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Portable Amp (help)

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I am a beginner audiophile is what I'd like to call myself I need an amp because my htc sensation can not power my sr80is and they sound like crap. When i plug my computer speakers into my phone then plug the headphones into the speakers they sound louder and much better which made me believe its the phone. I am looking for something small that can fit in a pocket since i use public transportation to get to work and I use these or my porta pros. I wouldnt mind a very slight bass boost for the sr 80s but the koss dont need it. any suggestions on an amp? I listen to jazz nina simone, coltrane, r&b and rap and rock band rock. oh and the cheaper the better lol

post #2 of 9


Total Airhead from headphone.com


$150 ( comes with a DAC built in )

Total Bithead from headphone.com


These are both great portable amps which drive the SR-80's nicely.  I let me lab mate at work borrow my Bithead and he loves it with this SR-80's.

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

do you think the extra 50 bucks is worth it on the bit head since they both look good does the DAC make that much of a difference?

post #4 of 9
Does your phone have USB output? If not, then the DAC won't be of any use to you... Unless you are going to use it from your computer as well?

I have a Total Airhead and it's been great over the years. I just broke it out the other day for fun and was pleasantly surprised that it still holds it's own. That said, if I had it to do over, I would have sprung for the Bithead just for some more flexibility.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

No it doesnt have a usb out, but i read that it can run off of AAA batteries. I'm thinking about it because when Im in my office like now I do love to listen to my music and the ability to run usb powered is intriguing. I'm also looking at a Fiio e11 mainly for the price how do you feel that would stack up against the bithead?

post #6 of 9

$50 just for USB power is not a good deal, esp. when $50 = 50% of the lower-priced offering. Don't pay for features you don't use.

post #7 of 9
The more important function of the USB is to get the digital signal for sound and convert it to analog. This is the primary function of the DAC portion of the unit. Using the USB for power is just a convenient option.

With your phone it will have to be hooked up directly to the analog input of the amp so you won't get the benefit of the DAC, but it will still likely drive your headphones better. When you use it with your computer you can take advantage of using the DAC to convert the signal instead of the built in DAC in your computer, theoretically for better quality.

I haven't heard the e11 so I can't compare the two, but the Fiio products are well respected here at their price point. I have an E5 and would say that it only outperforms the airhead on price and size, I much prefer the airhead as an amp.
post #8 of 9

I highly recommend the iBasso D-Zero for $109. It has a very nice amp on it, better than the FiiO E7, a rechargeable battery that lasts 25+ hours in my testing and can also be used as a USB sound card for your desktop or laptop. Read my review in my signature for more details. I like it better than my Total Bithead even, especially for portable use, hell the Bithead and Airhead don't come close for portable use imo.

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks Ill check out your review now
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