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ALO audio New amp+DAC : "The International" - Page 6

post #76 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisceriousZERO View Post

Was just playing around with a Raspberry Pi and this is what happened:

http://www.head-fi.org/content/type/61/id/791023/width/400/height/600

That's a Raspberry Pi using the DAC/Amp of the ALO International into a TH900. What fun!
You may want to explain your connection there.
post #77 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnakChan View Post


You may want to explain your connection there.

Well in all honesty I have no idea what I did... just followed a guide online

 

http://www.audiohobby.com/?p=54

 

And did what they instructed... Soon I was SSHing music files to the RPi and using mpc to connect my iPhone (thru wifi) and play the music files I sent in... So far I've been able to play .wav, .alac, and .flac files :) I haven't tried with anything higher than 44.1/16 though.

post #78 of 175

ALO-The-International-box.jpg

 

Well, The International came away with a KISS. It is just so well thought out that I could give it no other rating in my final review. Well done ALO.

post #79 of 175

I have a random question to people who have heard such combos: Which do you think would give the best performance - phone 4 line out to rx3B or phone 4 jailbroken usb out to international? Both combos running balanced out.

post #80 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigzeo View Post

Well, The International came away with a KISS. It is just so well thought out that I could give it no other rating in my final review. Well done ALO.

 

Awesome. So with my collection it appears you favour the International over Rx Mk3 for IEM?

 

Secondly, with Solo -db, do you favour International or Rx Mk3 as a headphone amp only? Single ended / balanced connected difference?

post #81 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by customNuts View Post

I have a random question to people who have heard such combos: Which do you think would give the best performance - phone 4 line out to rx3B or phone 4 jailbroken usb out to international? Both combos running balanced out.

From my tests, performance is still best from any line input. USB sounds good, but its performance (like the performance of many USB DACs) isn't as good as a GREAT line in. The iPhone 4 has a very good but not great line out. Using a CLAS will get you 100% the quality capable from a 16 bit source. Of course, no amplifier on the market will stand up to full 16 bit resolution, noise, etc., but amps like the International will benefit from better input.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LFC_SL View Post

 

Awesome. So with my collection it appears you favour the International over Rx Mk3 for IEM?

 

Secondly, with Solo -db, do you favour International or Rx Mk3 as a headphone amp only? Single ended / balanced connected difference?

The Rx3 has overall better resolution. The difference in some cases is noticeable, but in the main, The International does very well with IEMs - better so than The National. The max frequency drop off I detected was -1,3dB in bass, but with an offset of about 2,5dB in upper mids for a total of just under 4dB in worst-case situations. I'd wager that even so-called 'golden ears' wouldn't be able to detect it with anything but a straight sine wave. With music running, they'd be hard pressed to tell. 

 

As an amp only, again the Rx3 is for the most part, a better performing amp, but it does have much more noise in the signal than the International does. This new amp has less background noise than many an IEM amp. My T3D still beats it as does the Pico Slim, but those are iem only amps. I've detected no noticeable difference between sending a good single ended signal to the amp rather than a balanced signal. I think they should perform equally in the output, whether single ended or balanced. Remember, if you use dynamic based earphones, balanced will likely give noticeable improvements/changes in all areas. With balanced armatures, the transducers have to be made specifically for a balanced setup in order to gain any improvement. Otherwise, they will change character without any improvements to what you like already. ALO sell a 334 which is supposed to work great with balanced amplifiers because of internal optimisations.

post #82 of 175

subbed

post #83 of 175

If using it as a desktop amp:

Since the DAC doesn't draw power from the USB, but the battery, is it safe to leave it connected via the power cord?

post #84 of 175

Well, batteries are tricky buggers. Rechargeable batteries need to be constantly drained and refilled. It is probably best not to fully drain it each time, but to use it for several hours up to 10-12 hours and then charge it again. Also, leaving it plugged in will waste electricity. Use it like you would use a notebook computer. THat should keep things running well enough.

post #85 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigzeo View Post

From my tests, performance is still best from any line input. USB sounds good, but its performance (like the performance of many USB DACs) isn't as good as a GREAT line in. The iPhone 4 has a very good but not great line out. Using a CLAS will get you 100% the quality capable from a 16 bit source. Of course, no amplifier on the market will stand up to full 16 bit resolution, noise, etc., but amps like the International will benefit from better input.

The Rx3 has overall better resolution. The difference in some cases is noticeable, but in the main, The International does very well with IEMs - better so than The National. The max frequency drop off I detected was -1,3dB in bass, but with an offset of about 2,5dB in upper mids for a total of just under 4dB in worst-case situations. I'd wager that even so-called 'golden ears' wouldn't be able to detect it with anything but a straight sine wave. With music running, they'd be hard pressed to tell. 

 

As an amp only, again the Rx3 is for the most part, a better performing amp, but it does have much more noise in the signal than the International does. This new amp has less background noise than many an IEM amp. My T3D still beats it as does the Pico Slim, but those are iem only amps. I've detected no noticeable difference between sending a good single ended signal to the amp rather than a balanced signal. I think they should perform equally in the output, whether single ended or balanced. Remember, if you use dynamic based earphones, balanced will likely give noticeable improvements/changes in all areas. With balanced armatures, the transducers have to be made specifically for a balanced setup in order to gain any improvement. Otherwise, they will change character without any improvements to what you like already. ALO sell a 334 which is supposed to work great with balanced amplifiers because of internal optimisations.

Thanks for the reply. Interesting re the usb dac though, I find almost all usb dac/amps sound better using the usb dac as opposed to a line out unless of course the line out id from a better dac. Again most usb dac's I've tried were an improvement over the iphone 4 internal dac (although the iphone 4 is very good imo).

I am a self confessed bass/musicality lover, which amp do you think fairs better in this respect?

post #86 of 175

I won't speak for what 'sounds' better, but for what performs better, the line in it is for most USB portable DAC units I've tried. 

 

As for musicality, what means that word to you? To me, it's a sense of PRAT with great edges and a bit of distortion. It's the reason I love the National. The International does one better than The National in all departments and has less hiss. While for some harsh headphones, the Continental is more suited, The International is growing on me crazily.

post #87 of 175

Thanks mate. The international sounds like a keeper. Now to decide between that & the intruder. 

Oh & musicality to me is a slightly warm sig ie not dead neutral, strong, impactful toe tapping bass. A little smooth but still crisp enough with good PRAT etc, etc.


Edited by customNuts - 2/27/13 at 5:17pm
post #88 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigzeo View Post
As an amp only, again the Rx3 is for the most part, a better performing amp, but it does have much more noise in the signal than the International does. This new amp has less background noise than many an IEM amp. My T3D still beats it as does the Pico Slim, but those are iem only amps. I've detected no noticeable difference between sending a good single ended signal to the amp rather than a balanced signal. I think they should perform equally in the output, whether single ended or balanced. Remember, if you use dynamic based earphones, balanced will likely give noticeable improvements/changes in all areas. With balanced armatures, the transducers have to be made specifically for a balanced setup in order to gain any improvement. Otherwise, they will change character without any improvements to what you like already. ALO sell a 334 which is supposed to work great with balanced amplifiers because of internal optimisations.

 

Many thanks. As an ex-RSA Tomahawk owner anything without a black background would be accepted with a slight... if you know what I mean

 

It does appear the International vs Rx3 as an amp differ only by the smallest percentages and either would make an excellent choice?

 

To clarify also and sorry for the confusion, my query was in relation to any SQ difference connecting Solo -db to an amp via single or balanced (assuming you have a balanced amp of course). The headphone would remain single ended. But what you wrote is still relevant as somewhat confirms my thinking a balanced headphone cable would be the final upgrade for my logic and only then as an experiment


Edited by LFC_SL - 2/27/13 at 1:27pm
post #89 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by LFC_SL View Post

 

Many thanks. As an ex-RSA Tomahawk owner anything without a black background would be accepted with a slight... if you know what I mean

 

It does appear the International vs Rx3 as an amp differ only by the smallest percentages and either would make an excellent choice?

 

To clarify also and sorry for the confusion, my query was in relation to any SQ difference connecting Solo -db to an amp via single or balanced (assuming you have a balanced amp of course). The headphone would remain single ended. But what you wrote is still relevant as somewhat confirms my thinking a balanced headphone cable would be the final upgrade for my logic and only then as an experiment

The International has equally good inputs, whether balanced or single ended. If you can feed it a purely perfect 16 bit signal from single ended, it won't get any better via balanced. But if the balanced signal you send is of higher quality, then of course it will be better. It all depends on the quality you can send. The CLAS DB does great work in either format, and the International will spit a wider, slightly more detailed image from its balanced output, but it doesn't really matter if you use balanced or single ended on the input. The final stage is great.

post #90 of 175
Can the International drive the HE-6 well?
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