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.
- 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...
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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)
- 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.
- 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!
Edited by Sorensiim - 10/24/13 at 4:39am