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Do I really need a portable headphone Amp?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

So I was looking around the internet for a nice pair of headphones to accompany me at college and I came across all these posts of people saying for those high end audiophile headphones a portable amp is suggested for best audio performance. The audio sources that these headphones are gonna be used with are

1) iPhone 3gs

2) hp envy 14 laptop (with beats audio)

I have no idea if these devices produce good enough audio for the headphones to not need a portable amp so I was hoping to come to this site that everyone keeps mentioning as a standard and get some help

do I really need a portable amp?

post #2 of 8
You might want to take a look at Boomana's wiki article for new members. It does a good job of outlining what kind of amp - if any - you will need.

Mostly, however, it depends on the headphones you choose. Some of the difficult to drive headphones miss a lot of their potential when used from a portable amp. Others do fine whether you use a portable or not. It depends on which ones you buy.

Have you decided which headphones to buy yet, or are you still looking?
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

I posted in the other section of the forum asking about headphones because I'm really out of my element here and don't want to blow a ton of cash on a not quite worth it pair of cans. If I were to have to buy a pair right now based on what I know I would go with the Ultrasone HFI-780 but as I said I would really rather get a second opinion or recommendation before I sink any cash in.


Thanks for the pointer I'll head over to that section of the forum and do some reading.

post #4 of 8

If this is your first pair of decent full-sized headphones, you could be quite happy listening to them unamped for a while, with the aim of getting a good portable amplifier later. When people say full-size headphones need to be amped, they are saying they need to be amped adequately for the headphones to sound their best, not that they necessarily sound bad unamped. 



post #5 of 8

I would get an amp for something like the 780.  You can get a good amp between $50-$70.  Even a $20 FiioE5 will give you a little something something for your headphones.  Plus its a nice pairing if you ever get a Clip+

post #6 of 8

You can always try some cheap amps first. if you like it, you can spend more to get a better amp later.

post #7 of 8

It will sound better, yes, but the added bulk can be tiresome. It's a trade-off, sound vs portability. I finally ended up not bringing them anymore: the surrounding noise in the bus and subway pretty much negated the sound quality benefits.


Still use my Pico DAC/amp for my travel rig however.

post #8 of 8

Some headphones sound great on their own, like the Audio Technica ESW9 (if you like a warm, bassy sound). But an amp, depending on its sound sig, would make it sound even better


Where is the OP living? I know the Jaben branches (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia) allow you to test out any headphones and amps that they have

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