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ALO Audio RXMKIII Balanced Portable Amplifier Impressions

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by monotune, May 13, 2012.
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  1. funch
    I'm still on the fence with this amp, and have a question. It's been mentioned in this thread that it seems to have a V shaped response, aka recessed mid's.
    Has anyone here noticed that? That would be a deal breaker for me. Thanks.
  2. audiorocket
    Absolutely not. My main two speaker set up is high end naim gear which is certainly no recessed in the mids and neither is the Rx Mk 3.
  3. Anaxilus
    Where'd you read that?  NO.
  4. funch
  5. basementdweller
    I've been looking into this amp as well.  There was at least one opinion that the amp had a slight V shape to it somewhere, but I don't remember where I read it.  I dismissed it since it didn't turn up in other opinions.  Still worried about altering the gain for my IEMs...don't want to lose too much power on the high gain....
  6. mfluder
    I'm absolutely blown away by the sound from this amp - the ability to tweak the bass on some bass-lean recordings, without introducing other problems, is thoroughly commendable. Personally I'd like the knobs to be a bit shorter, but that's splitting hairs really.

    Well done ALO, well done.

  7. SHAHZADA123
    ...and spaced a little.
  8. SHAHZADA123
    This little monster drives the T1s with aplomb.
  9. Kremer930
    I agree that this amp excels in bass detail, slam and an almost tube like denseness of sound but definitely not shy in Either mids or treble.

    I still don't think that it can drive the HE6 properly. But then again...neither can the Lyr.

    I am yet to come across a portable amp that is in the same league as the RX3. Absolutely love it.
  10. shigzeo Contributor
    I love that word - with aplomb.
  11. ianmedium
    I have been away from headfi for a while due to health issues. One of the benefits (always try to find a good side to situations I find!) has been that I have done a great deal more listening to my system over the past few months. Also, due to the kindness of a fellow heapdhone nut I got to try for a week the RX3 and compare it to my Blackbird SR71-B and just wanted to add some thoughts into the pot.

    I love Ken's stuff, #1 fan of the CLAS and have used his cables in the past and found them wonderful as well.

    I have been catching up with this thread and have noticed several comments in comparing the SR71-B with the RX3. Firstly, the RX3 is a lovely amp in many ways but what I found listening with both my FAD Heaven S's in single ended mode and my LCD1's in both balanced and single ended is that firstly the background as has been reported many times here is less than inky black, even on my LCD's i experience hiss, not much it is true but it is there. Now, I can handle hiss when it comes from the recording such as on old recordings where there is always the tape hiss, that is unavoidable though having well over a thousand hours on my blackbird now even that background hiss from tapes is much further back in the sonic so as not to bother one!

    What I have also found is that the sound comparing in both single and balanced modes both amps is with the RX slightly less refined, I just find it edgy in comparison to the blackbird, perhaps this is the increased resolution people talk about, if so I would rather trade a bit of resolution for a more refined delivery for long term listening comfort and enjoyment. Also, what I have found with a well run in blackbird is that the differences narrow rather than broaden in the differences between single ended and balanced output. This has got to the point that though I still slightly prefer balanced mode it is not as night and day as it once was and the single ended mode comes within 5% of the balanced delivery I find.

    Now, please note, these are very small differences!

    Two things have occurred with my blackbird since getting it that are worth noting when comparing to other amps. Firstly, burn in. Despite Rays suggestion that around a hundred hours will have it done I have found that once it got to the 1000 hour mark a lot of the things people have said that are not great disappear. I find the amp both cleaner sounding and more immediate in musicality but at the same time having a lovely refined sound that allows one to relax into the music, hear all the detail but not get caught up in just the detail It is for me the king of musicality in portable amps, edging ahead of the RX3 I find.

    The second thing, and very important is the gain setting. I think it was reading it somewhere, I think Headphonia that I began to experiment with the gain and I found as he did that on the lowest gain setting the amp shines the best. Firstly and absolutely silent background and a deep one at that compared to the other two gain settings, the difference is substantial if listened to over a long period. Simply put, the only hiss you will hear is that of the recordings inherent hiss from tape or compression. Running low gain also takes care of any channel imbalance issues as that only occurs at the beginning of the pots journey. I have yet to find an album that I run out of volume pot adjustment, one of the advantages of low gain is that black background, one needs less volume to compensate for that background noise.

    I thought the RX3 a worthy amp but not worthy enough to go for one. For those with Blackbirds, give them more time if you have not already. Also, take care of housekeeping! Make sure your source is up to the amp, Also, and I cannot emphasize this enough, the quality of the material you listen to is very important. Over the past few months I have compared various bit rates and though with all of them the detail is there there are larger differences in terms of quality. Simply put, I listened back to back albums I know well ripped at 320K, lossless and AIFF. To cut to the chase, one of the things I have ended up doing is re ripping my CD collection to AIFF! this goes for any high quality amp!

    I truly feel we need to have people tell us what bit rates they are listening at when it comes to giving opinions (assuming they are not listening to vinyl or CD!) as I have found that the lower the bit rate the more the background noise and less air to the music.

    On the whole I think with amps like the Blackbird, the RX3 and the Stepdance (please do not forget that amp, it is for the price a truly superb amp and if I wanted an amp in that price range it would still be the only one I would go for!) we have become very fortunate. We get to experience what it is like in the high end but at affordable cost in comparison to home amplification. I have been fortunate these past few months to stay with a couple of friends with a beautiful high end home system, of course it is way better than my humble set up but I tell you, when I went to bed and listened to my rig the thought was not "what am I missing" but, " Wow, this is so close to what I was hearing downstairs in terms of musical enjoyment"!

    That Ray, Ken and Jan can do the things they do with their amps, that it is not as much about each one being better than the other, but more about each one matching different tastes in how they like their music delievered and at what is an affordable price (yes, in comparison to home amplification and systems to achieve similar quality) I find remarkable. If anyone purchases any of these amps you are not buying a dud or something inferior to the other, simply different, if you find one not to your liking try the other two for within the three (sorry, four I forgot the L3!) you will find your personal musical heaven I promise!
    Currawong likes this.
  12. dj nellie
    Hi ian, just clarifying--are you saying you hear a difference between FLAC/ALAC (if that's what you mean by "lossless") and AIFF?
    Your comparison between the Rx MK3 and SR71b is interesting, but I disagree that the SR71b (in balanced mode and with low gain) has sufficiently comfortable low volumes that were also channel balanced, at least with sensitive headphones like customs and the Edition 8, and with a hot source like the CLAS or HM-801.  With custom IEMs, there was literally one tiny notch on the dial that I could get which wasn't too loud for me and was channel balanced, and with the Edition 8 there was just slightly more room to manoeuvre on the knob.  
    That said, on the stock MK3, there wasn't any comfortable setting on the knob with customs, and one tiny notch for the Edition 8.  I'm getting my MK3's gain lowered, I'm really looking forward to getting it back and seeing how much more range on the knob I'll have.  Also really want to see if the hiss can be lowered.  
    In spite of these issues, while I enjoyed the SR71b, I felt like the MK3 was a definite upgrade for me.
  13. SHAHZADA123
    Love both the RSA71B & ALO RxIII & am keeping it very simple; low impedance cans and iems with the former & high impedance, alongwith harder to drive, ones with the latter.
  14. Vicks7

    I am considering an SR 71-B to run in balanced mode with my UM Miracles. Has anyone else tried this combination with an iPod and CLAS Solo as source? I am concerned as some suggest that there is simply too much gain with this combo that it should be avoided.

  15. longbowbbs
    Any perspective on the Decware ZenHead?
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