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Just Audio AHA-120 Appreciation Thread

post #1 of 98
Thread Starter 

Who else out there has this amp or has heard it? I just got it and I'm blown away. My HD600/650 have never sounded so good.

 

I've only had budget amps: E11, E9 and O2. My O2 sounds a little anemic and small next to it, though I'd have a tough time this is worth approximately 3 times the cost.

 

I'm really curious. Are there desk amps in this budget (used $400; new $550) that sound better than this? Which ones? How do they improve upon it? I don't really need a portable amp and am really using it as a portable one. But this is the first time that I've clearly seen there are "better" amps and not just different.  Mike from Headfonia said "The sound quality is so amazing, I think it just fall a little bit behind in terms of resolution than the Burson HA-160D amplifier!" I don't always agree with Mike, but that is big praise.

 

I'd love to get this thread going from anyone who has heard this/owns this? I'd like to hear what you say... I'm still learning how to think about this amp.

 

(Please excuse the "for sale" ad. I'm simply deciding if I can afford this. Doesn't change my appreciation, but at nearly 3 times the cost of an Objective 2, I better be sure! The more I listen, I think it may actually be "ok" to buy an amp that costs more than my headphones!)

 

Edit: So at this point, I find the AHA-120 superior (imo) to both the E9 and O2. That being said, I'm still curious if a desk top amp can beat it at this price point. The E9 really doesn't bring out the best of the HD650 and the O2 really comes across anemic compared to the AHA-120.


Edited by imackler - 7/10/12 at 7:53am
post #2 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by imackler View Post

Who else out there has this amp or has heard it? I just got it and I'm blown away. My HD600/650 have never sounded so good.

 

I've only had budget amps: E11, E9 and O2. My O2 sounds a little anemic and small next to it, though I'd have a tough time this is worth approximately 3 times the cost.

 

I'm really curious. Are there desk amps in this budget (used $400; new $550) that sound better than this? Which ones? How do they improve upon it? I don't really need a portable amp and am really using it as a portable one. But this is the first time that I've clearly seen there are "better" amps and not just different.  Mike from Headfonia said "The sound quality is so amazing, I think it just fall a little bit behind in terms of resolution than the Burson HA-160D amplifier!" I don't always agree with Mike, but that is big praise.

 

I'd love to get this thread going from anyone who has heard this/owns this? I'd like to hear what you say... I'm still learning how to think about this amp.

 

(Please excuse the "for sale" ad. I'm simply deciding if I can afford this. Doesn't change my appreciation, but at nearly 3 times the cost of an Objective 2, I better be sure!)

I've got it, and it's really, really good.  I've had a range of portable amps - iQube, the first two ALO RXs, TTVJ Slim - and it's clearly better than all of them.  It's good enough that I retired my own HA-160D as my bedside rig; I wouldn't swear they're equal, but any difference is small enough that I didn't care.  It's not as good as my tube-rolled RWA Isabellina...  It's as good as you think it is, and for a nearly-portable option - it will never go in a pocket, but my Touch/CLAS/AHA 120 rig goes in my briefcase for long trips - it's I think unbeatable right now. (Though I've got my eye on the Vorsuge Pure.)

post #3 of 98
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by barbes View Post

I've got it, and it's really, really good.  I've had a range of portable amps - iQube, the first two ALO RXs, TTVJ Slim - and it's clearly better than all of them.  It's good enough that I retired my own HA-160D as my bedside rig; I wouldn't swear they're equal, but any difference is small enough that I didn't care.  It's not as good as my tube-rolled RWA Isabellina...  It's as good as you think it is, and for a nearly-portable option - it will never go in a pocket, but my Touch/CLAS/AHA 120 rig goes in my briefcase for long trips - it's I think unbeatable right now. (Though I've got my eye on the Vorsuge Pure.)

 

This is so great to hear!! I haven't had experience with high-end anything so this is encouraging, especially at this price point, which even used makes me nervous. My gut impulse was this was blowing previous amps out of the water, but then again they were budget amps (E9, O2...both of which I've used and loved and are a great deal for their price.) But this is really a whole other level... It is deep and clean, basically neutral and yet musical. I don't get the sense its "colored" and yet it is more than pure power. It's been a while since I've woken up wanting to listen where I left off the night before. Paired up with the HD650, I just can't get enough of it; it's awesome with the HD600, too. I think this is why people on headfi swear by amps; they do reveal what your headphones are capable of. And yet, I don't feel the sense of new, amazing things on every record; its just that every record sounds really, really good.. 

post #4 of 98

Vorsuge or Just Audio AHA 120 that is the question. Which one is better, soundwise ? Anyone had a chance to compare ?

post #5 of 98

Can't find much review on this amp. How good they are?

post #6 of 98
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sashaw View Post

Can't find much review on this amp. How good they are?

 

There has definitely not been many reviews written. I'm not sure exactly why, but these amps are more popular in Asia though Justin is located in the UK. 

 

Here are a couple reviews I've found: http://www.headfonia.com/portable-class-a-just-audio-aha-120/ and http://blog.hifiheadphones.co.uk/2011/03/22/just-audio-aha-120-portable-class-a-headphone-amp/


Edited by imackler - 7/10/12 at 7:43am
post #7 of 98

I find it interesting that all of the original references to the possibility of using two AHA-120s to drive balanced phones has disappeared. I'd still like to read impressions of this amp vs the L3 - a clash of the portable Titans, even if the AHA-120 doesnt have the same rated power. 

post #8 of 98
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

I find it interesting that all of the original references to the possibility of using two AHA-120s to drive balanced phones has disappeared. I'd still like to read impressions of this amp vs the L3 - a clash of the portable Titans, even if the AHA-120 doesnt have the same rated power. 

 

I definitely do not always agree with Mike from Headfonia but he said the following about the L3.  Roughly speaking the ranking is as such: L3 > AHA120 > C421. The L3 is really ahead of all portable amps in terms of dynamics. It's even better than a lot of sub $500 desktop amps in that sense. The AHA120 is a mid-size portable amp. Smooth, very refined and full sounding. 

 

 Mike also said the following recently about the AHA-120 "Yes I don't think that a $300 desktop would be better than the AHA-120." That's pretty high praise! 

post #9 of 98

High praise indeed that a $300 desktop amp cant top an $800 transportable ..... It would be nice if Mike was able to compare apples with apples. 

post #10 of 98
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

High praise indeed that a $300 desktop amp cant top an $800 transportable ..... It would be nice if Mike was able to compare apples with apples. 

That comparison is my fault, I guess. After listening to the AHA-120, I was wondering how much you have to spend to get a desk top amp to "beat it." Part of the reason is that I'm pretty much using the AHA-120 as a desktop; it is pretty heavy to be portable and is more transportable.  I find the AHA-120 to be a real improvement over other amps that I used to really enjoy. So, I'm curious, if the AHA-120 can produce this kind of sound, what can a desktop amp do in the same price range? So far, I've yet to hear anyone say a desktop amp can beat it (at least at used prices; new in the US is $550, which give its some stiff competition from the used market.)  I get comparisons to the Burson but pretty much everyone who wants to impress someone says its almost as good as a Burson...regardless of what amp it is!

post #11 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by imackler View Post

 

I definitely do not always agree with Mike from Headfonia but he said the following about the L3.  Roughly speaking the ranking is as such: L3 > AHA120 > C421. The L3 is really ahead of all portable amps in terms of dynamics. It's even better than a lot of sub $500 desktop amps in that sense. The AHA120 is a mid-size portable amp. Smooth, very refined and full sounding. 

 

 Mike also said the following recently about the AHA-120 "Yes I don't think that a $300 desktop would be better than the AHA-120." That's pretty high praise! 

Thanks for the link. Very interesting. 

post #12 of 98

I'd be happy just to be able to compare the big single-ended portables against the M-Stage. Not so much concerned about direct dollar-for-dollar comparisons - on that basis, the Stepdance is 'better' than any of its competitors. Not bad pricing for a 'Made in Europe' amp. 

post #13 of 98

Is this amp available from any US dealers, or do you order direct from the UK?

post #14 of 98
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuart360 View Post

Is this amp available from any US dealers, or do you order direct from the UK?

 

There are no US dealers listed on Justin's website. Here is the list: http://www.justaudio.co.uk/purchasing.html

post #15 of 98

Just go to Jaben with 4K on your credit card and get this insane bundle -

 

 

  • Graham Slee Voyager Amplifier (Full Analog, Traditional Amp!)
  • Govibe PortaTube Amplifier (Powerful and Fun Music From the Tube!)
  • Triad Audio L3 Amplifier (Listen to the 3rd channel)
  • Fostex HP-P1 DAC/Amplifier (A complete sound system in your pocket)
  • Corda Stepdance 2 Amplifier (Music has never been cleaner)
  • RSA SR71-B Amplifier (Full Balance System in your palm)
  • Just Audio AHA-120 Amplifier (Class A Standard at portable size)
  • CL Algorythm Solo DAC (The First portable DAC for Ipod)

 

No, I'm not joking. 

 

http://jaben.net/shopping2/How-to-Drive-a-600ohm-Can-Special.html

 

Exactly why you would want that many powerful portable amps is anyone's guess, but for those who lie awake wondering which is the 'best' ..... 

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