When In Manila and you seek for a portable tube amplifier, and yet, your budget cannot reach through, and you also don’t want the problem of seeking for the same tubes when they burn-out, as well as the 15 minute warming-up session before you can enjoy them. Then where else would you look? Well, ALO audio once again has proven their capabilities in churning out extremely good quality, durable and beautiful amplifiers. The ALO audio The National is not an exception. The goal of ALO audio when they were creating the ALO audio The National was to make an amplifier that could somehow reproduce or match the sound quality of the ALO audio The Continental V2 which is a portable tube amplifier using Raytheon 6111 NOS tubes which are rare and hard to find. ALO audio had in mind that they will soon run out of the Raytheon 6111 NOS tubes, so they wanted to make a portable solid state amplifier that will somehow resemble the lush tube sound of the ALO audio The Continental V2. What came out of this goal is the ALO audio The National. Oh and with a lower price than the Continental V2 and a smaller, more compact size as well! Sweeeet!
Such an elegant amplifier!
Packaging/Build: At this point in time, from quite a few experiences with ALO audio, I would like to declare that ALO audio is probably one of the best in making packaging designs in the world from all the portable amplifier makers! Hands down! The ALO audio The National‘s box is just beautiful! The packaging contains a card like instructions, the ALO audio The National, 12V charger and 2 ALO audio rubber bands for strapping the ALO audio The National to your portable music player.
Moving on to the build, can I just say that wow! The ALO audio The National is an elegant amplifier! It showcases the same design design on its packaging on top which I find very fitting to the style of the ALO audio The National, and gives such an impact to the overall design. It is a little round around the edges and gives an overall classy design. I actually like the design of the ALO audio The National over the ALO audio The Continental V2 and over my main amplifier as of now, which is the ALO audio RxMK3-B. The ALO audio The National has a classic aura to the design which is much like-able. The ALO audio The National‘s size is roughly around 3/4 of an iPhone and a little thicker than twice the thickness of an iPhone. Upon grabbing, you’ll notice the sturdy feel of the ALO audio The National. As you have noticed, all amplifier products of ALO audio have metal bodies. This retains good durability to all their products.
Thumbs up to that awesome packaging!
Sound Quality: Upon initial testing without burning-in the ALO audio The National, they sound far from what they are advertised and from what others have heard from the ALO audio The National. So I was sure that I had to burn-in the amplifier just like any other amp to truly bring out its sound. True to that, after having it burn-in for 20 hours, the sibilance with the highs started to disappear and the ALO audio The National started to become warm and bodied against the initial sound which is thin and sibilant. I knew from this point on that the ALO audio The National is going to be an amazing amp. So fast forward to 100 hours of burning the ALO audio The National in, the mids started to have a full bodied presentation which is thick, slightly more forward, airy and detailed. The bass also has really good impact and shows a warm presentation. The highs are smooth and laid back yet, has good articulation. The characteristics of the ALO audio The National shows a very musical yet, strong impacting, detailed and airy sound presentation. I have not heard of the ALO audio The Continental yet, so I can’t give a comparison of the ALO audio The Continental and the ALO audio The National.
Probably one of the smoothest volume knobs I have used on an amplifier.
To what I have heard with the ALO audio The National, this portable amplifier from ALO audio has a competitive price point and a very amazing presentation as a portable amp. I have heard leagues of amplifiers in this same price bracket and yet, the ALO audio The National pins a different capability to portable amplifiers in this category. Is it worth the $299? You bet!
Just classy. The sound and the design fits beside some wine.
ALO audio The National portable headphone amplifier: warm, beautiful tube-amp like sound