Originally Posted by ExpatinJapan
I liked your review Norbert, thank you. Just what I wanted to hear.
Etymotic ER-4P are recommended it seems.
I saw the `S` cable on amazon, what does it do?
Has anyone tried the triple fi 10 with the Fostex, or the ATH-ESW9?
Now now, not so fast. My review was for the Fostex paired with ER4-S not the P, or more specifically, the ER4-P with an S cable adapter. Let's not get ahead of ourselves here. So, this morning I did some pretty intensive A/B testing between the ER4-P with the Fostex and the headphone jack of my latest generation Classic Ipod. The results are more mixed. Keep in mind the ER4-P was created to play straight from the headphone jack. They are easy to drive and don't need an amp. So, does the ER4-P improve with the Fostex? I give that a weak and qualified "yes." But boy did I have to work to be able to finally arrive at this conclusion! Back and forth for over an hour with all sorts of music, and I had to listen exhaustively carefully. If I only had the 4-P without an S adapter I would be disappointed with the improvement, which does not surprise me given what the 4-P was designed for. Out of the Ipod headphone jack it does quite well, that's why I never bothered to buy a portable amp for it. My advice for all you ER4-P owners looking at the Fostex: buy an S adapter cable. Without it I, personally, wouldn't bother. Think about it. It makes sense because the 4-S was made to sing with an amp and the 4-P was not. Why spend that much money and not get the S cable? Also, keep in mind I'm commenting on music from all (lossless) ALAC files. I cannot speak to how lower bitrates would fare.
Now, other things to consider: If I had a nice portable amp that I was happy with, I wouldn't buy the Fostex HP-P1. I'd buy the CLAS Cypher Labs AlgoRhythm Solo, which is just the DAC and save some money. Right now you only have those two choices for using the Ipod as a portable digital transport. If you're gonna park it on your chairside table then there are other options (maybe better options, but I didn't consider those because I wanted portable). As Jude pretty much said in the Fostex video the CLAS and the Fostex DACs are on par with each other. So, if you've got an amp why spend more for the Fostex? Now, there are alot of questions about how the Fostex amp section compares to other amps but I can't help anyone with that because I have nothing to compare it to. I've only heard music through portable amps briefly at a head-fi meet in Chicago years ago (I remember being blown away by the Ray Samuels units). I can say I'm plenty satisfied with what I'm hearing with the W1000's and the ER4-S. I also can't comment on using other cables. Unmoved by the whole cable upgrade mystique, which I consider to be a bunch of hocus pocus voodoo, I'm not a cable guy. Clearly, not the right person to ask on that topic (don't even get me going on this, I mean, it's a digital cable people. 1's and 0's. It either works or it doesn't. Please don't flame me on that!). I've checked the prices for those upgrades and I'm not into it.
Furthermore, you need to take into consideration that you will put out some serious cash on an accessory for an Ipod which may be discontinued shortly. Those rumors are flying around all over the internet. There's a thread on it here at head-fi. Just to play it safe I bought another 160G classic and will put my current one in storage as a backup. I figure they still sell parts and even fairly pristine 10 year old ipods on ebay. So I should be ok. And if you have an Ipad or Iphone you'll be ok too.
So, there it is. I've had my Fostex for 4 days now and I've given it a good shakedown and I'm happy. Now I'll be shifting into a less analytical style of listening and simply enjoy my music. That is finally what it's all about.