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How much difference does a portable amp make? - Page 4

post #46 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by koolkat View Post

Hi, hello. I have a question, sorry for thread jacking.

 

Question: Will connecting an amp to a headphone jack, without bypassing the internal amp, make any noticeable differences in the sound quality?  

               

 

Yes it's possible and quite realistic, but probably only noticeable for certain headphones and with certain sources.

 

If your source has like 8 ohms output impedance or sucks at driving low impedance loads at higher volumes, that's mostly a non-issue if you plug that into an external amplifier, which will have much larger input impedance than headphones and thus will be much easier to drive.  Then the the effective output impedance will be pretty much whatever the external amp has.
 

For those IEMs that vary from the single digit impedances at some frequencies to say 80 ohms at others, yeah, that will make a big difference to have a close-to-zero output impedance with your external amplifier, as opposed to 8 ohms output impedance or so.

 

 

Anyway, point still stands that the vast majority of the time you're better off just upgrading the IEMs/headphones though.

post #47 of 53

It depends, difference doesn't always means improvement.

 

When I tried my Grado HF2 with pico amp, it doesn't sound much different, maybe 10%, but this 10% make a huge improvement on how much I like this cans, although I didn't have any other phones at that time, I still barely use it, but after I got the amp and paired it with HF2, I almost listen to it everyday.

 

Paired with er4p, the different is quite subtle, around 5%? but its more like different rather than improvement, with pico, er4p sounds a bit refined, sweeter and slightly bigger soundstage, but it doesn't make it sound better to me, I still prefer the sound strait out from an ipod.

post #48 of 53

I was looking at making an AC powered PIMETA or something similar to power my RE0s at work instead of using my 160GB iPod 6G. Given the information here, and considering I work in a reasonably noisy environment (lots of test equipment with small fast fans), it's probably safe to say I wouldn't notice a difference worth investing the time in, correct?

post #49 of 53

I will concede that my 262s sound better from the E9 than from any of my portable amps - still find it odd that we need that much horsepower to drive a pair of IEMs to anything resembling their potential, but then the internal amp in my iPods is nothing to write home about. As mentioned earlier, its much easier to just buy another pair of phones than start spending money on a succession of amps.

post #50 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

I will concede that my 262s sound better from the E9 than from any of my portable amps - still find it odd that we need that much horsepower to drive a pair of IEMs to anything resembling their potential, but then the internal amp in my iPods is nothing to write home about. As mentioned earlier, its much easier to just buy another pair of phones than start spending money on a succession of amps.


Everything I own sounds best out of my desktop rig.  It's not that you need all that power, it's just that 262 scales well.  In other words, you got yourself a good IEM there, sir.

Except TF10.  That one improved more by upgrading my DAC than plugging it into my desktop amplifier.

post #51 of 53

I currently run my grado sr80's from a homebuilt cmoy and a generic mp3 player. Before building I wasnt sure it was worth the time, effort, and money. Let me just say that adding a portable headphone amp took them to their maximum potential, which was so much more than what i was getting out of them from my computer (which has a very nice sound card feeding to a denon receiver). They now have a soundstage which i didnt think the 80's were capable of, there is more detail, and there is more bass without sacrificing highs and mids. So anyone wondering if a headphone amp will be much of an improvement over no amp...DO IT. $40 - $60 is well worth the upgrade in sound.

post #52 of 53

do IEMs pair better with a DAC than an amp?

post #53 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foress View Post

do IEMs pair better with a DAC than an amp?


You need both for digital sources, it's not a question of one or the other.
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