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Transparent, portable amp

  1. xk.a
    I am researching the market for amp options. My requirements are minimal:

    - Portable
    - Can power one pair of 250 Ohm impedance headphones
    - Totally transparent (I will use it for monitoring purposes in audio production)

    To keep the price low, nothing apart from these three requirements is needed. What could you recommend among existing products?

    I've looked at Fiio A5 and wondering if something cheaper exists.

    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019
  2. serman005
    I am not personally aware of anything significantly cheaper than the A5 that will really, really drive your 250-ohm headphones--maybe someone else is. The A5 is in my view such a good value cost to performance that it is really hard to beat. Good luck on your search.
  3. Magicman74
    I'd avoid the A5, it's not really good sounding and not transparent. It's slightly warm with bloated bass (One of the worst bass boost as well)
    Look into a Topping NX3s or NX5 if you can swing around $125 for the 5. The NX3s is my pick at $60 or so. The NX5 is slightly cleaner and just a tad better in the bass but not twice the price, IMO. Both are MUCH better then the A5. There is a youtube review of the NX5 vs the A5..The kid is spot on!!!

    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
  4. xk.a
    I find this review suspicious. Based on everything I've read so far, it's the only review that painted A5 in such a dramatically negative light. I've even seen measurements that showed A5 is remarkably flat and neutral, and the measured THD is negligible, so it's very strange that in his opinion it's coloured and warm.
    About A5's bass boost, as I said in my original post, it is an irrelevant feature for my needs.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
  5. Law87
    too bad jds lab stop making their C5D, it was THE dac/amp for beginner, you might wanna email JDS Lab to see if they have any left in stock.
  6. yong_shun
    I think you can still find C5 at some of the store. I manage to get one from ConnectIT in Singapore. It is a good choice. Else A5 can do the job for you!
  7. bzippy
    Another JDS C5 user/lover here. Still using mine almost daily in fact, and haven't even thought about getting a different portable. I went through a few offerings from FiiO and Cayin before I landed on the C5. It's a real shame they don't make them anymore but I bet you could find a decent deal on a used one. (though it might be hard to find someone willing to part with it)
  8. surfgeorge
    Portable, transparent and powerful makes me think of the Chord Mojo
  9. yong_shun
    I don't find Mojo transparent tho. I find it is a little warmer and musical. Personal opinion :)
  10. surfgeorge
    Yeah, always personal flavor and opinion :beerchug:
    If transparent = sparkly and airy detail emphasis then I agree. If it‘s about hearing nearly all details in a very natural and smooth way, then I am thinking of the Mojo.
    But good point to clarify that!

    There was also the question about soundstage and references. I have heard a few DACs but TBH not nearly as many as others here. What completely blew me away though was the comparison to my €4K Stereo DAC. The Mojo was sooooo much better in separation and soundstage that I immediately got a used 2qute. On the stereo system I can heat concert hall deep soundstage and it stays organized even in the busiest passages of Orchester music.

    With HP and IEMs of course a matter of their capabilities.

    But I was thinking maybe for mixing not ideal because it is quite different from conventional DACs. So a mix done with Mojo might not be perfect with conventional HW
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
  11. buke9
    I also agree the Mojo is on the warm side as I love it with my HD-800’s. The OP was also looking for a amp and the Mojo doesn’t have Analog inputs so doubt that will work for them and were looking for something cheaper than a Fiio A5.
  12. surfgeorge
    My bad! I had understood it as DAC/Amp. Over and out! :deadhorse:
  13. yong_shun
    It manages to tame the beast in HD800s and make it more approachable
  14. buke9
    I don’t think they are a beast at all just one of the best headphones out there not the best but sure are very very good.
  15. yong_shun
    I agreed with this :)
    buke9 likes this.

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