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So, I'm looking for that perfect amp...

post #1 of 926
Thread Starter 

I'm in the process of selling my DX100 and now I'm looking for the best possible portable amp to match my DX50. Now, before you all start screaming "You need the [insert favorite amp here], it's so awesome!", there are some points to consider. Boring, I know, but it will make this thread a lot more meaningful. Sorry about that.

 

  1. For use mainly with (C)IEMs. Apart from a wireless gaming headset, my 4 sets of serious headphones are iems. Two universals, two custom. This means that there should be a variable gain setting, because...
  2. It should also work with full-size cans. No need for arch-welding, HE-6 driving power though, but it should have the ability to drive reasonable cans with something like the HD650 and the HE500 probably being the hardest thing it'll be exposed to. Don't go for pinnacle performance here though, the focus is IEMs.
  3. No hiss or grain. Seriously. The thing should be dead quiet in itself. I tried the Alo RX mk IIIb for 5 minutes and not only was even low gain way off the charts for IEM use, it was noisy as hell (even with the HE50). Did not like.
  4. Somewhat neutral sounding as I will be using it to evaluate other equipment. No harm in having a sound signature, just as long as it's not too heavily colored.
  5. I'd love to go balanced. But why? I keep reading about how balanced amping is basically the second coming, but others claim that it is technically impossible for BA drivers to gain anything from balanced drive. To balance or not to balance?
  6. Size is a factor. Not that I will be shoving the Dap&Amp stack in my jeans pocket anytime soon, I want the amp to stack nicely with the DX50. This puts minature amps like the P51 out of the question and make others (like the RSA Intruder) look just about perfect with the DX50. Useful info: The dimensions of the DX50 are 2.52W x 3.98L x 0.67H (inch)
    64W x 100L x 17H (mm)
  7. Cost is always a factor, but I prefer to buy the best and only cry once. Upper limit is around the $700 mark I'd say.
  8. Should be battery powered off course, but anthing over 4 hours of battery life is fine as long as it plays while charging without destroying the sound.

 

Now, if you've made it this far, please share any and all thoughts you might have about the subject. Outright recomandations ("Here, buy this!") and general thoughts ("Balanced is superior/useless because...") are equally appreciated!

 

I'm leaning towards the RSA Intruder right now, as it ticks all the boxes but it also maxes out my budget. I'm cool with buying used gear tho. Thanks in advance for any and all light you might be able to shed on the subject to help my decision! :beerchug: 


Edited by Sorensiim - 10/24/13 at 4:39am
post #2 of 926

RSA Intruder will be a good choice.

Tried it with my 8.A and there is no hiss.

 

Other amps that I have tried and with hiss:

ALO Mk3b and b+

Centrance M8

Mass Kobo 385

post #3 of 926
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubick View Post
 

RSA Intruder will be a good choice.

Tried it with my 8.A and there is no hiss.

 

Other amps that I have tried and with hiss:

ALO Mk3b and b+

Centrance M8

Mass Kobo 385

Sounds great - the 8.A is one of my ciems! :smile:

post #4 of 926
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sorensiim View Post
 

Sounds great - the 8.A is one of my ciems! :smile:

For non-balance amp,

you might want to check out Pico Power.

 

The kojo km01 is also  very good. But might not be able to drive headphone well.

post #5 of 926

I can't put input for the moment but I want to sub. Also I heard Portaphile 627 is one of the best ever sounding amp but it has a very short battery life (something like 4 hours I guess). Not balanced but maybe it is worth to check it out Soren. Hope that helps.

post #6 of 926
A good thread to start with
http://www.head-fi.org/t/585786/multi-portable-amp-thread-16-amps-reviewed-leckerton-uha-6s-mkii-added

I think the JDS Labs C5 might be good choice smily_headphones1.gif
Edited by xnuthecaveman - 10/24/13 at 5:01am
post #7 of 926
I guess there is no point selling the RSA intruder merits, I and others have done so. The other one I tried which might knock some of your criteria is the D12, size might be a factor for you because it's longer than the DX50, great amp on a desktop though. I was going to tell you the Pico Slim but size is minus for you and no gain switch but in its defense I can drive the HD600 with it so no slouch nonetheless. You may want to wait for the new Leckerton UHA760 coming up soon, even more so with his next one with the coax in and optical if you crave that. It will be nicely priced well below your limit. The Pico Dac/Amp is another option however it is oddly shaped. I am looking more in terms of quality than other fitting factors but then its my taste and not yours. The bottom line it's a tough decision to pick one why I have more than one. I'll stay tune with your thread, amp is one of my favorite subjects. In any events good luck picking one.

You may wanna look at the following roundup, this is where I started:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/214588/review-portable-amp-roundup-56-portable-amps-reviewed-and-compared-final-update-12-20-10-added-rsa-sr-71b/0_10
Edited by musicheaven - 10/24/13 at 5:02am
post #8 of 926
Thread Starter 

Thanks a bundle for all the input, guys!

 

I should tell my boss not to expect me to get anything done today... :D

post #9 of 926

Sorry if i hijack your thread :P. 

 

I still confuse between the balance out vs digital vs line out. I'm trying to understand below config.

 

 

DAP with DAC in ( eg AK120 )==> digital out ==> Amp ==>balance out ==>CIEM.

 

VS

 

DAP with DAC in ( eg AK120 ) ==>line out ==> Amp ==> balance out ==> CIEM.

 

VS

 

DAP with DAC in ( eg RWAK120B) ==>balance out ==> Amp ==>Balance out ==> CIEM.

 

 

* Digital out will use the DAP as transport that mean no DAC process involve.

* Line out will have DAC process.

* Balance out from DAP to AMP..... I don't know what the advantages.

 

BTW DX50 had DAC build in, NO? RSA Intruder had DAC too right? What will happen since there is 2 DAC? go with digital out?

 

So.. which 1 is better? anyone can clear my question. :P

post #10 of 926

I'm not a frequent user of portable amps, so there are a lot out there I have not yet tried. But of the dozen or more I have spent time with, my favorite was the Leckerton UHA-6S mkII.

 

My criteria is similar to yours - the best sound in the world doesn't matter to me if there's a bunch of hiss in the way. The Leckerton is essentially silent, or about as close as I've heard. I can get it to hiss just a tiny bit, using my most sensitive CIEMs (not from Heir or Noble). 

 

Next comes the gain switch, meaning I can actually power most full sized headphones with it, in addition to IEMs. It does quite well with most big headphones.

 

It's pretty neutral. Opamps can be swapped for flavor though. 

 

It has great battery life.

 

It is reasonably small. Not a perfect match with your DX50, but pretty close. 

 

It costs under $300. A steal in my book!

 

It has USB and SPDIF inputs for DAC functionality, if you would ever use that. 

 

Coming soon is the UHA760 which should have even better sound as well as some new features like crossfeed and three position gain rather than two. Price goes up to $439 which doesn't seem unreasonable at all imho. Form factor looks similar enough where it should still work. 

post #11 of 926
Quote:
Originally Posted by stvc View Post
* Balance out from DAP to AMP..... I don't know what the advantages.

 

This might help on the "advantages" of a balanced connection:

 

http://www.meier-audio.homepage.t-online.de/grounds.htm

post #12 of 926
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post
 

I'm not a frequent user of portable amps, so there are a lot out there I have not yet tried. But of the dozen or more I have spent time with, my favorite was the Leckerton UHA-6S mkII.

 

My criteria is similar to yours - the best sound in the world doesn't matter to me if there's a bunch of hiss in the way. The Leckerton is essentially silent, or about as close as I've heard. I can get it to hiss just a tiny bit, using my most sensitive CIEMs (not from Heir or Noble). 

 

Next comes the gain switch, meaning I can actually power most full sized headphones with it, in addition to IEMs. It does quite well with most big headphones.

 

It's pretty neutral. Opamps can be swapped for flavor though. 

 

It has great battery life.

 

It is reasonably small. Not a perfect match with your DX50, but pretty close. 

 

It costs under $300. A steal in my book!

 

It has USB and SPDIF inputs for DAC functionality, if you would ever use that. 

 

Coming soon is the UHA760 which should have even better sound as well as some new features like crossfeed and three position gain rather than two. Price goes up to $439 which doesn't seem unreasonable at all imho. Form factor looks similar enough where it should still work. 

The Leckerton does get a ton of praise everywhere I look.. I'll keep an eye out for the 760, hadn't heard about that one before now!

post #13 of 926
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sorensiim View Post
 

The Leckerton does get a ton of praise everywhere I look.. I'll keep an eye out for the 760, hadn't heard about that one before now!

 

The 760 is not quite out yet. Coming soon I believe. 

 

Leckerton, like most worthwhile audio companies, offers a 30-day return policy. You'd be out shipping which will (obviously) be more for you based on location. Still, kind of nice to have the option just in case you hate it (you won't). 

post #14 of 926
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post
 

 

The 760 is not quite out yet. Coming soon I believe. 

 

Leckerton, like most worthwhile audio companies, offers a 30-day return policy. You'd be out shipping which will (obviously) be more for you based on location. Still, kind of nice to have the option just in case you hate it (you won't). 

I found a thread about it and this bit raised my eyebrows:

Quote:
 Following the UHA760

The UHA760 lacks S/PDIF optical and coax inputs, and this is mostly due to a lack of room on the circuit board for the connectors. I know these types of inputs are useful for a lot of folks, so I'm planning a model based on the UHA760 which will be a bit larger in size but will also include S/PDIF inputs, a DAC line output, and socketed op-amps. Support for 24-bit/192-kHz USB streaming is another feature you can expect to see soon.

But then again, "The next big thing" is always just around the corner... 

post #15 of 926

Hi, I tried alo the international with the dx50 at a local store and it definitely sounds great! Can anyone provide me with comparisons of the international vs tralucent t1 amp from the dx50's line out? Thanks! 

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