New Amp Impressions: a Preda-torial
Mar 18, 2008 at 3:15 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 1


Headphoneus Supremus
Jan 18, 2007
Well folks, my new Predator is finally fully broken in, and as promised, here are my impressions.

I am using the Predator with the portable rig listed in my sig. First and foremost, let me say that I think the Predator was the final piece of the puzzle in my real "keeper" rig. After adding it, I really feel no need to upgrade my portable rig in the near future. Now, onto the sound.

The first thing I noticed about the Predator was that it seemed to cure the SE530's of their trademark "rolled-off" highs. I actually kind of like the warm sig of the SE530's, but used with the Predator the highs seem to really sing, and not at all in a harsh or sibilant way, still velvety smooth. The highs sound spectacular, couldn't ask for anything more.

The next thing that grabbed me was the bass. God damn. I find when it comes to bass, with most IEM's Ive tried you dont usually get both quality AND quantity. One is usually at the expense of the other, at least in my opinion. Me being a basshead and all has made this a serious pain at times looking for the right balance of both. Ive found it. I was listening to Click Clack's "This Block", and the bass was absolutely unreal. So totally controlled, so deep and lush. The best part was the bass quantity seemed huge, but it did not muddle the mids or highs at all, everything was still crystal clear. Same thing can be said when the Predator was used with the Westone UM2. Just awesome.

The mids of the SE530 sounded great to me unamped, and with the Predator they seem slightly smoother. "Smooth" is a word that comes to mind often when thinking of this amp. Instrument seperation and soundstage (especially with binaural recordings) are spectacular. They were already great, but using them with this amp seemed to only magnify these qualities.

I can't find many negative things to say about this amp, but if I had to, I would say that I was slightly disappointed with the fact that despite the advertisement that these is no background hiss at all with this amp using any phones cranked to 11, these certainly was an audible hiss when listening at louder volume levels. It was not overwhelming, and really, it was barely noticeable, but still, one of the main selling points of this amp to me was the fact that it was supposed to have absolutely no noise. Nonetheless this was nowhere near a dealbreaker, you have to be listening quite loud to get what little hiss there is.

Overall I will say this amp sets bar for me as far as portables go. I have used a Xin reference and an RSA Tomahawk before this, but this one to me seems to go a little above and beyond either of those in all aspects. The price is a little on the steep side, but in my opinion you really do get what you're paying for here. I have not used the DAC yet, but once I get some intensive listening sessions in I will edit this thread and add my impressions on that as well. In closing (for now), I will say that Ray Samuels has outdone himself here, this amp sounds just awesome. For anyone looking for a new portable amp, certainly take this one into consideration. I have not yet heard a Pico, Lisa III, Pocket Reference, or any of the other heavy hitters as far as portable amps go, but if they can hold a candle to the Predator, they must be quite impressive. Anyways thanks for reading, gotta go get some more listening time in before bed
- Jordan

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