Originally Posted by scytheavatar
Portable amps = generally worthless, overpriced and can never come close to a properly powered full sized amp. The good portable amps are the ones with terrible battery life. So I would think you should save your money for a real amp.
Why is it that there is always someone who say something like this when people are talking about PORTABLE AMPS
?? Nobody ever asks whether a portable amp is really necessary for a home system, thats not the point; yes the good ones can sometimes serve double duty if you are on a bit of a budget and cant have music blaring at home, or room to set up a home rig. but these amps are supposed to be used to augment a portable solution; so comparing them to home amps for the same money is just downright STOOPID IMO. No they arent as good as a home amp and no they arent as good value perhaps; but you ALWAYS pay a premium for something that is miniaturized and the power supply and size constraints of being portable mean that it just isn't possible to fit the right components in to make it as good. Not enough room for a decent pot, not enough room really for decent caps (except in some notable exceptions
), power supply caps and battery power just isnt enough to do it. But if you actually treat them as what they are; and have reasonable expectations of what something that size can do; then IMO they kick ass. The extra enjoyment my amp, IC's and VCAP Dock give me over a stock ipod (or any dap for that matter) is well worth the extra money and weight. it just isnt possible to carry a home system with you wherever you go is it??? please in future when somebody asks a question about portable amps and how much they help their PORTABLE system; please refrain from going totally off topic and suggesting they spend their money on something that doesn't fulfill their needs AT ALL. if somebody was asking about what good PCDP players were available these days and were they any good because they spend time traveling every day and would like to make it more enjoyable; would you suggest that they just forget about it, because the money would be better spent on a decent home CDP??? because in effect thats what you are doing by answering a thread such as this with a futile and totally irrelevant post like that. All it does is speak of your own personal bias.
to the OP, portable amps are only really good if you already have a pretty good setup that you like, but are wanting to squeeze the last bit of performance out of it; or if your IEM's are particularly sensitive and hiss with your DAP the opposite is true as well, if you have some really hard to drive HP's then yes an amp will improve your SQ.. in your case, I would suggest that you spend the money on some better HP's because you are likely to get a much larger improvement by doing that. In most cases adding an amp WILL increase your listening pleasure, regardless of how easily driven your HP's are. but the difference is only in the last 10%-15% of gain. then the last 5%-10% is cables (sometimes more but mostly about that much)IMO and always depending on the quality of your source; and that includes the quality of the rip; whether it be high bitrate mp3 or lossless, you cant squeeze blood out of a stone. amps arent magic, they cant produce quality where there isn't anything to pull it from; I think this is where some people get disappointed, by thinking that somehow; because they've read of how great portable amps are, they will suddenly be immersed in audio bliss, when they are listening with mid fi HP, low quality music and by using a ratshack mini to mini cable amping a HP out. upgrade path should be
1. get better HP
2. make sure your music is in suitable quality
3. if 1 is complete and you are happy, but could be happier get an amp and LOD (or similar for daps that dont have a LO)
4. still happy but again could use just that last tweak, get better cables,
5. see line 1