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SR-71B vs. ALO Rx Mk2!!!

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by tonyflo, Apr 12, 2011.
  1. Tonyflo
    Hi Guys, 
     
    Curious about something ... 
     
    After reading many reviews and understanding the concept, I'm totally sold on the Algorhythm Solo.
     
    However, I'm trying to decide which amp to get -- I'm considering either the SR-71B or the Rx Mk2. 
     
    The way I see it ... 
     
    SR-71B has the pros of being extremely powerful, balanced, strong on the lower-end. The con's are that's it's a bit pricy ($700 with shipping and paypal fees) and some here seem to doubt the merit of balanced, especially in portable setups. 
     
    On the other hand, the Mk2 has the advantages of being a bit cheaper ($400 extra when purchased with the Solo) and also being designed to pair perfectly with the Solo. Also, the reviews of it have been great from what I've seen. 
     
    For what it's worth, I would be using this portable rig with the JH16's. Anyone else using this combo? (forgive me, I posted this question on Jude's Alg Solo thread) 
     
    Also, is there a point in doing balanced out of the solo?
     
    Part of the appeal of balanced to me is it's supposed to expand the soundstage a bit (which is a preference of mine), and that would be nice on the 16's -- where the soundstage is narrower than full size/open cans. 
     
    Anyway, thanks for help guys -- any thoughts are highly welcome -- I love this forum and have learned so much already :)
     
    Anthony
     
     
  2. warp08
    You can't do balanced out of a SOLO.  It's a S/E mini-out so the SR71B would have to phase split the S/E input and "balance" at the output stage.  I haven't owned the ALO Rx v2 but had the v1.  It's a decent amp and may be a better match to the JH16s than the SR71B which is far too powerful for such a sensitive IEM even at its lowest gain setting.  I have a hard time to set the volume past the lowest setting where both channels being balanced without it being too loud for my ears, when I tried the 16s.  I was able to do this with the 13s.
     
    If you had the JH13s I'd say go with the SR71Bs, but the 16s are even more sensitive.  I'm inclined to say--again, note I haven't heard the amp--that the RX may be a better match with the Solo when paired with the 16s.
     
     
     
    AVU likes this.
  3. Tonyflo
    Thanks man. I understand what you're saying, but it's kinda strange that Jude had this the SR-71B connected to the Solo in his review, and also it seems a few others had tried this setup (though they didn't post much in terms of impressions, which is why I asked.) 
     
    Anyway, it's helpful info -- thanks so much :) 
     
    Anthony
     
     
  4. Severanth
    Something tells me there is going to be a rash of orders after Jude's video lol.
     
    SR71B = overkill for IEM's  notice Jude doesn't do this.
     
    The opening of the soundstage wont be much running balanced through IEM's  Lack of soundstage in IEM's is due to the speakers being so close to the ear canal.  It is a limitation of the design.  
    Saying that I am not a IEM head and have not heard difference of a pair single ended and balanced.  So apologies if that is false. IEM forum place to check.
     
    Yes balanced is a relative term.  Just be aware of this.  Without hearing difference of balanced source through to your ears over phase split at amp you wont be able to know how important this is to your music enjoyment. Don't worry about it to much just be aware of it.  SE also has benefits by the way so don't get to hung up on the balanced thing.
     
    If you want some flexibility for running balanced or other cans in future, SR71B is a good option.  If not, waste of money.
     
    The above is just what I have gleaned from reading and listening and is my humble opinion.
     
    I have the SR71B,  would love to hear the Solo with it :)   Balanced HD650's
     
     
     
     
    AVU likes this.
  5. dj nellie
    You can do balanced out from the Solo, if you use the coax output to a balanced DAC.
     
    I wouldn't say the 71b is overkill for IEMs, but it definitely seems designed to drive high impedance full-size cans.  There is little to no hiss with custom IEMs on the 71b, but with the DACs I have, the 71b has too high a gain for customs so it can be hard to get a comfortable low volume without channel imbalance. 
     
    This is especially a problem with DACs that have a high noise floor on the line-out, like the HM-801.  I don't know the technical reason for this, but the HM-801's line-out is louder to me than my iPod 5.5g's (the 5.5g has the added advantage of Rockbox, which gives you volume control with the scroll wheel even when using an external amp).  From the impressions so far, it seems that the Solo's DAC also has a fairly high line-out.
     
    Having said that, the 71b is a versatile solution if you have or plan to get full-size cans and only want to use 1 amp (or need a portable option).  I'll be able to comment on how it works with the Solo when I get it by next week.  If you're looking for an amp that is optimized for IEMs (i.e. lower gain), I would check out the Pico Slim, Stepdance and TTVJ Slim (which I haven't heard).
     
    BTW, I do find that the 71b's balanced output at least improves soundstage width, although you might find this effect to feel either grander and fill more of the IEM headstage, or somewhat artificially stretched and distorted. 
     
  6. AndrewG
    71B without a doubt, I had it and it is hard to go single ended after that.the sound is really 3-dimensional and dynamic, with great lower end. plus it gives you options for future headphones you may want, it will drive them to their best
     
     
  7. warp08


    Quote:

    Yes, that is called Transport Mode and it's not the Solo that does the D/A conversion and as you noted, you do need to add yet another balanced DAC.  For IEMs that's pretty much an overkill for the most part.  The soundstage is already wide enough just with the Solo and the SR71B in the picture with a pair of JH13s.  As Severanth noted above, there is nothing that IEMs can do about increasing the depth of the soundstage. 
     
     
  8. Jalo
    When the RSA Protector (the first balance portable amp with SE input) first came out, Ray was commenting that the sound stage was more open and sounds were circling around one's head.  This observation was later shared by a few other headfiers.  Since then I have used both the Protector and the SR71b and indeed find them to have much better observable sound stage difference when compare to SE input on the same amp.
     
    Severanth was correct in saying that any iem by design has a limited sound stage but it is not true that the difference is not there when balance is used.  I think particularly with iem, every bits of sound stage improvement will help the whole listening experience.  My balance set up and depending on the recordings, can sometime take the sound outside of my head which is very hard to do with iem.  I do not think the 71b is an overkill for the JH16.  I think the sr71b/JH16 combo has the advantage of balance design with great bass impact and if you pair that combo with the Solo, you will experience a desktop level performance.  
     
  9. kingice10
  10. Tonyflo
    Hmmm ... thanks guys, you've got me thinking. I chose the Mk2 to go with the Solo for now, for a few different reasons -- price, convenience, and also that
    I would be using it almost exclusively with 16's. 
     
    However, the comments are helpful and I think when I get either the HD800's or LCD2's down the line, the SR71B will come in handy. Seems like a pretty 
    awesome product from what everyone is saying. 
     
    I have a bunch of Beatles, Stones, Zeppelin, Michael Jackson and other remasters and I will def post a detailed review on the Solo + Mk2 + 16's next week. 
     
    Thanks! 
     
    Anthony
     
     
  11. Severanth
    @ Jalo and dj nellie
     
    Ref SR-71B being good with IEM's.    Thanks guys now I have to add custom IEM's and balanced cable for them to my wish list lol.  Really appreciate having others put me right.  What being on this forum is all about cheers.  
     
    Tonyflo  welcome to the world of better audio look forward to reading some impressions on your new kit. enjoy :)
     
     

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