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MP3 Player Volume Setting When Using An Amp

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Just curious what kind of volume setting you use on a portable music player when using a headphone amp. For example... I'm using a Zen Vision:M with Westone 3s, and I usually have the volume anywhere from 7 or 8 to 10 or 11... out of a max of 25 on the player... sometimes a little more on audio that's not recorded very loud.

So what does adding an amp do to that? I mean, theoretically, there should be a line out to use an external amp. The Vision:M doesn't have a line out. So since the player already has an amp, the volume on the player will have to be extremely low to use much of the volume on an external amp (say, a P-51 Mustang). Wouldn't the extremely low volume setting on the MP3 player's amp cause any faults and noise in it's output to be amplified by the external amp? Doesn't seem like that would necessarily make the sound quality better.

Just curious how you and your setups handle this... if it's a problem... or not even an issue.

Thanks.
post #2 of 28
Before I have LOD on my iPod, I set my ipod volume to 50-70% when using it with an amp.
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jc9394 View Post
Before I have LOD on my iPod, I set my ipod volume to 50-70% when using it with an amp.
You'll have to excuse my ignorance... but what's an LOD?

Also, you ran your iPod at 50-70% with an amp... at what level did you run the volume when using headphones straight out of your iPod?

Thanks.
post #4 of 28
i would say about a half the maximum volume.
post #5 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by javahut View Post
You'll have to excuse my ignorance... but what's an LOD?

Also, you ran your iPod at 50-70% with an amp... at what level did you run the volume when using headphones straight out of your iPod?

Thanks.
LOD - Line Out Dock.

Yes, when I use the headphone straight out is around 30-50%. The reason I set the volume to 50-70% when using the amp is I try to get the most out of ipod without distortion and use the amp to control the volume.
post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jc9394 View Post
LOD - Line Out Dock.

Yes, when I use the headphone straight out is around 30-50%. The reason I set the volume to 50-70% when using the amp is I try to get the most out of ipod without distortion and use the amp to control the volume.
So that would mean that the headphone amp has the ability to reduce the volume before "reAmping" it?... since you actually run the Player's volume higher with the amp than without it... or else it would be too loud since the Player's volume is higher AND you have additional amplification from the external amp.
post #7 of 28
Here is my understanding, but don't quote me on these; DAP, like all electronic, have a certain level of background noise in its output signal. The noise is very low in comparison to the actual music signal, usually on the order of -80~100dB. When you listen to your music in lower volume, the music signal and the noise is 'closer' (worsen SNR, or Signal-to-Noise Ratio), because you have lowered the music signal strength but you can't alter the noise signal strength - but it isn't a big problem as the music signal is still way strong than the noise for you to notice. When you amp in low volume however, the relatively high noise floor (compare to in high volume) will also be amplified, resulting in an output signal with worsen SNR as well (in the same output strength). Theoretically, this can be avoided as much as possible by setting the volume higher. The problem will setting the volume to max is, distortion tend to occur when the volume approaches maximum volume, so you want to keep volume just lower than maximum, but not too low. Here is a graph showing what I just talk about, not totally accurate but it should show you the main idea:
Attachment 15140

LOD, or Line-out-dock, get the line level sign from the DAP. The line level signal has better SNR as the signal is always fixed at maximum (where SNR is at its best). This is why we always said line-out is better for amping.
LL
post #8 of 28
Yes, the amp can increase or decrease the volume by adjusting the pot.
post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
I wonder if maybe the impedance of the amp's input is high enough that the signal is actually lower at that point into an amp than it would be into IEMs. Then the amp amplifies the signal from there?

Guess I'll find out, since I have Ray Samuels' P-51 on the way!
post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by javahut View Post
Guess I'll find out, since I have Ray Samuels' P-51 on the way!
You will like it, it is a great little amp. Actually, I'm using it now. One thing - this amp sound harsh, flat when you get new but it will improve the SQ starting 20 hours or so. Once it reach 100+ hours, it is an amazing amp.
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jc9394 View Post
You will like it, it is a great little amp. Actually, I'm using it now. One thing - this amp sound harsh, flat when you get new but it will improve the SQ starting 20 hours or so. Once it reach 100+ hours, it is an amazing amp.
Cool, man! Can't wait to hear it!

Thanks for the replies guys.
post #12 of 28
post #13 of 28
in all honesty, i think the benefit you get from amping a headphone jack is quite minimal. pick up ipod! (:
post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 
Is iPod the only player with a line out?
post #15 of 28
Some older iRiver player have line out too and have better SQ than iPod.
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