ALO Audio recently released their new balanced USB powered DAC/AMP called the Island priced at $299 and frankly folks this is about as small as it can get. Ok so I saw the eye catching pictures like everyone else on their website and Facebook pages and thought nice looking “gold bar” design there but I was expecting something double the size. The Island comes in at a little over 3 inches long, just over an inch wide and same again in terms of width. It really does look like a mini bullion bar except for that fantastically user friendly volume dial at the top.

With it’s origins from a 3D print design concept into a production reality sporting 4 different colored variations you cannot really accuse ALO Audio of being predictable. It looks like nothing they have ever made before and frankly doesn’t even follow the conventional norms us tired old hacks are used to seeing in our headphone amp/dac designs. The fact also ALO Audio saw fit to make this both a single ended and balanced amp out as well as stuffing a 24Bit/192kHz capable Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC chip in there (USB only) and a gain filter switch makes this a pretty decent value proposition. Anyway enough of the size thing, we have seen portable amp/dac’s achieve similar things I guess with ALO Audio’s own International though not at $299 and for some that may well be reason enough to empty the wallet.

Click to next page for sound impressions and that big knob :) …

The Island by ALO Audio
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