Looking to upgrade my portable amp [maybe?]
Nov 29, 2008 at 11:57 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2


100+ Head-Fier
Jan 17, 2007
Currently these are my options, gear wise that are sitting around.

6thgen 120gb iPod matte black, /w Mundorf gold alloy LOD
x5 20gb /w qables Silvercab LOD
LittleDotMicro+ portable amp
AKG 240studio and monitor [55ohm and 600ohm versions]
Alessandro Music Series 1 cans
Ultimate Ears Super Fi 3s

This is my current music listenings
Jazz [art pepper, ray brown, jazz wizards, etc]
Rock [everything from Dire Straights to Zep, AC/DC Metallica Clapton etc]
Classical [big fan of big symphonys like richard wagner but listen to mazart bach chopin vivaldi etc]
Blues [all the usual suspects]

This is my home system that ive grown attached to the sound of:
Rega Planar 3 with Fidelity Research FR-14 Tonearm and Grado Sig Cartridge
Rega Planet CDP with Cardas IC
Rega Brio Integrated'
Paradigm Studio 60v2 connected with cardas

Could easily swap out the speakers and still be happy but these really are amazing speakers for the money
Fantastic midS, great bass extension, good highs for a metal dome tweeter althought i prefer silk or soft.

I think this may be ALOT of information for the purpose of finding a portable amp but i figured peopel that have similar tastes may give me other ideas also with regards to my digital music wether it be ICs or LODs or whatever else. I was quite happy with the results of the LDM+ pretty low noise flor for a portable and did not alter sound much kept it pretty neutral. But there is lots out there and im looking to get some guidance to other possibilities.

So with all that being said questions comments suggestions? All are greatly appreciated.
Nov 30, 2008 at 8:12 AM Post #2 of 2


1000+ Head-Fier
Aug 2, 2008
Hm, I didn't realize you had such an extensive home system. Its pretty tough to get the same sound from you're ipod/x5. But here are my recommendations. Firs read up on Skylab's reviews on different amps you may be interested in:

As you can see the little dot micro is at the bottom end, I would assume its due to the noise from the amp. A few "safe bets" would be any of the RSA and Mier Products.

If you plan to use the alessandro's and the sextets, I would recommend the RSA Hornet. They usually go for 250, I believe there's one on sale at the moment. From my experience, the tomahawk with se530's were a great combination. I was able to get a very warm and lively sound from my ipod 5th gen. The RSA sound sig is pretty much carried throughout the line (they may vary slightly as you go up especially with the new SR71A) So you're decision should be based on what headphones you will be using. The tomahawk may drive the alessandro's, but I doubt they can do the job for the sextets. On the other hand, the hornet should do a great job with whatever you throw at it. So I would recommend the Hornet in your case.

I have a headsix headed my way in a few days and I'll be able to give you a better impression on the amp once I get it. I'm also trying to get my hands on a pair of grado's I can mod but before modding them I'll try them out with the Tomahawk and headsix to give you a better impression the combo with the grados and RSA/Mier products.

I would also recommend looking into another amp the Sigtone Shek H1. Jrosenth recommended and sold me the amp a few months ago and I have to say it's a very warm amp/dac. I got a chance to compare the DAC with my friends D2 Boa and I preferred the warmer sound from the Shek. Unfortunately we were using these DAC/Amp combos with his Audioengine A5's so I didn't really get a chance to compare the amp sections between the two. I've been trying to find a way to change the opamps on the Shek but I can't remove the knob on the amp to get access to the board. From my impressions though, this works very well with a lot of blues albums.

I would also recommend the Headroom Line. The total airhead and bithead are great starter amps/dacs. The crossfeed feature is such a great addition to these amps and you will love how these interact with big orchestral pieces and with jazz ensemble's.

For you're tastes (which greatly resembles mine) I would recommend the following in order:

1. RSA Hornet M/Tomahawk
2. Shek H1
3. HR Total Bithead/airhead
3. **Corda Headsix** (This is a place holder until I hear it)

If you're willing to budge you're price range, there are other options but I'm afraid I can't provide you with any firsthand experience on those amps.

One last thing I think you should look into are component synergies. Some headfiers (I believe Larry -Headphoneaddict-is the one who started a long thread on it), have discussed how certain phones work best with specific amps/dacs. I'm assuming that the Alessandro's should resemble the other grado line so I can try that out for you once I get my headphones.

I should be able to get back to you sometime this Wed once I get the new batch of equipment shipped to me. Hopefully I'll get a chance to do some reviews.

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