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Long may you run with Cypher Labs AlgoRhythm Picollo

  • David Maudlin gave me a sneak peak of his new portable amplifier at the M.O.C. in Munich last month. Only a few weeks later and Portland’s Cypher Labs have today announced that the AlgoRhythm Picollo is ready to rock.

    Unlike the D/A-converting Theorem 720, this new palm-sized device is an all-analogue portable amplifier that connects to the headphone output of your existing smartphone or digital audio player. The Picollo will definitely give your iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy S-thing a kick in the pants. “The improvement in audio, even from a headphone jack, is amazing”, says Maudlin.

    The AlgoRhythm Picollo will run for over 24 hours on a single charge, after which it can be hooked into ANY computer or wall-wart USB port for re-charging. The internal 2000mAH lithium battery will reach capacity again after 4 hours’ R&R.


    The point of difference for Cypher Labs’ portable is an absence of op amps in the signal path. Instead, ten pairs of (precisely matched) triodes have been deployed for a fully discrete component layout. Each unit is also hand tuned to perfection.

    Physical intrusion runs at 55 mm x 85mm x 18mm, 140g. The 3.5m output has enough juice for all manner of cans – 200mW into 32Ω, 100mW into 50Ω, 35mW into 300Ω, 10mW into 600Ω – and a <1Ω output impedance means IEMs can also come party.

    The Cyper Labs AlgoRhythm Picollo is available now in black or silver for US$399.

    Further information: Cypher Labs

    John Darko

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram


    1. I don’t get it; wouldn’t it be better if it had a DAC and took a digital stream from the device?
      I keep hearing how the headphone outputs on portable devices are poor, so wouldn’t that compromise the end result?
      It’s all so hard to understand; sigh…

      • As always, the answer is: it depends. The headphone output on this will best smartphones by some margin. Users will definitely see a lift in performance. And the battery life here is impressive.

        Rolling a DAC into the equation will sound better again (all things being equal) but that demands a larger box and shorterns battery life. That’s the Theorem 720 (which is utterly superb).

        • One thing I’ve always been stumped by is the sheer amount of power a portable DAC + Headamp combo consumes compared to a similarly sized dedicated Headamp.

          Take the new iFi Nano offerings – the iDSD DAC/Headamp lasts about 11 hours on a charge, while the iCAN Headamp gives you 70hrs!!

    2. “Apple is planning to enable 24-bit/192kHz high-resolution audio in the next version of its operating system, iOS 8 – bringing high-res music to iOS 8 compatible iPads, iPhones and iPods, according to reports” (What HiFi?)
      If this is true, then I’ll hold off from purchasing anything till I’ve seen the next generation of iPhones/Pads/Pods; I’d far rather buy an iPhone with large storage capacity than a series of cute little DAC’s and amps, highly desirable as they all undoubtedly are.

    3. My little Portaphile Micro analog amp improves the iPhone sound greatly using the LOD connector and the Apple Lightning-to-30-pin adapter. If this amp is as good then it’s cheaper and powers up 5 times as long as the Portaphile.

    Keeping it honest at T.H.E. Show Newport Beach 2014

    Improving the sound quality of Qobuz, Spotify and Pandora