Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Were my expectations too high?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Were my expectations too high?

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
First off, let me say that I'm newbie when it comes to "good" headphones and mp3 players since I've only owned a 2nd gen iPod, cheap/old $10 sandisk, and headset/phone under $40. I honestly thought that all mp3 players sounded alike (probably because I never bothered to compare) up until I stumbled into this forum

I recently bought a Sony A829 and a Shure SE530 thinking I'd get an out of the world sound experience. Well, I love how the se530 isolates the outside noise and the sound it produces does seem to be much clearer, but it just seems like there's something missing and I can't pinpoint it since I'm still in the learning process of the sound lingos. Don't get me wrong here, they do sound GREAT but it wasn't the type of sound quality I was expecting after splurging $800.

I've read some posts here that mentioned the A829 and SE530 wasn't a good match? Why is that? Would one of those portable amps make a BIG difference? I think over time I'll be satisfied with the way my mp3 player and the way the SE530 sounds, but there'll always be that curiosity of what an amp can do for me sound wise. Do you guys know of any stores that sell portable amps so that I can test them before purchasing? I went to Best Buy and Circuit City but neither of them carried any portable ones. Does Guitar Center or any stores for that matter carry those small portable amps (Pico, RSA Predator, etc.).

btw, I live in Souther California.

Thanks

fwiw, I used to make fun of my older brother who always talked about spending hundreds on amps, cables, and $350+ on headphones... look who's spending the $ now -.-
post #2 of 38
synergy maybe? You also might want to demo some other iems see which one you like best if you can. And I don't think any retail store in NA sells portable headphone amps. GL.
post #3 of 38
The only way you'll be able to try out 99% of the headphones and amps that are spoken of in Head-Fi is through Head-Fi meets, or buying used on the FS threads.
post #4 of 38
I don't think the Sony and the Shure would have the best synergy in the world. The Sony is a really warm source. It works brilliantly with my Etymotic ER-4P, which are bass-shy and fairly heavily on the bright side.

You might try trading up the A829 for a Cowon D2. The synergy between the D2 and the SE530 is oft-praised around these parts.
post #5 of 38
The Sony A829 is a fairly "bassy" headphone - I have one While I don't have the Shure SE530, I did have the pleasure of trying it out from a buddy of mine. It's an earphone that, to my ears, excelled in reproducing vocals, but the bass was a tad muddy, and the treble reproduction was slightly lacking. It's quite possible that pairing it with the bassy Sony A829 may not be suitable.

It really depends on the type of sound signature you're looking for. I prefer an open, spacious sound with nice tight bass and smooth, sparkling treble. To give an illustration, I really loved my Ultimate Ears Triple-Fi Pro. It managed to give me the type of sound I liked.

As you proceed with your new found hobby (sorry about your wallet ), you'll discover the type of sound signature you like. Obviously different headphones have different sound signatures, and many folks here swear by certain brands. There's no right or wrong, just trust your ears.

Portable amps most definitely improve the sound, especially if you have higher-end earphones. In most cases, you get better clarity, bass, detail and separation. But portable amps are a whole different ball-game. You now have to worry about interconnects and "synergy". However, they are not exactly "mass market" products, their prices, in most cases, reflect their niche, specialised status. Most of the well known portable amps have their web sites where you can purchase them directly.

You might want to note that amps work best if you run it out from a DAP's line-out. Thus far, only Apple Ipods seemed to be the best choice if you want to use a portable amp. That's not to say that other players don't have a line-out, but the sheer market dominance of the Apple Ipod has more than ensured there are enough talented folks to hack a "dock" that take advantage of this line-out capability.

Your Sony A829 has a connector at the bottom that many suspect functions as a line-out. Sony calls it a "Multi Purpose Port" or MP Port. Unfortunately, in order to function as a line-out to an amp, Sony has to make some changes to the player's firmware, which they seemed reluctant and unwilling to do. You can read about the whole sage here: http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f70/al...series-278471/

Good luck!
post #6 of 38
My own rules on portable setup usually went like these:

Warm source (DAP usually) -> analytical earphone
Cold source -> warm earphone

I like to think that these kind of setup balance out the overall sound signature.
post #7 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dscans View Post
It's an earphone that, to my ears, excelled in reproducing vocals, but the bass was a tad muddy, and the treble reproduction was slightly lacking.
There was something about the bass that bothered me so I guess that's how you'd call it. It didn't sound clear at all and it ruined some of the songs I listened to.. kinda felt like I was listening through my $20 sony earbuds
post #8 of 38
Thread Starter 
At this point, I can't sell or return my a829 or se530 because it's past the return policy and I really don't want to sell these at a loss (I'm still a newbie anyways ).

I don't know what a interconnect is used for but holy cow those cables are expensive! So what you guys are saying is that I'd need a "interconnect" and a "dap" (what is dap?) ontop of a portable amp? I can't just buy a portable amp by itself?

Thanks and sorry for the questions that you guys have probably seen millions of times
post #9 of 38
I don't believe in spending big bucks on interconnect cable (IC) so I am just using a free IC I got from buying amp. DAP, or Digital Audio Player, means mp3 player of any sort, including your iPod.

You'll need a Line-out dock for your iPod (to get the line out signal from your iPod connector to an amp), which is very commonly sold as IC for iPod. There are cheap one available which has the same function as the expensive one, but many think the pure silver / gold / copper give something special to the sound but I don't (personally speaking).
post #10 of 38
One can argue till one is blue in the face about the sonic differences (perceived or otherwise) between interconnects. Just like religion or politics, it's a touchy issue

It really depends how resolving your rig is. Personally, I can tell a difference between various interconnects, and I have my preferences. However, like what ClieOS said, I don't believe in spending big bucks on interconnects - the law of diminishing returns apply here. In fact, the ALO Super Cotton Dock is just about pushing my limits
post #11 of 38
u could probably sell the shures and get the triple.fis and have some money left over.

if the sony has a warm sound the triples will be fine with it. from your description of when you have a problem with the sound quality, i think it is a better match for you.
post #12 of 38
Thread Starter 
Hrmm.. after tinkering with the EQ a bit, I managed to get the sound quality to sound pretty darn good for my virgin ears That's good enough for me!

I'm still curious to hear how much of a sound improvement an amp can give. It seems that the portable amps have a very high resale value on this forum. Is that normal here? If the answer is yes, then maybe I'll look into buying one and try it out for a month before reselling it. Yeah.. I think I'll do just that :P
post #13 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by idiotekniQues View Post
u could probably sell the shures and get the triple.fis and have some money left over.

if the sony has a warm sound the triples will be fine with it. from your description of when you have a problem with the sound quality, i think it is a better match for you.

The shure and a829 is only ~3 weeks old (it's too early for me to sell my new toy) Maybe in the future I'll consider purchasing new ones. Now that I think about it, my friend might have the triple fis. I'll ask him if I can test his out tomorrow or something
post #14 of 38
maybe you should have made a more gradual improvement with your cash? it might be difficult to discern the sonic differences if your only reference is some cheap headphones. I do not know of what your experience is though so this is just a puny suggestion from a newb.
post #15 of 38
When you're doubting the quality of your current iems, put on the stock one to compare. You'll feel much better after doing that, but I don't know if It'll help with that $500 shure.

Although I've never heard of the shure, I'm sure you can get better sq and comfort for your money such as an amp + custom combo.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Were my expectations too high?