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Portable Amp for commuting use

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

I'm new to the Head Fi world.  I have an Iphone 4 with Apple lossless files.  I'm in the process of getting my triplefi 10's remolded by fisher audio.  I am beginning the process of trying to find an external amp so i can use it when i'm on my commute to work.  So light weight and small package is a requirement.  I've narrowed down the selection to either a Pico Slim or an amp from RSA.  I originally thought about the Shadow, however Ray Samuels also recommended the SR-71A.  I'm not looking to move onto balanced headphones, and the amp will only be used as an amp.  Since i'm using this as a portable amp, i do not have music files on my work PC.  I was wondering if there were any other amps i was missing from the equation and should consider any other amps.  My budget is around the Pico Slim, however i do not mind paying a small amount more for better quality.  i want to purchase one amp and not regret the decision.

post #2 of 23

If you're planning on using the Triple.fi 10's the SR-71 is kinda overkill for IEM's.  If you see yourself moving on to full sized headphones in the near future then I'd go with the SR-71, but if you plan on staying with the triple.fi's for a while I'd recommend something smaller.  The Pico is a good choice, but so are some of Ray's smaller amps as well.  I use the P-51 Mustang with the Triple.fi's and I think it sounds pretty amazing.  The Tomahawk also comes highly recommended although I think most will say the P-51 and SR-71 have slightly better sound quality.  That being said, the Tomahawk runs on AAA's and has like 200 hours of battery life, plus nobody will say the tomahawk has bad sound quality just that it's not quite as amazing as the P-51 and the SR-71.

post #3 of 23

Oh and since this is your first post.  Sorry for your wallet.

post #4 of 23

I'd look into the pico slim and the rsa shadow since they both have 60+ hrs of batt life and are IEM specific amps, and very tiny for commute.


another amp you could probably check out is the just audio uha-120. its gathering steam, and you could give us a solid review on how it sounds =D


I'm considering sizing down my portable rig too, but since I use headphones as well as IEMs, maybe I should stick with what I've got.

post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 

thanks for all the suggestions guys

post #6 of 23

Headstage Arrow is also commonly regarded as one of the best amps and VERY portable in that kind of price range..

post #7 of 23

+1 for the Arrow when paired with my Iphone it's marginally thicker than my ipod 5.5 (iphone and Arrow is 17mm ipod is 14mm)

post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 

thanks for the suggestions on the headstage, at almost 100 below the other 2, it seems like a good value as well

post #9 of 23

HS Arrow or Alo RX Mk1/2> Iphone 4> Whiplash Cable> Custom IEM. hmmm also feels good man

post #10 of 23

Also consider getting a  "Line Out Dock" (LOD)  cable. 


This lets you take the music signal straight from  dock connector bypassing the iPhone's amp stage.  The iPhone's amp is no longer necessary since you'll be controlling volume via the external portable amp.  This approach gives a much cleaner sound in my experience.

post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 

i already made plans to get a Fiio LOD.  i figured to start small and try to notice a difference before moving up to a much more expensive cable

post #12 of 23

I'm in the same boat as you, and the headstage will be my prime choice, but will be pre-ordering the Arrow 4G for June in all likelihood. There's guys on ebay that make make pure silver/ or copper LODs for around $60. As long as the components are the same and they have experience producing cables, you can pick up a cheaper one than the *branded* stuff from the major retailers. Or try DIY yourself if you enjoy a bit of soldering. And then compare with the FiiO.. If you're already spending $300-400 on the amp, might as well get a decent LOD as it doesn't have to be so expensive.

post #13 of 23

+1 for the Arrow, I just bought one for Etymotic ER-4s I plan on buying when I move into IEM's in a few months.


Ebay seller Ecbuy makes a good lod, if you email them they'll even make custom lengths (up to 9 inches) at no additional cost (last I checked). They use silver plated copper wire.


Edited by Blasto_Brandino - 4/12/11 at 1:33am
post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 

made the decision with the 4g headstage arrow.  Rob@headstage has been very helpful and all the features will work well for me


now the search is on for a decent LOD cable around $60~$75


any recommendations? 

post #15 of 23

  This is what I'm going to be using with my arrow with my Ipod, it seems the smallest (smaller than the Fiio, and if it breaks, it can be repaired, unlike the fiio) and best built $40


Edited by Blasto_Brandino - 4/18/11 at 2:19pm
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