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This is the 16th in a series of reviews dedicated to the concept of 32Ohm Audio as embodied by the store of that name in downtown Portland/Oregon and described here - Ed.

Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
Source: MacBook Pro (WAV), iPod Classic 160GB (AIFF)
Amplifier: ALO Audio Rx, Burson Audio HA-160 [on loan], Corda Concerto [on loan]
Headphones:Sennheiser HD800 w. ALO Audio wiring, AudioTechnica ATH-W5000, Grado PS-1000, AKG K702 with ALO Audio wiring, Hifi Man HE-5LE [on review], Jays q-Jay
Cables: ALO Audio 30-pin to mini link, Zu mini-to-2-RCA, supplied mini-to-standard USB
Review Component Retail: $349 in black/silver, $369 in grey/bronze, starting at $499 with USB

Despite having admired the artist rendering with the quarter dollar for perspective, most owners of the Pico headphone amp with optional 24/96 USB converter still express forum surprise over just how bleeping small it is upon delivery. I too was gobsmacked. Hence the match box. That should make it clear. This blighter really does set new standards for impeccably finished bonsai audio.

How does one fit a superior drive-anything headphone amp, smart battery charger, D/A converter with USB input and ca. 30-hour per charge battery into as dwarfed an enclosure as 2 x 2.74 x 0.86 inches (without protruding knob)? The following photos show how. Like an Apple Nano, it still seems magic though.

On the front there's a micro switch for 6 or 15.5dB of gain; 3.5mm i/o ports; a custom volume knob with integral shut-off function; and two red LEDs to indicate power and active charging. The back has the charger socket and mini B USB input. Specs include a S/N ratio of better than 100dB, THD of 0.0009%, input impedance of 50K, output impedance of below 1 ohm and 2.84Vrms output voltage with a studly peak swing potential of 8 volts.

"The TI PCM2707 receives incoming USB data and puts out I²S into an AD1896 sample rate converter where the data is buffered and upsampled to 24-bit/96kHz using the Pico's own low-jitter clock. These two steps buy significant jitter reduction while upsampling moves digital conversion noise further out of band. Actual D/A conversion is performed by a Wolfson WM8740 24-bit chip which offers 117dB S/N ration compared to the 98dB that the ubiquitous integrated USB/DAC chips offer."

Pico rainbow image provided by Steve Ham

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