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Portable amp for JH16 Pro

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi guys,


Just ordered a pair of JH 16 Pros, and have started looking into buying a portable amp as well. At the moment it's likely the amp will be driven straight from an iPhone, but I would like to insert it into a home system featuring a Bel Canto C5i, and drive a pair of HD650s when required as well. Furthermore, I'm pretty certain a CLAS -dB is on the horizon, which is why I want the amp to scale up when needed.


Initial research has me extremely confused. I've been looking primarily at the ALO Rx III and Ray Samuels SR-71B. For the former I gather its volume control can be problematic, as there's channel imbalance at lower levels. The idea of a "tubey" amp sits well, but I've read the ALO Continental V2 will have problems with the low impedance of the JH16, though will work well with the HD 650. I gather the National is better in this regard, but with problems driving complex multi-BA IEMs. 


Is there an amp that will solve all of my problems? If not, what are the compromises one has to endure? 


Since I'm in Sweden, auditioning any of this gear is unlikely, so your opinions about their sound would also be appreciated. 

post #2 of 8

have you been looking into JH's amp JH3A, i think they are designed for these jh16's and would fit great. Well, i've never heard them, but regarding to all the review, they do great. 

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

I did look into the option, but that would leave me needing a separate amplifier to drive the Senns which, if possible, I would like to avoid. I've been avidly reading reviews and opinions on various amps, and it appears that having the best of both worlds may simply be unattainable: finding an amp that deals well with the sensitivity of the IEM without the inevitable hiss (my pet peeve) and can still produce enough output for a 300 Ohm headphone.


At the moment, I'm leaning towards an ALO Rx Mk III, having emailed Ken to ask whether the gain can be reduced prior to shipping, so that I can run the JH16s high on the potentiometer and bypass the channel imbalance issues lower down, yet screw the gain up and listen to the HD650 when needed. I'm not a fan of orhtodynamics and unlikely to buy one, and thus won't be needing the full gain to run something like an LCD-2 or HE6 well, and even then, I have an amp that will do that should I need it. 


Further down the line, I'll probably buy a CLAS -dB to complete my portable setup, but it would be nice if it wasn't only portable.

post #4 of 8

I would whole heartedly recommend the ALO MKIIIB. I believe Ken has now lowered the gain on all of them to accomodate IEM's. I have the Cypher-db as well running balanced all the way through and I have NO issues with hiss.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you raelamb.

I emailed ALO and received an incredibly thoughtful reply from Caleb detailing what you've stated above. That essentially removes the only real hurdle I could see against the Rx III-CLAS -dB combo, and I'm certain to soon be purchasing the ALO.
post #6 of 8

I'm curious what you think of this setup so far?


I've pulled the trigger on the JH16 pros, as well as the CLAS sB and the pico slim. I wasn't looking to go fully balanced at this point in time, and wanted the option of a much smaller Ipod 5.5 / or Nano -> LOD -> Pico Slim setup for when super easy portability is desired. This is designed as a work / portable system, so the dB is useful in that it'll work with my Macbook Air as well as any iDevices.


I also read good things about the volume control on the Pico Slim in terms of channel balance, and a large usable range with IEMs + a relatively black sound background.


If there are some great benefits to going fully balanced and the Rx III is awesome, I might look at this combo. 

post #7 of 8

I think ALO will announce their new DAC/Amp combo pretty soon. It's called "The International". One of the local dealer of ALO here just post the picture of it on their web. It's fully balanced input/output and also come with SE too. It might not be as good as RX but DAC/Amp in one unit is preferred. The power spec is still unknown.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
I'll chip in here again: I haven't bought my combo yet. As per the post above, I got swayed by the idea of a single-box solution but only if it does USB input from iOS devices. The Fostex was ruled out because of its high output impedance, the Sony because of its low output power, but the HiFi-M8 looks intriguing. If the International is anywhere near as versatile it'll be on the list.
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