Portable headphone amp to smartphone w/ mic passthrough?

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by halcyon, Oct 18, 2017.
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  1. Wiljen
    Phone makers removing the 3.5mm Jack is just one more push for buying a DAP instead of using your phone. DAPs already sport better dac chips most of the time, better amplification circuits, and better battery life but if you need the push of it not being possible on a phone to finally make the switch, maybe removing the 3.5mm jack will be the deciding factor. I used my android phone as my dap for quite awhile but once I made the leap to a dedicated device, I found all the reasons why I should have done it a long time ago.
    halcyon likes this.
  2. halcyon
    Hi, I definitely agree and share the sentiment for music.

    However, I also listen to a lot of audiobooks, podcasts and even youtube videos (video off, as audio) and for this it is much more convenient to use a smartphone. And when I have IEMs inserted into my ears, I don't want to keep unplugging them and replugging another set, just to take a phone call.

    That's why to me Smart phone + wired headset w/ mic functionality is a great convenience.

    For music and dedicated listening, DAP all the way (when on the go, otherwise I prefer loudspeakers myself :-D ).
  3. antdroid
    Have you thought about using something like the Fiio BTR1? It's bluetooth, but can use TRSS and also has a built-in mic which works well. It sounds great too in my opinion. I have both a portable DAC, and the BTR1 and I keep going towards the BTR1 because its just easier and doesnt affect battery life as much. I do have to feed it to an external amp if I want the best sound quality using planars but for most portable headphones, it provides plenty of power.
    halcyon likes this.
  4. davidland
    I also prefer Apple settings!
  5. DanWiggins
    Merry Christmas! Amplifier goodness ready to start mass production.

    We have the final schematic and PCB layout optimization done, THD+N is even lower (less than 0.01% across the entire band at a 1 mW output), crosstalk even lower (90+ dB from 20 Hz to 20 kHz), less than 1 degree of phase shift over the entire audio band, and essentially zero RF interference.

    It is still tiny and still delivers a massive amount of power (4Vrms output with 150 mA current, and a 0.2 Ohm output impedance). And it still has a solid 8 hours of run time (with 1 mW continuous output) on a 20 minute charge! For reference that board is 25mm wide, 40mm long. The amplifier and battery come in at 10.9 grams, and with the enclosure it weighs under 20 grams.

    And yes, it will be a white PCB with black silkscreen. What else would you expect from us? :)

    PaganDL likes this.
  6. PaganDL
    Hi Dan,

    I was just wondering if there is going to be a an offical thread on headfi for the Nickel?

    Looking forward to the Nickel, just hope being outside the US, it's not too ridiculous in price but I blame the exchange rates & not Periodic Audio.

    Keep up the good work.

    Thanks & hope you have a great day !
    halcyon likes this.
  7. DanWiggins
    Final production measurements are here:


    Took a while. We had an RF noise interference problem with the amplifier chip, and it took several months of effort to get the manufacturer to finally agree it is not suitable for RF use. However, we've since moved to a different amp chip and this one has zero issues with RF interference. We have upped the size of the battery from 220 mAh to 280 mAh, and we have an even higher power output (280 mW into 32 Ohms), and great performance as you see in this PDF. SNR is 91 dB @ 1 mW into 32 Ohms (180 mV output) - and all other measurements are at 1 mW into 32 Ohms as well. If we did the "normal" thing and run it at 1Vrms (31 mW into 32 Ohms) we'd see an SNR around 105 dB SPL, THD+N another factor of 10 lower (around 0.0004%, rather than 0.004%) and the same 9 Hz to 80 kHz bandwidth.

    This unit is still stable down to 8 Ohms, provides 450 mW into 16 Ohms (500 mW into 8 Ohms), and is the size of a 9V battery, 20 gram weight.
    halcyon likes this.
  8. PaganDL
    Hi @DanWiggins,

    Nice info, always much appreciated, how is production looking? What ETA is expected, especially for outside the US?

    Thanks & keep up the great work !

    Hope you have a great day !
  9. DanWiggins
    Production is starting right now; lots of lots of ICs and passives purchased, and PCBs getting built. We're looking at the end of October - typical 45 day or so to turn the units.

    Outside the US depends upon each local distributor/dealer. We, of course, also ship internationally but most of our dealers have orders in for Nickel already.

    We will have pilot production units to show at Rocky Mountain CanJam.
    PaganDL likes this.
  10. Galeonero
    Hi, I think your answer is Hidiz Sonata, it's a dongle but it really sounds good and with the microphone pin.
    I think the only drawback is that it is usb-c to 3.5 mm and I'm a bit afraid that the phone's usb-c will wear out very quickly.
    If not as you said above a bluetooth device like the Earstudio ES100 is going to come 10.
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