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# Good audiophile MP3 players?

Ever since I've gone into the audiophile market and bought a nice pair of good headphones that I use unamped, I've recently noticed that my 8 GB iPod Nano 4th Gen. is starting to fill up (see my profile pic :P). I bought it around Aug. 2009 as a replacement for my iPod Nano 1st Gen., 2 GB, and before that my 1st Gen., iPod Shuffle. Moving on, I've come to realize that I absolutely despise iTunes and the newest 6th Gen. Nano and its design. The 5th will forever be regarded as the best to me (camera, recorder, FM Radio that I've always died to have on an MP3...) I'm going to have trouble converting though, because I have some 800 songs in my iTunes Library and at least half of them were purchased from iTunes, not to mention the hundred or so that are so old they still are Protected.

I was going to get a Zune, but Cnet mentioned Creative as being the top MP3 brand in an affordable price range. To put it plainly, I would have gotten an 16GB iPod Nano had it not been an extra \$50 I didn't even have. *sigh* But I'm much more willing now to invest time and effort in stabilizing my mp3 set-up and investing a good deal to get one that will last longer. Probably a 32GB set-up will be good for me, as I do enjoy replacing them from time to time but not every year or so. I was going to consider paying the money for a Fiio E7, but I've concluded that the first thing I need is a replacement MP3, or at least consider one. My headphones are the SRH-750Dj, and an amp is only as neccessary as I want it to be.

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What about an iPod classic? Tons of storage space and many amps are designed to work well with them.

IF you want SQ, go with IEMs.  Worry about getting the best IEMs over source.  Then worry about source.  I would not do over the ears powered from DAP, it would give you crap sound.

Sony X1000

Quote:
Originally Posted by High_Q

IF you want SQ, go with IEMs.  Worry about getting the best IEMs over source.  Then worry about source.  I would not do over the ears powered from DAP, it would give you crap sound.

I'm not a huge IEM fan, to be honest. I have a pair that I use for portable use, but I'd rather invest in a good pair of headphones, which I did. I'm not all that interested in buying a new pair of IEM/Headphones/etc at the moment, so what brands of mp3 should I consider?

If anyone knows anything about the Creative X-Fi technology, I know I have it on my computer and I love the bass boost and its features, but would you say it would go well with an added DAC/Amp combo device? Is it even neccessary for headphones that don't take much to drive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WisdomListens

What about an iPod classic? Tons of storage space and many amps are designed to work well with them.

Considered it, and still am. Although I do like to change my MP3 players from time to time, and that thing would take forever to fill up even with movies/music/etc. I'd rather get something with a lower capacity that is slightly more versatile ex. Creative Zen X-Fi2, which I've really been leaning towards because it supports Micro SD cards for extra movie/junk space plus the onboard memory.

A lot of people go with Cowon players here but Sansa's are good too I hear. Personally I have a iPod Nano 5G, although im not really considered an audiophile....yet

Quote:
Originally Posted by High_Q

IF you want SQ, go with IEMs.  Worry about getting the best IEMs over source.  Then worry about source.  I would not do over the ears powered from DAP, it would give you crap sound.

That's certainly not true. DAPs like Cowons provide plenty of power for many cans.

Buy a Cowon or Sansa. Visit ABI: http://anythingbutipod.com/forum/index.php

Hmm... I'm really considering either the Cowon J3 or S9. Probably the J3, since its MicroSD slot is hugely favored if I want to have something that I can use for external movies/videos that I don't always want to carry around but don't have to keep in the main storage. Reputably, it actually looks better then the Creative Zen X-Fi 2.

Also checking out the Sansa view 32GB, but I seem to have trouble finding a place to purchase it and it seems like they might be out of production? The 16 and 8GB versions are pretty abundant, however, for some reason...

DP

Edited by High_Q - 5/29/11 at 1:09pm

If you put it that way, cans of very low sensitivity, and high ohm such as a 600ohm can can be powered by any DAP.  Also, just because it loud enough isn't enough, the amp may be causing significant distortion since gain raised very high.  With sensitive IEMs, that wouldn't be a problem.

SQ is another matter.  IEMs are generally much easier to drive than cans, and there will be much better synergy with DAP to produce better SQ.  Thats not considering isolation, distortion etc....  If you are going to stay with cans, don't waste your money on another DAP, get a CMOY to juice up your phones, that will make the most difference.

Once you start monitoring with high end IEMs, thats when you can notice different colorizations of various DAPs.  Headphones and amp first, then DAP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Satellite_6

That's certainly not true. DAPs like Cowons provide plenty of power for many cans.

Buy a Cowon or Sansa. Visit ABI: http://anythingbutipod.com/forum/index.php

Edited by High_Q - 5/29/11 at 1:16pm

I said many cans not all cans. Over ear headphones will not give you crap sound out of a DAP, that's a crazy all-encompassing statement.

Why would IEMs have better synergy with a DAP?

My headphones are all of 32 ohms, and like a similar pair the Sennheiser HD-25's, they are easy to drive. They do sound better with an amp, and benefit from the extra juice, but it is not necessary. I'm considering a Fiio E7, but I'm not sure whether I'll get an MP3 player or the DAC/Amp bundle first. It depends upon whether my MP3 fills up within the next 6 months, as it has about 1.5 GB's free before I save up the money for the DAC/Amp. The amp, I stress, is secondary.

I would agree that IEMs probably are a better choice for portability and mp3's, but from what I hear the SQ you get from them costs more then from a headphone of about the same quality. Again, I have a pair of noise-cancelling ones that aren't as good as my Shure's, which I use for some of my portable use (ex. I stuff my iPod w/ IEM's into a tiny little outside pocket on my backpack, versus risking my headphones getting crushed by textbooks in the main compartment, or other damage from school use). Or on a plane, my IEM's have active noise-cancelling, and are much better in that aspect.

Finally, I think one thing you guys might be a little focused on is the idea that when I'm talking about a new DAP, you might mean I'm just asking about the overall SQ aspects. Not just that. I also mean in overall quality, what do you think? Yes, SQ is a big deal, but it isn't the entire focus. Thanks again.

Impedance is not the whole story when it comes to how well the headphones can be driven. Sensitivity is very important also.  Think speakers for example(8ohm speakers?), you think its easy or hard to drive?  Sensitivity is in dB/mW.  The impedance impedes current, and combination of current and voltage factors into the power that is used by the heaphones drivers to deliver the sound in dB volume levels.

## Power calculations

A graph of instantaneous power over time for a waveform, with peak power labeled P0 and average power labeled Pavg

Since the instantaneous power of an AC waveform varies over time, AC power, which includes audio power, is typically measured as an average over time. It is based on this formula:[1]

$P_\mathrm{avg} = \frac{1}{T}\int_{0}^{T} v(t) \cdot i(t)\, dt \,$

For a purely resistive load, a simpler equation can be used, based on the root mean square (RMS) values of the voltage and current waveforms:

$P_\mathrm{avg} = V_\mathrm{rms} \cdot I_\mathrm{rms} \,$

In the case of a steady sinusoidal tone (not music) into a purely resistive load, this can be calculated from the peak amplitude of the voltage waveform (which is easier to measure with an oscilloscope) and the load's resistance:

$V_\mathrm{rms} \cdot I_\mathrm{rms} = \frac{V_\mathrm{rms}^2}{R} = \frac{V_\mathrm{peak}^2}{2R} \,$

Though a speaker is not purely resistive, these equations are often used to approximate power measurements for such a system.

Edited by High_Q - 5/29/11 at 1:57pm

I'm just telling you what I and others on these forums have had experience with using my headphones. I know that impedance isn't the whole story, and its actually somewhat obvious with these headphones. I'm just saying an amp isn't necessary under my circumstances.

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