Portaphile Micro – unTexan

Disclaimer: I borrowed both Portaphile Micro amps for a recent shoot and decided to review them on my own terms.

Portaphile’s new Micro headphone amp does a Star Trek beam-me-down-Scotty to the excellent audio circuitry (and cool-ass machined logo) found in the Portaphile 627x. The destination? A much smaller, much lighter, pocket-friendly box, that like the Vorzüge PURE II, cuts almost no performance corners. And, at 499$ USD, it costs a full 100 bones less than its big-me-up-Scotty sibling.

Why Micro?

It’s a reasonable beam-me-down, really. Even strapped to an iPod 5G, and huffing through one of Forza Audio’s excellent 30-pin iPod line out cables, the Micro combo weighs 20 grams less than the Portaphile 627x does alone. And, it is both shorter and smaller than its big brother. The only question left is: ‘so, does the Portaphile Micro stand up to 627x performance?’.

With stiflingly few retractable provisos, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’.

The Marque

I’ve followed Portaphile since Dr. Xin, the audio world’s only all-in-one rocket scientist, brain surgeon, men’s speed skating record holder, and inventor of transparent aluminium, dominated the waiting list at Headfi. Well, Dr. Xin went bye bye, but Cesar Aguilera, the human cog behind the Portaphile machine, has kept spinning out amazing amps. And Micro, despite being the brainchild of a Texas resident, is anything but Texas-sized. Thank God.

Portaphile’s new logo is hot. It’s like surfer hot. (I’m a Swedish-born Canadian; I know nothing about surfing, but bear with me as I cast the eyes of my memory over tiny bikinis and lots of sand.) Under the right light, the new logo’s machined edges and grooves look fab. And, their matte contours don’t collect finger prints. I just hope that Cesar will find the time to develop tidy literature to accompany his tidy amps- and, maybe even a box that doesn’t look like something your eggs come in.

The Ins and Outs

In a chassis the size of the Micro, there’s not much room for ergonomic perfection. Case in point: Vorzüge’s PURE II places the ins and outs a little too closely; getting at either the gain or ON/OFF switch can be a bit of a chore. Micro spreads both recessed ports apart, squeezing the gain switch in between the two. The volume pot doubles as an ON/OFF switch. As a result, there is more room to twiddle the gain switch; and fat interconnect cables won’t mash one against the other. The only downside to this design is that you must pinch, not massage, the pot to get it going.

The Chassis

The mini-USB charging port burrows into the back of the Micro. And before you ask, no, Micro is not a DAC. To myriad computer peripherals, the mini USB form factor is ubiquitous. It is great to have on a portable amp. Being able to lean on a single 5V USB charger for your phone, your iPad, and your amp is a blessing, especially if you spend any amount of time in hotels or in airplanes.

Because Micro sports a USB port, you may be tempted to leave it plugged into your computer whilst listening to music. I’ve found that doing so raises the noise floor considerably. Best performance comes by running the amp from its internal battery, and barring that, from the mains.

Fastening hardware fit into deep countersunk niches as do the IN/OUT and gain switches. Even the volume pot twirls in a small shallow of its own. The USB charging port sports a synthetic sleeve to protect it from grinding against the case. Presumably, it also insulates the port against poorly regulated USB power supplies and cables.

The only unclever thing I see in the Micro is its employment of different-sized restraining bolts in the volume pot and chassis. The pot responds to a H1,5-sized driver, while the chassis bolts have a thing for a H2,0 driver. That silly catch aside, the design is solid, if not overly polished. Shaken violently, it gives up nary a rattle. Dropped, it punches a hole in your plastic Japanese flooring.

The Choice

Unfortunately, Cesar gives you a choice. Do you want the OPA627 (regular) version, or do you want the Muses version? I’ve been asked countless times by pretty cool headfiers and pretty cool HFNers and pretty cool Ωers, which is best. The answer isn’t exactly clear-cut- that is, unless you’re all about performance by the numbers.

I have spent weeks with both amps. Sadly, tomorrow both must return to Cesar. But before they do, I want to parade my convictions about. The results of all the listening I’ve done, and from rather hefty hardware testing favours the OPA627 version, but that doesn’t mean it will sound better to you. It simply trumps the MUSES in every significant benchmark, whether driving low, high, or medium Ω loads.

The MUSES version isn’t able to sustain the same strong signal into the usually benign Beyerdynamic DT880 600Ω, or Audio Technica ES10. But when driving earphones of any flavour and spec, MUSES picks things back up. In all instances, the regular OPA627 version simply sings.

Sound impressions on the next page

Portaphile Micro – unTexan
5 (100%) 3 votes

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Back before he became the main photographer for bunches of audio magazines and stuff, Nathan was fiddling with pretty cool audio gear all day long at TouchMyApps. He loves Depeche Mode, trance, colonial hip-hop, and raisins. Sometimes, he gets to listening. Sometimes, he gets to shooting. Usually he's got a smile on his face. Always, he's got a whisky in his prehensile grip.

67 Comments

  • Reply March 28, 2014

    George Lai

    Meh #1 is a bit of a pity since the amp seems to be great for IEMs as pops are a lot more annoying with IEMs than full sized cans. I’m not sure I understand what is meant as battery croaks though. That’s a new one, to me at least. Meh #2 is an annoyance and could have been avoided if they could have achieved a more reasonable minimum of 6 hours or so.

    • Reply March 28, 2014

      ohm image

      Ah, the ‘croaks’ refers to it going flat after 4-5 hours. I need to clear that up. Thank you for the hint. Anyway, I’m invested now. And I’ve got a borrowed pair of LCD-X strapped to the MUSES version now… and want. Very much want the combo. It is now my favourite portable combo for the LCD-X.

      • Reply March 28, 2014

        George Lai

        Now I see what you mean as in … “Croaks, then dies”. Love it.

        • Reply March 28, 2014

          ohm image

          Has anyone ever called you Paul, as in … “Paul Atreides”? Muad’Dib!

          • Reply March 28, 2014

            George Lai

            Nevah….Ommmmm.

            • Reply March 28, 2014

              ohm image

              Tribute from you mate… it is like a million dollas from anyone else.

              • Reply March 28, 2014

                George Lai

                Thanks. I blush.

  • Reply March 28, 2014

    Maon

    hi there, how bad is the ‘pop’ when using IEMs? Are we talking explosion in the ear or balloon popping next to your ear?

    • Reply March 28, 2014

      ohm image

      The pop is pretty big, but amp big, not balloon big. I’ve used three other amps with similar levels of pop, one being a Headamp. It’s not pleasant and is unfortunate. Unfortunately, it exists. If you use the Portaphile as specified in this review, it’s all good.

  • Reply March 28, 2014

    L.

    Good review Nathan, very thorough!

    • Reply March 28, 2014

      ohm image

      I put on my glasses for this one… and put down my whiskey glass for the last part.

  • Reply March 30, 2014

    Fungus

    Is the reason you why consider the 627x as your benchmark because of the longer battery life or because you prefer the sound over the mciro 627? With both amp uses the same internal circuitry, I’m curious to know why one would sound different from the other.

    • Reply March 31, 2014

      ohm image

      Essentially, the 627x and the Micro OPA627 perform exactly the same. But in H gain, the 627x offers more power to headphones that aren’t as sensitive. But virtually for all 300Ω and down headphones, the Micro does exactly the same.

      If I were not using the DT880/600, I’d choose the Micro OPA627 hands down. Its size and performance are both very very good.

  • Reply March 31, 2014

    Fungus

    So when using the DT880/600 with both amps in high gain set at the same volume (micro set to max), both should drive the DT880 with the same authority/performance, with the 627x having more volume to spare. I don’t listen at high volumes. I’m planning to get the DT770 600ohm.

    • Reply March 31, 2014

      ohm image

      Essentially, that is correct. But the extra headroom in the 627x is, in my opinion, important. I’m a low-volume listener, too, and even I felt that in certain indoor situations the Micro may not offer up enough volume on older recordings. I’ve not tried the 600Ω DT770, so I can’t comment aptly on that headphone.

      Sound-wise, both are amazing, but for the extra headroom plus the amazing resolution and sound signature, the 627x is my recommendation. If you stay away from 600Ω headphones, the Micro is perfect.

  • Reply March 31, 2014

    Gary Thompson

    Thanks for the geat review Nathan. Would the Portaphile Micro or the VorzAmp Pure mate best with the Senneiser HD650?

    • Reply April 1, 2014

      ohm image

      That is an excellent question. Both are amazing amps with great gain stages, and pretty powerful output. The PURE II may get a bit more volume out of weak source voltages, but it really is dependent on what is in your system prior to the amp. What will your source be?

      EDIT: I should add that Micro and PURE both have slightly silky dispositions. Pure is a bit more gritty, but neither is harsh. Both pair very well with the HD650, but which is better in a system depends on the output power of your source.

      • Reply April 1, 2014

        Gary Thompson

        Thanks that’s really great to hear. I’m going with either the new Fiio X5 or more likely the RWAk100-S. I like the RWAk100-S most because of it’s compact size and highly praised sound signature. In this case does the Micro or Pure mate better? FWIW, I’m going to replace the stock cable with 5′ cardas or one of the Blue Moon cables. The stock cable is too long for my portable use.

        • Reply April 1, 2014

          ohm image

          Hello again Gary, I’ve not yet tried the X5, but the X3 has a pretty powerful output. The AK100-S output I’ve not tried other than at meets, so I can’t comment on how it pairs with Portaphile Micro. Since the Micro is packed to go back to Portaphile, I can’t correctly comment. However, testing output power is something easy to do independently.

          If your source were, say, an iPod 2005 Video, I’d say, the PURE. But if AK100 or X5 have stronger outputs (and I think they do), Portaphile really hits a sweet spot. Both PURE and Portaphile are favourites of mine.

          • Reply April 1, 2014

            Gary Thompson

            Interesting to note on the RWAk100-S from Red Wine FAQ “Q: What headphone amplifier do you recommend with the RWAK100-S?A: There are many excellent portable headphone amplifiers that should all work very well with the RWAK100-S, assuming they have a line-input and input impedance of 5k ohm or greater.” Also.”The digital volume control is completely eliminated – so no attenuation of the digital signal occurs

            The output is a true-line out signal taken from the analog output stage that follows the WM8741 and is hard-wired to the 1/8” (3.5mm) stereo output jack – so the headphone output stage is completely bypassed as well.

            In other words, the RWAK100-S is configured like a dedicated source component such as a high-end external dac unit, where there is no digital volume control or headphone output stage.”

            • Reply April 1, 2014

              ohm image

              Hello again Gary. Yes, RWA re-wire the outputs so that the signal is more direct. As long as the output itself is high enough voltage, it should work just fine with the Micro or PURE.

              The iPod 2005 has a lower output voltage next to a modern player.

              • Reply April 1, 2014

                Gary Thompson

                Great Nathan, I’ll choose one. Glad both great mates with the HD650’s.

                • Reply April 15, 2014

                  Gary Thompson

                  Hi Hathan, here is the latest: I picked up a mint used AK120, looking at S mod. Now I planning on mating it with the Alpha Dogs & the Pure II. Dan Mr. Speaker said he likes amps with 200mV or higher with the AD’s at 47 ohms. The Pure II is rated at 210mV at 47 ohms.

                  Does this sound like a sweet combo to you?

                  • Reply May 29, 2014

                    ohm image

                    Gary: I’m sorry this is so late. That sounds like a GREAT combo to me.

  • Reply April 12, 2014

    dalethorn

    From reading the specs, it looks like this amp could run from something like the Mophie Juice Packs that charge Apple phones etc. Same as getting power from an AC-to-USB wall wart, but without AC line noise. Is that true, that it could be charged and run from the batteries that charge Apple phones? The Mophie packs have USB-A outputs that deliver 5v at 2.1 amps.

    • Reply April 13, 2014

      Cesar Aguulera

      Yes, the amp can be charged via an external battery back like the ones from mophie. Just keep it disconnected from AC to avoid introducing noise.

  • Reply April 15, 2014

    dalethorn

    Ordered today.

    • Reply April 17, 2014

      ohm image

      Glad to see you here, too. I think you really will like it.

  • Reply May 11, 2014

    dalethorn

    My Portaphile Micro arrived today. After just a couple of hours use, playing a few WAV tracks on the iPhone5 through the LOD, I compared it to the Decware Zen Head, and the greater clarity (less veiled sound) of the PM was obvious. That was a surprise, since the Zen Head has been better than any other portable amp I’ve heard so far. The Zen Head was set up for optimum sound on low gain, bypassing the Zen Head’s space-enhancement options. The difference wasn’t huge, but still obvious. I used the Mophie 12000 mAh juice pack, and it fully charged the PM using about 25 percent of the Mophie’s charge. Headphones used were Alpha Dog, Beyer T51p, and Beyer DT1350 with T51p earpads. The PM’s performance is pretty amazing given the small size.

    • Reply May 11, 2014

      George Lai

      Hi Dale,

      Which app on the iPhone do you use for WAV? What about FLAC?

      Thanks

      • Reply May 11, 2014

        dalethorn

        Hi George – WAV is supported as a normal format for iPhone, so as long as it’s 44-48 khz it plays on all apps. The iPhone does not support FLAC format, except someone may have a special app for FLAC playback – but I’m not optimistic about special apps unless they get a sensational review for sound quality, and they play on the native iPhone (no jailbreak). I can’t store all of my WAV-format tracks on the iPhone since there’s not enough room, so just 100 for critical testing etc.

        • Reply May 11, 2014

          George Lai

          Hi Dale. Oh I didn’t realize the iPhone plays .wav but then I don’t have much .wav files. From what I’ve read good apps for non-jail broken iPhones for FLAC playing are (1) FLAC Player and (2) Onkyo HF player. The latter can also play DSDs especially since you have a Beyerdynamic A200p, Dale. Cheers.

          • Reply May 11, 2014

            dalethorn

            Thanks George – I did check those out an hour ago. That would be viable when using an external DAC, but I’m not a fan of interconnects and the extra input/output wiring of the separate DAC and amp, so when I use an amp like the PM it’s just iPhone LOD to amp. The Theorem 720 seemed interesting at one time, but my thought was “why build a kludge with that DAC and iPhone and camera kit and ….. etc. etc. when I could more easily use a small ‘netbook’ and Microstreamer and get better sound?” — So my simple iPhone to PM does good enough for a very small portable.

            • Reply May 11, 2014

              George Lai

              But you already have an A200p I thought? Also for the Theorem and many like it, you don’t need a CCK for an iPhone, just for an iPad. Anyway, I see where you are coming from. For the longest time, I used only LODs till I started using DACs.

              • Reply May 11, 2014

                dalethorn

                I do have the A200p and v-moda Verza, but rarely use them. The Alpha Dog sounds thin with those, and same for other headphones. The Zen Head was good and Portaphile Micro better – I suppose the 720 might be better yet if the amp section is as good as the PM.

            • Reply June 12, 2014

              Michael

              Dale, a very good point here. I have Sony MA900 and ATH-ESW9 and Microstreamer as a source from my Mac. Do you think adding an amp like Micro would be worthwhile for the sound?

              • Reply June 12, 2014

                dalethorn

                The sound would change of course, in ways that are hard to predict. Since the Microstreamer depends on USB power for everything, it isn’t going to be the best for dynamics, but that depends to some extent on the efficiency of the headphones. I don’t know about the Sony, but the ESW9a that I have is probably efficient enough to play demanding music from the Microstreamer – it seems that way to me. I was thinking now about trying the Microstreamer alone and then using the PM as the amp and Microstreamer as DAC only. I’d rather not do that, since my conditions here might not reflect what other people will experience. I can say that what I read about the PM before buying it – turned out to be true and then some – the sound quality is amazing. Actually, if you do consider getting the PM and using from the Microstreamer, get a very high quality and *very* short interconnect cable with gold-plated ends. And maybe I’ll try that test anyway, but I don’t wanna…

                • Reply June 12, 2014

                  dalethorn

                  OK – I did it anyway, using a cable that’s 8 inches long including the plugs (a very short cable). I wasn’t able to A/B since I had to switch from the Microstreamer headphone jack to the Microstreamer “line out” jack etc. The highs seemed crisper and more extended with the PM as the amp, but the bass seemed a little tighter with slightly less impact. That last part is where I can’t really say that the PM makes the bass more lean – usually my experience is that the Microstreamer makes the bass leaner. So once again, your mileage may vary due to many factors, including headphone impedance and where in the bass response your headphone has the best output. But I did like that greater sense of aliveness that the PM provided, although with some recordings you might prefer the softer Microstreamer sound.

                  • Reply June 12, 2014

                    Michael

                    Many thanks for experimenting, Dale. I guess that maybe I’ll leave things as they are for now since I actually like the softness of Microstreamer and it’s also much cheaper than PM alone.

                    • June 12, 2014

                      dalethorn

                      I hear ya – I’d say if you get to the point where you experience any dynamics limitations, that’s when you’d go for an amp.

    • Reply May 13, 2014

      ohm image

      Thanks for updating this with your impressions. It is truly an incredible amp.

  • Reply December 14, 2014

    Chris Vanaman

    Is it fair to say this 627x is a great match with the Beyer T90?
    I’ve narrowed my choices to 2 amps- 627x and Pure II. I just don’t know nor do I have access to test. 🙁

    • Reply December 15, 2014

      dalethorn

      You already have the T90? And what are you driving it with now?

      • Reply December 15, 2014

        Chris Vanaman

        Sorry about double post. not sure what happened..grrr

      • Reply January 5, 2015

        Chris Vanaman

        Hi Dale! So I have an update… I ended up buying the Portaphile 627x for my T90’s. Here is where things get strange- before getting my 627x, I was pairing my Fiio e12 (and iPod) with the T90’s. With the Fiio, I didn’t feel like it really did anything for the phones, hence upgrading to the Portaphile. Portaphile arrives, plug in my T90’s, and mellifluous sounds open up doors to which I’ve never walked thru, and I’m pumped! I vacate the area to a quieter room for some intense listening. I start hearing a rattle/buzz/distortion coming from lower left ear cup when a cello and or standup bass kicks in (listening to classical-symphony). Then, more discretely, with the higher pitched sound/tone of violins kick in, the top portion of the right cup emits the same rattle/distortion.
        I plugged my HD598’s into the 627x, sounds fine…I plug my T90 back into the Fiio e12, no probs.
        Please save me, Dale!

        • Reply January 5, 2015

          Headfonia_L.

          The Beyers amongst others are know for getting rattling sounds when a hair is stuck in the driver. Please check if any hears are touching the drivers, remove if yes (be careful) and try again

          • Reply January 5, 2015

            Chris Vanaman

            Yes! I’ve been reading up on the hair/driver issue on HeadFi. I’m too chicken to do it. I read some people had messed up their phones doing it themselves.

            • Reply January 5, 2015

              dalethorn

              You shouldn’t have to go that far. Just pull off the earpads and see if there’s anything poking through the felt cover over the drivers. If it’s clean, then it’s the amp.

              • Reply January 5, 2015

                Chris Vanaman

                It was super clean.
                I replied to your other posts below.

        • Reply January 5, 2015

          dalethorn

          My guess is: If it’s definitely a mechanical/physical resonance caused by a hair etc. as L noted, then check it out. But if it’s not, you could be hearing a combination effect of strong instrument resonances in the recording, being reproduced by an amp that plays highs and ultra-harmonics full-strength, and a headphone that’s also noted for strong and extended highs. Those purely acoustic phenomena are unusual, but do happen. If it persists, give me 2 examples of the actual recordings (artist, track, time position).

        • Reply January 5, 2015

          dalethorn

          I gave my T90 and Portaphile Micro (same as 627x with smaller battery or so I hear) some torture tests, and everything is fine. You could have a situation where you’re overdriving the amp (again, if it’s not hairs etc.)

          • Reply January 5, 2015

            Chris Vanaman

            I told L I was reading up on HeadFi about the hairy drivers. I actually disassembled the cups down to the white paper/tissue type material. It is glued down pretty good. I read that some people messed up that paper and a couple jacked up the driver…I am not very “handy” and would be that idiot that would ruin the phones if I went any further. So I reversed it outta there

            • Reply January 5, 2015

              dalethorn

              Jansen & Company play well, and the instruments have good tone. I’ve tried iPhone 6-plus into the PM via the LOD, tried the MacBookPro to the Microstreamer, then the MBP to Microstreamer to PM amp – all clean whatever volume. When you say the distortion happens at low volume, that tends to exclude the T90, which distorts physically, not electronically. So it seems your 627 has a problem. If the battery is good or you’re plugged into the AC mains, then I suppose it’s either a failed component or too much voltage signal coming in.

              • Reply January 5, 2015

                Chris Vanaman

                You da man. I appreciate all your imput and knowledge. I’m going to see if I can locate some other gear in attempt to get to the root of this evilness.

                • Reply January 5, 2015

                  dalethorn

                  Let us know what you find out.

                  • Reply January 6, 2015

                    Chris Vanaman

                    Hi Dale- It is definitely the Beyerdynamic T90’s. A buddy had some amps for me to try with the phones…the distortion is definitely present just not as noticeable when they are plugged into my 627x amp. I have some words for Beyer customer service, but here, I’ll refrain.

                    • January 6, 2015

                      dalethorn

                      It’s not likely that Beyer would know where that headphone has been or what handling it’s had. But if you got it from an authorized dealer and you’ve had exclusive control of it ever since (nobody else has touched it), then they should be forthcoming with their opinion of what went wrong. If they don’t satisfy you, join their Facebook pages and describe your experiences there.

          • Reply January 5, 2015

            Chris Vanaman

            Couple of other notes- I can listen to a super low/deep cello SOLO and not hear much distortion like I get when a plethora of instruments kick in from an orchestra (even on low, low volume.
            rig: iPod classic (stock) –>Fiio L9–>627X—>T90
            Can you explain what you mean by “overdriving the amp”

            • Reply January 5, 2015

              dalethorn

              Well, normally a high-level/analogue amp doesn’t have a “front end” as integrated systems do, so we start with the music player which outputs its signal to the DAC. That signal from the music player may have effects applied digitally (such as EQ) before it’s sent to the DAC. Then the DAC converts it and sends it to the amp. We assume that the music player’s signal to the DAC is the proper voltage for the DAC input, and that the DAC’s output (i.e. “Line Out”) is the proper voltage for the amp’s input. But music players have volume controls, and some of those may add to the computer’s “system” volume control, so you could have two or more volume controls in-line. If you can’t experiment that way, you might try the 627x on another system, or even connected to a portable music player.

              Note that some amps (not all) will generate increasing levels of distortion when the battery is getting weak. My Portaphile Micro tends to shut down quickly, but I don’t know about the 627x.

    • Reply September 18, 2015

      ohm image

      Yes. The Portaphile is a bit smoother sounding, but that’s really splitting hairs.

  • Reply December 15, 2014

    Chris Vanaman

    Just got em, brand new and not burned in. Although I’ve always been really into music I’ve only recently started getting into purchasing better equipment to better enjoy music, and my knowledge, and ability to compare and contrast is non existent. For the past 2 years my set up has been- 160gb iPod Classic 7gen, Fiio E12, into Senn HD598. My music is CD ripped into ALAC.
    I’ve been researching (relentlessly) everything from glossary of terms, to sound, to equipment, etc…the only thing I’m missing, and it’s big I’m realizing, is hands on exp. I don’t have access to nice walk in stores with equipment.
    I just want to maximize my listening experience (which I enjoy so much. Since I have so more higher end cans now (at least what I consider to be), I would like to indulge in some better amp and maybe music source. As I read about the Fiio e12, I understand it has its +’s, but doesn’t quite measure up to the quality of my T90…

    • Reply December 15, 2014

      dalethorn

      I haven’t found walk-in stores useful for evaluating sound. Physical evaluation, yes, but sonic evaluation requires so many things to be trusted – 1) the item you’re evaluating is burned in, 2) the item you buy sounds the same as the demo item, 3) the ambient noise is much lower than most stores, and 4) you’re as relaxed as you would be at home, when you’ve had time to get relaxed.

      • Reply December 15, 2014

        Chris Vanaman

        Hey Dale-
        This is continuation from the Chris Vanaman post regarding the T90’s. I’m not sure what’s happened, but it is messy

  • Reply December 15, 2014

    Chris Vanaman

    Just got em, brand new and not burned in. Although I’ve always been really into music I’ve only recently started getting into purchasing better equipment to better enjoy music, and my knowledge, and ability to compare and contrast is non existent. For the past 2 years my set up has been- 160gb iPod Classic 7gen, Fiio E12, into Senn HD598. My music is CD ripped into ALAC.
    I’ve been researching (relentlessly) everything from glossary of terms, to sound, to equipment, etc…the only thing I’m missing, and it’s big I’m realizing, is hands on exp. I don’t have access to nice walk in stores with equipment.
    I just want to maximize my listening experience (which I enjoy so much). Since I have some more higher end cans now (at least what I consider to be), I would like to indulge in some better amp and maybe music source. As I read about the Fiio e12, I understand it has its +’s, but doesn’t quite measure up to the quality of my T90…

  • Reply May 29, 2015

    Boogie6301

    Hi Nathan,

    I was at the SR71b thread last night and I posted a question to Mike regarding a good pairing with my LCD3. I’ve tried the iMod+SR71b with my T1 and it was a very good match. However, when I tried my LCD3 with the iMod+SR71b it didn’t sound that great to me. It seems the dark/warm signature of the SR71b is too much for the bass heavy LCD3. Probably a more neutral amp will be a better match.

    I’d like to get your impressions with a iMod+627X+LCD3. Based on your review the bass on the 627x is relatively lacking. Could the 627x be a better pairing with the iMod and LCD3? I’ve had the Pure II before and it’s power was lacking with the 600 ohm T1. Although the LCD3 is easier to drive you can always use the extra headroom right? Besides, the form factor of the 627X is a better match to the iMod.

    • Reply September 18, 2015

      ohm image

      Hello Boogie6301,

      I’m also sorry this is late. I don’t own the LCD3, nor will I. I find them too uncomfortable. I love how they sound, but my noggin is important to me. Bass isn’t lacking at all in the 627. But, it isn’t elevated at all. It is full of great current so you don’t have to worry about bass drop outs. And it’s got great bass stereo detail, so it feels less closed-in, or forceful under load.

      In what way was the PURE II lacking power for the 600Ω T1? Was it sizzling at max volumes or something? The PURE II does a fine job unless you are listening to rock-concert levels. Please be careful with your ears.

      • Reply September 18, 2015

        Boogie6301

        Thanks for the advice. I have since decided to abandon stacked setup and will explore high power output daps. I joined the Geek Wave funding project and I hope it’ll finish soon. Otherwise Im thinking of the Hifiman HE901S with balanced card or X7

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