Just received a loan from a friend for conti v3. I took my time for a while to compare with my Portatube amp. The Continental V3 sounding like no tube. My portatube has more tubey sound than it. This Conti V3 tends to be matched with a fullsize cans. The sound is very good. I would say the sound is cleaner than the portatube. The sound image is excellent. When i listen through my HD800, using setup like IPC/ClasDB/CV3, the sound is beautiful. I can picture the vocal is like "real". I think the clarity of this amps is one that need to be considered. This amp is a tube amp, but i don't hear any tube character from it. The portatube has indeed more tubey character. I can hear the vocal is more forward and more lush presented, just like a tube amps.
The highs of both amps is very smooth. But the V3 has more treble than my portatube, so that makes V3 wins in term of detail and clarity. But portatube is not bad either (i would consider portatube is VERY good eventhough it has that tubey sound).
The mids, portatube has more body to it, a tad more forward, and more lush. And the V3 has a better texture and resolution. Listening to vocal jazz with V3 is very nice. I hear the vocal is very clear and the sound image, once again is quite stunning. I really like it. But again, i wouldn't say V3's sound is like a tube amp. Listening to music with less instruments and more vocal presentation, the portatube is a very sweet performer and the sound is more relaxing than the V3.
For the bass, the portatube has more quantity of bass. The bass of Portatube is warmer and a bit punchier. The depth of the bass i would consider to be the same. But again, the V3 has better texture to it. The bass is more accurate and hit more solid compared to portatube.
For sound stage, i think they are about the same. But i do feel the sound from portatube is somewhat "bigger" than V3.
Power wise, the V3 has more power than Portatube. I can drive easily my HD800 by using V3+Clasdb, at high gain with 60% of volume, while on the portatube, i have to use HPP1 dac (volume 80%) to get the same level of the V3+calsdb. Please note...the power output from Clasdb is very small. If i pair any of my amp with clas db, the gain is somehow a bit reduced. I don't know why. If i pair Portatube with clasdb, i can not drive my HD800 or my T1 to a maximum suitable level of my hearing. So that is why i prefer to use HPP1 dac as to support the power output from my portatube.
The problem with the V3, i feel like this amps is more suitable for a fullsize cans. For iem use, i can hear the HISS quite clearly (with music OFF). Using my Westone 4R, the hiss is very hearable, But using the more sensitive iem like UM3x, the hiss is way too loud, is like hearing the drizzling rain falling from my outside windows. The portatube, is very quite and i mean dead silent. No Hiss at all.
Considering how good this V3 driving my full size cans, i might take a change to own it. But i need more time listening before i take my decision.