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Choosing a new portable amp

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by ambchang, Jul 22, 2013.
  1. ambchang
    I have been enjoying the ALO Rx MKII for about 3 years, and it is finally dying on me.
    While I sent an email to ALO asking them if the issue could be fixed (and how much), I am also looking at this as a chance to switch to another amp.
    I have always enjoyed the cleanliness of the amp, and is looking to get something similar to it.
    I do not need an external DAC, and in fact, would prefer not to have one.
    I mainly use an iPod 4G or a Stoner Acoustic DAC as source.
    I use a Westone 3 (with plans with going to a W4 in the future) or a DIY modded Fostex T50-RP as phones, so the amp should be able to drive IEMs as well as orthos.
    My budget is <$350, but would like to keep the prices to a minimum if possible.
    In terms of features, the only one I would like to have (not a must) is to have internally rechargeable batteries, but is willing to go for Meier amps if the sound quality really justifies it.  It should be reasonably I also do not mind used gear.
    Some of the amps I am looking at are:
    Meier 2Stepdance (9V battery is a negative, but not a killer).  The Quickstep is nice, but just too pricey.
    RSA Mustang
    JDSLabs C5 (Would be great if this is comparable to the Rx MKII as it is so much cheaper).
    JDSLabs O2 (If I do get this, I will use it with my Fostex and Stoner Acoustic DAC combo exclusively with these as I am unlikely to use this as a portable amp).
    Leckerton UHA-6S MKII (I get the feeling I am paying extra for a DAC that I am unlikely to use)
    Headstage Arrow 4G
    Pico Slim
    Tralucent Audio T1
    Sony PHA-1
    What are some of the other amps I should look into that are comparable to the ones I am looking at?  And if someone have experience with the ALO Rx MKII and another amp, it would be nice to give me a little impression of the comparisons.
    Thank you.
  2. Superpiper Mk I
    Honestly, the IPod is garbage.
  3. Poimandres
    Not true, and a good amp will improve the sound from alot of different sources.

    The leckerton as an amp is worth the price alone, the dac is an extra simply icing on the cake.
  4. Superpiper Mk I
    Point being, (imho) the Ipod sound is crud to start with, and some (5-6) years later, there are far, far better choices for a source. He's great phones anyways so I'd just change up the player.
  5. Poimandres
    With a lod into an amp there shouldnt be an issue with the sq. Dont the 4gs have the wolfson dacs?
  6. Superpiper Mk I
    I have the 4 and the 5.5

    Modern daps easily best them imho.
  7. ambchang
    I have been itching to DIYmod the iPods, but just haven't take the courage to do it.

    It unlikely I will go awayfromthe iPod line anyways asits just too convenient. The navigation is great too.

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