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Best portable headphone amp-DAC

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by Thieliste, Jul 30, 2017.
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  1. Thieliste
    Hi i'm using at the moment a Chord Mojo with an android as a source to drive a pair of Final Audio Sonorous VI.
    I'm thinking of upgrading my headphones to the Sonorous X.
    What would be the best portable amp-Dac out there do drive such high end headphones ?
    Companies like ALO Audio, Centrance, Cypher labs, Headamp or Woo audio make great things but i don't know which amp to pick.
    Perhaps the Chord Mojo is still the best out there ?

  2. technobear
    iFi Audio iDSD Black Label
  3. Thieliste
    How would the IFI iDSD Black Label compare to the Chord Hugo 2 ?
  4. Ike1985
    Mojo is hard yo beat IMO, Hugo 2 beats it though.
  5. Rayzilla
    I am interested to hear about this comparison too.
  6. Shure or bust
    Going with Hugo 2 on this.
  7. qsk78
    Venturecraft Soundroid Vantam Limited (Classic Master, Jazz Master, Piano White) based on BB PCM1795, opa627SM preamps.
    Perfect unbeatable SQ. The only limitation is its power of 80 mW. Can be used as a DAC/Peamp though. One more issue is 3-4 hours only battery life.
    They are not in serial production, just limited number of units produced. MSRP is around $1500.
    Not easy to find even in Japan.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2017
    smallcaps and halcyon like this.
  8. Thieliste
    I can't think of anything better than the Hugo 2 to build a top portable rig at the moment.
    What do you guys think ?
  9. FlyingWing
    Pretty Sure it's the Chord Mojo or the GeekOut Infinity V2+.
    For unlimited budgets, it should be the ALO Continental- I've not yet had a chance to listen to this one.
  10. bidn
    Hi Thieliste,

    I own two pairs of Sonorous X,
    in my experience they have such low impedance and extremely high efficiency that they do require more amping than what a good DAP ( in my case AK240) outputs. So my Mojo ( I own one as well) provides more than enough power to drive them, you don't need to upgrade it re. power requirement.
    The Sonorous X are my favorite headphones for listening to the following genres : sacred , mystical music
    or for when you want music to make you dream.

    hoping this helps,
  11. Thieliste
    Hey bidn, nice to read a Sonorous X owner.
    Yes i'm aware the Mojo will have the power to drive a pair of Sonorous X but is the Mojo good enough sound wise for such pricy headphones ?
    Next month i will audition the Hugo 2 and compare with my Mojo at a show.
    By the way which do you like best between the Sonorous X and the Utopia ?
    I find them both uber expensive and will check out the Kennerton Odin at a much more competitive price.
    The Odin is also not difficult to drive.

  12. bidn
    IMHO the Mojo is enough for the Sonorous X (and even superfluous if you use an audiophile DAP instead of a smartphone).
    The Sonorous X does not shine according to the generally accepted technical features so this is why it will not scale up to the top gear unlike the Utopia.
    It shines in a "non-technical" way, giving a mystical touch to the music, combined with excellent passive isolation and confort,
    I find its price justified for sacred music and some other mystical things. It is still great for other genre, but then not worth the price.

    So it depends on genres and tastes.
    I usually prefer the Sonorous X for sacred music and some instruments (organ).
    For the majority of the genres I prefer the Utopia which has an incredible top level of detail. speed, punch, and imaging.
    Now if you are in the US there is in September a trade-in action, you can get the Utopia for only $3000,
    I you haven't a pair of Utopia yet, if I were you I would immediately go for them.

    I can't believe the Odin would be a competitor for the summit-level of the Utopia, but maybe for the Elear, HD800, K872-K812,...
    The Odin is a fantastically beautiful hand-made piece of traditional craft (wood , leather), but I fear service needs improvement in case you need it
    (still made by company in Russia with a small network abroad, so things may be complicated and take time).

    It also depends on which genres of music you listen to.

  13. Thieliste
    Well i live in France, the Kennerton distributor is very close from my place but i will definitely audition the Utopia, the Sonorous X and also the Hifiman HE-1000 V2.
    I discovered Final Audio at the Munich show and was blown away.
    Thanks for your input.

  14. bidn
    I forgot to say the following:
    it also depends on the situation.
    With its mystic touch and isolation, I find the Sonorous X to be the best of all my headphones for listening in bed and helping falling asleep.
    Ultra-punchy headphones like the Utopia or the Elear would on the contrary would not help me falling asleep... so advantages and qualities can turn out into the opposite in other situations....
    and my wife might complain that she hears the music... (most headphones are open, but the Sonorous X have a top isolation)

    This is why I have two pairs of Sonorous:

    - one is of part of my collection of headphones in my study, and I use them for sacred music or organ.

    - the other one is for bedtime, I have 4 headphones hanging within hand-reach next to my place in bed,
    the Sonorous X are those that I use normally in bed before falling asleep (or the Piano Forte VIII-X in-ears).
  15. Currawong Contributor
    The Hugo 2, ignoring its size, is sonically the best of anything portable that I am aware of.

    However, I would avoid the Sonorous X. For that amount of money, just about any other flagship (Utopia, LCD-4 etc.) would be a far better investment. Not to mention, if you're a fan of the company, wait for Final to come out with their planar headphones. The prototype I auditioned in April was vastly better than any of their dynamic headphones.
    zazex and bidn like this.
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