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New ALO Rx - IEM only - Portable Amplifier Impressions and Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by x relic x, Jul 7, 2015.
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  1. x RELIC x Contributor
    Thought I'd take the discussion out of the sponsor forums and bring it to the portable amps forums.


    The new Rx is a re-imagining of the tried and true original portable amp offered from ALO Audio. It's tuned to drive IEMs only, but with IEMs it sounds sublime to these ears. It's a very transparent amp to the source with perhaps just a smidge of warmth added.

    ALO goes on quite a bit in its marketing about the voltage supply for the new Rx and to my ears they are bang on with what they set out to achieve. To be honest I'm not exactly sure what the magic sauce is but there is amazing clarity and detail retrieval with the Rx and the impact and speed of music playing through the Rx has my JH Angie IEMs singing.

    I think more people should be aware of this little gem. It's been compared to the output of the Hugo with IEMs which is some good praise in my books.

    If you own one or would like to just post some questions jump in.


  2. mosshorn
    Can't wait until I get mine!
  3. Ultrainferno
    My review is here
    I have to say I've lately been using the Cypherlabs Picollo more than the RX, due to the floor noise
  4. x RELIC x Contributor

    Read your review when it was first put up and it was part of my purchasing decision based on your comments on bass, speed, and timbre. Are you mostly using the Legend R or do you hear the floor noise with most of your IEMs? I hear nothing with the Angie. Ken said he'd adjust the gain if you need it.
  5. Ultrainferno
    Ken will indeed do that but I have such a wide collection of monitors that there's no perfect setup for all of them. The majority of my customs pick up the floor noise though.
    Sonically the Rx is a really good amplifier but the Picollo is more quiet and has a better volume control for my sensitive ciems
  6. jerryzm
    Hi Relic, I was wondering how does the ALO RX improve upon the FiiO X5ii sound signature? I was actually planning to buy the RX a month ago but decided to wait for more reviews. Neways thanks!
  7. x RELIC x Contributor

    It's very difficult for me to pinpoint. I hear more separation of instruments, more soundstage, more impact, speed and punch. Clarity is boosted and timbre is better. It's a subtle change but every time I jack in to the X5ii headphone out I feel something is missing, sounds more flat, not as real in comparison (and the X5ii HO is very good). Like I said earlier the Rx is pretty transparent to the source so the sound signature doesn't really change, but I can hear the difference in the mentioned areas easily. I've tested volume matched (to the best of my ability) and hear the difference at all volume levels I listen to.

    I've been posting about this for a bit on different threads wondering what is going on. It may just be the voltage swing that improves the dynamics as ALO says in their marketing, or it could have something to do with the way the multi BA drivers in my IEM respond to the amp design, or it could be the TI analogue amplifier implementation, but I feel it may really be a combination of these things that makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts. Ken has done a great job on this one for sure. Plus the orange glow is awesome.

    I'll quote Currawong's write up on the Rx in the Head-Fi 2015 Summer Buying Guide

    "...........I first gave the Rx a run using my Chord Hugo as a source and the demanding JHAudio Laylas and, much to my pleasure, couldn’t make out any difference in sound quality — the Rx was effectively transparent. The same went for my Ultimate Ears Reference Monitors, RHA T20is and FitEar FitEars. What was most interesting with the Laylas is how the Rx seems to bring out the treble better than all the other amps and DAPs I’ve tried, from the AK240, Headamp Pico Power, Calyx M and others. At the other end of the spectrum, the bass came through precisely and cleanly, a touch more so than from amps. The benefits of dedicating an amp to a particular type of transducer has certainly paid off here."
  8. jerryzm
    Hmmm. Thanks for the input, Relic. Really appreciate it.
    I agree about the X5ii HO being flat for some reason. Coming from the original X3 + E11K, I knew something was missing and was considering buying an external amp for my X5ii, like the ALO RX. Neways thanks again. Really helpful.
  9. x RELIC x Contributor
    Just to be clear I find the X5ii HO pretty good. It's only in comparison to the Rx that it sounds less dynamic to me.
  10. UELong

    I can only comment on the X5 classic.  After hearing it with an amp, I much prefer the sound of anything over the HO of the 5.  I listened to two Daves last night, (Edmunds and Cheskey).  I find the rock stuff to have snappier drums complemented by a clearer bass and vocals.
    Now, I'll leave it to the 2nd gen users to comment.  But Angie and I love the RX.
    yes I agree 100%, there is something uber special about Kens contribution to the Audio-Fi world!
    something similar happened with me and the Vorzugue Pure II, it's an awesome amp, but standing next to the Rx, it becomes bland/blase? lifeless, which blows me away,
    yes sounds like your hearing the Rx like I am! and I am simly utterly amazed by it daily!
    Thanks KB!
    x RELIC x likes this.
  12. x RELIC x Contributor
    My only wish for the Rx is that I had a little more travel on the volume pot with my JH Angie. Right now I only use 1/8th of the total volume available. While I have no trouble adjusting the volume to my prefered listening level I simply want a smidge more room. Ken will adjust the gain if you send it back to him but I'm in Canada so not sure I want to pay the shipping as it sounds great as it is. Just a minor quibble for me.

    Still wondering what UELong has his volume set to with his pair of Angie.
  13. UELong
    I think 11:00 is bordering on being too much.  A lot of power for the Angies.  I'll try Colin's 846s later.  I bet I'll be lucky to get to 10:00 on them.
    well I sent my Rx back to ALO, and Ken added to/increased my volume travel, and I still have it at, how would you say/put it, all the way up? that would ? o'clock, and I still need a little more volume travel? I do listen at a loud level, but that is usually when I am out walking the dog, or doing activity,
    my source/rig is the iPod 7th gen Classic>CLAS-R>Rx>ZOv1>ASG-2s! which makes a beautiful, simply beautiful sound man, but the output from the iPod or the CLAS has very low vms? and so it needs a little more umph, Ken did a great job, but I migh be needing to send it back to Dr. Ken for some more volume travel? because there are times when all the way up isn't enough? ggrrr, ugh, lol,
    suffices to say I hardly turn on the ZO anymore, because the Rx really can't be added to, I always wanted DigiZoid to expand on the original ZO, with using there SmartVectorTechnology? they have the ZOv2, and a FS series, but they've deviated form the original ZOs sound signiture, it truly is a work of wonder, and I've been adding it to my portable rig for a few years now, and now the Rx is the first amp that makes me feel that the SMV was taken to the next level while still retaining the original ZOs sound qualities? the ZO amp otherwise know to laypeople as the Rx, lol, anyway the Rx has some great sonics at work in it, it colours and presents the sound in an awesome uber well balanced way! more pure then my Pure II?
  15. mosshorn

    So the RX came in today, and so far I'm impressed! Even better:


    It's a perfect fit with my DIYmod Mini!
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