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What setup for an Ipod?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Im totally new to the whole headphones and amp thing. I want to get a great sounding setup for use in the home or on the go. At this point this is the combo i've come up with:

10 GB Ipod
Sen HD 580s
JMT Cmoy or something similar

Ive been reading the forums for a while now, and still have a few questions.

Does the Ipod have enough power through the headphone jack to drive these headphones?

Should I even be getting the HD 580s? They seemed pretty decently priced at about $125. I plan on using them mostly with the ipod for a whole array of music, rap, rock, techno etc.

Is there a point to me getting a head phone amp? What would people suggest? I was thinking the JMT one cause it was a bit cheaper than a few i saw and looked cool.

Any help at all would be wonderful. I totally new to all this.

post #2 of 12
HD580 for $125 is an awesome deal but that really wrecks the portable nature of your iPod. (But then again, I guess it's fine as long as you never take the headphone off.)

I'd upgrade the amp to a META42.
post #3 of 12

Ipod Subject

Welcome to Head-Fi

My setup is 10gig Ipod with Etymotic 4P, But I recently got a Meta42. Headphone amp helps fill out the sound a lot. Sorry dont know much about the HD 580's. Just make sure you have good quality mp3's!!

Good Luck!
post #4 of 12
The 580, although a fine 'phone, is a bad choice for use with the iPod. Choose one of the more efficient designs from Grado, Sony, Ety or AT (among others) and your iPod will be able to drive them without an amp.

If you decide to purchase an amp, the best choice I'm familiar with is the SuperMini for $99. It has terrific sound, amazing battery life, and will drive anything--including K501s.
post #5 of 12
I suggest an Ipod, a SuperMini, an ER4P and the 4P -> 4S adaptor...
post #6 of 12
Originally posted by Spad
The 580, although a fine 'phone, is a bad choice for use with the iPod. Choose one of the more efficient designs from Grado, Sony, Ety or AT (among others) and your iPod will be able to drive them without an amp.
Obviously, most portables can't supply enough voltage swing to drive such high-impedance, medium-to-low-efficiency headphones such as the Sennheiser HD 580's to anything above a modest volume level.

And not all super-efficient headphones will sound good on unamped portables, either. You see, extremely low-impedance headphones (such as many Sony models) really require lots of current in order to get any deep-bass oomph at all whatsoever - and most portables can't supply quite enough current to do even that. As a result, the portable will run out of current, and the resulting sound will be hollow and lifeless. I've made my recent post about the Sony MDR-V700DJ headphones as an example of an extremely efficient pair of headphones that actually work poorly on unamped portables.

Here is that post, quoted here, under the post title SURPRISE! The Sony MDR-V700DJ requires an amp!:

Originally posted by Eagle_Driver
I think I know why I thought the Sony MDR-V700DJ lacked really deep bass:

I was using the V700 only on a PCDP - and a gutless Sony CD Walkman, at that - at the time that I had owned that 'phone! HAH! That's because the V700 is notorious for requiring a lot of headphone-output current capability just to get any real bass extension, due to its very low 24-ohm impedance rating. (The V900 and the 7509 suffer from the very same problem as the V700, as far as extracting usable deep-bass from PCDPs is concerned.) And on PCDPs, I've actually heard better deep-bass extension from relatively high-impedance headphones than I did from any very-low-impedance headphones.

So, I'm concluding that the V700 is a poor choice for use with gutless portable players (despite its extremely high efficiency), not only due to the extremely high current requirement of that 'phone for it to produce any low bass whatsoever, but also because the built-in op-amp inside the average "long-battery-life" PCDP lacks anywhere near sufficient current-delivery capability to reproduce that oomph. As a result, the PCDP's built-in op-amp will run out of current, and the resulting sound from the V700/PCDP combo will be hollow and lifeless. (Like, that boomy mid-bass hump will diminish - but what is happening to the rest of my bass, as well? ) The V700 really needs an amp - in fact, even more so than do most other DJ headphones priced as high as the V700 - in order to get the impact that those 'phones are famous (or notorious) for! (Likewise, most of the higher-end Sony headphones require an amp in order to sound their best, despite their extremely high efficiency.) And even with an amp, the rest of the sound from the V700 is mediocre.
post #7 of 12
The iPod puts out a great deal more power than do typical PCDPs. I haven't tried the 700DJs, but I have a few other Sony models and all work particularly well with the iPod. Uneven unamped it handles W2002s and CD3Ks well.

Combine the SuperMini (or small META42) with the iPod and you have a portable system to reckon with. This setup will work fine with the 580 (I've tested it at length with HD600s), but you gotta have an amp.

post #8 of 12
I use the Ety ER4s mith my ipod. I have run the Sen 600s with it, and they will go quite loud. I have found that my ipod does not work well with a portable amp. It sounds much better straight into the headphones.

My first choice would be the ER4S or 4P with adapter. I like the cord on the 4S better, but the 4P is lower impedence. Tough choice.

Second choice would be the Beyer DT250-80. I use the DT250-250 with the poid at work and it is a fine setup. The ipod really does have a decent amp in it. Volume setting is arbitrary and a bit misleading. It really ramps up the last 10% of scale. I never run it that loud with any of my phones. The only thing that it hasn't been able to drive were my AKG K501s.

I would have trouble picking an open phone at the moment. I am pretty disenchanted with my HD600s, and the poid absolutely can't drive the K1000s. I will likely try Beyers next. The AT phones are absurdly easy to drive, but the sound isn't for me.

Have fun, and my sympathies for your wallet.

post #9 of 12
Originally posted by Greg Freeman
I use the Ety ER4s mith my ipod. I have run the Sen 600s with it, and they will go quite loud. I have found that my ipod does not work well with a portable amp. It sounds much better straight into the headphones.
It's true that you can drive the 580/600s to a loud level directly from the iPod, but when doing so you will be left with little or no dynamic headroom. This means that any crescendo or other louder passage will sound dull and compressed or, in worst cases, cause the iPod to clip.

The best set up with the iPod, particularly when using relatively inefficent 'phones, is to set the iPod to about 50-70 percent output and then set the amp to the desired listening level. Subsequent volume adjustments are then made with the iPod's volume control. This places the iPod in its prime operating envelope and insures ample headroom. (Incidentally, this should be the drill with any device not having a line-out.)

I've had an iPod since the day they arrived on the market and currently own two of them. The original is used mainly for audiobooks and the new 20GB version for music. Obviously, I've had lots of time to experiment and have yet to hear any amp or headphone that doesn't sound fine with the iPod, including the K1000 in my home setup.

But then I'm one of those "less than serious" audio enthusiasts who actually like the sound and utility of well rendered MP3s, along with the gear which plays them best.

post #10 of 12
Hi Spad. I tried exactly the same approach that you are using with a TAH. Not good synergy there. The sound became pinched and developed a shroud of hiss, without really gaining anything. Straight out sounds grand to me (for a portable). I listen to some very dynamic music, and haven't run into a problem with dull transients. I tend to listen at lower levels than most people that I know, so that is probably part of the difference. I did manage to clip it by running at full volume into DT250-250 and turning the (horrible) bass boost on. I was trying to clip it at the time just to see how it behaved. Pretty subtle with rapid recovery. Amazing little box. Has anybody figured out what the internal amp is made of yet? I was hoping that one of the DIY wizards would figure out a way to supertune the internal amp (chip rolling).

post #11 of 12
I use my iPods mainly with CD3000s and Ety4Ps with the fixup cable. Both sound fine without an amp, but I find the HD600 unusable without one. With the CD3Ks, the amp (Xin's SuperMini) makes the music absolutely shimmer.

The CD3K/SuperMini synergy is every bit as dramatic as the W2002/Headmaster, IMO.

Have you met anyone who owns an iPod who doesn't love the thing? Within a week of getting my first one, I added a thousand shares of Apple to my portfolio.

post #12 of 12
I do love the ipod, now anyway. I was actually ready to unload it after that initial 6 months with the friggin whine. Apple was kind of unfriendly over that whole issue, but they finaly fixed it. I am now a happy ipod consumer, and am considering getting another one. I really liked itunes too, but I just couldn't get OSX to work for me. That is why I am so thrilled with xplay.

I will experiment with amps some time. Lately I am not so fond of my HD600s, so probably not a good baseline. Lovely cans, so I will keep trying to get them to work for me.

Always the quest

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