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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. Acesi7
    OK, long time since I've been here, but always said that if a balanced CLAS came out I would revisit the idea of a 'portable' setup.
    I'm currently using a iPod 160gb > Zo2 > Unique Melody Merlins.
    I have previously had the Fostex HP-P1 (wasn't really to my liking) and a CLAS+RSA SR-71B with balanced cable, this was my favourite setup, and regretted selling it for the HP-P1.
    Now that you know a little history, I'll let you know what I'm looking for, I'm a basshead, there's no 2 ways about it, I like a lot of bass, but I like it to be clean and not muddy which is what lead me down this path in the first place. Now my current setup gives me the bass adjustablility I'm looking for, but none of the other features that I miss about the CLAS+SR-71B setup.
    So what I'm asking, does the CLAS-db + Rx MK3_B setup have a range of bass from very subtle (pot all the way down) to outrageously over the top "Who would listen to this much bass!" levels (pot all the way up)? Or is it more of a very subtle (pot all the way down) to "What a respectable person may listen to" (pot all the way up). I'm not saying that I'll turn it up that high, just that I would like the option to set as much as I want. And does it compare soundstage and presentation wise to the SR71B.
    Would be looking to use this with 320kb/s streaming through USB on the PC at work, and Apple Lossless through the iPod.
    Hopefully I've covered everything you need provide me with some advice. Cheers.
  2. kskwerl
    I thought the you couldn't hook the clas up to a computer via USB. I hope I'm wrong
  3. kskwerl
    I thought the you couldn't hook the clas up to a computer via USB. I hope I'm wrong
  4. Acesi7
    I believe it's fine with the CLAS -dB, although not with the Original CLAS.
    Cypher Labs Website
  5. AJHeadfi
    Would the RxMkIII be well suited to primarily classical music, like orchestral, small group to solo instrument? Anybody use it for that?
    I have this feeling that it's best suited to rock/electronic/pop ... that sort of not particularly acoustic microphone recordings. But I don't know for sure as I haven't been able to try it yet.
  6. Santo8891
    I interested for this portable amp...  will be good pair for my portable with HM601+w4r for now... still want better treble and speed though...
  7. Anthony1
    I listen to chamber/classical music among other genres and its ok and passable but it excels in rock, jazz etc IMO. 
    It also depends what cans you use and I find myself "arcing" up the bass in classical a tad so you have that ability too
  8. kskwerl
    wow i never even knew there was a CLAS -dB until last night, I almost schiit myself. How is the DAC?
  9. En_R
    I just received this unit and I was in the middle of A/B testing it with my Liquid Fire and Larocco Diablo. The RX MK3 has massive clipping when used with my Resolution Cantata, none of the other 2 amps have this problem.

    Is there a certain limit to the input this unit can take?

    I am connecting it via a balanced XLR -> Single ended setup from my Resolution Cantata. I have tried all 3 gain settings and playing with the Bass knob, same deal.

    When used with a mini to mini from my Macbook it is fine.

    To be honest I am very disappointed. This should be a pinnacle of the current generation of portable amplifiers. This unit have massive background noise at all 3 gains settings with my w3000anv's, so I can't even imagine what it would do with IEMs. Perhaps it was meant to be used with hard to drive cans? Such as the LCD-3? I guess I'll test it with the LCD and HE-6 later.

    My Laracco Diablo has none of these issues. Plus it has a better bass knob.

    Perhaps I have a defective unit?

    Here is how I A/B test.


    Edit: Also at lower volume levels there is severe channel imbalance.
  10. muzic4life
    Hi En_R...
    I would agree with you about the noise background. I do not think yours is a defective unit. I am having the same problem. I have read many in the forum they also have this noise issue. However...this noise seems happen only to sensitive cans and iems. Using my HD650 i do not have this noise issue. But  using Sony Z1000, T5P and PS500.. i can still hear the HISS in all gain. And the worse is when using my iems shure 535LE...the hiss is just too loud !
    So i guess you might be right...maybe this amps is meant to be used with hard drive cans. I see many people is quite satisfied to pair this amp with LCD2s.
  11. En_R

    I guess this should be a desktop amp replacement for "audiophiles on the go", not a "portable amp". Unless you have the balls to wear K1000's in public. Someone sell me theirs.

    That makes it even more disappointing though. If it was meant as a desktop replacement amp it should have high tolerance for the input vrms.

    The XLR balanced output on the Cantata is 5.5v rms, I can't find the max input vrms for this unit anywhere. Perhaps the standard 2v?
  12. ionicle
    Alright, I am seriously freaking out here, guys. I am about to place an order for the MK3, but I am nowhere near USA ( I live in Bulgaria ), and I would like to know for sure if the MK3 would act up with hiss/background noise on me with a CLAS -dB and HD800 in a balanced configuration, because that's how I intend to be using it. A lot of contradictory statements have been placed, a lot of people claiming that this "hiss" issue occurs, seen quite a few comments that HD650s are perfectly fine and no background noise is audible, but noone has commented on how the HD800s sound through that specific config. 
    It was either this amp or the SR-71B, and it's not like I can just return it if I don't like it within a day or two. I need to know for sure before I spring that much money.
    Also, I've heard that the SR-71B truly shines when in balanced mode, not in single-ended. Is that true and does it outperform the MK3, according to your impressions? I'm considering it cause it's been reported to have a completely silent background and if I receive the MK3 and it starts hissing on me, I'm gonna be furious. 
  13. Currawong Contributor
    IIRC 5.5V for balanced output is high. I can't find the specs on the Cypher Labs site, but I could have sworn the CLAS had a fairly low output.
    IMO, for anyone who is using sensitive IEMs at low volume the IIIB is overkill and my Pico Slim was more suitable. That being said, I did think when I borrowed one it is an excellent amp with full-sized headphones and it was good with the FitEar 334s, though it had had the gain turned right down by ALO beforehand and it worked fine using the SE out of the DACs I have here.
  14. muzic4life
    I use balance to balance cable between clas db and mk3 and single out to headphone/iems. I can tell u yes the hiss is still there when i use my cans/iems with impedance below 80ohm..Especially with iems (except for my sm64 which has 112ohm impedance). For my hd650 i do not hear any hiss but i do not think the clas db is suitable dac to go with it. The gain on clas db is just too low to drive hd650. I prefer using combo hpp1 dac + mk3 to drive my hd650. The gain power is much more suitable.
  15. AnakChan Moderator
    But what gain setting was on the Rx Mk3 when you were driving the HD650?
    To answer Currawong's curiosity, the new CLAS -dB is now at 1.69V whereas the original CLAS from 2 yrs back was 2V. Note that the initial release of -dB were at 1.2V however most of that should have been re-called by now (except for mine).
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