Portable amp to use with Mad Dogs
Nov 10, 2013 at 11:48 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

zachdini

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I just ordered a pair of Mad Dogs after trying them out yesterday and now I'm looking for a portable amp to go with them! I mainly listen to my iPhone/laptop as a source on the train or at my school library so portability is important. I'm looking at the $150 range but I could stretch it a little farther.
 
Initially, I was set on the Fiio e12 but I've read recently that they're a little warm sounding and could possibly be a little fatiguing so I'm back to researching. Do you think the e12 would be a nice pair with Mad Dogs?
 
I've also looked at the C&C BH2, JDS cmoyBB, and JDS c5 amps. The c5 looks really appealing since it's supposedly so neutral but would any of the other amps pair well? 
 
From what I've heard, the BH2 has the nicest soundstage and size. And the cmoyBB has a nice size and is only $59. Though, if the e12 or c5 would be best, I could spring for those.
 
Nov 11, 2013 at 1:16 PM Post #2 of 15

zachdini

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I'm really leaning towards the c5. It looks like it's a little more neutral than the e12 and it's smaller which would be easier to carry around. 
 
I've read that Mad Dogs like a good amount of power. Would the power that the c5 gives off be enough?
 
Nov 11, 2013 at 1:21 PM Post #3 of 15

mitsu763

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I can't speak for the C5 but I didn't care for the E12 with the Mad Dogs. I felt it was a bit grainy which removed the lovely smoothness of the Mad Dogs. I will say I did enjoy the bass boost and crossfeed.
 
Nov 11, 2013 at 2:43 PM Post #5 of 15

zachdini

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Do you think they'll work well with the c5? From what I've been reading, it seems like I might enjoy the sound from the c5 a little more than the e12.
 
Also, how much of a difference does a DAC make? I was planning on getting an amp first and getting a separate DAC down the road when I have the money. Should I consider the c5d or just stick with the c5 for now?
 
Nov 12, 2013 at 6:44 PM Post #6 of 15

Dixter

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When Dan was at the Dallas meet he was using the Ibasso as his personal portable amp with the MD...   that would be my choice or one of the Ray Samuals amps... 
 
Nov 12, 2013 at 8:09 PM Post #7 of 15

zachdini

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  When Dan was at the Dallas meet he was using the Ibasso as his personal portable amp with the MD...   that would be my choice or one of the Ray Samuals amps... 

Is that the iBasso D12 you're talking about or is there another one you'd recommend? This is my first step into getting amps/dacs for my headphones so I was hoping to spend somewhere around the price of $150-200 to get my feet wet.
 
Nov 12, 2013 at 10:20 PM Post #8 of 15

Dixter

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I think his setup was the setup before they came out with the DB2/PB2 combination...     Just depends on if you want to grow out of a setup or grow with a setup...
The DB2/PB2 combo will drive just about any headphone made..it has a lot of power, it also has single ended or balanced output and you can put in several different op amps so you can adjust the way your setup sounds as you change headphones or add headphones to your collection.  It won't be cheap but it should keep you going for a long long time...
 
If you want to stay in a lower price range but still get some good performance then its hard to beat the O2 amp at the price they sell for...   pair the amp with the ODAC and its a great combination
at that price point...  JDS Labs has these in various formats...      If you go this route I'd suggest the stand alone O2 ( better portability ) and pair it with the stand alone ODAC...   the only issue with this setup is its single ended only so you can't move to balanced outputs if you want to at a later date...   but its still a very capable setup that you should be happy with too.   The foot print is a bit larger but it matches an Iphone size much better than the smaller amps... 
 
Nov 12, 2013 at 10:27 PM Post #9 of 15

Dixter

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I just now remember that Dan also uses a Fiio X3 that could fit your cost requirements even better...    the advantage to this is its a DAP ( Digital Audio Player ) with a built in DAC for a great price...
The advantage with the X3 is that it plays just about any music file format so you can load it up with FLAC files or your whole Itunes library into it..   Its actually a pretty nice setup and very portable.
 
Nov 13, 2013 at 2:28 PM Post #10 of 15

zachdini

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  I think his setup was the setup before they came out with the DB2/PB2 combination...     Just depends on if you want to grow out of a setup or grow with a setup...
The DB2/PB2 combo will drive just about any headphone made..it has a lot of power, it also has single ended or balanced output and you can put in several different op amps so you can adjust the way your setup sounds as you change headphones or add headphones to your collection.  It won't be cheap but it should keep you going for a long long time...
 
If you want to stay in a lower price range but still get some good performance then its hard to beat the O2 amp at the price they sell for...   pair the amp with the ODAC and its a great combination
at that price point...  JDS Labs has these in various formats...      If you go this route I'd suggest the stand alone O2 ( better portability ) and pair it with the stand alone ODAC...   the only issue with this setup is its single ended only so you can't move to balanced outputs if you want to at a later date...   but its still a very capable setup that you should be happy with too.   The foot print is a bit larger but it matches an Iphone size much better than the smaller amps... 

I've heard great things about the O2/ODAC but it doesn't really seem to be that portable. I know that it technically is but I see a lot of size comparisons and people seem to call it trans-portable instead of portable. What do you think?
 
I see what you mean about growing out of a setup or growing with a setup. I was planning on getting something that I might grow out of since I'm looking for cheaper gear than most people seem to recommend.
 
Looking at iBasso, the D42 looks pretty nice. It has a nice size, looks good, and seems to get good reviews. At $188 for both an amp/dac, I'm questioning what's the catch? Would that be a good pairing with the Mad Dogs?
 
Nov 13, 2013 at 8:04 PM Post #11 of 15

Dixter

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ou might write an email to Dan and ask him what he would suggest...     he knows the headphone the best and I am sure he has listened to them with many many amps/dacs....
It might be the safer avenue for you.. 
 
Nov 17, 2013 at 11:18 PM Post #12 of 15

atsq17

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I'll bring my Mad Dog 3.2 to work tomorrow and get two other head-fiers to test it with RSA The Predator (which sounds good with almost every headphone) and RSA The Shadow (which I recently acquired) and let you know what we think. 
 
Dec 11, 2013 at 9:40 AM Post #13 of 15

vermilions

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I just ordered a pair of Mad Dogs after trying them out yesterday and now I'm looking for a portable amp to go with them! I mainly listen to my iPhone/laptop as a source on the train or at my school library so portability is important. I'm looking at the $150 range but I could stretch it a little farther.

Initially, I was set on the Fiio e12 but I've read recently that they're a little warm sounding and could possibly be a little fatiguing so I'm back to researching. Do you think the e12 would be a nice pair with Mad Dogs?

I've also looked at the C&C BH2, JDS cmoyBB, and JDS c5 amps. The c5 looks really appealing since it's supposedly so neutral but would any of the other amps pair well? 

From what I've heard, the BH2 has the nicest soundstage and size. And the cmoyBB has a nice size and is only $59. Though, if the e12 or c5 would be best, I could spring for those.


Hi. Was just wondering what you ended up getting? I am also looking for a portable dac/amp for a pair of mad dogs.
 
Dec 11, 2013 at 9:54 PM Post #14 of 15

atsq17

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Mad Dogs with the Predator on LOW gain and volume at about 3-4PM on the dial it was plenty loud and sounded beautiful. 
 
Not sure about micro details but the instrument layering and sound stage is great. I was about to buy a V-Moda M100 as my portable headphones but honestly I am seriously considering just porting my Mad Dogs around and using it with the Predator. 
 
Dec 21, 2013 at 7:34 PM Post #15 of 15

zachdini

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Hi. Was just wondering what you ended up getting? I am also looking for a portable dac/amp for a pair of mad dogs.

I ended up getting the Fiio e12. I figured I would stick with just an amp for now and I can always upgrade to an amp/dac or get a portable dac in the future.
 
The e12 sounds great with the Mad Dogs! I listen to a lot of live recordings (Grateful Dead, Phish, Disco Biscuits, etc...) and I find that the bass from the Mad Dogs is either just perfect or a little lacking. If it's lacking on a particular recording or genre (it happens with some electronic music), I flip the bass boost on the e12 and it's perfect.
 

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