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Can the E7 power the HD 600 at all better than just listening straight through my iPhone?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Well, my HD 600s are arriving in the mail tomorrow and I don't have an amp. I figure I want to own a portable and a full-size amp at some point. And I'm thinking I will just ask for a full-size one for Christmas since I can't afford that now. But I can afford the E7 right now...and Christmas is only a few months away so it won't be that long of a wait. I'm just wondering if it's even worth the money to get the E7 though. It has an amp and DAC section and that's all I need right? It may not allow the phones to come close to their potential but if it can make them sound significantly greater than what it sounds like just plugging the phones straight into the iPhone, then I think I might have to pick that up unless anyone can think of a better solution for no more than like $25 extra.


Edited by Regality - 8/16/11 at 10:41pm
post #2 of 18

For anyone wondering, OP has already received some suggestions in his other thread:

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/566667/how-do-i-get-most-out-of-my-sennheiser-hd-600s-i-m-a-noob-help/30

 

Regality: I don't know why you feel the need for a DAC when using the iPhone.

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Oh why wouldn't I need a DAC with an iPhone? I don't have a clue.
post #4 of 18
If you don't know why you'd need one, it's probably a bad idea to get one.

The DAC debate aside, the E7's DAC function won't work with iPhone.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

In case you didn't see in that thread you linked everyone to, I'm a total noob at all this stuff. But from reading around I've learned that if you want good audio you need 4 things, headphones, DAC, amp, and a good source. Now I'm guessing if your source isn't from an MP3 player, then it's a computer most likely. But why doesn't an iPhone need a DAC? I would use Google but half of the links take me here anyway so I might as well ask for a more specialized answer for my situation. So is it bad that a DAC won't work with an iPhone or does the iPhone already take care of that conversion for me?

post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Regality View Post

In case you didn't see in that thread you linked everyone to, I'm a total noob at all this stuff. But from reading around I've learned that if you want good audio you need 4 things, headphones, DAC, amp, and a good source. Now I'm guessing if your source isn't from an MP3 player, then it's a computer most likely. But why doesn't an iPhone need a DAC? I would use Google but half of the links take me here anyway so I might as well ask for a more specialized answer for my situation. So is it bad that a DAC won't work with an iPhone or does the iPhone already take care of that conversion for me?


If you use an LOD with the iPhone will you bypass the phone's own DAC? I thought that this was one of the purposes of an LOD - to significantly improve the sound quality from media players.
 

 

post #7 of 18

The E7 isn't that powerful, I don't think it would help much. Just wait until you can get a good amp. 


Edited by Satellite_6 - 8/17/11 at 6:47pm
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Regality View Post

In case you didn't see in that thread you linked everyone to, I'm a total noob at all this stuff. But from reading around I've learned that if you want good audio you need 4 things, headphones, DAC, amp, and a good source. Now I'm guessing if your source isn't from an MP3 player, then it's a computer most likely. But why doesn't an iPhone need a DAC? I would use Google but half of the links take me here anyway so I might as well ask for a more specialized answer for my situation. So is it bad that a DAC won't work with an iPhone or does the iPhone already take care of that conversion for me?


Not true: http://www.google.com.sg/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=dac

And Googling "iPhone DAC" would lead you to: http://www.google.com.sg/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=iphone+dac

The first link being: http://gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/05/a-dac-brings-hi-fi-to-the-iphone/

 

The point being that some people don't hear a difference with an external DAC. There is debate over whether this is because there is no audible difference or not.

In any case, however: the only DACs that can work with an iPhone have to be licensed/approved by Apple, and as a direct result of that (I suspect) they are more expensive than what you seem willing to pay right now. So it's a moot point. Get an amp, not a DAC/amp.

 

Also, it doesn't matter whether you're a noob at this or not--if you don't know why you should add something to your setup, you still probably shouldn't add it.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by holden4th View Post




If you use an LOD with the iPhone will you bypass the phone's own DAC? I thought that this was one of the purposes of an LOD - to significantly improve the sound quality from media players.
 

 


 

No, see above.

Regardless of the unique situation for iDevice LODs, "LOD" by definition is "Line Out Dock", and so we're really only talking about a line level signal being extracted from the player. As you will note, a line level signal is traditionally an analogue thing anyway...the idea of bypassing an internal DAC to extract the digital signal is a new, and different, thing. 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Satellite_6 View Post

The E7 isn't that powerful, I'm don't think it would help much. Just wait until you can get a good amp. 



OP, as he said. Your key concern with the HD600 is a good enough amp. The DAC is very much secondary--and you should be searching within Head-Fi for the answers, because discussion surrounding the HD600 and amping is well-documented.

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
The majority of people drive their cars here and there daily without having a clue how they work...point is, people don't have to know how something works to appreciate it. If a DAC makes my music sound better, so what if I don't know how it works. I only really care about how my music sounds.
post #10 of 18

You're constantly missing the point unfortunately ....

 

Chain goes - digital source (eg ipod) - DAC (converts digital to analogue) - amp (amplifies signal) - headphones

 

All DAPs (digital audio players - eg mp3 players) have a built in DAC, and an amp.  So does your computer/laptop - either on the mobo, or a separate add on card.

 

The iPods come with the ability to extract a line-level analogue signal via a dock - so that you bypass the head-phone out.  The theory being you get a cleaner signal (avoid the headphone out on the iPod and it's inbuilt amp).  There is also the ability to take a true digital signal from the dock - but only one a couple of companies have the licenses to do this.  Look up the Cypher Labs Algorythm Solo (CLAS) - the necessary gear is expensive - then you still need to add an amp as well.

 

So choices are (from iPod):

 - headphone out (using iPod DAC and amp)

 - line-out dock (using iPod DAC and separate amp)

 - digital out (using CLAS DAC + separate amp)  -- substantially increase budget

 

The HD600 is 300ohm, so you're not going to be able to drive it well from the headphone out of the iPod.  Assuming you don't have the budget for the CLAS, then your remaining option is to go LOD to an amp.

 

Now - here's where you have a decision to make.  For your portable set-up, you don't need a DAC for your iPod.  I actually think the iPhone4 DAC is pretty decent for a portable already anyway.  However you can get a portable DAC/amp - which then gives you an option to also use for a laptop / desktop.

 

I can only comment on budget options - I don't have enough experience with higher up - you'll need to actually do some research  (depending on your budget).

 

I ended up purchasing the E7 - and used it portably for a while.  It's OK - but the amp section isn't very strong.  The DAC is pretty good though - quite transparent.  In the end I also bought an E9 desktop headphone amp, and the E7 is now mated with it for my desktop set-up.  I find (on a budget) that it's an excellent combo - and should drive almost anything - until you get into top-end/ortho territory.  There are a lot of other USB DAC/amp combos out there.  You can spend anything form just under $100 to several hundred.

 

To be honest - looking at what you've posted so far, I'd suggest you buy the Fiio E11 (portable headphone amp) and the Fiio L9 (LOD).  Combined, both will be under $100, and will give you a taste of what can be achieved.  The E11 should easily drive the HD600.  Then you can start really working out what you want for your DAC/amp combo for your home listening.  If you decide later that you want an upgrade for portable as well, you won't have broken the bank.

 

Hope that helps.  For your iPod - unless you really add a lot to the budget - you don't need add-on DAC capability.

post #11 of 18


You're misrepresenting what I said.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Regality View Post

The majority of people drive their cars here and there daily without having a clue how they work...point is, people don't have to know how something works to appreciate it. If a DAC makes my music sound better, so what if I don't know how it works. I only really care about how my music sounds.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric_C View Post

Also, it doesn't matter whether you're a noob at this or not--if you don't know why you should add something to your setup, you still probably shouldn't add it.
 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric_C View Post

If you don't know why you'd need one, it's probably a bad idea to get one.

 

 

If you've read the forums enough to learn that there's the headphones, DAC, amp and source, then you must have come across definitions of what those components are, no?

You haven't come across the fact that being able to plug earphones into an iPhone and hear music means that the iPhone:

  1. Is a "source" (as defined by something that stores, retrieves and reads the file)
  2. Has a DAC, to convert the digital file into analogue sound (technically a series of electrical signals)
  3. Has an amp, without which you wouldn't be able to adjust volume and hear the sound at all

 

post #12 of 18

Just get the Fostex HP-P1 (B&H Photo has it and a good return policy if you don't like it) and you are good to go. It was built to be used as a high quality DAC/amp combo. It extracts and reads the data on your phone, making for a better listening experience, if you have high quality music on your phone already. 320kb AAC or lossless (need a 160GB iPod for that-iPhone does not have much memory currently). Otherwise, a good desktop amp & DAC system is key.

 

Here is some info and a review on it:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/570149/head-fi-tv-episode-011-fostex-hp-p1-portable-dac-for-iphone-ipod-and-ipad-with-built-in-headphone-amp

http://www.headfonia.com/the-fostex-hp-p1/


Edited by wyffels - 9/15/11 at 2:54pm
post #13 of 18

If you're looking for something to fully power your HD600 you need an amp that's going to feed around 70mw into 300ohms for example the fiio E7 (as mentioned) will give you about 16mw into 300ohms... I'm just basing this on volume but it's worth considering... 

post #14 of 18

Can you bypass the iphone dac with the iPad camera kit (and another external DAC)?

post #15 of 18

hd600's will be underpowered with or without the e7 so having the e7 will make no difference sound wise, esp if using with an iphone.  The cheaper e11 will work though.  The e7 DAC is nice to have when plugged into a laptop or computer or e9 but there are very few DACs that can work with an iDevice and the e7 is not one of them.

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