FiiO A5 Portable Headphone Amplifier
As fabulous as BlueTooth speakers have become for their diminutive size, I wanted a way to make the sound even better! Most BT Speakers don't come with any 'tone' control, less Bass/Treble or equalisation (exception here being the Marshall Stockwell) so I went on a quest to find some way of adding that.

I'm sure that those with more knowledge and better ears than mine will have better solutions than this, but I wanted something relatively cheap, pocketable, with a battery, and good quality to boost the tone and richness of the experience. I ended up with this 'headphone amplifier' (not that I want it for headphones) which was just over £100 and does the job splendidly.

As you can see from my snap, you attach the sound source to it (IN) and attach a speaker to it (OUT) with two 3.5mm cables. (I'm sure that the audiophile will claim that you can get great quality cables for this which'll do the job even better, but in my experience here, any old one'll do!) The unit has a 'gain' (high/low) switch, a 'bass' switch (on/off), a MicroUSB charging port with LEDs to show charging state/operation and an on/off/volume knurled knob.

The unit itself is made of gorgeous-feeling cold metal and all switches and the knob feel really classy, solid and very well made indeed. It comes with a carry/protect pouch, a 3.5mm male-male short cable, various sized rubber bands (to 'strap' it to a sound source) and a couple of silicone 'pads' to sit between the devices when strapped together. The 880mAh battery charges in a couple of hours or so and plays for about 10hrs, depending on volume/power used etc.

The Gain and Bass switches certainly make a difference to the output but even without them, it seems to boost the quality of the sound from pretty much any source. Used here with a Marshall London, which sounds pretty good stand-alone, as discussed many times on PSC with +Steve Litchfield, hooked up to a bigger speaker with this in-line, blows it away! It would be nice to have an equaliser built-in to the unit too (I can't seem to find such a portable unit to add to the setup, even from the Chinese manufacturer here, Fiio) so that the sound/frequencies could be tinkered with, but most phones at least have some sort of equaliser onboard.

The cabling thing is a bit of a fiddle, to be honest, but once set up (I think I need some slightly longer cables) and playing, you forget about all that! All I can tell you is that it boosts the sound to these middle-aged ears amazingly well via whichever speaker I happen to plug it into. Even the Marshall Stockwell! For the price, I think it's fabulous and well worth having, to squeeze every last drop of sound out of your portable phone/device/speaker setup. Hugely recommended.
AmazonUK - https://goo.gl/ew3Dgv

Much more on this kind of Audio gear from +Gavin Fabiani-Laymond at Gavin's Gadgets - https://goo.gl/G2Pr3Y - always a good resource.

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