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Why an amp?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Hello, I'm pretty new at Head-Fi and in an effort to familiarize myself with each part of an audio setup, I have to ask: what is the purpose of using an amp? I'm posting this here because I listen to music on headphones only when I'm on the go.

What exactly does the amp do to improve sound quality? does it filter it? make it louder? offer a good EQ? I'm lost here - enlighten me
post #2 of 29
Here is my share of opinion on this subject: here.
post #3 of 29
Get out while you can!!
Sorry for your wallet!!!

post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post
Here is my share of opinion on this subject: here.
After reading your link I am either blind or confused. Is it really true that the iPod (in my case the touch) LOD's signal is the same as fully amplified headphone out? That doesn't sound right. I thought that it was a much more direct path from the DAC itself. Furthermore, the difference in sound quality is large and plainly notable with a RSA P51, W3s and lossless, with far greater separation of instruments, airier vocals and more controlled bass. It doesn't have the congested sound of the headphone out at all.

Same as fully amplified HP out??????????????????
post #5 of 29
For what I know, different (and mainly older) generations of iPod have different components (opamp being one of them) in between the DAC and the dock. It is said that it is the cheap components used in those passage that 'corrupt' the sound quality, which is why we have iMod and diyMod to direct the true line-out to iPod's dock. Some of the latest iPod that utilize Apple own DAC (which probably include Touch) do have a direct path from DAC to dock. The use of Apple own DAC also stop many from mod'ing them. Read this.
post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 
that's funny because my 5G ipod's headphone jack just broke and they don't do repairs or anything (********) so I was gonna "recycle" it to them and get 10% off a 16GB ipod touch. So apparently that's a good thing afterall.

Just another question to clear things up:
if i find out the impedence output for the IPOD and it's the same or less than the impedence rating of the IEMs I'm getting (dont knwo which ones yet), an amp won't be too much of a benefit?

from what I've read I gather that certain headphones need a lot of power to really perform (mostly full sized ones) and a portable player just can't deliver that power to them
post #7 of 29
Speaking for IEM only: difficult-to drive IEM are very few and far between. The common few which we do see a lot here are ER4S, RE1, E5c (and SCL5). RE0, though can be run unamped, will benefit from amping cause it is not very efficient. As for the rest, they don't really need an amp (but having one certain help, even when the result might not be as significant as those mentioned above).

Beside impedance, you should also take note of a headphone sensitivity. A headphone with low impedance and low sensitivity is still not going to be easily driven by portable source.
post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 
sorry for being stupid, but:
low impedence and low sensitivity mean they are hard to drive? what exactly do both of those things mean? impedence is measured in ohms so I'm assuming it's the resistance of the headphones, which means the higher it goes the less current it draws (Voltage = Current * Resistance) which makes it easier to drive

but what's sensitivity?
post #9 of 29
post #10 of 29
Here's what I said about my amp:
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f105/r...ml#post5268499

My headphones have no problem being driven straight headphone out on my Nano. And the EU volume limit does not bother me as I do not remotely go close to max so can only presume everyone else on the continent have damaged their hearing beyond repair (that's tongue in cheek)

Does it make a difference? Yes

Would I carry one around? No. I prefer my Nano naked by itself

Do I regret buying it? No, all part of the journey
post #11 of 29
It's like smoking or riding a motorcycle. It's totally unnecessary and borderline risky behaviour, but don't ever let anyone tell you they are not cool or fun.
post #12 of 29
It provide higher power capabilities than the built in amplifier.
Which in turn should improve the sound quality.
post #13 of 29
I have a noob question...I am about to order a set of Etymotics ER4-Ps. Is a CMoy amp going to do anything at all, I'm going to listen primarily through an iRiver E10 mp3 player.

I realize the Ps are for portables, delivering more power, etc., but is a portable amp going to be overkill or will they sound better?

Thanks in advance for any input here.
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by aug_aug View Post
I have a noob question...I am about to order a set of Etymotics ER4-Ps. Is a CMoy amp going to do anything at all, I'm going to listen primarily through an iRiver E10 mp3 player.

I realize the Ps are for portables, delivering more power, etc., but is a portable amp going to be overkill or will they sound better?

Thanks in advance for any input here.
Depending on which CMOY you are talking about. I'd suggest an 18V (2 9V batts) and OPA2134PA setup. ER-4P itself does not require external amplification to sound good. But they do improve subtly with extra juice from external amps. Since you are going the amp path, may as well switch to ER-4S (with a P>S adapter). ER-4S will benefit termendously with amplification. The idea is simple, more current = better sound reproduction, it's a proven sound science. And on top of that, I'd recommend that you amplify Line-Out instead of headphone out. I am not sure if iRiver E10 have Line Out

If you have dough to spare, allow me to urge you to buy a used Xin SuperMini-IV or a MiniBox-E+ for your Ety better do it now and save your money on upgraditis which tend to follow once you hang around here long enough.....
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeftyGorilla View Post
It's like smoking or riding a motorcycle. It's totally unnecessary and borderline risky behaviour, but don't ever let anyone tell you they are not cool or fun.
I don’t get how smoking is COOL or FUN?
Please explain.
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