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best portable amp for Sennheiser IE8

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
I'm thinking of buying a RSA P-51 Mustang for use with the IE8. Would that be a good match?
post #2 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by zardos View Post
I'm thinking of buying a RSA P-51 Mustang for use with the IE8. Would that be a good match?
I have this combo, and I think a few others do as well. I think it is an excellent match. As I've said in another thread, I was surprised a portable rig could sound this good. (I'm using it with an iPod touch 2g.)
post #3 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilS View Post
I have this combo, and I think a few others do as well. I think it is an excellent match. As I've said in another thread, I was surprised a portable rig could sound this good. (I'm using it with an iPod touch 2g.)
I have a touch 2g and IE8s as well and yesterday a friend brought over his Mustang so I could listen to it. Using a LOD cable built by ALO, I found the sound to be slightly warmer/more refined compared to straight out of the touch, but frankly, the overall difference wasn't significant. I'm having trouble justifying the expense of the Mustang for such a subtle difference.

Are you using lossless files? All my listening was done with 256kbps AAC files.

The Mustang sure was tiny; the pictures I've seen just don't convey how small this amp really is.
post #4 of 40
Try the SR71A, the soundstage is really something.
post #5 of 40
Thread Starter 
My source is an iPod Classic 120 with mostly lossless music. I like the sound straight from it's headphone-out. I've tried the IE8 with my (non-portable amp) MF-XCan V3, but I found the sound straight from the iPod Classic to be better for my taste. It's slightly more tight from the iPod.

Would it be, in general, possible to distinguish a very good IE8-matching portable amp from the iPod Classic headphone-out in a blind test? The question is meant only IE8 related because I would not use the amp with other phones.
post #6 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwbrent View Post
I have a touch 2g and IE8s as well and yesterday a friend brought over his Mustang so I could listen to it. Using a LOD cable built by ALO, I found the sound to be slightly warmer/more refined compared to straight out of the touch, but frankly, the overall difference wasn't significant. I'm having trouble justifying the expense of the Mustang for such a subtle difference.

Are you using lossless files? All my listening was done with 256kbps AAC files.

The Mustang sure was tiny; the pictures I've seen just don't convey how small this amp really is.
Yes, I think lossless is the way to go if one is going to use high-end IEM's like the IE8's or comparable phones and a good amp like the P-51.

Whether the differences are significant, and whether it is worth the cost of the P-51, is a matter of individual judgment. I think the IE8's out of the headphone out of the touch 2g are quite good. I use them in the gym that way, and I'm very impressed with the sound.

The P-51, however, adds that little bit extra body and pizzazz to the music, and I think it's more refined at the high end. I can definitely hear the improvement. But I would agree that someone could easily conclude it's not worth $400. It really depends on such things as your financial situation, how often you're going to be able to use the touch with an amp (it's not practical in a gym, for example), the emphasis you place on having the best sound possible when you listen to your portable rig, and to some extent on how experienced you are as a listener (which impacts one's ability to hear subtle details).
post #7 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by zardos View Post

Would it be, in general, possible to distinguish a very good IE8-matching portable amp from the iPod Classic headphone-out in a blind test? The question is meant only IE8 related because I would not use the amp with other phones.
I think some people could make the distinction and some people could not. Remember, some people think the earbuds that come with the ipod are wonderful. I also question the utility of blind tests, but that's another issue for another day. The sound from the ipod touch 2g with a good portable amp with good IEM's and using lossless files is distinguishable from the headphone out, provided one is a relatively experienced listener. Whether the degree of improvement is "worth it" or not is a judgment call.
post #8 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilS View Post
I think some people could make the distinction and some people could not. Remember, some people think the earbuds that come with the ipod are wonderful. I also question the utility of blind tests, but that's another issue for another day. The sound from the ipod touch 2g with a good portable amp with good IEM's and using lossless files is distinguishable from the headphone out, provided one is a relatively experienced listener. Whether the degree of improvement is "worth it" or not is a judgment call.

Yeah, nice politician like comment.

What about bigger amps like the Lisa III or SR71A which uberburger101 suggested? Would that be "overkill" for an IE8(IEM)-only use? Size - if still portable - would be no problem for me. Also price - if below $1000 - does not matter.
post #9 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by zardos View Post
Yeah, nice politician like comment.
I've never been so insulted in my life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zardos View Post
What about bigger amps like the Lisa III or SR71A which uberburger101 suggested? Would that be "overkill" for an IE8(IEM)-only use? Size - if still portable - would be no problem for me. Also price - if below $1000 - does not matter.
I don't think the SR-71A would be overkill at all. It's basically in the same category as the P-51, and it just comes down to personal preference. I think there's another thread comparing the two, in fact.

I really don't have any experience with the Lisa III, so I'll have to defer to someone else on that one.
post #10 of 40
Only problem with the SR71A in my book is they are hard to come by. (Out of production).
post #11 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kahuna View Post
Only problem with the SR71A in my book is they are hard to come by. (Out of production).
Isn't it the SR71 that is out of production?
post #12 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilS View Post
Isn't it the SR71 that is out of production?
I believe you are correct. I guess what I should have said was that their is a parts shortage for the build of the SR-71A and Ray is not building any of these units at this time.
post #13 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by uberburger101 View Post
Try the SR71A, the soundstage is really something.
xxxxxxxx2 their synergy is something to behold
post #14 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilS View Post
I've never been so insulted in my life.

I don't think the SR-71A would be overkill at all. It's basically in the same category as the P-51, and it just comes down to personal preference. I think there's another thread comparing the two, in fact.

I really don't have any experience with the Lisa III, so I'll have to defer to someone else on that one.
lisa III is a great amp but do to hiss it really will not be the greatest match with iem's
post #15 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by hockeyb213 View Post
lisa III is a great amp but do to hiss it really will not be the greatest match with iem's
You can use an impedance adaptor. Lisa III + UE11= sonic bliss
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