ALO The Island USB DAC!
Jan 2, 2015 at 4:36 PM Post #46 of 78

JamieCole

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Hey guys,
 
Just bought a second hand Island so once I Have that and my RE600's in, I'll let you know how it fares.

 
Congrats! Do let us know what you think about it. I'm really curious to hear what you think about the balanced out once you get there. 
 
I just received my new cans today and did some more a/b comparisons with the Meridian Explorer. To my ears, it's no contest. The Island is the better sounding device. 
 
Jan 6, 2015 at 8:48 AM Post #48 of 78

JiggaD369

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Sorry guys. 
 
Change of plans. Unfortunately, I won't be able to test the Island out with the RE600.
 
I bought it for $160 last week and I haven't gotten to use it. If anyone is interested, I'm putting it up for sale for the same price.
 
Jan 7, 2015 at 10:42 PM Post #49 of 78

palermo

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Finally RSA kobiconn arrived, then soldered it immediately. It is the first time I have chance to try balanced setup, gladly there is no hiss on low-gain, or I just lucky due to SD-2s is not too sensitive iem, 40 Ohm impedance. The early I can feel is broader soundstage than before, vocal seems better pronounce and it nicely centered. the bass drum slight backward from vocalist and thump faster. It's all I can say, sorry to low-res picture and my poor english.
 

 
Jan 14, 2015 at 8:57 PM Post #50 of 78

JiggaD369

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Looks like I'll be keeping this guy. DOn't want to sell it before I test it out atleast.
 
Anyways, I opened up the Island just to see what is inside it and it is solidly built. Some good quality components used.
 
SSM2142 Balanced drivers
XMOS SK1220 Asynchronous USB to I2S Interface
SSMC USB3318 Hi-Speed USB Transceiver 
TXC Crystals
 
Jan 14, 2015 at 11:00 PM Post #51 of 78

palermo

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  Looks like I'll be keeping this guy. DOn't want to sell it before I test it out atleast.
 
Anyways, I opened up the Island just to see what is inside it and it is solidly built. Some good quality components used.
 
SSM2142 Balanced drivers
XMOS SK1220 Asynchronous USB to I2S Interface
SSMC USB3318 Hi-Speed USB Transceiver 
TXC Crystals

4x SSM2142 exactly, and also Ti NE5532P as voltage gain 
biggrin.gif
 
 
Jan 19, 2015 at 12:02 PM Post #54 of 78

JamieCole

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Awesome photos! It's good to show the world the internals of the Island. Did you have a chance to listen to the Island yet?
 
Alas, I just put mine up for sale on the forum. I recently purchased some different headphones and have decided to take my laptop setup in another direction (sooner than I thought). I'm going to miss this little unit. I went back and fourth on it, but I don't see it getting much use with my new gear and I'd rather someone enjoy it. I'm actually thinking about purchasing the ALO Audio Key as my DAC of choice... not sure yet though. 
 
Still interested in reading other opinions of the Island. It deserves more praise than it's received. 
 
Feb 1, 2015 at 1:49 AM Post #55 of 78

Ivabign

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Since most of my IEM listing is done at my home computer - my new Island habitat (I swapped my C5D for Jamie's Island) has become serenity defined. This little beast has the ALO house sound I came to enjoy from my International - but without having to screw with the battery. I might have to do an amp review... My CIEMs sound so good that really - really - I don't need much more to achieve a point where adding anything is overkill. I DO have to get a damned RSA balanced cable to mess around with though - haven't tried that yet...
 
Oh, and that bloody KNOB is brilliant - excellent ergonomics.
 
Feb 11, 2015 at 6:28 AM Post #56 of 78

Rennokas

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Agreed, the knob is superb and the quality of the piece is excellent :) I have owned one for over a year now I think. Drives my vintage 600Ohm AKG K240 Sextettes (LP) and K240 Studio Monitors just fine :)
 
Apr 16, 2015 at 8:42 AM Post #57 of 78

kuchumovn

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  Thank you for your help, I returned The island to ALO, I found their support inadequate.

Having issues with the driver too.
I'm on Windows 8.1 x64
None of the drivers listed on the website work.
I've created a support ticket 18 hours ago but still no one answered.
 
The thing is that the Island is built as a USB Audio Class 2.0 device which isn't gonna be supported even in Windows 10.
And the XMOS drivers simply refuse to install saying "Setup requires that the device is plugged in. Please connect the device you want to install and make sure it is turned on. If your device is currently connected, please unplug and replug it.".
 
On Linux and Mac the Islands works out of the box.
Not on Windows.
 
 
As for the sound, I compared this thing directly to my Burson Conductor SL Sabre with HD650s.
What can I say, Burson beats the Islands ass any day of the week.
But given the portability it's still a cute little inexpensive gadget one can afford to keep around.
Maybe those of you who have laptops and constantly travel will find it awesome.
Also encountered imbalance issues with HD650s (and others) on low volumes.
And the gain is insane: I had to bring the volume down in the OS by 50% to make the knob usable with my HD650s on the "Low" gain setting.
 
Apr 16, 2015 at 9:19 AM Post #58 of 78

Rennokas

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Hi,
 
I also have problems under win8, the drivers and support by Alo is almost non existant. 
So fustrating. Only drivers which seem to work are the ones that come with the unit, but even these tend to have problems.
 
Apr 17, 2015 at 2:02 PM Post #59 of 78

kuchumovn

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  Hi,
 
I also have problems under win8, the drivers and support by Alo is almost non existant. 
So fustrating. Only drivers which seem to work are the ones that come with the unit, but even these tend to have problems.

 
Oh man, really?
The CD?
The first thing I did was throwing that ancient relic of the XXth century era to the trashbin.
Who needs these weird things when today the internets are all over the place.
 
Good thing that I found it today in the trash pile.
I found a PC with a CDROM at my workplace (I have none of those ancient things left in my house) and copied the contents to the Cloud.
Here it is for those who are, like me, googling the hell out of it:
https://yadi.sk/d/MbP0SFgfg4rJ8
These are ALO Audio the Island Windows 8.1 drivers, and they seem to work (well, they didn't refuse to install at least, unlike the ones found on the official ALO website).
 
Update: It's been a week now and I confirm that these drivers work on my Windows 8.1 machine without issues (so far).
 
So if you're having issues (problems) making ALO the Island work on Windows - give these drivers a try.
The ones on the official website simply refuse to install with the message:
 
Setup requires that the device is plugged in. Please connect the device you want to install and make sure it is turned on. If your device is currently connected, please unplug and replug it.

 
And don't try to download the manual from the official ALO website because the hyperlink leads nowhere.
 
And yes, the ALO support seems actually nonexistent.
I thought you guys ment it literally, but seems that you didn't (they haven't contacted me yet and I think they nevel will because no one seems to be there).
I centainly won't be so impulsive next time considering buying another ALO product.
Given the fact that you are on your own with all the possible issues and that when a new version of Windows comes out your device can magically turn into a cool-loking brick (again, not literally in this case) because the old drivers might work no more and no one would be bothered to roll out the new ones...
 
And they just say:
 
 High-fidelity asynchronous, balanced performance on both PC and Mac. (PC’s need the included drivers for 24 Bit /192 kHz playback.)


What they'll never admit to their potential unaware customers is that:
 
High-fidelity asynchronous, balanced performance on Mac. High-fidelity asynchronous, balanced performance on the current version of Windows on PC (but first you'll have to play our little game: we've hidden the drivers on that bulky CD you've just thrown out so you'd never have a clue, and the drivers on this page actually won't work; oh, and when you try to contact us on this matter your help requests would vanish into the void). And when a new version of Windows comes out for which the old drivers won't work you'll just be left with a little brick with a cool knob.

 
 
 
 
 
By the way, the sound is actually good.
The bass has punch, I can hear many details.
 
One drawback of the sound is that it lacks the "body" compared to Burson Conductor SL (of course body needs power, and Conductor's power supply unit is a beast compared to the USB power the Island is getting).
It can explain the strange sense of fatigue I'm kind of getting when listening to this unit (with HD650s)
 

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