Amp for AKG 271?
Feb 24, 2006 at 7:46 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7


New Head-Fier
Sep 15, 2004
I am about to order a pair of AKG 271s and an amp for work. I was looking at the Shellbrook Mini Head or the Portaphile X3. The source is a 5g Ipod. I would like it to be pretty lowkey since I will be using it at work and ~100 bucks. Basically, I have been wanting to upgrade my "rig" for awhile but I only really listen to music at work now. So since my A900s dont really respond to an amp, I figured if I got a similar grade pair and added an amp I would see a nice quality jump. Is this true? Thanks in advance.
Feb 24, 2006 at 3:46 PM Post #2 of 7
I've no experience with the two amps you mentioned, but I like my K271 very much out of a wall-powered (24V) Pimeta with OPA627's. I had mine built at a cost about double what you're looking to spend, but used Pimetas seem to be going for very modest prices these days, so you might get lucky.

Whatever the amp, I find the K271 very revealing of a poor source. You haven't said what you're using for a source at work, but if it's just the built-in audio of your computer, that area may well be first in line for an upgrade. (I use the HeadRoom Micro DAC at work and highly recommend it, but that's a $300 component.) Could your budget stretch to a $150 HeadRoom BitHead, which is a combined amp and DAC?

As an experiment, I just tried:
- Headphone-out from my laptop (Dell 700M) to Pimeta to K271
- TBAAM ($30 USB soundcard from Turtle Beach) direct to K271
In other words, a source upgrade vs. an amp upgrade.
The TBAAM was better; the laptop-out was harsh and nasty. So in this case a $30 source upgrade would have paid off better than a $200 amp-only upgrade. (Your computer's sound card may vary, of course.)
Feb 24, 2006 at 5:47 PM Post #3 of 7
I wouldn't be using the computer at all for playing music it would be directly out of the 5G Ipod. My original plan was to get the Sendstation Line Out + amp + K271s. I am willing to stretch the budget a bit to get the sound quality I want but I wonder if it is even possible with the Ipod as a source. Maybe an external soundcard for the computer at work? Thoughts? Thanks!
Feb 24, 2006 at 6:13 PM Post #4 of 7
You'll get good results with an iPod, assuming the files you're playing are of good quality. I got along with an iPod (or less) for a long time before I upgraded to the Micro DAC.
Feb 26, 2006 at 3:20 PM Post #5 of 7

I use a Go-Vibe 3 with AD8620 for my 271's. Works very nicely together, though I'm waiting for my Micro amp to come in from Headroom. I think either amp you listed will work nicely. The 271's, from what I've heard, really do improve with amplification, but the flip side is that since they are so revealing in the first place, they'll further reveal with amplification. Perhaps a used Go-Vibe might be a nice choice too?

Good luck,
Feb 26, 2006 at 9:06 PM Post #6 of 7
I found Meider's Aria is a good choice for 271S. Specially with zu cable for 271S, I like the Aria + 271S combo.
Feb 27, 2006 at 12:05 PM Post #7 of 7
I'd strongly suggest the Portaphile X3 - but spend a few bucks more and add Blackgate caps, and A biasing options. Cesar charges very little for these important additions ...............this is what I'm using with my k271s. you know the k271s are responsive in extremis to amp/source choices. This has proven to be a very happy combination for them.

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