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Help me find a portable headphone amp or dac/amp...please :)

Discussion in 'Audio, Video & Home Theater' started by WhiteNoise, Jun 11, 2014.

  1. WhiteNoise

    WhiteNoise

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    I need this mainly to be used with my Nokia 1020 but also my Asus 701K tablet. I'm not sure if I should go with a portable amp or a portable dac/amp combo.
    Also I'm not sure what to buy. I don't want to spend a lot of money. Say no more that $150 USD maybe $170 if I need to stretch a bit.
    I'm looking for something with a good amount of power to push an assortment of cans. I would like something with really good sq.
    My current headphones and earbuds consist of:
    Cans:
    Audeze LCD-2 Rev 2 Fazor
    Sennheiser HD595
    Harman Kardon Harkar CL
    Grado 325is
    Sony MDR XB700
    Sony Pulse Elite (Headset/mic)
    Buds:
    Sony MDR-XB60EX
    Sony MDR-EX85LP
    Sennheiser CX-200
    Any ideas?
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2014
  2. SaltyFish

    SaltyFish

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  3. OneMoar

    OneMoar

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  4. WhiteNoise

    WhiteNoise

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    I picked up a new Nuforce MMP for $32.55 out the door.
    I also picked up a Fiio E12.

    Gonna test these two out and see which one I prefer. I can't return the MMP because I won it on ebay but the Fiio E12 I can return if I'm not happy with it. If I like both I'll keep both.

    I looked at several amps tonight and almost bought two additional amps: PA2V2 and JDS Labs C5. I'm still considering the C5 as I've read some good reviews on it.
  5. WhiteNoise

    WhiteNoise

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    Received my amps today! Tried out the MMP first and though I wasn't expecting much I was pleasantly surprised that it amps as loud as it does. My Nokia 1020 gets much louder now and even sounds a bit better. A little cleaner.

    I then charged and tried out the Fiio E12 and this little amp knocked my socks off. My phone is seriously louder and cleaner sounding. This amp really is amazing considering how small it is (smaller than my phone) and running my Grado 325i via this amp...wow, the Grado comes alive! This is a real winner.

    I'll keep the MMP only because it does make my cans louder and it is so small that I can see myself using this on a regular basis. It really doesn't compare to the E12 in any way shape or form but it's still a cool little amp.

    [​IMG]
  6. WhiteNoise

    WhiteNoise

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    well I think I'm the only one following this thread but I figured I should at least finish it on a high note.

    I took ownership of my new headphone amp today: Project Ember. Its awesome.

    [​IMG]

    And i also bought a new set of cans to go with it: Audeze LCD2 Rev2
    Vario says thanks.
  7. HammerON

    HammerON The Watchful Moderator Staff Member

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    Where did you buy the amp and how much (if you don't mind me asking:)).
    Crunching for Team TPU
  8. OneMoar

    OneMoar

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  9. WhiteNoise

    WhiteNoise

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    The guys over at Garage1217 are very helpful and informative. They take customer service to an entirely new level.

    I bought the Ember (built) with a supercharger add on. Out the door I spent $380.97

    But they offer other amps for less money. $380 is a good deal considering the quality of this unit and performance. You can spend a lot more and get less for sure.
    HammerON says thanks.
  10. WhiteNoise

    WhiteNoise

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    Been playing with the amp and new headphones past couple of days and I'm totally blown away with this kit.

    [​IMG]
    Easy Rhino and BumbleBee say thanks.
  11. goldenpaper New Member

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  12. BumbleBee

    BumbleBee

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    I thought those Hybrid kits were only $100? paid a bit too much.
  13. WhiteNoise

    WhiteNoise

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    You know nothing BumbleBee

    That was my north of the wall accent. j/k

    Mine is not DIY. Mine was made by the company that sells them and you can spend way over $100 for even DIY kits that are higher end. I didn't overspend. These amps use the best parts and perform beautifully.
  14. BumbleBee

    BumbleBee

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    nevermind. i'm thinking of the Bravo V2 I saw on Massdrop not too long ago. you can buy kits and boards similar to Bravo and Project Ember off eBay from China.

    The Schiit Lyr 2 is also a Hybrid and features a Mosfet/Tube design, Alps Blue Velvet pot, linear power supply and gain/impedance switch on the back. I think it's a better design :banghead:

    Audeze LCD-2 headphones are pretty good tho :oops:

    I upgraded to the LCD-3.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014
  15. WhiteNoise

    WhiteNoise

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    Well I would have to demo the Lyr 2 to be able to argue one way or the other. I would think you'd have to do the same with both these amps.
    I have been into audio since the 1970's and I think I know what good equipment sounds like and the Ember is very pleasing. Not to mention the Ember can roll way more tubes. Like a lot more than the Lyr 2. I prefer 12v tubes and the Lyr 2 can't run those. Features such as: Auto Bias, auto heater selection, 3 output resistance settings, adjustable gain, plus more. It may not pump out 6watts but it pumps out more than enough for most any headphone including the LCD-2 & LCD-3, HE-500, HE-6 etc...

    As for the LCD-3 well hell yeah it's better. It should be at double the price. lol I think I'm good with my 1k cans. I also think my wife would kill me if I spent 2k just on cans. In the past two weeks I have spent $2500. or more. Have to look at receipts.



    Tubes that can be rolled with the Ember as of now:

    Tubes / Valves that can be used in Project Ember
    6V TUBES:
    6922
    7308
    8223
    6AQ8
    6DJ8
    6N1P
    6H23
    6H23N
    6L12
    6N11
    6N23
    B719 Cca
    CV2492
    CV2493
    CV5358
    E88CC
    E89CC,
    E188CC
    E189CC
    E288CC
    ECC85
    ECC88
    ECC89
    ECC188
    ECC189
    ECC288
    ECC289
    JAN 7308

    12V TUBES:
    5751
    5814
    5814A
    5963
    6189
    6201
    6681
    7025
    7058
    7729
    6L13
    12AD7
    12AT7
    12AV7
    12AU7
    12AX7
    12DF7
    12DM7
    12DT7
    A2900
    B152
    B309
    B329
    B339
    B749
    CV0455
    CV0491
    CV0492
    CV4024
    E181CC
    E183CC
    E283CC
    E811CC
    E812CC
    E813CC
    E2157
    E2163
    E2164
    ECC81
    ECC82
    ECC83
    ECC181
    ECC182
    ECC182
    ECC801
    ECC803
    ECC803S
    E81CC
    E82CC
    E83CC

    Plus more....
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014
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  16. BumbleBee

    BumbleBee

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    The Audeze LCD-3 are not a good value proposition.

    most amplifiers have these features.

    buy a proper tube amplifier like the La Figaro 339 if you want to roll tubes.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2014
  17. WhiteNoise

    WhiteNoise

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    Why can't I use my Ember amp if I want to roll tubes? And what makes the Ember amp not a proper amp as well? Have you used one before? Because if you have not then you really are just talking out of your ass.


    As for most amps having these features that's not really true in this price bracket.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014
  18. -1nf1n1ty-

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    My vote goes toooooooo......http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A2QM5O6/?tag=tec06d-20

    Littledot! I hear nothing but great things about it. the Schiit Modi and Magni combos are just a great value although its 200, I haven't heard anything negative about them (maybe waiting till you get the extra cash to grab it?) the FiiO E9 and E7 or E17 makes a good combo as well although I heard ups and downs about that one. Someone mentioned nuforce in hear. I heard they were awesome but still got a lowish score on head fi I guess I should read more into it.

    But if you're using it for portable devices you might as well get a portable amp FiiO has good portables for a pretty cheap price but that also depends on your headphones.
  19. WhiteNoise

    WhiteNoise

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    Maybe if you read through this thread you would know that I already own a headphone amp now as well as a portable one too. lol
  20. BumbleBee

    BumbleBee

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    Project Ember is not an OTL or TC Tube amplifier, it's just a cheap hybrid like the HiFiMAN EF5 which I have checked out.
  21. WhiteNoise

    WhiteNoise

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    So you have used the Ember? And consider it cheap? Unless you have used the amp..I stick by my statement. I bought this as strictly a headphone amp. It works very well for this use. It can be used as a preamp but that is not what it was intended for.

    It is a hybrid. I didn't say it wasn't. Head over to http://diyah.boards.net/ and discuss it with the creater. Maybe he would like your input since you seem to know so much about it.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014
  22. HammerON

    HammerON The Watchful Moderator Staff Member

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    All right folks. Ease-up a bit.
    Crunching for Team TPU
  23. WhiteNoise

    WhiteNoise

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    No problem. I was getting a bit hot there. :)

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