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Is Amped always better than No-Amp?

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Have a tight budget on my entertainment system during my daily commute. Player is an iPod Touch 1G, data is Apple Lostless, and IEM is a Shure SE115. Would like to consider the FiiO E5.

Does it make any difference connecting the amp to LOD or mini-jack out?
post #2 of 30
For certain IEMs, it is better to be amped, example PFEs. These IEMs/earphones have higher impedance (more 32 ohms) really do need more more power to shine.

But, if you have a DAP which have higher output, and high sensitivity IEMs/earphones, then no need to have amp. I tried iPod Touch 2G (I think) with PFEs, and, Touch do can drives PFEs efficiently. At 75-80% is very loud enough, but iPod nano 1G cannot drive PFEs as good as Touch 2G. So sometime it depends on the DAPs too, unless you want something differents with amp, such as better SQ, more power or more bass (bass-boost.

BUT, amped is NOT always better. You may get a good result with certain amp, but sometime worse with other amp.

LOD or line out, is the choice for amping. Supposedly it should provide cleaner signal compared to headphone-out.

Thank you.
post #3 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bakhtiar View Post
For certain IEMs, it is better to be amped, example PFEs. These IEMs/earphones have higher impedance (more 32 ohms) really do need more more power to shine.

But, if you have a DAP which have higher output, and high sensitivity IEMs/earphones, then no need to have amp. I tried iPod Touch 2G (I think) with PFEs, and, Touch do can drives PFEs efficiently. At 75-80% is very loud enough, but iPod nano 1G cannot drive PFEs as good as Touch 2G. So sometime it depends on the DAPs too, unless you want something differents with amp, such as better SQ, more power or more bass (bass-boost.

BUT, amped is NOT always better. You may get a good result with certain amp, but sometime worse with other amp.

LOD or line out, is the choice for amping. Supposedly it should provide cleaner signal compared to headphone-out.

Thank you.
My Shure SE115 are only 16 ohms. Do you think an amp would make a difference?

BTW, thanks for the feedback.
post #4 of 30
Low impedance IEM's sometimes needs more battery power to come to life. It is not always the impedance that tells if headphones are easy to drive or not. And low impedance headphones may utilize an amp and gain as much sound quality as high impedance headphones.

But the question for you may be - is the soundquality without an amp good enough? Then you do not need an amp. With the SE115 I think you would get more sound quality for the bucks if you spend the money on better headphones in stead and stay un-amped...
post #5 of 30
^X2. yeap i think it might be better to get a better IEM. If you still want to get a portable amp then you can still buy one later. I have seen a lot of people stop carrying around their portable amps coz it just a bit too hassle.
Cheers,
AP
post #6 of 30
Since I have an iPod touch 1G, I think getting a LOD+amp will significantly increase quality.
post #7 of 30
A lot of people are not impressed with the muffled sound of FiiO E5, I didn't hear it myself, so can't really comment on this.
post #8 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by JiPod View Post
Have a tight budget on my entertainment system during my daily commute. Player is an iPod Touch 1G, data is Apple Lostless, and IEM is a Shure SE115. Would like to consider the FiiO E5.

Does it make any difference connecting the amp to LOD or mini-jack out?
i suppose it will jus sound louder and more bass for E5. SQ wise i do not believe it would increase much.

LOD will better utilise your amp compared to mini to mini.
whether your se115 benefit from an amp is more important. so u may consider a IEM upgrade. some IEMs will only bloom with certain amps and (cables even)?

coming to this forum will you jus make you "throw" that "budget" thought away. it happen to me.
post #9 of 30
I've not heard the E5 having long ago given up on portable amps. In my experience, if you volume match when judging them, they aren't that different than the amp in my iPod. Most people when judging amps, don't volume match. A 3dB difference in volume can effect the perceived frequeny response. Most have way too much gain for me. They tend to go from no sound to too loud with nothing in between.

I see 4 reasons for buying a portable amp.
  1. They're great for taking on a trip.
  2. If you hear hiss out of the headphone jack, a low gain amp can solve the problem
  3. If you have an in ear that is difficult to drive from a portable's headphone amp. This also applies if you're using not portable headphones. There are only a few in ears where this is really a problem.
  4. If the bass rolls off too much for you because of the small values of the output caps in portable players. This is not necessarily fixed by all portable amps however.
post #10 of 30
There is already a built in amp to all these portable audio devices. That is how you are hearing the music. The question is, is your external portable amp better than the built in internal. Sometimes yes, sometimes now. For example, I found that the built in amp in my iPhone 3G sounds better with my 325i's than the external Mini3.
post #11 of 30
Some IEM's that are sensitive or is of low impedance will also hiss with certain amps (e.g: E3 is a hiss-fest with many IEMs and T4 hisses with my 530s). I'm not sure about SE115 or E5 but I've found that most Shure IEMs are usually sensitive and hissy so it's something to keep in mind if you find it annoying.
post #12 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rasmushorn View Post
Low impedance IEM's sometimes needs more battery power to come to life. It is not always the impedance that tells if headphones are easy to drive or not. And low impedance headphones may utilize an amp and gain as much sound quality as high impedance headphones.

But the question for you may be - is the soundquality without an amp good enough? Then you do not need an amp. With the SE115 I think you would get more sound quality for the bucks if you spend the money on better headphones in stead and stay un-amped...
Good point, but I have the SE115 without an option to return them. I simply was looking for feedback from members who had tried a similar setup.
post #13 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexboo12 View Post
^X2. yeap i think it might be better to get a better IEM. If you still want to get a portable amp then you can still buy one later. I have seen a lot of people stop carrying around their portable amps coz it just a bit too hassle.
Cheers,
AP
Thanks for the feedback.
post #14 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thechungster View Post
Since I have an iPod touch 1G, I think getting a LOD+amp will significantly increase quality.
Ordered my LOD and FiiO E5 yesterday. Looking forward to some positive changes.
post #15 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vkvedam View Post
A lot of people are not impressed with the muffled sound of FiiO E5, I didn't hear it myself, so can't really comment on this.
My LOD and FiiO E5 should arrive this week. I'll post my findings.
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