Ever since Ray announced the arrival of his smallest amp, the P-51, i have been longing for one to complete my uber portable rig. when uncle confirmed he would be bringing them in, i decided to be patient, and was rewarded ever so generously by the year long santa claus. thanks uncle!
i must admit that when i first decided to make the purchase, it was mostly out of impulse and brashness, with little consideration about how it might sound, and not knowing how it sounded made the wait ever so painful and tedious. would i like it? was this going to be another wasted investment? admittedly i was initially more interested in it's form factor, of how it was smaller than even the ridiculously small tomahawk. however, as the wait neared it's second month, i was suddenly worried about how it sounded. waiting, for me, was never an easy task, and i must apologise to uncle for bugging him ever so often about it
along the way, i was given the opportunity to test the mustang by a good friend, who helped put my mind at ease. the P-51 had absolutely amazing synergy with the W3! where there was once unease, there was now impatience
i could not wait for a P-51 to call my own! in my very brief encounters with the mustang, i was duly impressed with the way it improved the already good w3.
today, as i received an email notification from jaben, announcing the arrival of the mustang, i literally flew down to get mine. the rest, as you know it, is history.
as i removed the mustang from it's box, i admired it's sturdy construction, and simplistic beauty. solidly built and encased in metal, yet tiny enough to fit into the palm of your hand, it was hard to imagine that this little device was the same device that wowed me not too long ago. fitting it behind my 3rd gen nano was easy, it shared nearly the same foot print, just a mere half an inch or so shorter.
here comes the all important part, how does it sound? do take note that this review was done with hardly any burn in done at all, and yet it never ceases to amaze me with the ways it improved my listening experience. the first thing that struck me was the lush, lush mids, how rich and smooth it came across. combined with the w3, it left me awestruck and stunned in it's wake. the bass was deep, full and carrying weight, a very nice balance, always in control, never bloated or flabby. i have no doubt that the P-51 will continue to improve with burn in, and any improvement at this point will be the icing on my cake. i will continue to update this portion as it burns in.
at 15+ hrs, soundstaging and imaging start to kick in, with more prominent highs. mids are silky smooth, the bass a very nice balance of control, depth and impact. rich, flavourful with a beautiful blend of detail and musicality. the amp is still improving as i write this portion of my experience with it.
25 hours and counting, and the battery is still going strong. the highs are smoothening out and soundstage and imaging is settling in nicely. bass has a nice punch and lovely depth to it, mids are silky smooth. i've said it once, and i'll say it again, if it has improved this much in 25 hours, i really want to see how much it will improve in the 100hour mark. mated with the w3, it brings new life to my music!
on a side note, the P-51 coupled with a ipod nano is highly pocketable
all in all, a worthy companion of the w3s, complementing them beautifully.
with well over a hundred hours of burning in, the P-51 and the w3 now sound simply amazing! superb soundstage and imaging, deep tight bass and those smooth luscious mids, this pairing brings new life to my music, bringing forth details that i never knew existed in my songs.
true, the w3 is most definitely good enough to use straight out of a player's headphone jack, and there are many who do so. pairing it with a P-51, however, was like icing on the cake, sweet, enticing and absolutely lovely. a match made in heaven? in my opinion, yes. what the w3 does well, the P-51 pushes it to do better. coupled with it's amazing form factor, carrying around is never a problem. battery life? outstanding. i was more worried about the ipod running out of juice long before the thought of recharging the p-51 crossed my mind.
i understand that many of you are wondering how well the p-51 synergizes with other iems and headphones. i am sorry to say, that at this point of time, i have not tested any other combinations, nor do i feel the need to do so at this point of time, not when this current combination satisfies my wants, and much much more.
i had previously hoped for a portable amp which would be pocketable, with decent sound, as many of you know, there is often a compromise in sound quality due to the size limitation. the p-51 has raised above any expectations i have had previously, and has set the bar exceedingly high for the next portable amp that comes my way.
finally having some time on my hands i decided to pop by jaben yesterday. i met illegal tender, who requested to test my p-51 in order to do a review, which can be found here. http://jaben.net/forums/index.php?topic=8638.msg148548#msg148548
thus far i have only been using and testing the p-51 with the w3s and other random earphones, so yesterday i decided to push the p-51 and see what full sized headphones it could drive.
first up was the k701. though not quite burnt in, (less than 5 hours of total run time) it sounded pretty good, with lush and smooth vocals, clear highs, and oh-so-lovely bass. i believe more than afew people who tried the following setup yesterday was wowed by the performance to size ratio, more so when we placed the k701 next to the dwarfed p-51, bringing to mind the bibilical story of david and goliath.
after being amazed by it's performance with the k701, we decided to try the hd650s and hd600s, which are supposedly hard to drive and finicky with amps and sources. the hd650s were too warm and veiled for me. but when it came to the hd600s, i was awe struck. lush beautiful vocals and a lovely soundstage, though not as wide as the k701 imo. listening to olivia and sara.k was an amazing new experience for me, despite having listened to their songs countless times before.
i had the opportunity to meet deathgod yesterday, and to let him test my p-51 to see if there was an difference between a 300+ hours run-in p-51 and one that was at least 250++ hours more run-in, and his comment was that the difference was quite distinct, not quite as significant a change as the first 100 or so hours, but still a positive and distinct change all the same.
links to other reviews
pm me if i've missed yours