Electric Avenues PA2V2

pa2v2_01

I’ve been doing a lot of reviews on portable amps under the $100 price tag, starting from the JDSLabs which I found to be very good for the price. One of the comments on the JDSLabs article was how the Cmoy-based JDSLabs amp compare to Electric Avenues’ PA2V2. The PA2V2 is one of those old amp that has been around forever, and yet I’ve never really had the chance to audition it. Since none my headphone friends don’t seem to care about the PA2V2, I never really thought to give the PA2V2 a try. But in the process of gathering a bunch of sub $100 portable amps for a shoot-out, I decided to include the PA2V2, an amp that has gained a solid name throughout the years.

Long story short, the amplifier is now here, and listening to how excellent music sounds from the PA2V2 amp, I begin to question myself: “Why do you even bother spending $200 and up for an amp, if such an excellent amplification can be had for merely $60?” Indeed within the little black hammond box that enclose the PA2V2 amp and a rather quirky knobs and layout, is a sound that rivals the musicality of many of the more expensive amplifiers in the market. The overall sound is very clean, the treble sparkly and clear with no harshness, and with a superb PRaT factor — perhaps one of the best PRaT I’ve heard out of the portable amp.

While I don’t doubt the logic behind the PA2V2’s design, as a whole, the enclosure design is a bit outdated. Perhaps this is one of the reason that people are hesitant to bring up the PA2V2 in discussions. But having reviewed almost all the major portable amps out there, I do wonder why a google search doesn’t yield an appreciation thread or some sort in Head-Fi for the PA2V2. It’s also pretty shocking to see one guy recommending the Fiio E5 over the PA2V2, as the two are not even in the same league. I would easily put the PA2V2 at the top of the sub $100 portable amps, as it is simply phenomenal for the price, and it would easily rival a lot of members of the Usual Suspects in pure musicality.

The enclosure dimension is a bit ackward, being square and quite thick.

 

Simple amplifier circuitry powered by two AA batteries. Every build comes with a serial number, and mine is dated May 20th, 2011, with a serial number of 8719.

 

The sound signature of the PA2V2 is quite straightforward from top to bottom frequencies. The presentation is forward and engaging, similar to how the Sennheiser HD25-1 is voiced. The bass may not be the most powerful, but every punch is very tight and the PRaT factor is awesome. The mids are quite linear with not much coloration. The treble is clean and lively. Paired with the Sennheiser HD25-1 headphone, the PA2V2 makes one of the most awesome portable headphone set up for Rock. Whatever energy was in the recording is either translated fully, or even boosted to a certain degree to make the experience even more intense. It’s quite different from the darker sounding Soundmagic A-10 or the warm and mellower sounding JDSLabs Cmoy. In all, it’s a very fun and musical sound signature, and definitely very addictive especially if you’re a Rock fan.

This is the front faceplate. Translucent red, with a led behind the faceplate as a power indicator. There is an on/off toggle switch with a DC power adapter jack beneath it, and two 3.5mm jacks for input and output.

 

The amplifier is based on the LM4881 op-amp.

 

During the time of the review I had so much fun with the PA2V2 that I begin to wonder how it would compare relatively to the newer and more expensive portable amps, and so I compared it to the Ibasso PB-2 amplifier. The Ibasso clearly is more detailed, feels more open, and has a better frequency extension — those are undeniable. So in an A-B test situation, there is probably no chance for the PA2V2 to come up on top of the Ibasso, which carries a pricetag 5x more expensive than the PA2V2. Since the PB-2’s technicalities fall roughly in the middle line in the Usual Suspects review, I can roughly conclude that most of the $300 and up amps would trounce the PA2V2 in terms of technicalities. That means, higher detail level, bigger soundstage, and a more linear, more extended frequency response curve than what you’d get with a budget amp like the PA2V2.

During day to day listening, however, I wonder if that difference in technicalities will be significant enough to justify the pricetag (and to think that the PB2 is not the most expensive portable amp out there). I know that I’ve enjoyed simple amplifiers like the JDSLabs Cmoy just as much as I’ve enjoyed listening to a Zana Deux or a Beta22, and likewise I’ve enjoyed music just as much during the course of this review, with a simple PA2V2 + Sennheiser HD25-1, or PA2V2 + Audio Technica M-50 as I do with the set up I use for the Usual Suspects review.

It’s not the best amp for the HD800, but it does a good job driving it. Clean and free of any distortions and colorations.

 

I’ve heard many good things about Gary, the man behind Electric Avenues. Perhaps all of the customers who’ve bought the PA2V2 from him mentions one thing in common, that Gary is a very warm and friendly guy that will take time to answer any questions you may have about the amplifier. I’ve also experienced the same thing during my communication with Gary in getting this review together, and I think he truly lives to his reputation. However, I am more impressed at the business approach that Gary takes with Electric Avenues and the PA2V2 amplifier. Where all the other amplifier manufacturers race to introduce new models every year, Gary seems to be content with only offering the PA2V2 amplifier, along with the AmpliRider, an amplifier designed for motorcyclist. For sure it is a decision that I respect very much, as the PA2V2 happens to be a very musical and mature amplifier that plays music very well. This amplifier has gone through many revisions during the years, a far contrast than many of the products that is rushed into the market these days. The build is rock solid, and little things like the Bourns analog potentiometer and the decision to use rechargeable AA batteries makes the amp very enjoyable to use. I think a thinner built PA2V2 would be welcome. I also had fun using the PA2V2 with my JH16Pro, though there is channel imbalance when the potentiometer is set on very low volumes, it was gone at my regular listening volume and I thoroughly enjoyed the pairing with the JH16.

Browsing around the Electric Avenues’ website Archives, I can see myself being a proud owner of a PA2V2 amp, along with thousands of other owners that have bought the PA2V2 before me. This amp definitely deserves its cult status. If you’ve been wanting to get a portable amp but has been discouraged at the prices, I’d highly recommend getting the PA2V2 for a start. If you’ve been collecting many of the higher end amps, it would also be interesting to see how the PA2V2 compares to those higher end amps. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed at its performance.

You can learn more about the PA2V2 amplifier at the Electric Avenues website: www.electric-avenues.com.


pa2v2_06 pa2v2_05 pa2v2_04 pa2v2_03 pa2v2_02 pa2v2_01

Electric Avenues PA2V2
3.5 (70%) 2 votes

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108 Comments

  • Reply June 10, 2011

    harsya

    mike, I’ve been eye-ing this amp for a long time, but havent really got a chance to buy purchase it since Ive never really done any international transaction, so I dont know how to get it.. since I live in Indonesia as you are, can you tell me the ‘protocols’ or basically how I can get this amp? 

    thanks mike

    • Reply June 10, 2011

      Anonymous

      Basically you send an email to Gary at Electric Avenues
      (gary@electric-avenues.com) and tell him you want one. Give him your
      shipping address and send the payment (through Paypal), and wait for
      your amp to arrive. I don’t think you’ll be liable to customs duty since
      the amp is priced quite low.

      You can also ask the guys in the forums to see if anyone wants to do a
      group buy to save on shipping cost.

  • Reply June 10, 2011

    Andy Smith

    Hi, excellent review of a true cottage industry amp made by an ecologically aware guy – check out the `Good Deeds’ section of his website – who is a pleasure to deal with. Gary informed me that he labels shipped packages as `Gift’ and assigns a low monetary value to help purchasers avoid paying import duty. Andy.

    • Reply June 10, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks for the additional comments, Andy.

  • Reply June 10, 2011

    mackat

    Mine doesn’t have that sticker on it. Did you make it?

    • Reply June 10, 2011

      Anonymous

      The serial number sticker? I suppose that’s just added to the newer
      batches of amps by Gary.

      • Reply June 15, 2011

        mackat

        No, the top sticker that says PA2v2…

        • Reply June 15, 2011

          Anonymous

          That’s definitely something new that Gary adds to the amps.

  • Reply June 10, 2011

    Donunus

    I was dissapointed by my old pa2v2 actually. the fiio e7 which also comes with a dac will kill the pa2v2 in quality IMO and its priced pretty close to each other considering the e7 even comes with a dac. i also prefer the much cheaper e5 against the pa2v2.

    • Reply June 10, 2011

      Anonymous

      Really? That’s surprising.

      • Reply June 11, 2011

        Donunus

        maybe the design has changed a little since then… I’m not sure but my pa2v2 did a lot of clipping even running hd555s. The battery light would be blinking all the time everytime the music was beating 🙂

        • Reply June 11, 2011

          Anonymous

          That doesn’t sound right. Even an Ipod can drive the HD555 without clipping.

          • Reply June 11, 2011

            Donunus

            precisely! 🙂 My ipod sounded better than the pa2v2

            • Reply June 11, 2011

              Anonymous

              aww that sucks.

          • Reply June 15, 2011

            mackat

            It is possible the gain screws are too high

            • Reply June 16, 2011

              Anonymous

              Yes, that’s also possible.

        • Reply June 11, 2011

          Friendly_helper

          A blinking light could mean a fluctuation in the power supply’s voltage level. Keeping a pair of 1.2 volt rechargeable batteries in the amp at all times, even when the adapter is being used, would ensure a steady supply voltage. If batteries were already inside, making sure they were fully charged and had the correct 1.2 volt level would be good things to double check.

        • Reply June 11, 2011

          Guest

          You should contact Gary, as it seems to be a faulty unit. There are many HD555 users that are quite happy with PA2V2.

          • Reply June 12, 2011

            Donunus

            I was thinking maybe this was caused by the combination of having a bad ac adapter and bad batteries. Gary didn’t have any 220 volt wallwarts that he could include with the amp so I had to buy my own crappy one here. I couldn’t really get good batteries here at the time either. I basically live in a place where there is no such thing as high quality electronics

  • Reply June 11, 2011

    Digital-Pride

    An excellent review as usual Mike.  The PA2V2 is great example of a product that conveys the passion and craftsmanship of its designer.  All at a great price! 

    • Reply June 11, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yes, great price for a great product. Put it in a nice aluminum anodized case and it would sell for $150.

  • Reply June 16, 2011

    bookaboo

    excellent review mike. so would you recommend this amp ahead of a cmoy – ie an ra1 or jds labs? i have some hd25’s and hd650’s would the pa2v2 have enough juice for the hd650?

    • Reply June 17, 2011

      Anonymous

      I particularly like the HD25-1 with the PA2V2, but for the HD650, I
      think it is not so ideal.

      • Reply June 23, 2011

        HeroicPenguin

        Hey Mike, great review. I was wondering if I didn’t like the shape of the PA2V2 (which doesn’t really go well with DAPs), then what would be best to match up with the HD25? Or is this going to be answered in your big budget amp comparison? Thanks!

        • Reply June 23, 2011

          Anonymous

          The Fiio E11 is actually a pretty good match

  • Reply June 16, 2011

    eagle1

    Does this amp provide a bit of ‘oomph’ or extra kick to the low-end regions?
    Right now I’m using Shure’s 940 and even though they sound great (lovely mids, good highs!) the low/bassy end seems to be lacking.

    What do you think?

    • Reply June 17, 2011

      Anonymous

      I think what you need is a pads change. Try the SRH-840 pads on the
      SRH-940, that should give you more bass.

      If you want extra oomph from the amp, you can get the JDSLabs Cmoy and
      turn the bass boost on.

      • Reply June 17, 2011

        eagle1

        Ok. I have the 840 pads on my 440s! 😉

        I find the 940 pads so comfortable though… still, I will give that a try and hear how it sounds… so those velour pads always trap the low-end then? Hmmm…

        Thanks.!!
        Great site BTW!

        • Reply June 17, 2011

          Anonymous

          Yes, verlour has the tendency to brighten up the sound and leans the low
          end.

          • Reply June 18, 2011

            eagle1

            I did find a bit more low-end presence when swapping pads… but now that I’m listening through my Lexicon Omega (an interface card I use to record ideas, not a dedicated amp) with the verlour pads on, I do notice more bass presence.  So now I don’t know if it’s really lack of power…

            I use Archos PMPs (my main one is the oldie but awesome Archos 7 160GB IMT) and they are known to ship with a “volume” restriction due to Europe mandates or something… so still I’m not sure if I should go with the amp also!  I’ve been reading about the Cmoy you mentioned, the SoundMagic and the E11… not sure which will “pair” better with the Shure’s (I guess one that does the best bass output since Shure’s are pretty good at mids and highs…).

            Should I wait for your sub $100 portable amp shootout instead of going with one of those above? Thanks.

          • Reply June 18, 2011

            Anonymous

            Sorry I got a little confused on what headphones and what pads you meant on that last post. 

            As for the amplifiers, I plan to publish the sub $100 amp shootout next week, so I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to wait. 

  • Reply June 16, 2011

    eagle1

    Does this amp provide a bit of ‘oomph’ or extra kick to the low-end regions?
    Right now I’m using Shure’s 940 and even though they sound great (lovely mids, good highs!) the low/bassy end seems to be lacking.

    What do you think?

  • […] […]

  • Reply June 22, 2011

    JakeAmes

    I’m a little late to this thread sorry.  I have had a PA2V2 for (I think) 4 years now – maybe 5. I setup a vinyl recording station using one of my JB3’s as a recorder. Needed a good amp between the turntable RIAA preamp and the input and Gary’s amps came up as being good value. Same price back then by the way! Anyway this little amp is nothing short of awesome and does exactly what I had hoped it would do, provide a flat wide frequency and low noise amped signal while I mine old gold in my LP collection. I am sure Gary could redesign the case and layout and modernize it, but why? IMO it’s a pretty funky bit of gear.

    • Reply June 23, 2011

      Anonymous

      Awesome! I second everything you said. The packaging is pretty funky indeed!

  • Reply June 29, 2011

    PA2V2 Pocket Amp

    […] Had too many of amps thats why I letting go of it. you can check out some of the reviews here: Electric Avenues PA2V2 | Headfonia Review: PA2V2 Pocket Amp (56K Warning) – Overclock.net – Overclocking.net Electric Avenues PA2V2 […]

  • Reply September 9, 2011

    DodgersKings323

    Heard about this one too late, saw it on a Grado website with recommendations for the best values in headfonia, oh well the CMoy is more aesthetically pleasing and hey i just got my SR60s! 😀

    • Reply September 12, 2011

      Anonymous

      Well I think the Cmoy is also a great amp for the SR60s.

  • Reply September 11, 2011

    Alfani_gun_02

    Which one is better? Cmoy jds labs or electric avenues pa2v2.
    Im with ath m50

    • Reply September 12, 2011

      Anonymous

      Both would be good in different way.

      Cmoy is warmer and more full bodied. PA2V2 has a faster pace, more lively sound.

  • Reply September 19, 2011

    Anonymous

    Nice review Mike…:):)but difficult to get this amp on local market, you should order directly to Gary 🙁

  • Reply October 10, 2011

    Justin

    Hi Mike, found your site while looking for headphone amps, thanks for putting so much detail out there.

    I have a nice mains powered amp for listening at home but I’m looking for something to use when portable. Have been looking  at the pa2vs or the jdslabs. I have a set of triple driver IEM’s from Hearyourself.com and listen to everything from dance music to classical, but I guess female vocalists and good musicians are my favourite things, with source being either my iphone with AAC files or an ipod classic full of lossless rips. Which of the amps would you suggest for my setup, or would I be better stepping up in price to something else, I couldn’t really justify another beyond $200 and would prefer to stay in the $75-150 range unless there’s a real reason to go higher.

    Many thanks,

    Justin.

    • Reply October 10, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Justin,
      Most of the time I prefer the JDSLabs for female vocals. The mids just have more body on the Cmoy than on the PA2V2. If you do decide to order, make sure to mention that you’ll be using it with an IEM so they can lower the gain.

      • Reply October 13, 2011

        Justin

        Thanks Mike. Just looked through the JDS site and found that they have a new amp due out very soon, which looks very promising, now I just have to decide whether to wait a little and see what that’s like or go for the current one. Ah decisions, decisions.

        • Reply October 13, 2011

          Anonymous

          The new slim amp right? I think that’s called the C421.

  • Reply December 1, 2011

    Anonymous

    Great review!

    I have been using a PA2V2 since November 2010 with my Rockboxed iPod Video (5.5) and Audio Technica ATH-M30’s. This combination sounds fantastic. I might move up to the M50’s one day but I am very satisfied with the M30’s for now.

    As others have observed, Gary is terrific for pre-sales and after-sales support. I hope that he designs another amp in the not-too-distant future. I will be the first in line for one.

    • Reply December 1, 2011

      Mike

      Nice! I can imagine the PA2V2 making a good pairing with the M30.

      I’ve misplaced my PA2V2 and I can’t find it anywhere now. 🙁

  • Reply December 9, 2011

    Michael

    Will it drive the AKG K271mkII properly??
    I already have a JDS cMoyBB but I was wondering if this would be a nice alternative… My cMoy needs a rise of the gain though cause at the moment it is set for lower Z cans!! I mean that may be I haven’t heard the combo in its true potential yet

    • Reply December 9, 2011

      Mike

      Hi Michael,
      I can’t say because the K271 Mk2 is a bit tricky to drive and the PA2V2 isn’t exactly a monster amp. What’s more I didn’t have the K271 Mk2 when I did this review.

      The PA2V2 drives the HD800 to plenty of loudness level, but what I’m concerned is the lower impedance of the K271 which may ask for higher current levels. The K271 has less efficient drivers than the HD800 if I remember correctly.

      • Reply December 10, 2011

        Michael

        Hallo Mike and thnx for answering!

        From what I’ve read in a thread in Head-Fi Gary wrote to someone that the amp is designed for 120Ω cans or less!
        The main problem I think is the fairly low sensitivity of the 271, 91db spl/V!
        What is your opinion??
        The reason I got interested in the pa2v2 is this phrase of yours:
        “The sound signature of the PA2V2 is quite straightforward from top to
        bottom frequencies. The presentation is forward and engaging, similar to
        how the Sennheiser HD25-1 is voiced. The bass may not be the most
        powerful, but every punch is very tight and the PRaT factor is awesome.”
        I would like to get a little more forward presentation from 271’s!

        Apart from pa2v2 do you have any other portable amp suggestion for the 271 that will drive them well -even in a higher price range?

        Regards!!!!!!!!!

        • Reply December 10, 2011

          Mike

          Thanks for looking up the specs of the K271 for me, Michael. 91db spl/V sounds like about right.

          Actually newer design amps like the Fiio E11 is really powerful and should not have a problem driving the K271 (I’ve tried the E11 with the Hifiman HE-500, I think sensitivity around high 80db spl/V with good results).

          http://www.headfonia.com/fiio-e11-portable-amplifier/

          • Reply December 11, 2011

            Michael

            Well yes I know about E11.
            It is powerful but after reading all your reviews (and from others)  I am not exactly convinced about it’s sound quality though!
            I think I must stick to my cMoy and try to optimize it for 271 the best way!

            Regards!
            Keep up the good work!

  • Reply December 20, 2011

    Guest

    Im new to this whole amplifier deal so sorry if these are dumb questions.  First, will this amp improve the sound quality of the shure srh 940s?  Or do i need a nicer amp for those headphones?  Or maybe I dont need an amp at all?  Keep in mind im using the shures with my ipod and computer.  Secondly,  whats a dac, and do i need/want one with this amp?  Thanks in advance for dealing with my probably quite simple questions, lol.

    • Reply December 20, 2011

      Mike

      Please read No.5 and No.6 on the FAQ. That should answer your questions.

      As for the PA2V2 + SRH940 combination, I would recommend you go with the JDSLabs the sound signature should pair better.

      http://www.headfonia.com/faq/

      • Reply December 21, 2011

        Guest

        Thanks a lot man, really appreciate it.  Hate to bug you once more, but i have one more question.  How will this amp deal with the senn hd 598s?  I know the 598s are a bit more demanding then the shures in terms of amplification, so i wasn’t sure if this would cut it.  If it doesn’t, any amps you could recommend that would work well with the 598s?

        • Reply December 21, 2011

          Mike

          Well I had no problem driving the HD800 with the PA2V2. 😉 

          • Reply December 22, 2011

            Guest

            Really?  Wow, thats pretty insane.  Well anyways, thanks again man.

  • Reply January 4, 2012

    Guest

    How would the PA2v2 do with the HD 600 for Rock/Metal?  Would it be forward and engaging?

    • Reply January 5, 2012

      Mike

      Yes it would be great. Forward, fast and engaging.

  • Reply January 17, 2012

    Guest

    Hi Mike!  I have the HD 280 Pro and it is being powered by the FiiO E10 alone.  I wanted to know how the amp in the E10 compares with the PA2v2?  Is it much more engaging and lively? 

    • Reply January 19, 2012

      Mike

      Yes the Pa2V2 is more lively and engaging.

  • Reply February 9, 2012

    Matt Austin

    Hey so I jumped the gun and bought both the fiio E11 and the PA2V2 and I was wondering how these would pair with the UE TF10 and the Denon D2000. I was thinking the Fiio might be more suited for the Denons and the PA2V2 for the Ultaimate Ears. Whatcha think?? 

    • Reply February 22, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Matt, 
      Sorry for the late reply. Honestly those are two unfamiliar pairings for me as I am not a big user of the Denon D2000 and the TF10. Give them a try and see what pairing you like best? 

      • Reply March 19, 2012

        FirePowered

        The FiiO has very mild noise and gain is quite high on it. So it makes sense that it would be paired with the less sensitive Denons.

        • Reply March 19, 2012

          Mike

          Yes the E11 is not the most quiet amp for IEMs.

  • Reply February 22, 2012

    Anroop Ahluwalia

    my question is i have the Bose qc 3’s ..i know u all dont like them much but i got them for free..would the the amp help me out if i used it on say on an ipod with ALAC.?

    • Reply February 22, 2012

      Mike

      Hey Anroop, 
      No problem with the QCs. In my experience they are very easy to drive and you don’t really need an amp for them. However, a good amp would always add something good to the sound, especially if you are now using the signal from the line out dock of the iPod, I think the sound should be improved considerably. 

      • Reply February 22, 2012

        Anroop Ahluwalia

        thanks for the quick reply..another question i have is what player do u suggest other than an ipod  under 150$?

        • Reply February 22, 2012

          Mike

          The sansa clip+ is a popular, low budget player.

          • Reply February 22, 2012

            Anroop Ahluwalia

             and will the sansa provide better sound quality then an ipod?

            • Reply February 22, 2012

              Mike

              Not better, but it’s warmer and some people like it better.

          • Reply April 16, 2012

            Chris Allen

             Plus you bypass the Sansa DAC with something like the E17!

            • Reply April 16, 2012

              Mike

              What? Don’t think you can do that, Chris.

  • Reply February 22, 2012

    Anroop Ahluwalia

    My question is that i own  a pair of bose qc 3’s.. will the amp help if im using an ipod and  ALAC?

  • Hey Mike, if listen grunge, metal, classic rock, hard rock, alternative and punk… What’s the best combo??

    Sennheiser’s HD650/CmoyBB Sennheiser’s HD650/PA2V2
    I thought the PA2V2 would be better

    • Reply June 11, 2012

      Mike

      You already own the HD650?

      Go with the PA2V2

  • Reply June 20, 2012

    Zion Gates

    hi mike.

    how about pa2v2 pair with superlux hd 660?
    is it will good for rock?

    and i’m confuse to choose pa2v2 or cmoy BB or o2 jdslab.
    which one that better
    to pair with Hd660 ,and Creative aurvana Live ?
    😀

    • Reply June 20, 2012

      Mike

      Zion,
      Never tried that particular combo, but from my past experience with both of them (separate), yes I think it would be good.

  • Reply July 15, 2012

    Alex Davis

    Hi, im looking to amp my koss pro dj100’s. Im going to get either buy the 2v2 or the fiio e11. Which would you recommend based on overall sound quality, usability and portability?
    p.s. which is a better buy;
    ultimate ears triple fi 10 – used £86
    Hifiman re262 – new £99
    Brainwavz B2 – new £72

    • Reply July 18, 2012

      Mike

      Alex,
      I am not familiar with the Koss Pro DJ100. Between the two amps, the 2v2 is the more precise and accurate sounding with a faster pace. The E11 is the bassier, warmer sounding one. You can decide which would be better for you.
      The TF10 has been around for years now and still people love them. They are very problematic in terms of fitting though, so it’s a bit of a gamble if you can’t try it out. The RE262, I don’t think was that good.
      The B2, I have heard good things about it. You need to look up a review on this since I haven’t heard it.

      • Reply July 20, 2012

        Alex Davis

        Thanks for the advice. I was just wondering, im looking to abuy a pair of iems and a new mp3 player. For a total budget of around £250 (preferably less)?

        • Reply July 21, 2012

          Mike

          Alex, I haven’t been up to date with the MP3 player line up, but I’ve always thought that the Ipod is quite a nice one. For IEMs, the Vsonic line up is quite nice. If you listen to a lot of mainstream Rock/Pop you can give the GR02 a try. I believe they are about $30-$40.

          • Reply July 21, 2012

            Aric Ross

            I just received my GR02 (bass edition) in the mail today. I got it for workouts, work, and any other outdoor activities that I might not want to bring bigger, more expensive set ups on. I choose to buy mine after reading jokers reviews on headfi and I can say I am very pleased with my purchase.

            Great build quality so sturdy for little IEMS, more accessories then I will ever use, and so far from what I can tell is that the sound is great. Rivals my shure 215s. The bass edition had put me off of them at first but its a very detailed bass, punchy but not overpowering. I would call the sound a “low rich tone,” without loosing too much from the mids. and the treble is just what I like, Accurate, but not overly sharp or painful. However I have only listened for about 10 hours now so we will see how they continue to perform. Cheers! highly recommend them for that kind of value!

            • Reply July 21, 2012

              Mike

              Yes the GR02 bass edition is very nice. I can see how some people may like the treble edition better, but for me it’s the bass edition.

              • Reply July 23, 2012

                Aric Ross

                I’ve had a little more time to use them with my E17 which has made them sound even better. Im actually thinking I like them a little more than my shure 215’s. At least after I factor in value!

                • Reply July 23, 2012

                  Mike

                  Yes I would agree. Tonally the GR02 is better than the Shure 215.

                  • Reply July 23, 2012

                    Jack Knight

                    in which part gr02 bass edition is better than 215? because its just 1/3 215 price,and if gr02 can really compete with 215, i wanna sell my 215 and buy gr02:)

                    • July 23, 2012

                      Mike

                      Tonally it is better. It has just the right bass and treble for mainstream music, which the mid-centric 215 doesn’t.
                      But that’s just tonally. Soundstage, depth, refinement, the SE215 is better.

                    • July 23, 2012

                      Jack Knight

                      oh thanks mike, btw have you tried gr01? is it wothed to upgrade from 215?

                    • July 23, 2012

                      Mike

                      It’s a different IEM Imo. Different from the 215. Dual BA, more for treble.

                    • July 23, 2012

                      Jack Knight

                      oh I thought its just like gr07 with better sound,

                    • July 24, 2012

                      Mike

                      A bit different since the GR07 is a dynamic. More natural. The GR01 is leaner, more articulate.

                    • July 24, 2012

                      Aric Ross

                      Gr02 is just a better toe tapping iem for me. I completely agree with what mikes saying now that I’ve had more time to listen to the Gr02. The 215’s still have there place in my collection and I wouldn’t get rid of either one of them.

                      besides, why would you have to sell your 215’s to by the Gr02’s? there $37. Just stay in and eat instead of going out and you’ll have saved enough $$$ to buy them vsonic’s

                      PS, i swear I don’t work for Vsonic.

                    • July 25, 2012

                      Mike

                      I don’t work for Vsonic either, Aric. 😉

                      The GR07 is very nice, and may be one of the best $100-$200 IEMs I’ve seen in a while, but it’s a little to peaky in the upper treble for mainstream recordings.
                      The GR02 is the best sub $50 IEM I’ve encountered in my entire reviewing career. Too bad I won’t be doing the Vsonic review (someone else will for Headfonia).

  • Reply August 17, 2012

    wenchiangbass

    Hey mike, I listen to classic rock, jazz, blues rock, thrash metal and folk and indie, was thinking of JDS labs Cmoy or the PA2V2 amps. Which do you suggest better paired with Ath M-50 and Denon DN-HP700?

    • Reply August 17, 2012

      Mike

      I think the PA2V2 is better for those rock and metal stuff. Especially metal, where the PA2V2 has a faster pace than the Cmoy.
      Jazz, Folk, Indie, both would do pretty well.

  • Reply September 16, 2012

    jxh

    hello Mike
    Many thanks for this review ; i really like this amp but it is not really simple to use it in a pocket. Could you tell me what amp (max 250 usd) could have the same kind of sound (clear, more open than my ibasso d-zéro) and a good Prat and would be more easier to use.

    • Reply September 17, 2012

      Mike

      It’s a nice sounding amp, isn’t it?

      I don’t know if there is any other amp at the moment that fits your criteria of being easier to use in the pocket though. What’s the problem of the PA2V2 in the pocket?

      • Reply September 17, 2012

        jxh

        Hello Mike
        i just want something which is less thick, more finer ( like d-zéro for exemple) , but i agree the pa2V2 have a great and musical sound.

        • Reply September 17, 2012

          Mike

          Hmm… not easy to be honest.

          You can try the JDSLabs C421 but I’m not sure if it’ll be exactly the one you’re looking for.

  • Reply December 23, 2012

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  • Reply February 11, 2014

    dalethorn

    I just ordered another PA2V2 – 100 hours on a charge, replaceable batteries, generic batteries – there’s nothing else like this.

    • Reply February 11, 2014

      Mike

      I want to get another pa2v2

      • Reply February 11, 2014

        dalethorn

        I’ll shake it down when it arrives, see if it sounds the same or better etc. Too bad I didn’t get a photo of the inside of the older one I had, to check for changes. The Decware Zen Head I bought last year had major changes from the Rev6 photo shown on their site. Maybe I can find a good photo of the inside of an older PA2V2.

        • Reply February 11, 2014

          Mike

          I think I took pictures of the insidr of the amp. Have to find it somewhere

  • Reply April 13, 2014

    rrfpacker

    Has anyone compared the PA2v2 vs Fiio e11? The e11 is rated for 300mW output and the PA2v2 200mw, e11 has 50% more volume. I want to use an amp in my vehicle so extra output would be great, but not at the expense of sound quality. I have a PA2v2 now but I am looking for more output.
    Thanks.

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