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The Headcase pico Lovefest: Post your impressions here


thrice
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I think the Pico will be great for office or dorm solution. I would not mind having one but how the Pico measure up to a Maxed Out PPA or M3 with an Alien DAC sonically.

I'd say that entirely depends on what you're feeding it with, what headphones you're using, and the volumes you listen at.

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I think the Pico will be great for office or dorm solution.

Yes, I get that, but I'd rather save $500 for more music, a home amp upgrade, or whatever. No slam against Justin or the other portable amp makers, though. I generally run my Alessandro MS-1 directly out of my Sony D-EJ2000 PCDP - it gets the job done when I'm on the go. I've got enough gear to carry in my bag, and I listen at fairly low volume.

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Love the Pico. First time you pic it up, it's surprisingly heavy for it's tiny size. As your fingers touch it's shiny smooth surface you get feeling for the quality inside.

Not much can be said about the headphone amp part, it works great. My philosophy and experience is that if you hear a major difference between amps either something is wrong with one of them, or you are listening to one at a louder volume level (e.g. at a Meet).

The real magic begins when you plug the USB cable in. Aside from the extremely low noise floor, the Pico is simply refined. This ain't no cheap sound card wannabe, this is the real deal. Simply put, ounce for ounce (or gram for gram for you non-USA folks), the Pico is THE best sound source you can carry in the palm of your hand.

Headphones I've tried with the Pico extensively:

Sony MDR-R10

Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi 10 Pro

Pretty much up to par with my home desktop setup (Grace m902 + Stello DA220).

Now of course I always have to try my K1000's, even if the amp was never meant to drive them. :horsey:

Sorry to say folks, the Pico doesn't quite have the power to drive the K1000's. Not that they were meant to. But I will say, the Pico comes close. It drives them loud enough, and without clipping terribly, but the sound is rather thin and quite compressed soundstage. You can use the Pico with the K1000's in a pinch. It won't sound bad, it might even sound good, but it won't sound great. My Grace m902 is not up for the chopping block quite yet.

A few nitpicks.

The volume control is my main nitpick. (Except for the sweet volume knob design. ;) ) Low Gain is too high for sensitive IEM's. My volume is maxed out at 9 to 10 o'clock position with my Triple.Fi's. Not much adjustment room there. I'd hate to hear how little volume adjustment is with more sensitive IEM's like the Shure E500/SE530 and the UE11 Pro.

Also the gain switch sticks out a little too much for my comfort level. It's pretty easy to accidentally hit that little switch, so I try to be careful when listening with IEM's, it can make for a very painful experience if you hit that switch by accident while listening to music.

Also, just to be a Pain In The Ass for Justin, was it not possible to have recessed screws in the rear? So much attention to detail in the front, but not so much in the rear? And you chickened out on engraving the serial numbers. I guess you'll have to buy your own laser etching machine, because serial numbers written with a sharpie looks so amateur. :prettyprincess:

All in all, I have a lot more listening to do.

Congratulations, Justin on the release of a fantastic new product.

Of course you're still busy shipping them out.

-Ed

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Also, just to be a Pain In The Ass for Justin, was it not possible to have recessed screws in the rear? So much attention to detail in the front, but not so much in the rear? And you chickened out on engraving the serial numbers. I guess you'll have to buy your own laser etching machine, because serial numbers written with a sharpie looks so amateur. :prettyprincess:

I had to decide between using nice looking screws, or using phillips that were recessed, because for some reason the flat hex screws are much larger in diameter & would be too big. I went with the hex screws, next time i'll just use the phillips. I'm now engraving the serial #s by hand...thrice's is an example of this

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Wow, sounds like I need to get one for a (semi) portable rig. Just need to find a cheap, tiny laptop and some headphones. Wonder how it sounds with a HD650...

The Pico sounds quite good with HD650s. That was how Justin was showing the prototype at meets. [speaking of which, Justin, are you coming to Mayberry or not?] It also sounds great with ATH-AD2000, Grado HF-1 and PS-1, and Sony CD3000. I have just been trying the Pico with my Shure E500s because Ed said the gain might be too much. It sounds very good -- have not yet compared head to head with my SR-71 -- and the gain doesn't leave a lot of room as Ed said. I can go up to noon but it is loud and intense. I like it at about 11 o'clock for loud listening but 9-10 o'clock is better for normal listening. Tomorrow I have to fly to NYC for a one-day trip and back again Wednesday night so I will be trying the Pico out with my iMod and laptop back and forth to see how it compares. Some pics will follow...

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I'm very intrigued by the AD2000.

Rig looks great!

Thanks. I enjoy the AD2000 and go through phases listening to them pretty regularly and then forget all about them. They are often in my office and I listen to speakers more there. They are somewhat warm but pretty detailed and I like how comfortable and open they are. Can still hear the phone, etc., as needed. :angel:

I just posted these pics on HF and realized that the screen shot is Thrice's first post from this thread. Can I get in trouble for posting a pic of HC even without mentioning it? Hmm, I get I will find out. :popcorn:

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Mine shipped today. I'm pretty excited. I'm gonna sell off my portable amp stash after MOA along with my Lector, maybe my Canamp, maybe some headphones, and other stray stuff I've accumulated. Going to keep the Pico for work/portable and work on my home system.

Can I get first in line for the Diablo O0?

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Can I get first in line for the Diablo O0?

I'll have it with me at MOA. You can check it out and we'll chat. I actually like the amp more as time goes on, but I've got too much stuff, and what I've already heard of the Pico tells me it will do me just fine. I'm keeping either the PRII or the Canamp as a bedroom amp/transportable. Can't decide. It will depend on which headphones I decide to sell.

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I'm definitely going to be switching from a bag to a sleeve (or both) once i find someone to make them. for mine, i cut off the bottom of the bag so what was left is the same length as the pico, then cut out the drawstring. it works pretty well

That sounds like it will be a good idea, I don't really want to put the feet on but at the same time I'd like to protect the bottom from getting scratched up.
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My impressions so far ;)

The waiting is the hardest part

Every day you see one more card

You take it on faith, you take it to the heart

The waiting is the hardest part

Dont let it kill you baby, dont let it get to you

Dont let em kill you baby, dont let em get to you

Ill be your breathin heart, Ill be your cryin fool

Dont let this go to far, dont let it get to you

(That was an old Tom Petty song)

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