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wait! portable amps?!?! please explain

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
hi all

so look, confession - i thought i knew alot about audio. well seems i dont! this afternoon i stumbled across the "portable rigs" thread and was suprised to see all these setups with portable amps!!

yes i've been in the dark.

so please all... school me on these portable amps... why should i get one? what's the advantage? what's a good place to start looking for them? brands? models? anything

i currently have an iriver H120, grado sr-80s and now want to add a portable amp too!!!

r
post #2 of 17
eheheh yea, same thing happened to me.
there are some pro audio guys in here.
anyway there is a thread above explaining pros of a portable amp.

what's your budget?
post #3 of 17
To me, a portable amp will drive full sized cans off of DAPs. When I use the amp on IEMs or buds, it doesn't have as much influence. I do like the bass boost with IEMs though.

For convenience, I will take the RS-1s to work with the ipod. If it is quiet, I won't use the amp. Using them in the car, I need the amp. The benefits are stronger bass, better resolution of details, longer decay rates of instruments.

You want to get as much battery as you can. Wider voltage rails and more current make for a stronger amp. So a single 9 v battery won't perform as well as 8 AAA batteries.

IMO
post #4 of 17
How thick is your wallet? Don't forget the cables too!
post #5 of 17
Head-Fi is all about sound quality.
To improve sound they use external portable amplifiers. Since the external amplifier usually are of higher quality, and more powerful, than the one built into the DAP.
post #6 of 17
For me, a portable amp means reducing the HDD sound of my DAP while using IEM, improving soundstage and all of the above!

As for models, the Pico and Predator are well known for their quality (with the price that come along).
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by RYC View Post
hi all

so look, confession - i thought i knew alot about audio. well seems i dont! this afternoon i stumbled across the "portable rigs" thread and was suprised to see all these setups with portable amps!!

yes i've been in the dark.

so please all... school me on these portable amps... why should i get one? what's the advantage? what's a good place to start looking for them? brands? models? anything

i currently have an iriver H120, grado sr-80s and now want to add a portable amp too!!!

r
Make sure the optical out is off if you are going to use it with a portable amp so you don't waste energy. Well that would be true of using it by itself. I use a 120 and 140 all the time with an amp. Great sound on the go, that and PortaPro.
post #8 of 17
I found that the Grado SR-80 don't need, and don't benefit much from, an amp. I think the usual recommendation for an upgrade path is: souce first (you seem to have this covered), then headphones, then amp, and cables last. So I would say if you feel you're missing something or looking to find out what else you might be able to experience in the head-fi world, you might think about upgrading your cans next. SR-225s seem to be a good next step in a reasonable price range for grado fans coming from the entry level. They also should perform well without an amp, but you might see an improvement in their response by adding an amp at some point. If you decide to go with a more demanding and high-end headphone -- HD-600 or AKG K701 or something -- then you probably need to budget an appropriate amp to drive them, as they will not perform well without one. Hope that helps.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
thanks for all the replies.. you all seem to know ALOT about this stuff... i really feel like i've been under a rock!

so yeh.. now that i've been introduced to these little monsters... i want one! my budget is probably below $200... maybe $250MAX!

i've also seen these Portable Amp/DAC units which seem intriguing?! (eg. Corda 2move) I know DAC stands for Digital Analog Converter.. but am not too sure what the advantage or use of these DACs would be? I'm assuming I plug the Amp into my Macbook Pro via USB.. then plug my headphones into the amp for superior sound -- right? If the amp has a lineout then I can plug that into an external amp or mixer?

Anyway again thanks for all replies.. keep sending them thru I'm slowly learning!

r
post #10 of 17
I have a great amp/DAC combo that fits in your budget. It is the iBasso D3 Python. I am listening to it right now using my computer as a source, and it sounds great. Take a look in the "Portable Headphone Amp" sub-forum here for more info.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckhirnigs113 View Post
I have a great amp/DAC combo that fits in your budget. It is the iBasso D3 Python. I am listening to it right now using my computer as a source, and it sounds great. Take a look in the "Portable Headphone Amp" sub-forum here for more info.
Hey! yeh i was actually checking their site out last nite... definitely in my budget.. i was in the process of trying to research that brand & models etc.
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by RYC View Post
thanks for all the replies.. you all seem to know ALOT about this stuff... i really feel like i've been under a rock!

so yeh.. now that i've been introduced to these little monsters... i want one! my budget is probably below $200... maybe $250MAX!

i've also seen these Portable Amp/DAC units which seem intriguing?! (eg. Corda 2move) I know DAC stands for Digital Analog Converter.. but am not too sure what the advantage or use of these DACs would be? I'm assuming I plug the Amp into my Macbook Pro via USB.. then plug my headphones into the amp for superior sound -- right? If the amp has a lineout then I can plug that into an external amp or mixer?

Anyway again thanks for all replies.. keep sending them thru I'm slowly learning!

r
Yup, you're right.

With this budget, you should definitly get a Corda 2Move. A great DAC/AMP combo, with great SQ and not very expensive. Low/High gain, low/high current modes, works with 9V battery and with an regulated external supplier, small, great sound signature. One of the best amps you can get with that money, that's for sure.

I'm truly amazed with its DAC out of my laptop and my UE TF 10 Pros. I've never heard something that bright and clean. I just can't stop listening to my CDs.

I just can't wait to get a bigger Meier amp, such as Cantate or Symphony. While it doesn't gets within my budget, I'll buy a Headsix just for better portability.
post #13 of 17
I use a portable amp for a mobile system, I spend too much time away from home in hotels etc, and I hve now a great little system that lets me forgot the woes of the day!
I find that an amp will improve the sound out of your DAP, but unless you can remove all outside noise etc, then the improvement is kinda ruined (a bit like opening the window of your car when the sterero is on!).
For a noisey travelling environment I use IEMs which I don't amp.
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by RYC View Post
Hey! yeh i was actually checking their site out last nite... definitely in my budget.. i was in the process of trying to research that brand & models etc.
X 2 on the D3 Python recommendation.

I prefer it to my Move.
post #15 of 17
I recently found out about portable amps too and am intrigued. I found a topic by Skylab who reviewed a lot of them it was very informative. If you haven't seen it yet the link is below.

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f105/r...mpared-214588/
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