thumb drive sized mobile amp (only amp) for LGv30
Nov 16, 2019 at 5:39 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 6

cc chabba

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hi there,
I am looking for a thumb drive sized amp to connect to my LG V30.
Amp only, line in-line out-3,5mm unbalanced - not a DAC/Amp - of course it needs its own battery which makes thumb drive size possibly difficult.
could not find anything fitting that description ( only a 15 euro piece @ amazon with a "HiFi" label, doesnt look convincing, don´t know) .- anybody knows if such a device is out there? - thumb drive size please
(maybe this question/thread already exists - sorry, could not find - I did look)

I think the DAC in the LG V30 ( which I use as DAP only with UAPP) does a "good enough for me" job, however the power output being a phone (whichever mode) is simply lacking for a lot of headphones, ( no complaints with the Meze 99 classics, sound totally engaging ... but I tested the Denon 9200 and DT1770 with the V30.. quite obviously, they just need more current) and I would like to keep the usb port unoccupied for charging @Long travels and not fiddle with double connector cables and OTG working or not on the V30.. ( the #9038D might change my mind, but haven´t found it to buy in EU)

Thanks a lot - and Yes, I am new here and certainly not an expert on anything- just love listening to music that sounds good
 
Nov 16, 2019 at 9:29 AM Post #2 of 6

PaganDL

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Hi @cc chabba,

I suggest trying the Periodic Audio Nickel, it should be small enough for you & is currently on sale on the Periodic Audio website.

Another very small amp which sounds even better but is definitely more costly is Ray Samuels Shadow.

Feel free to ask me any questions about either as I have & use both frequently though personally I don't use either amp mentioned on the go as my DAP is more than powerful enough on its own but I do bring either amp when I go for demos & need a little more than my DAP can provide which is very rare.

Hope this helps.

Hope you have a great day !
 
Nov 16, 2019 at 12:18 PM Post #3 of 6

cc chabba

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Hi @PaganDL,
Thanks for the response, greatly appreciated --- yeah, these two devices are what I was thinking of, although I would prefer smaller, (i.e. dragonfly size) I kind of expected that this size would be a bare minimum size for something that holds a battery to power an amp.
I have never heard of these companies, something new - thanks for that.
being in the EU bears the problem;
Ray Samuels ( I really liked the homepage) has no distribution setup in EU (shipment from US usually means the person at my door with the package in hand wants another XXX amount of money for tax and toll or whatever ... so) also looking through ebay, hifishark etc, nothing in EU
Periodic does a bit more distribution in EU.. I found one item in UK .. so maybe. ( I do find it a bit pricy at 300, need to think a bit :wink:

you mind me asking which DAP you use? .. ( I tried some before I decided to go for a used LG V30.. the LG came mainly because I wanted to have a functional android system, for all streaming apps and the media player software I want and an SD card slot that takes 500gb and more)
cheerio THX
 
Nov 16, 2019 at 1:26 PM Post #4 of 6

PaganDL

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Hi @cc chabba,

No problem, happy to help.

Unfortunately, there's not much out there which is smaller though Ni is smaller than Dragonfly & honestly the Dragonfly ain't great sonically & the size itself is questionable in design.
While I haven't tried them, iBasso has dongle style DAC amps in the same vein (DC 02, I believe) & by all reports are pretty high level spec for a ridiculously affordable price.
Plus, I am old school with sound, subjectively & personally, only good sound is generally from pro gear & most of my main audio gear reflects that.
I have been using a DAC via an audio interface far longer than what most general consumers call DACs...

Anyway, back to topic...

I am in a similar boat, I am outside the US & Europe, so most things which are actually good are either hard to get, pricey to ridiculously expensive or usually both...
Current exchange rate averages 1.5 to 1.8 in my local currency so no fun & I feel your pain...
Also, in line with this, more often than not, usually no demos are available though it is good some companies & retailers have trial options though on customer end you have to be prepared to pay return shipping if it doesn't suit which isn't always ideal but can be a worthwhile risk.

Periodic Audio used to have more distribution in Europe, I would send them email to clarify options or PM or email the head man himself, his details can be found on any Periodic Audio thread on headfi.

Ray Samuels is a direct to consumer so unless your courier, DHL or FedEx is reliable, I would forgo, that's even before the taxes kick in.
Just email him for a quote to confirm then you can work out all relevant local taxes & custom fees.
Honestly, the Shadow's battery lasts longer per charge (average is 72 hours equivalent), so if you don't use it, hardly drains by itself at all & sonically is vastly superior as it does a few more things in circuit than the Ni, not to mention the noise floor is dead silent for running sensitive IEMs but can still power high impedence headphones too no problem.

You might be disappointed in my main DAP or DAPs, I switch between Cowon Plenue D & D2, sometimes switching it up with Plenue R so no streaming functionality at all & it also uses an almost old school custom Linux UI.
Really hard to beat Cowon Sound, especially on both Ds & their battery life puts a lot of other DAPs, even the no frills ones to shame.
The only more recent DAP I have with more features is the Shangling M0 but that is more for BT functionality than anything else if I don't want to use my phone's BT which isn't Apple by the way though BT isn't my go to or most 'modern' functions.

Hope this helps & answers some questions, feel free to ask more if you need.

Hope you have a great day !
 
Nov 16, 2019 at 3:35 PM Post #5 of 6

cc chabba

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yes the Ray Samuels kind of "speaks to me" .. don´t know why, it looks like a device I would enjoy and I totally believe you that sound wise its a good thing ... but in reality, its a bit too bulky and big when stuck to the LG for what I need it.. portable in my pocket! .. so, it would likely lie around at home because i am not bothered to pocket the whole bundle..

disappointed at your DAPs ?? you kidding.. always liked the Cowons, ... exactly the ones you have D and D2 - they are totally under-represented here in Austria, you can get the D- D2 of some online stores, but thats about it, for the other ones you need to scavenge online stores.... I can totally live with no streaming capabilities, have enough music myself ( better no Wifi with a simple OS - than claiming it does everything but in reality it is a nightmare to get it done- just saying FiiO) - what kept me of buying a D2 was the SDcard slot - dont remember 128?, 256? max - just not enough, I dont want to run different libraries of my music..
I tried FiiO ( M6 , X5)... did not like the sound at all.. I seriously preferred my old ipod with the Wolfsson DAC, much better... and the useability of the FiiOs?? - horrible OS and UI, ridicolous, a nightmare.

I also had the activo ct10 and pioneer xdp300 on my list, you ever tried these? you seem to have gone through a lot of equipment, I am rather new to getting into headphones, .. always had a decent system at home for whatever media, but headphones... my old ipod, my old AKGs- i was happy - I guess things change .. but I am totally going off topic here,
it is super nice chatting with you though while listening to some Ben Harper :wink:
have a good evening.. it is 9:30pm where I am
 
Nov 17, 2019 at 12:58 AM Post #6 of 6

PaganDL

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yes the Ray Samuels kind of "speaks to me" .. don´t know why, it looks like a device I would enjoy and I totally believe you that sound wise its a good thing ... but in reality, its a bit too bulky and big when stuck to the LG for what I need it.. portable in my pocket! .. so, it would likely lie around at home because i am not bothered to pocket the whole bundle..

disappointed at your DAPs ?? you kidding.. always liked the Cowons, ... exactly the ones you have D and D2 - they are totally under-represented here in Austria, you can get the D- D2 of some online stores, but thats about it, for the other ones you need to scavenge online stores.... I can totally live with no streaming capabilities, have enough music myself ( better no Wifi with a simple OS - than claiming it does everything but in reality it is a nightmare to get it done- just saying FiiO) - what kept me of buying a D2 was the SDcard slot - dont remember 128?, 256? max - just not enough, I dont want to run different libraries of my music..
I tried FiiO ( M6 , X5)... did not like the sound at all.. I seriously preferred my old ipod with the Wolfsson DAC, much better... and the useability of the FiiOs?? - horrible OS and UI, ridicolous, a nightmare.

I also had the activo ct10 and pioneer xdp300 on my list, you ever tried these? you seem to have gone through a lot of equipment, I am rather new to getting into headphones, .. always had a decent system at home for whatever media, but headphones... my old ipod, my old AKGs- i was happy - I guess things change .. but I am totally going off topic here,
it is super nice chatting with you though while listening to some Ben Harper :wink:
have a good evening.. it is 9:30pm where I am


As said, @cc chabba,

Even though I have both min head amps, I hardly use them for various reasons as all my other gear, for on the go & at home listening makes it largely unnecessary.

I figured it be unlikely you be disappointed in my DAPs but then didn't know your preferences so it was tricky to gauge.
In truth, Cowon is under represented everywhere as unless they have a good distributor like where I am who also deals in direct sales, in regular retail, they generally don't exist as their direct customer service isn't the best unless one has a good distributor to smooth the way.

Honestly, just get the D & you will be more than happy, you don't need the D2, as aside from the dual DAC chips & slightly lower noise floor, sonically, there is no difference plus you lose slightly over half the D's battery life to run those dual DACs.
I rather have 100 hrs battery life but 45 hrs ain't bad, one only loses about average half a day to a day from 4 days.
If you concerned about overall file size if you using a Hi Res format, just use .ogg & you will be more than fine as Hi Res formats tend to be a load of BS.
I cart around my entire library & I have over 1500 songs.

The only Fiio I have liked though don't really want to own but demo extensively are the M7 & M11 Pro but sonically, M7 is a downgrade & M11 Pro sounds too similar to either D Series which is kind of ridiculous since the M11 Pro has the THX chip.
Also, like you, not a fan of UIs on Fiio, the M11 Pro is definitely like an oversensitive smart phone which is ridiculously dumb as all one needs to do is basically accidentally hover a finger over a track & said track will play.

Activo C10 was fun to demo & play with, reminded me of the high tier AK DAPs sonically but without the ridiculous price tag.
Never got to try the XDP 300 a Pioneer isn't available where I am.
After AK Super Junior, never wanted to touch AK ever again.
In all honesty, Cowon Sound makes it hard to try anything else & the D Series battery life no other manufacturer can come close to competing with.

I haven't gone through much equipment really & I have more audio gear, mostly pro gear, which isn't listed.
Unless I am on the go or at night, I tend to listen to speakers which is set up more like an array in pesudo surround which definitely beats most if not all easily assembled surround packages on the market.

Hope you have a great day !
 

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