It’s off to the races again. This time, ALO have suited up their youngest and most exciting audiophile offspring, The International. This amp features at 24/96kHz USB DAC, discrete analogue/digital sections, a powerful battery, extremely low noise floor, and the must-have feature of the decade: balanced input and output. With all that under the bonnet, you can be sure this youngster will turn heads as it swishes by.
Triad Audio’s L3 is one of the biggest battery-powered carry-around headphone amps that TMA has gone over. The other, MST’s FiQuest, is a champion of customisation and performance. While not nearly as customisable as the FiQuest, the L3 commutes from HiFi component to road warrior with less hassle. It is also one of the handsomest large amps this audio fool has seen.
Tralucent Audio came out of nowhere. Their unique 1Plus2 earphone began stirring up Headfi a few months ago; other audio forums have followed suit. Startlingly less uproarious is their excellent T1 amplifier, a 250$ piece of aluminium, solder, and bolts, that thumbs its nose at many a +400$ amp. It’s a pretty little thing, sporting a black coat, thick walls, good ergonomics, and an audio drive
train that is as strong as it is resilient.
Two years ago, boutique manufacturer MST rocked headfi by teaming up with iBasso to create what was arguably the highest quality portable amplifier on the market. Getting one required some patience as MST are a small outfit with a few employees. Their FiQuest, which has been upgraded in the year 2012, is better than ever. In this review, TouchMyApps will be looking at two versions, plus a small optical DAC.
About two months ago, the particulars of the Sony PHA-1 were leaked to the internet. About the same time, I suffered the second of what would become three intense bouts with an active stomach ulcer. In my circles, both made news. I’d would have to set up endless appointments with doctors that would cancel trips, meals, would-be drunken stumbling along busy Japanese streets; more importantly, however, the world of high-end portable audio had hit the mainstream. Sony stepped into the ring.
I have high blood pressure. I get excited easily. For my weight and height, I have a large bum. Fortunately, after applying minus 6 and minus 5 contacts to my eyes, my vision is good – I can tell a masterpiece when I see it. I’m certainly not one. The ALO National is. But for the mistake of ending early, so is its forebear: the Continental V1 nearly is, too. The Continental V2 makes the grade, too. It shares most of The National’s good stuff and brings to the table a sound all its own.
Last month, Musica Acoustics had me photograph their new MyST 1866, a portable DAC unit from MyCroft that Dimitri was very excited about. The lad is almost always lost for words about cool new things, so I patted him on the shoulder and took the unit to my office. I shot the thing. I turned it on and off. I listened to it. Then I emailed Dimitri and threatened a review.
Okay, apes, it’s time to toss bones to the firmament. It’s time to beat on your mates and rip sinews from the teeth of angry panthers. Evolution’s catching us up again. This time, however, it’s the Germans, not Americans, who are pressing us to the edge of the audiophile solar system. The eponymous VorzAMP has its sights and prices set high, and has been the cause of an infatuated uproar among Japanese audiophiles for quite a turn. I think you will agree with them that you don’t need a Discovery-sized headphone amp to blast off toward Jupiter. The lovely fräulein, VorzAMP, is beautiful to hold, behold, and listen to.
There’s nothing wrong with cheap. I eat cheap. I wear cheap. I make cheap jokes. And for the longest time, Jaben shipped mainly cheap amps to my cohort: the masses, God bless ‘em. But Jaben have gotten off that kick. They’ll ring the charity bells in another season. Today is the day of the Porta Tube+ valve headphone amp/DAC for your iPad/Mac, a delightful machine for bourgeois ears, and sound fit for a king.
The name of that kingdom? GoVibe.
After having created perfection in the Rx, ALO are free to experiment. Their first experiment, The Continental, is quite a hit, especially as it packs valves under the bonnet for a truly classical sort of listen. But as ALO explain, the use of limited valves means that the Continental has a shorter time on this planet. Enter The National, an amp that they reckon is the answer to the Continental. I can tell you right now: The National is a single box that can fill the void of both portable and living room headphone amp.