It’s crazy to me how low a profile MyST’s excellent products keep. Without exception, their headphones sound exceptional – and are exceptionally uncomfortable. And despite obvious garage-days aesthetics, they are pricey. Their DACs are designed with purpose for the NOS crowd. As such, many perform to the expectations of the atavistic connoisseur. The 1704 is one of those, though with digital connections (including HDMI) out the wazzoo. It keeps power noise low thanks to internal batteries.
And then there is PortAMP II, a powerhouse both on absolute volume-minded, and current-minded scales.
I’ve clocked it hitting signal-to-noise ratios of over 116dB, territory beyond which few outside the Vorzüge PUREII/+ world tread. It powers both MyST’s own OrtoPhones and Beyerdynammic’s 600Ω DT880 to levels I’ve not heard in a battery-powered amp. Which brings us to my first – marketing – contention. PortAMP II isn’t portable by any typical definition. It has a battery. Hauling it around is pretty easy. But it fits neither into any pocket on the planet, nor does it fit tool belts. It comes with feet pre-installed. And, it easily powers today’s most voltage-hungry headphones whilst spitting only a modicum of hiss.
It’s a brilliant desktop-class amp with a battery that can be slid under your IKEA furniture. How’s that for marketing?