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Amp needed for Sennheiser HD438?

Poll Results: Do you need an amp to drive the hd438?

  • 33% (1)
    Yes, it greatly improves sound
  • 66% (2)
    No, it barely makes a difference
3 Total Votes  
post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Will I need to get an amp to get the full sound out of these cans?


I have a fiio e3 but will that be good enough or should I get and e5 or l2?


I listen to opera and rap primarily, what should I do to the music files in order to optimize them for this?


I know the 438 is better for opera but I got these refurb for 45$ USD so I thought it was a pretty good deal.



Edited by tommy21 - 11/30/10 at 6:14pm
post #2 of 11

Nah, they are designed to be driven from mp3 players or computers. Of course a high quality desktop amplifier will improve the sound, but for that much money ($250+) you could just get a better headphone. Just make sure your music files are lossless (FLAC) or the highest quality mp3 (320k). That will make a huge improvement in quality if you were using low quality mp3 files before.

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

I might use these on my Teclast M66 or iPhone. What about for those?


Thanks for the tip on the music files, I assume those would help with all headphones (have 238, 200, portapro)

post #4 of 11

Yes, the quality of the recording is by far the biggest determinant in sound quality. So rip your CDs in lossless (you can find free programs to do this for you). I personally have never heard the HD438... but If the volume from your iphone is too low you can use your E3 to increase it. Those little Fiio amps are good for boosting volume (I have one). I don't think the iphone supports FLAC files though, anybody know if if supports .wav?

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

ok, great 


I don't have any music on cd's... is there any program which you would personally reccomend (which is easiet to use) to make your songs into better quality.

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

I heard from someone else 2day that having a e5 WOULD make my music sound a lot better?

post #7 of 11

No, there is no program to make an mp3 file into higher quality. Unfortunately for you the solution is to purchase music on CDs. CD sample rates are much higher than even the best mp3 files, so they sound good. I have an E5. I seriously doubt it would improve the quality of your headphones (certainly not with any decent headphones, but maybe there will be a tiny improvement in sound quality with a basic headphone, who knows) but it does make them louder, which is useful sometimes. It also has a bass boost function, which is also useful. If you are gonna use an ipod, it's a good idea. Ipods and the like are really not powerful at all. Again I have no personal experience with the 448, but it will be loud enough with the Fiio for sure.

Edited by tvrboy - 11/28/10 at 9:28pm
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

Alright, so I guess the best sounding option would be to redownload everything in best quality (cannot afford to buy cd), but (accounting in average download quality) how much of a difference would it make.


Hard to quantify so mayb easier by saying (if its that much of a difference) by difference in model


ie. Sennheiser HD438 vs Sennheiser HD280

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the help btw

post #10 of 11

The quality from sound improves if you go with cds. I had 1,000 songs from limewire but they went out of business or something and half of my songs were bad sounding mp3 files or worsefrown.gif so I deleted them. Then purchased a bunch of cds and put it in apple loseless format and know they sound great. I have a fiio e7 and a lod for my ipod and I heard a little more bass I think and less fuzz from the ipod at louder volumes but that is it. I heard the hd 280s great but the hd438 are SUPPER comfortable considering I came from skullcandies lol. The iphone I am guessing would support apple loseless. The difference should be large from lower bit mp3 to more will prob be better. It will make a difference sence I consider the hd438s picky with there music lol. Overall great headphones I payed a 110 at headroom but I am satisfied with them still. Oh ya To unplug the cable to make it the 10ft cable you have to pull it like away from the headphones. Sadly I learned the hard way. eek.gif The headphones also way like nothing on your head lol. I got the hd 438s for the look rather then the 448s lol. Hope this helps.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Yeah, I have the 438's too.


What do you mean about the cable, I was confused about it too

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