Originally Posted by dspang
As a noob on a journey for good sound I stick to unamped cans. I'm too afraid to go crazy and the amping thing is just completely and utterly confusing to me. So my journey will always encompass cans that sound good unamped. I've been pretty impressed so far with a lot of the recommendations on this forum. I bought the Grado Sr60's after reading through past threads and around tax time I'm thinking of making a run for Sr225's. Who knows how it will turn out.
Not good, I'm afraid. Even the SR80's improve substantially with good amplification, the SR225's - even more so.
I'm not so sure I share the prejudice against portable amps, however. There are always exceptions to the rule.
Conceivably, batteries with enough power and voltage swing are going to sound better than any but the most ultra-clean wall-powered power supply (the batteries may still sound better). Take for instance a PIMETA: double-buffered, three-channel topology and powered by 2 x 9V batteries. With the proper opamps providing a high voltage swing relative to the power rails, you can get very close to the same voltage swing as with a 24VDC - common for desktop SS - power supply (only +or- 3V less in the available rail voltage). At the same time, using NiCDs or NiMh batteries can provide a huge current supply, too, assuming there's a reasonable buffer after the gain stage to utilize it.
I think you'd be surprised at how well an amp similarly equipped can equally drive a Sennheiser or a Grado. My only complaint is that they don't have tubes:
Can these compete with the very-very best desktop amps? No, but there's a lot inbetween that they can blow away.