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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. Lan647
    Maybe.. but I know the Audeze sound suits me better anyway. The much acclaimed HD 800 + Leben CS300 combo got destroyed by the Burson HA-160 + LCD-3 combo IMHO.. 
  2. muzic4life
    I do not have lcd2/3 but i head they categorized as hard to drive cans. My experience using combo mk3+clasdb it does not drive my hd650 (i assumed hd800 is harder to drive) sufficiently even at high gain. So i suggest you have it audition first before you buy. I prefer to drive my hd650 using my other combo that is hpp1 dac + mk3 which i think Is more ideal match to drive (enough gain = fuller sound)

    I just want to let you know...i much prefer to drive my grado ps500 using fostex hpp1 rather than mk3+clasdb. It is more refine and has a better resolution to my ears. It is macth very well with the airyness performance of grado. Using mk3+clasdb is also good. But sometime the highs of some songs is getting a bit wild. And the vocal is less true life.
  3. AnakChan Moderator
    Rudi0514 mentioned to me the same thing (about his LCD-2R1 or R2) and I'd like to know if you can help clarify one thing...is this the shortcoming of the CLAS -dB or the Rx Mk3? Usually I would have thought it was the amp but it seems the DAC's power output also plays a significant part?
  4. muzic4life
    Hi anakchan...
    I spoke to rudi before about this matter. And my buddy at AnalogHead (distributor for Alo products and cypherlabs in Indonesia) we seems to agree that this is because not enough gain from clasdb. So that is why we stil waiting our "upgraded clasdb" to arrived and i believe is gonna be with higher gain (2.1v)
  5. Lan647
    Well, the MK3-B does output only 320mW into 32ohm unbalanced while my M1 amp outputs 1,1W into the same load. So I really don't see where all the fuss about this amp being a powerhouse comes from?? And people say this can drive the HE6? :s

    The Schiit Mjolnir outputs 8W (!) into 32 ohms, that's what I call a powerhouse. 
    Or am I missing something?? 
  6. flatmap
    No experience with the HD 800, LCD2/3, but I use the HD 650's with the
    Rx Mk3-b all the time. 
    Single ended input is directly from iPod/iPhone line out.  Using the
    Medium gain setting is all I ever use with this combination -- I can't
    even get to a half turn on the volume knob before it hurts my ears.  
    So plenty of power using the iPod line out signal.
  7. dj nellie
    It's funny how some people (like me) think the -dB and MK3 have way too much gain for most headphones used in a portable setting, while others want more gain to use with open-backed headphones that are normally used with a desktop amp.  I guess what we're seeing is that it's near impossible to design a jack-of-all trades portable amp, and that amp makers should stop trying to build and market an "all-rounder" amp.
    For people that mainly want to use IEMs and sensitive closed-back portable headphones, there should be a group of amps that drive them with a black background and ample volume range, but provide the musicality and tonal balance missing from some "IEM only" amps and iDevice headphone outs.  
    And for people who want a transportable way to listen to their hard-to-drive, open-backed headphones, there should be portable DACs and amps that sound on par with desktop setups.  I felt that the CLAS and MK3 combo did this, at least with the LCD-3, but it seems there are people who feel otherwise.
    IMO though, the vast majority of portable amp users want to use their amps with truly portable, noise isolating headphones--which tend to be sensitive.  I've tried too many amps already that are marketed as "great for IEMs" but still seem to be trying for the "works with any headphone" label.  Don't amp makers realize that portable sources and modern music tend to be high output and high gain?
  8. maguire
    Great post mate, I would love amps made just for IEM's only. Others im sure would like to power higher output HP's.
  9. lee730
    I'm sure it is very possible. Just would be more so on the pricey side and you'd need more gain settings available on the device to accommodate for such thing. It's possible for sure.
  10. maguire
    I was meaning a portable amp with just one gain setting for IEM's only. 
  11. lee730

    lol I was referring to the post above yours (an amp that could cater to both sensitive IEMs and hard to drive heaphones). It is possible but it woud require multiple gain settings available on the amp..
    Anyways, there are amps available that specifically cater to IEMs. The UHA4 and Pico Slim are two of them. But personally my 2 favorite so far are the Tralucent T1 and the UHA6 MKII. :) Their volume pots are not as precise at extremely low volumes like the UHA4 or Pico Slim but sound quality wise they crush them both :).
  12. EtherMD
    I personally love the combination of the CLAS -dB and the ALO Rx Mk3-B with my Audeze LCD-2's. Thought about going for the LCD-3's, but decided the extra $1000 wasn't worth it. I'm currently going all balanced using an ALO cable between the CLAS & Rx Mk3 and Moon Audio Silver Dragon balanced cables. After the initial burn in of the cables, I'm definitely pleased with the addition the silver made, but it did sound a bit harsh initially. It's been a great set up for rock, jazz & classical -- I've spent way too many late nights just lying on the couch listening to music.
  13. Mavwong
    I shall contribute my impression after a month of using latest CLAS db and RX3b.
    I haven't receive balance to balance ic between clas and rx3 so all the below impression all in single ended config. Source is ip4 usb to CLAS using the stock usb IC that comes with the CLAS.
    One word: Impressive.
    I tried a few high end portable amp demo set at one of the shop here in singapore none impress me. I own pico dac/amp before and that doesn't impress me either so I ditch portable setup all together and go for desktop setup. Now using MDAC with lyr with ecc188 tube. Till I come to know there's balance portable setup I straight jump with this setup after short audit.
    I found this amp need warmup, sound better if you feel the amp is warm. Cold start sound harsh.
    First I use with HD600 defoam, stock cable: first I notice it's very dynamic yet full bodied, high are airy, Sound with a lot of space, layer, clear, distinguish. of course this headphone doesn't give you speaker like staging but I can still feel the space and airiness. Bass is deep and tight, I have the bass nob turn close to max, sound fuller. Plenty of volume left at high gain setting. Enjoy listen to this setup a lot.
    second I try put on LCD2 with mandrof cable that I made: similar to the above. but mid sound less forward which I like. Better layering and staging as compare to HD600. Bass is little less then hd600 still I consider great. As with HD600, there's plenty of volume. In short good paring with lcd2 r2.
    I got Jh16 as well in single ended mode as balance cable hasn't arrive. Ok, even at low gain, the hiss is there, for sure. for single ended user, there's a easy solution, get a inline attenuator and turn down the attenuator nob from max till you can't hear any hiss. then up the volume of the RX3, this method you still get plenty of volume, if not change to mid or high gain. Somehow I feel for JH16 this rx3 is really overkill, lolz. I will wait for balance setup to pass commend on this pair. Not sure if in balance mode will the noise get better, if not, balance user may find it a problem as it not easy to made balance attenuator (can't even find the connector)
    The only thing I not happy about this RX3 is the volume imbalance issue at low setting. At cold it's worse, after warm up, gets better, but I still paranoid about the imbalance thing as it made me feels it always imbalance even after warm up or crack up the volume its get to the point of indistinguishable.
    I hope there's a better volume nob with tighter spec, this amp deserve much better volume attenuator.
  14. flatmap
    Very nice review of the CLAS dB + Rx MkII pairing.  Really appreciate your
  15. gelomeister
    This amp is pure power. Loving how it pairs with the Algo Solo, and how it can drive the bigger mid-fi cans. I use it to drive IEMs too (an IE8 and a SE535); I personally think it's too much for the IE800 (too sensitive).
    I find myself smiling when I plug in my HD650 (I honestly don't find the need to go past med gain). At this point I think the only thing left for me to do with the Mk-3 is to pair it with a -dB and do an a/b with the Solo.
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