MY (portable) music rig.

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MY (portable) music rig.
9 months ago

I know that there are quite a few music lovers here on this I thought I would share MY portable music rig info with you.

The idea is to obtain a studio (or home stereo) listening "audio quality" in a small, lightweight, portable setup for use anywhere around the house, yard, or on the go.

My main criteria was that the entire gear must be very compact (ie: fit in my poket) weigh no more than about 1LB and be equal in sound quality to my larger, main, music setup that I use when recording/mixing, etc.

There are three man components:

1) The Audio Source Player

2) Amplifier + DAC Unit

3) Studio Headphones (or IEM's when on the go)

The Audio source is almost everyone already owns that. An iPhone, iPod Touch (or Nano)...or an Android device.

I personally use the iPod Touch at the moment as my music player, it weighs just 88 grams or 3.1 oz.

The next (and very important component) is the amplifier/DAC unit...which is required in order to take the digital audio signal from the iDevice/Android...and then to convert it into a "high quality" analog feed....(in effect bypassing the rather cheap/ordinary circuitry on the music device)...

For this I use the Cypher Labs Theorem 720 Dac (Made in the USA) which costs about $900 including taxes. Here's a front and back shot of the unit. The size/weight is just 8oz and the form-factor is deigned to fit work with an iPod/iPhone attached on top.

Here's all the product information with tech-specs, etc.

There are a few portable amp/dac units on the market at the moment...but this one is probably the best. The build quality is excellent. The audio is completely neutral (uncolored)...but not sterile or dry...with just enough warmth to provide an almost "tube-like" vibe. The bass end is crisp, clear, punchy and tight (not boomy at all)...and the highs are smooth and not harsh nor brittle.

The image below shows how the iphone and amp/dac are connected together...using the rubber bands and short connection leads that Cypher Labs provides.

Another real bonus feature with the Theorem 720 DAC is that the battery is so powerful it runs for a full 18 hours without any recharge...but also, it re-charges your iPhone/iPod music player, etc - when you are using it.

Headphones (or IEM's)...

OK, so with headphones there is obviously a big choice available...but i personally have always been an AKG fan (made in Austria) for around the house I always prefer to use a set of large (over the ear) studio type cans...simply because it enables one to obtain a full, studio quality sound...and also comes with a high 'comfort' factor too. Plus, the new AKG professional headphones are now so light...weighing very little.

I am currently using the AKG 712 Pro's ($600) which only weigh 235 grams.

These cans are great. Once again, a very neutral (flat) sound with amazing clarity and clear, open (airy) soundstage.

So, these three components together make a fantastic "portable" music rig...and weigh under 2 LBS total and the audio quality is comparable with say, a $10,000 home stereo system...and in fact, probably better...because studio reference headphones create an amazing personal listening experience.

Plus, one doesn't have to annoy the neighbours or anyone else


"No problem can be solved at the level of consciousness which created it" - Albert Einstein

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