across the frequency range.


The only problem is the size and weight (designed to withstand a nuclear winter it seems) and that the sound distorts and breaks up when the battery is low (so many times I've though my driver was blown then remembered this and just plugged it in!).


I would buy with confidence from neco, but beware that "portable" should really have "trans" attached to the front of it...

post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

I just pulled the trigger a little while ago and bought it. From past reviews of the "portable" 9V amp I certainly wasn't expecting this to be a carry-around tool. I plan on using it on my desk only. Glad to hear that you are also a satisfied customer. It seems like everyone who gets one of his amps raves about it. I hope to become a convert.


I'm surprised he isn't better known, especially since his pricing seems - er, generous, to say the least. And communication with him has been wonderful. I can't wait to receive the amp.


BTW, I find his PCBs amusing. They seem so minimalistic. I was recently told that the headphone output in my Beresford Caiman DAC was low quality because its "a very simple circuit".* I was confused because I would have thought this would be a positive, rather than a negative, in the sense that there wouldn't be much to muck up the sound. Neco's amps are obviously pretty minimal, but with high-quality components. Maybe simple isn't so bad after all!





P.S. I'm actually very happy with the headphone out on the Caiman. I'm curious to see if the new amp is an improvement, because I frankly think my cans already sound great out of the Caiman.


post #5 of 14

I believe this is a new model and it looks really nice in black. I also have a V2 portable (9V) and I really like it. The AD8610 isn't bad but I upgraded mine with OPA637 opamps and its even better. But 9V is not enough to power the OPA637 but 18V it should be more than sufficient. That's a great price for a portable amp.


I just ordered a MOSFET amp from him, this a small desktop amp powered by 18VAC from a walwart.

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 



Where did you get the OPA637opamps and how much did you pay?




post #7 of 14

Hi all, just joined. 1st post gs1000.gif


I bought an earlier model:



I am 100% satisfied with it. (I bought the 'audiophile' version) The price is very affordable as well. In fact I think he under charges if anything but I believe he does this because he is very passionate about what he does

Even though I havent had a lot of experience with portable headphone amps, speaking as an audio engineer & an audiophile I know when something sounds exceptionally good so I feel really happy with this. I use Grado sr325i / Shure SE530 / Etymotic ER4P.


I don't know about his latest model but I would reccomend his amps. Just beautiful

post #8 of 14

Welcome to HF. Excellent buy for that amp with the AD8610 opamps.

post #9 of 14

I do love it :D

from his ebay site:

..To class this as a "portable" gives the wrong impression, this is a seriously "big" sounding amp with enough GRUNT to drive even the most demanding of phones.....

….Possibly the finest headphone amp I have heard in the last ten years and, most certainly, the smallest and most user friendly.....

Full review can be found at below link:






  • Thank you Neco the delivery was amazing fast!:). And man! I am amazed by the sound via my net book with every of my cans like the superlux hd681/64ohm and superlux hd660/300ohm,even the underrated Sennheisers hd515/50ohm are sounding brilliant! Via a good, cheap external sound card like the behringer uca202 the sound was much more powerful and smoother. Need some bigger investment here to get the max from the amp .K.B. 

    Hi, Just wanted to let you know that I received the amplifier, and all I can say is WOW! I am running a Cowon Player through various HP's; Senns, Grados, AKG's, Ultimate Ears, and that amp is nothing short of amazing. Driving headphones properly is so important, and people who don't drive them efficiently really don't know what they are missing out on. It does your phones and your ears a major disservice! Anyway, so far, I LOVE that amp, and it is going to get used A LOT. And I mean A LOT! Thanks Best money I've spent in a long time. Phenomenal piece, it is. Tim

    Hi Neco 
    Super fast delivery, so I can enjoy music such early :-) I got the amp yesterday. I think that this amp has a truly great authority over my headphones. Strong but not intrusive, smooth but can be punching and also clean, revealing ...I can enjoy now different kind of music for upcoming years.... I wish that you will stay in this occupation. 

    Hey Neco It's been delivered. Out of the box, outstanding. No other words. I'll do a full length review and post it on Head-Fi soon. I'll let you know. Many thanks once again. Keep creating and making wonders. 

    Thank you, got amp using it with Grado 325is phone's it is a fantastic Hifi component how much better are your class A amps This amp is revealing details i never new was present in the music Fantastic. 
    Cheer's TIE.

    Hi Neco






post #10 of 14

I bought the new V3 of this amp a few weeks ago and so far its a Revelation. I am using some AKG 480's with it at the moment but at some point hope to upgrade to some Grado 325i's.


All I can say is that its an amazing portable with great separation  and power. I can't wait until its fully burnt in...biggrin.gif

post #11 of 14

Has anyone bought this amp recently or had one for a while and would like to give some feedback on their thoughts...best with which headphones etc

post #12 of 14
post #13 of 14
post #14 of 14

Well i've had my Neco Soundlab V3 for over a year now and it's still amazing. With my Sennheiser hd 25 1 2's it's the perfect match.

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