A few years ago, Ray Samuels created a line of portable amplifiers that became staples of the high-end portable rigs scene. His Protector and SR71B offered a yummy and dark sound signature with power hardly ever seen before in on the go setups. Ray’s amplifiers equated to high status. I freely admit to stirrings of jealousy inside my gut when I would see one of Ray’s amplifiers listed as something some dude owned in the signature or profile of some random user on an audio forum.
Filing a complaint against portable Daps
Unfortunately, most of us were stuck with a semi-balanced portable rig due to the fact that almost no portable music player offered a truly balanced output, forced to have a third-party cable maker fashioned a standard headphone male lead to a balanced connector of some type. It wasn’t until portable Dacs like Cypher Labs products came into play that the fully portable balance rig became possible. Outing the original portable source via line out into said Dac, which then outed the audio signal into a portable balanced amplifier of your choice. Typically, balanced inputs and outputs were only found in high quality USB Dacs and amplifiers. Four pin balanced XLR cable adapter, or perhaps dual Mono 3pin XLR cable adapters were the most popular types.
To date, nobody has offered an ALO/RSA headphone cable output on their portable media player. This saddens me, due to most of these high quality portable music player companies specifically catering to extremely high end audio enthusiasts…but completely ignoring the fact that pretty much all of them want a fully balanced on the go set up. I think the first audiophile grade portable player that offers an RSA/ALO balance four pin output is going to be highly appreciated inside the hi-fi community. Someone, get on this quick, but also make sure to give me 1% of monthly profits for giving you the idea. Death to balanced TRSS plugs, hail the RSA/ALO 4 pin!