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Smallest possible amp for Dan Clark Aeons?

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I'm considering a Drop Dan Aeon closed model and since they fold down I may want to travel with them, but my iPhone 12 Pro's Lightning to 3.5mm adapter probably won't be able to drive them well. I don't want to lug around a chonky amp the size of another phone. What's the smallest possible portable amp that can connect to an iPhone lightning port and be able to drive DC Aeons?

Being able to decode 24/192 from Qobuz is nice bonus too.
 
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RickSanchez

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This is a good place to get an approximate idea of the specs you need:

After that I'd say the Fiio A5 might work? It's not the smallest but it measures well, has decent power, and has low output impedance. (If the specs on Drop are correct the impedance on the Aeon closed are 12.5Ω )

 
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I have Aeon Closed X and both the Qudelix and the IFI Hipdac 2 power it well.
 

aandres_gm

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The Lightning-3.5mm dongle powers my Aeon Closed X just fine.

Edit: no 192 kHz, though I don’t believe that’s a huge loss.
 

stanroz

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I just acquired Aeon 2 Closed and am in the same position. I need something portable, not desk top. Currently I use Ipad Pro with Apple's usb-c dongle and an iphone with lightning dongle. They sound very nice and have plenty of volume when set at 75%-85%.

But..... well, you know, ignorance is bliss I guess... I got in touch with Dan Clark's tech people and according to them these dongles are not nearly adequate. According to them the Aeons ideally need 500mW. It is not just a question of volume, but he said I am not getting the full effect of the mid and low frequencies.

I then reached out out to Topping, thinking about their NX4 DSD, which got such a sterling review on this site. They were honest and said that they don't think that even NX4DSD would be enough for the Aeons. The only thing that would suffice they said was their stand alone new portable amplifier NX7. The price is right, but then I would still need to find a suitable DAC.

Then another high end audio place recommended Earmen TR-Amp, It looks like a very nice unit and within my budget but it outputs "only" 400 mW lol.

So here I am still processing my options... to be continued.... :)
 

staticV3

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@theglobalelite @stanroz
E1DA_9038S_G1_Output_Voltage_vs_THDN_vs_Load-1.png
Screenshot_20220223-140203_Sheets.jpg
Screenshot_20220223-135805_Sheets.jpg
IMG_20220223_140555__01.jpg
IMG_20220223_140622__01.jpg

Please note that the 9038S G3 has less noise and distortion than the G1 you see measured here. The Amp is the same though, so power output is unchanged.

Also, you need a balanced cable to use the 9038S.

For a compatible Lightning to Type-C cable, take a loot at this sheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1_Yqd7lpt3N2B0kVwzqzHoRmCTO7ZTe32p_xhjuGluh8/edit?usp=sharing
 
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Snoopy

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I thought the drop version doesn't fold. I have the Noire. They fold. Really portable. Love them
 

tifune

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With my Stealth, I use CEntrance Ampersand. It's not the smallest, not even the smallest suggestion in this thread, but it works for me because its threaded for tripod mount. So, I just got an eye bolt, some washers, and a carabineer so I could hook it to a belt loop.

It hasn't been measured independently yet, and their M8v2 did not fare well here, but their stated specs are very down to earth so I feel OK about recommending it. I got it 30% off for Black Friday, which I feel is a good deal given the limited options in the high power mobile amp marketplace. I also like that it's analog in/out, so as long as the battery can be replaced (I'm not sure) there's no long term concerns around things like BT compatibility.
 

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Music1969

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I'm considering a Drop Dan Aeon closed model and since they fold down I may want to travel with them, but my iPhone 12 Pro's Lightning to 3.5mm adapter probably won't be able to drive them well. I don't want to lug around a chonky amp the size of another phone. What's the smallest possible portable amp that can connect to an iPhone lightning port and be able to drive DC Aeons?

Being able to decode 24/192 from Qobuz is nice bonus too.

The new Chord Mojo 2

APx555 Measurements:

 

Jimbob54

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I thought the drop version doesn't fold. I have the Noire. They fold. Really portable. Love them

Correct, the Drop "X" versions and the DCA own "RT" versions do not fold. They are based on the original (v1) Aeons- the Aeon 2 models (including the Noire as you note) do fold.
 

stanroz

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Drop’s Ether CX doesn’t fold. The Aeons do, and they use newer driver as well.
 

Snoopy

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Jimbob54

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Drop’s Ether CX doesn’t fold. The Aeons do, and they use newer driver as well.

Trust me- the Aeon X (Drop) and the Aeon RT models do not fold. I have a pair. The Aeon 2 models do fold.
 

stanroz

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So I did exhaustive research (and exhausting for me anyway lol).

If one is to take DCA’s recommendation seriously, ie 500 mE at 16 ohms and output impedance of less than 1, then the portable options are limited and expensive.

Chord Mojo or Mojo 2
IFI IDSD Micro Black Label or Signature

That’s either over $700 for something new or still having to spend over $300 for a used unit several years old… hardly a tantalizing prospect either way after having spent so much on the headphones themselves.

The cheapest option is to use the Apple dongles combined with Topping NX7 ($179) portable amp.

The others that come close to but do not quite meet the specs but might be worth trying:

EarMen TR-Amp
Topping NX4DSD
Monolith by Monoprice 24460
 

Snoopy

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So I did exhaustive research (and exhausting for me anyway lol).

If one is to take DCA’s recommendation seriously, ie 500 mE at 16 ohms and output impedance of less than 1, then the portable options are limited and expensive.

Chord Mojo or Mojo 2
IFI IDSD Micro Black Label or Signature

That’s either over $700 for something new or still having to spend over $300 for a used unit several years old… hardly a tantalizing prospect either way after having spent so much on the headphones themselves.

The cheapest option is to use the Apple dongles combined with Topping NX7 ($179) portable amp.

The others that come close to but do not quite meet the specs but might be worth trying:

EarMen TR-Amp
Topping NX4DSD
Monolith by Monoprice 24460

Ifi xDSD gryphon would be what I would pick if I where to look for a portable amp
 

stanroz

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Yes I forgot… The DCA engineer I talked to did mention that IFI Gryphon would work well….
 
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