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The point of an amped iDevice? (And external SS amps in general) - Page 2

post #16 of 43
Thread Starter 

What kind of a statement is that? Of course we grew up with cassette players and so on, and of course they were bigger than mp3 players - but theres also a reason those usually came with a belt clip or a specially designed room in a backpack. Which doesn't really change the matter of fact that a ipod classic + a pb2 is a big heavy lump of gear, even compared to the above, and not practical for portability unless you always have a big jacket pocket or a bag to carry it in, which again, isn't as practical as something smaller. 

And even then, that doesn't really have much, or even anything to do with this thread - The point of this thread was that i find it hard to hear any great difference between a good source (a iphone for example) and the same thing coupled with a portable SS amp, apart from extra volume, which i don't really need, and thus asked if anyone had some recommendations for a portable amp that'll do something mindblowing that i will actually notice, because so far the changes have been so subtle that i almost don't see the point.

post #17 of 43

Just maybe the issue is your ears rather than the devices you decry that appear to have a great fan base here and elsewhere 

post #18 of 43
Thread Starter 

I can hear just fine, thank you - otherwise i probably wouldn't have spent every single penny i earn on hifi. And last i took a hearing test it said i had the hearing of a child i.e. close to the best you can - just in case you want some sort of proof. 

And again, as i mentioned, i CAN hear a difference, but people writing reviews etc, make it sound so grand, when they say stuff like "It gives a huge soundstage and much tighter bass.." and so on, but in reality the changes are in most case extremely small when compared to what changing headphone or recording quality of the source-file (not bitrate but the way the music was recorded) and so on, and that just frustrates me, because i expect something amazing for 1000$ worth of amps and dacs. But after looking around i realize I'm probably never going to find what i seek. An amp is primarily there to amplify the analog output to make it audible, this can be done in different qualities, but the point of this thread is that i realize now, that most sources nowadays does a pretty fine job at this themselves, and the change  you get with an expensive external amp is primarily that you can use a high impedance headphone, and often the maker of the amp actually aims at not changing the sound. For example as you see in Skylabs review of the ALO Amorpha, it sounded like the amp wasn't there because it reproduce the sound so precisely, which most sources do already. So since i use cans that are easy to drive it removes 90% of the point of getting a headphone amp in its pure form.

The only real reason to get one (apart from the subtle changes in soundstaging etc) is to change the sound, like for example a tube amp does, or the Practical Devices XM6 with all its EQ options. 

So in conclusion, most SS amps (at least the ones I've heard so far) are not worth that much money to me, but a tube amp might be. Thus i am going to try get my hands on one, and see if that will be the holy grail for me or not - all i know is, as a student, the tiny improvements a SS amp has shown to make this far, is not worth 1000$ - its nice, but not THAT nice.

post #19 of 43
Thread Starter 

Excuse the ranting, I'm just starting to get frustrated here...As if you hadn't noticed by now rolleyes.gif

post #20 of 43

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by VictorHalgaard View Post

Excuse the ranting, I'm just starting to get frustrated here...As if you hadn't noticed by now rolleyes.gif



Nice thread Vic...

 

No need to get frustrated sir.  As has been stated, amps drive headphones.  Your Grados and Denons are not hard to drive.  Don't know about the other two you listed.  I'm perfectly fine listening to ESW9s out of a Touch.  They sound good.  Other phones of course are harder to drive so an amp is necessary.  So I don't think it's the iDevices.  You have phones that are easily driven and so the difference might be subtle.

 

That being said, my D5000s sound better from an amp to tighten everything up.


Edited by HeatFan12 - 10/2/11 at 2:42pm
post #21 of 43
Thread Starter 

Heh, yea - had i owned a 600ohm can it would probably be a different story for me... Just to clea up, this thread has nothing to do with iDevices persay, just decent quality sources in general, and wether there is any point of amping it apart from being able to use the above mentioned...

 

As for tightening the denons up - thats in my experience what happened moving up in the denon range, but from what i hear the d5k is pretty "flabby" compared to the 7k which would probably explain why you get that iprovement and i dont really - again, i do get an improvement, but in a blind test i would recognise it in maybe one out of ten...

 

What frustrates me is just the big "amp-hype" and the fact that i am unable to see what its all about - apart from the tube amps that is...Those make some obvious changes. But people always recommend a SS amp for Denons for example...Why on eath would you want that? I'm going to another store tomorrow and tying their desktop range and see if they have anything that will "blow my mind" the way it apparently has for a lot of people here...

post #22 of 43

Well, ohmage and sensitivity come into play, as well as power requirements etc.....I'm sorry if I missed it, but what amp have you plugged your phones into?

post #23 of 43
Thread Starter 

Well...Over all I've tried quite a few, currently i own Fiio E11 and an iBasso PB2 with the DB2 dac. 

post #24 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by VictorHalgaard View Post

Well...Over all I've tried quite a few, currently i own Fiio E11 and an iBasso PB2 with the DB2 dac. 



Nice!!!

 

Well, I would say be grateful that you don't notice a difference and therefore don't have to spend money with the phones you own.  A tube amp will not magically "drive" your phones better.  It will give you a different presentation in reference to the tubes used etc....

 

If you want to dabble into the tube side and are looking into a low cost hybrid option, take the Little Dot I+ for a spin.  Three families of tubes which are not expensive to choose from and excellent with low z phones.

 

post #25 of 43

Hi everyone, I found this calculator for amp/headphone requirements:

http://headphone-amplifier.com/calculator.htm

 

Am having trouble figuring out the "signal" parameter though, for my iPod Classic. Does anyone know how to find out?

post #26 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric_C View Post

Hi everyone, I found this calculator for amp/headphone requirements:

http://headphone-amplifier.com/calculator.htm

 

Am having trouble figuring out the "signal" parameter though, for my iPod Classic. Does anyone know how to find out?



The signal parameter is the RMS voltage present at the input of your headphones (and output of headphone amp).  To determine one aspect of this voltage, start with the maximum output level spec of the headphone amp.  This will give you the maximum SPL at the output of your headphones for the given amplifier, and as a result, give you an idea if the amp is capable of driving your headphones.

 

I don't know if Apple specs the maximum output for iPod Classic, but try googling it.

 

David

 

post #27 of 43

90% of it is just that guys like gear. watches, knives, cool little portable amps...

 

why the heck would I stick a fiio e6 between my iPhone 4 and my se530's?  who knows, but some do. just more stuff to buy is the main reason I think. 

post #28 of 43

I still connect my Hornet to my iPod Touch, put the combo on my nightstand, and plug in any of my full-sized cans to listen to music.  This relaxes me before I decide to take the headphones off, turn out the light, and tuck myself in under my L.L. Bean comforter.

post #29 of 43

Everyone hears things differently and have different needs.  There may be no difference to you and that's fine.  Actually it's great because if you know that then you can save a lot of money and be happy.  But an iDevice amp is not that great.  The sounds may be very similar and have a similar tonal quality but a better amp will give it better dynamics, clearer notes, quieter quiet, faster punch and more.  It does take a while to hear the differences and even when/if you do, you  may not care.  I recently bought a very high end amp just to listen to it.  It is clearly a better amp but not even remotely worth the money esp since it just improved on what I still think is a very good sounding amp.  Though you do have to have good source music, even new CD's aren't necisarily mastered that well (I have a couple new albums that I think sound horrible) and a lot of modern music simply doesn't need a fancy amp.  Grado's, though made to play on almost anything can improve with amping and I have one amp in particular that make my grado's really wake up.  Though your results may vary.  Also external amps are simply for iDevices.  I almost never use my ipod for music because it simply can't even play most of my new music since all iDevices downsample to 16/44.  So an external amp is also a stepping point for a better sourse which will also use a better DAC chip and chip implimentation - though this may also not be that important to you.  I see no need at all to get any extravagant equipment I am however a huge fan of getting a half-decent external DAC.

post #30 of 43
Thread Starter 

After trying some more demanding headphones and trying balanced and tube amps, i see the point of some amps, but the thing is that fx. The difference between two well made solid state amps is usually extremely small. But like using an amp now because a lot of the Metal music I listen to have some very power demanding passages which get a lot more lively sounding with a good amp. So now I've settled with a SR71b because it, as well as other portable balanced amps, is extremely versatile: It has the power to drive anything well, it can be used anywhere and it sounds just as good as most desktop amps I've heard. Next thing to find: a DAC that makes a difference... Because none of the desktop DACs I've tried so far has made a difference worth noting compared to just plugging directly into my MacBook... And I've tried quite a few amps and DACs by now...

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