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

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#1
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 325i
Sony MDR XB700
Sony Pulse Elite (Headset/mic)
Buds:
Sony MDR-XB60EX
Sony MDR-EX85LP
Sennheiser CX-200
Any ideas?
 
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#2

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#4
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.
 
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#5
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.

 
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#6
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.



And i also bought a new set of cans to go with it: Audeze LCD2 Rev2
 

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#7
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.



And i also bought a new set of cans to go with it: Audeze LCD2 Rev2
Where did you buy the amp and how much (if you don't mind me asking:)).
 

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#8
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#9
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.
 
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#10
Been playing with the amp and new headphones past couple of days and I'm totally blown away with this kit.

 
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#12
I thought those Hybrid kits were only $100? paid a bit too much.
 
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#13
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.
 
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#14
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.
 
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#15
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....
 
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#16
The Audeze LCD-3 are not a good value proposition.

  • Auto bias. Simply plug in a tube from a long list of 6 & 12V dual triodes and it will bias itself
  • Bias continuously adjusts itself so ageing of a tube is constantly corrected, within limits of course
  • Auto heater selection. Plug and play with a 6 or 12V tube and the heater voltage arrangement will be automatically set
  • Startup protection circuit with thermal shutdown
most amplifiers have these features.

buy a proper tube amplifier like the La Figaro 339 if you want to roll tubes.
 
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#17
buy a proper tube amplifier like the La Figaro 339 if you want to roll tubes.
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.
 
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#18
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.
 
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#19
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.
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
 
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#20
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.
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.
 
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#21
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.
 
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#22
All right folks. Ease-up a bit.
 
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#23
No problem. I was getting a bit hot there. :)
 
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Audio Device(s) Creative Sound Blaster ZX > Pagoda DAC > multiple amps
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#24
Well I am at a point now that I think I'm done; I'm pretty sure I'm done with my headphone stack. I went from portable to desk system and I couldn't be happier with my results.

My latest and final piece of the puzzle arrived last week: MHDT Labs Pagoda DAC. This thing needs at least 30 days to burn in but after 20 hours or so I can say that I'm very impressed with this DAC. This is the second DAC I've bought in the last two months but it will remain in my stack for a very long time.



 
Joined
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#25
I thought the Stockholm V2 was the flagship. looks like a nice D/A converter :)

I came close to buying an Eastern Electric Minimax Plus




the button labeled "Tube" on the Front lets you change the output stage from Tube to Solid State on the fly (really cool feature)
 
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