Category Archives: Amplifiers

iFi is not a newcomer to the audio solutions market. Its “mother” is the British company Abingdon Music Research (AMR), a respected name in the world of “serious audiophiles.” Recently, iFi launched the “Micro” series, which made a big splash in a short period of time with the introduction of numerous products.

iFi is not a newcomer to the audio solutions market. Its “mother” is the British company Abingdon Music Research (AMR), a respected name in the world of “serious audiophiles.” Recently, iFi launched the “Micro” series, which made a big splash in a short period of time with the introduction of numerous products.

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When buying a portable amplifier, it’s easy to get confused by the complex array of options. From very low-end models to high-end audiophile models, there are simply too many choices. Sports stores offer a wide selection of equipment for every taste. But even among them, there’s one product that stands out for its stunning looks and high performance.

The HA-2 from OPPO, an American company known for its high-quality Blu-ray players, is a high-end portable amplifier that aims to expand the company’s line of portable USB DAC/AMP headphone amplifiers lineup.

It features a special chip that converts the digital code (usually binary) into an analog signal, which decides the final sound quality. The HA-2 is actually a desktop headphone amplifier. It’s actually an analog thing from the HA-1 desktop headphone amplifier and the OPPO BDP-105D Blu-Ray player. The only difference is that the number of channels has been reduced from 8 to 2, resulting in significant power savings.

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Prior to the PHA-3, Sony had long focused on the consumer segment. Still, as consumers confidently turned to more advanced audio products, Sony decided to move upmarket, which encouraged the production of a high-end portable headphone amplifier.

The goal of the PHA-3 was to create a reliable amplifier for the MDR-Z7 and meet consumer demand for more professional audio equipment. Of course, $700 headphones are unlikely to work at full volume on a smartphone or standard player, and the PHA-3 is an excellent choice. It’s powerful and versatile and can be connected to virtually any device. Whether it’s a computer, an external digital music source via an optical connection, or an Android or iOS device, the PHA-3 can act as a DAC. There’s also a line input, so the PHA-3 can serve as a DAC/AMP (though it’s not the most powerful).

For advanced users, the PHA-3 is capable of handling high-resolution recordings at 384kHz/32bit (the current maximum) and DSD. Another interesting feature of the PHA-3 is that it can be used with balanced headphones, with two channels connected separately. It is not surprising that such a device is not compact and inexpensive. Its large size and weight are justified by its whopping $1,000 price tag, but is it really worth it?

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One of the first products that helped Fiio gain worldwide popularity was the E5, a small headphone amplifier. This small, inexpensive device dramatically improved the sound quality of the devices at the time and allowed you to get more out of your favorite headphones. Several years later, a new successor appeared, the FiiO A1.

The FiiO A1 is a small headphone amplifier, a device enclosed in a slim aluminum case with a built-in battery. The case features a sandblasted finish and a removable transparent clip on the back, which can be used to hang the device on your clothes. Apart from these factors, the biggest selling point of this product is, of course, its low price; the FiiO A1 is a cheap amplifier that costs around $25 to $30, which is comparable to the price of budget headphones.

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It’s hard to underestimate the role Fiio has played in the affordable hi-fi market. The release of its devices have become a highly awaited event for thousands of music lovers around the world. The E12, a portable headphone amplifier that went by the code name “Mont Blanc,” is no exception.

The Fiio E12 is a portable headphone amplifier. It doesn’t have a DAC function like the E07 and E17, making it even better in its main function, sound quality. The amplifier is a combination of high-quality LME49710 and LME49600 operational amplifiers from Texas Instruments used to achieve a low distortion sound.

Portable amplifiers are mainly used to increase the volume of headphones. Apart from that, some of them are designed to improve the sound quality and be considered effective. Here, the device adds a lot of warmth to the recording and makes it a pleasure to listen to by providing good dynamics, good musicality, and lively and easy-to-understand music. This headphone amplifier has many qualities, but detail and soundstage are not high on the list; also, if your headphones’ sound signature is warm, combining them with FiiO E12 might spoil your enjoyment of the music.

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The BTR5 is FiiO’s latest Bluetooth amplifier, and we’re impressed with its specs. It features dual ESS Sabre ES9218P DACs, additional balanced outputs, and an OLED display that generates enough power for full-sized headphones.

The result of all these technical improvements is an enhanced user experience and functionality. Sonically, the BTR5 offers listeners a natural, balanced sound with no noticeable harmonics. It’s a neutral-sounding Bluetooth headphone amplifier that’s technical and analytical yet engaging, emphasizing detail and dynamics over coloration.

Everything seems to fit together into a high-quality budget portable Bluetooth amplifier. But, since we’ve only scratched the surface of the FiiO BTR5, you may be curious about what will put its capabilities to the test or reveal its subtle weaknesses. Therefore, continue reading this review to better understand what BTR5, as a budget Bluetooth headphone amplifier, has in store for you.

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FiiO Q1 Mark II portable AMP/DAC is not aimed at a niche market in terms of features or specifications, which is surprising because it really does have a lot to offer. Nevertheless, let’s present FiiO Q1 Mark II’s hallmarks and shortcomings in this review.​

The first generation Q1 was a decent portable DAC for around $100, but it wasn’t spectacular. The second-generation Mark II Q1 has features that other manufacturers generally consider flagships, such as 220mW of balanced output power into a 32-ohm load, support for all audio resolutions up to 384kHz/32bit, and DSD256 (direct digital streaming), and support for iOS. Features that other manufacturers generally consider to be flagships.

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The origins of the FiiO “Q” series of portable DAC/AMPs began with the FiiO Q1 and continued with the Q1 Mark II; The flagship Q5 was released after Q1 Mark II, which was upgraded to the FiiO Q5s and Q5s TC (amplifier with Type-C USB). To bridge the gap between the entry-level amplifiers and the flagship models in the series, FiiO has introduced the FiiO Q3, a portable headphone amplifier reminiscent in design with the Q1 with a redesigned audio path and multiple headphone ports.

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