If a headphone amp/dac combination product like the Firestone Fireye II is unique — and a good buy at 115$–, the 190$ Travagan’s Red which powers both headphones and sensitive speakers is the jackalope. Understated in matte black with a Rudolf-red volume and pot, it fits beautifully next to any desktop audio/video rig, computer, or in the living room, but understated it most certainly is not. Its lively, punchy sound has become one of my favourites, and for the comparatively small wallet bite, is sure to leave bite marks all over the competition.
ALO, a name highly respected for the manufacturing of hi-end audio interconnects and iPod line-out cables has firmly stepped into the world of analogue headphone amplifiers. Already, they have partnered with Red Wine Audio to produce the high-end solid state battery-powered Amphora headphone amp, and now, partnered with GR9 Technologies, are introducing the Rx, which in their own words, is your ‘prescription for sound’. I say, ‘touché’.
With all the latest audio wizardry coming from smaller, boutique manufacturers, it isn’t surprising when one of the world’s largest headphone companies jumps into the fray with new headphone amplifiers. Audio Technica will debut the made-for-iPod AT-PHA3i in the spring of 2010 and the more traditional AT-PHA10 on 11 December, 2009.
ALO’s new design isn’t just a beautiful face, it has several exciting improvements under the bonnet. One of course, is that it sports dual lithium batteries in a dual-charging circuit, meaning lots of power, and if I am hearing what I think I am hearing, sustained bass output. For inner earphone users, the Rx sports the world’s first production-level dual-stepped attenuating circuit, meaning that even at low volume levels, the signal remains perfectly balanced. ALO’s new amp is charging now, but preliminary listens have revealed that this amp’s crisp midrange and bass is a hell of a good pair for electronic music. Look for our review in mid-late November.
ALO’s now infamous Cryo Dock, too, will get a goodly write up along with the offerings from another unique company: Twisted Cables which is the brainchild of Headfier Qusp and for Australians, a matter of national pride!
To get your hands on one, visit ALO’s Rx webpage.
TMA have been following the production of this amp from its ‘top secret’ days until it was publicly introduced at the Rocky Mountain Audio Festival.
If you have been waiting for our review, look no further: ALO Rx Headphone amp in Review: Double the battery, double the fun.
In a follow-up to last month’s review of the Fireye I headphone amplifier review, TMA will continue our look at Firestone products with the unique Fireye II USB/DAC headphone amplifier. Unlike the Fireye I, this unit does not accept analogue inputs and it is not a stand-alone amp; it functions 100% from USB ports as a plug and play audio device, and thankfully has a manual volume pot for volume attenuation. Its specific function is to create a clean audio signal for headphone listening from a computer, a job which it does quite well.
A couple of months ago, TMA had the unique opportunity to post early specs and spy shots of Audio Line Out’s new amplifier, the ALO Rx. Well, the amp is out now, and available for purchase at 345$. As illustrated in the photos below, it is a slim thing of beauty. But, adding to the fire are some preliminary reports that this amp does indeed sound good. It comes in a variety of colours and sports sophisticated circuitry, some of which hasn’t been seen before in a production headphone amp. TMA’s review of the ALO is done.
More pictures and specs after the gap.
Taiwan’s Firestone Audio is known for creating high-quality amplifier and digital-to-analogue products at reasonable prices. One of their constants is the use of sturdy construction materials and methods, a design decision which guarantees the longevity of their products. The Fireye 1 is an impressively constructed headphone amplifier which has a couple of unique features that will help you enjoy music and movies from your your iPod, laptop, or larger, hifi source.
Since Sony’s re-imagining of the portable cassette player, portable audio has seen a huge upswing in popularity; a popularity which has among other things, created a new monster: the portable audiophile. This new breed of hi-end user demands the best sound quality for on-the-go listening, a problem which is only mostly satiated by purchasing a good headphone like Earsonics’ SM2. A higher quality headphone is the most immediate upgrade a portable audiophile can experience, but often, is the gateway drug to real audio debauchery.
Audio Line Out (ALO), based in Oregon, USA, are masters of audio art. Their cables and line-out docks are among the best-built in the industry. Ken, ALO’s head, is always busy with some new project and this time, he is targeting the budding iPhone audiophile market with a top-secret new headphone amplifier – an amp whose spy-shots fell into my hands and whose final product will come to TMA for review! Following the break are a few details about the project.