I've been missing the boat here for a while....and need to shed some (hopefully) useful information to other audiophile fans.
The whole point of this thread is to say "LISTENING HABITS AND SYNERGY WITH EQ AND PLAYERS IS HUGE" determinent in quality of the sound you wish for.
I just received a Ibasso T3 amp. I listen on the loud side so I should have realized all along that an an amp may really benefit my listening habits and I am finding that it certainly does. The T3 provides a certainly clear-cut improvement with TF10 but I am floored by the improvement with JH5. What puzzles me is that JH5 is already VERY efficient IEM so I could not see where an amp would help but I was wrong. The amp basically takes the edginess away and improves overall clarity. Amped versus unamped it is like going from cable to HDTV. I have EQ setting on "jazz" with the Ipod classic.
I have owned JH13 and JH16 as well and probably did them both a dis-service by using them straight out of an Ipod Classic unamped. I say this because AMPED with the T3, the JH5 is sounding like a flavor right in between the JH13 and JH16. I am as serious as a heart attack in saying this! Obviously this finding would leave one to believe that the T3 amp would also improve my view of the JH13 and JH16 but I can't test that now. And I don't have many of my other IEM's to test either with T3 but I can easily say that the JH5 +Ibasso T3 presents the BEST sounding IEM I have ever heard (including JH13 and JH16 unamped). This is a huge statement and worthy of note if you are looking for a "best" sound on a budget.
Bottom Line: If you listen on the loud side, get yourself an amp. It will give you clarity and "oomph" with zero distortion. The JH5 + Ibasso T3 combo will cost you $500. You will get perfect custom fit, a big sound with amazing treble, bass and soundstage. The amp makes a big difference, no question!.
Again I want to emphasize that I listen on the loud side so if you do NOT, I do not know if you would receive the same benefit as I do.
Edited by Spyro - 8/12/11 at 8:38pm