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Brand New and a bit confused about portable amps ?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

I have just got back into Minidisc after a number of years abscence, i have been using a standard Ipod with of course MP3 compressed music and up until digging out my Sony 909 MD player i had thought the sound quality was just fine.... i was wrong. The difference between MP3 on my Ipod and the same album on my MD player at SP is chalk and cheese. So with this in mind i have decided to go down the SQ route and religate my MP3 player for runs in the park etc.


So, what is all this about amps ? I want to upgrade my headphones to something a lot better than i have, and with this will i need a headphone amp ? I am very confused about where they can be used and if you do use them what you get by using them. I live in the UK and only listen to my MD player when in the house so size of amp/headphones is not an issue, cost is also not to much of an issue as i really appreciate good quality music.


So what amp/headphones would you recommend (full sized/over the ears ones) and just what will i get from my MD player that i currently don't get now by listening via the headphone jack on the player ?

post #2 of 32

amps are used for headphones that are harder to drive..most iem's don't require amps, although depending on what amp you get, you can add bass boost and other features like crossfeed, etc. 


basically, an amp does what the it says - it amplifies the sound and give you more volume. if you're fine with the volume output on your MD player, then you don't need an amp. 

post #3 of 32

Well, honestly, I think your problem with the ipod isn't so much the compressed MP3s as much as it's the headphone output - if you were to amp the ipod, I'm sure it would sound fine.  Of course, that would also depend on how heavily compressed the MP3s are.  320kbps MP3s are pretty damn good, it's really hard to tell the difference from uncompressed files.


Anyway, if I may ask, what kind of headphones do you use?  Also, do you want your amp to coloured or uncoloured?  That is, tube amp or solid state?

post #4 of 32

well actually amping a bad hp out isn't going to help anything. if the hp out really was the problem, then the OP would need to get a amp to bypass the onboard sound. 

Edited by nyjets28 - 4/29/11 at 8:15am
post #5 of 32

Well of course, you'd need a LOD cable to amp the ipod.

post #6 of 32
Originally Posted by DaBomb77766 View Post



Anyway, if I may ask, what kind of headphones do you use?  Also, do you want your amp to coloured or uncoloured?  That is, tube amp or solid state?

Do you mean:


coloured = tube amp

uncoloured = solid state??


post #7 of 32
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

Thanks for the quick replies, i currently use a set of Sennheiser HD-62 tv phones which i understand were designed for tv watching etc, they sound just fine on my MD player.


I just think the sound on my MD player is richer, the bass is better, and the overall spacial experience seems just so much better, my Ipod sounds '' tinny '' in comparison.


The volume level at the moment seems just fine, i don't listen to my music that loud, it's the clarity and vocal quality that i want. I had even thought of getting a Sony RH-1 HI-MD player which will record in PCM. Having 3000 albums on one player is not my priortiy, i am happy to have one album on one disk and simply change the disks over when listening to other music. 


Regarding whether i prefer a solid state or valve amp..... what are either of them  !

post #8 of 32

don't waste your money on an amp just yet - get better headphones first, and IF those headphones require and amp, then get one. 

post #9 of 32

Yeah, I'd definitely say go for a new pair of headphones.  So you said you listen mostly at home and cost isn't an issue - but to be somewhat realistic here, what's the most you'd want to spend?  Real high-end gear can get quite pricey.  Also, would you like the option of being able to carry the setup around with you, or do you not mind either way?

post #10 of 32
Thread Starter 

No need to carry them around, i had thought of a budget of about £200, if i did get some high end ones would my MD run them ok without an amp ? I do like the headphones that completly cover the ears, my current ones sort of '' sit '' on my ears which i don't really like.

post #11 of 32

Does your MD player have any sort of line-out feature?  If not, the biggest limitation would honestly be the MD player, and an iPod with an LOD would probably be a better way to go - you can just fill the iPod up with lossless ALAC files and I'm sure you wouldn't be able to tell the difference from the MD player.


For any further advice from there, you'd have to ask someone else, I'm not very well-versed with higher-end full-sized headphones or high-end amps.  Though 200 quid won't really be able to get you a truly high-end setup, maybe mid-range at best.  Of course, that doesn't mean it can't be good.

post #12 of 32
Thread Starter 


Yes the unit does have a line out, and i had thought of getting either a Graham Slee voyager amp or even one of the larger stand amps, given i will be leaving the MD player on my bedside cabinet, size is not a problem, i could then leave it powered in and ready to go. The £200 is not fixed, i could go up to about £400 but given the MD player is only worth about £30 on Fleabay !!! I thought any more may be a little over the top !

post #13 of 32

why don't you try some denon 2000's - they are closed phones (so they cover your ears) and don't really require an amp. i think that could be a good starting point for you. if you like them, then you're set. if not, you can always re-sell here and try other phones and/or amp setups out. i'd recommend trying to get one from the fs/ft forums here. 

post #14 of 32

the price of the player shouldn't matter haha...there are plenty of people using sansa clip+ (40-80, depending on size of memory) and customs (couple hundred bucks) haha

post #15 of 32
go the clip+ its amazing for the price. In my rig the amp cost the most.
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