A package from Ω's #1 patron, AnakChan, has put me to work this afternoon. First, I shot the Grado GR10 earphone for a Headfonia review whilst plugging my ears with John Denver and The Alan Parson's Project. Driving it all was the all-new Cypher Labs Picollo.
What a beaut.
While looks are subjective, the myriad ways in which Picollo's machining outclasses that of Cypher Labs's own DUET (reviewed here), are myriad. All edges are smoother, better finished, tighter. Its bodywork is on another level. Its only real flaw is the four bolts holding its ass to its armpits. While high-quality parts, they jut ever so slightly from the chassis. It is conceivable that they can scar whatever you've sat Picollo. Consider yourself warned.
The body itself is smaller, but faintly chubbier than the Vorzüge PURE II (reviewed here, and here) whose forehead, is, by comparison, wide. The Picollo, with its unibody construction, however, sits better on a table. Nudge it. Push it. It won't bowl over.
Both are excellent earphone amps, both sport excellent gain stages, extremely low levels of noise, and high quality, low-distortion signals. Between the two there is no obvious victor. The PURE II has an ever-so-slightly more silken sound. My current scalpel, the Sleek Audio CT7, is out on loan. Through the Grado GR10, however, I detect no difference in background noise. PURE II puts out a stronger, fuller signal at high volumes through high-voltage headphones such as the DT880/600.
Left/right balance is great even from low volumes. And there is plenty of gain and voltage for medium-volume listens of high-ohm low-current headphones. I'm currently enjoying The Smiths "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others" through the DT880 600Ω at a mean volume of 78dB. What I hear is details galore topped by plenty of resolution, and strong, vibrant lows.
Picollo has a number of advantages next to DUET. The first is that it boasts lower levels of noise. The second is that its gain stage allows more leeway for fine volume adjustments. The third is that its off/on thump is softer. It isn't, however, as able to pump voltage into certain, hungry cans. It is an amp aimed squarely at the portable headphone market. And, it is single-ended only.
That we are getting amps of this quality for this price, and at this price point, is incredible. That they now come in this size and can power most headphones for good, reasonable listens, is incredible.
AlgoRhythm Picollo retails for 399$ USD. I think it is worth its asking price.
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