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The point of an amped iDevice? (And external SS amps in general) - Page 3

post #31 of 43

Wow, that's a nice amp for an 'unbeliever'!  Very nice, I hope it works out for you.

post #32 of 43
Thread Starter 

Hehe - I'm a beleiver in the sense that the differennce between using my IEMs and easy driven full size cans directly from an ipod wont be much worse than from a normal SS amp, but the second we're talking about fx. a Beyer T1, or switch to a balanced amp, there will be a very notable difference - which is why only buy balanced amp and tube amps now - the plain ol' SE amps just dont make a difference i feel is worth my money. ;)

post #33 of 43

I think the reason I've now very much recognised, which I was not aware of before, is that an external amp CAN solve the very real problem caused by a major mis-match between device output impedance and headphone impedance on mobile devices.  So we're talking situations where the output/load impedance ratio is significantly below the minimum 1/8 'rule of thumb'

 

This CAN have a very audible impact on the frequency response (not talking volume capacity here) of low impedance headphones and earphones, particularly those using balanced armatures.

 

Many mobile devices and most mobile amps have a very low output impedances (for example most Fiio products are <1 Ohm), so are fine with basically anything, but some (such as earlier iPods and iPhones) can have a high-ish output impedence, which can make a very noticable difference.

 

So to give a real example, my 17-Ohm ACS T1 IEMs sound very different (worse to my ears) when driven by my friend's 3rd gen iPod Touch, which has an output impedance of about 7 Ohms - i.e. WAY off the 1/8 ratio.  Use a Fiio mobile amp here and this problem is solved and the neutral balance of the IEMs returns.

 

What doesn't help is that makers rarely quote output impedence, so it's a crap-shoot as to how things may sound.  Apple don't quote the figure at all and it does vary quite a lot between iDevices - the new iPod Touch is supposed to be <2 Ohms, so should (in theory) sound quite different to the previous version when using low impedance phones.

 

So in short, using an amp is not just about power and may produce changes/improvements for other less obvious reasons.

post #34 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karlos View Post

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


 

Hilarious. Do you know stereotypical comments like this actually have meme's made about them? 

 

"If you can't hear the difference between this and that thingy

there must be something wrong with your ears"

 

LL


Edited by Negakinu - 1/9/12 at 4:48am
post #35 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negakinu View Post


 

Hilarious. Do you know stereotypical comments like this actually have meme's made about them? 

 

"If you can't hear the difference between this and that thingy

there must be something wrong with your ears"

 

LL


Indeed, that is somewhat a rediculous statement - mean I get teh point but honestly, I am only 18 and have been tested and have very good hearing. On most of the amps I CAN hear the difference that the "fan base" talk about, but they speak of it as the holy grail and that it makes these and those changes that does this and that and make it a much better listening ecperience, when in reality it is a very very subtle difference, which in most cases are only noticeable on a side by side AB test, but apart from that just wont really be noticed - unless you go from utter horse dung to a Dark Star amp (extreme, but you get my point). When you go from an iphone to a Fiio E11 and then to the SE out of a RSA SR71b the changes you experience are very small if you use a easy to drive headphone, but if you went from a Ipod Photo to a CLAS + RSA then your mind would probably be blown...

 

I think my point is that I'm often just very irritated by how tiny the differences are - thats why i spend most of my time experimenting with the headphones themselves: Going from a D2000 to a GS1000 is going to change alot more than going from a Fiio E11 to a SR71b.
 

 

post #36 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by VictorHalgaard View Post

On most of the amps I CAN hear the difference that the "fan base" talk about, but they speak of it as the holy grail and that it makes these and those changes that does this and that and make it a much better listening ecperience, when in reality it is a very very subtle difference, which in most cases are only noticeable on a side by side AB test, but apart from that just wont really be noticed - 

 



Welcome to Head-Fi. You can leave your wallet and sanity here at the door, with me.

post #37 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negakinu View Post



Welcome to Head-Fi. You can leave your wallet and sanity here at the door, with me.



Sanity - never had it...Think i dropped it as a child. Wallet - Well...More like a black hole x)

 

post #38 of 43

To OP:

 

Well consider yourself lucky then that you can't hear the difference. Save money! I had the E11 and Shure SE535Ltd's and on A/B tests with my iPhone 4S lossless there is a great and vast difference.

 

Proof of the pudding was after listening for a two week period on the E11, I tried it without and that's when you notice the greatest difference. 

 

The E11... I have lots to say about this amp too hence why I sold it. There is clipping at high freq, ever so slight but it is there on big vocal tracks. I find it distinctly in "Immortality" studio version by Bee Gees. When Barry hits that falsetto early on in the track, it crackles under the weight. Not there when I listen to it on the Luxman at home. It also hisses noticeably. None of these are as prevalent with my SE215's, but then again MANY things are not prevalent on my SE215's cool.gif...

 

Oh and Line out Dock versus 3.5mm to 3.5mm helps considerably.

 

So if you can't hear these things, then congrats! save money!! I mean that with all sincerity


Edited by Lillee - 2/1/12 at 3:04pm
post #39 of 43
Thread Starter 

With (I make cables myself) a silver LOD, the SR71B running balanced (Or previously the PB2), a silver cable and then either my D7000s or the T1s there is a difference. Its small...But it makes all the difference in the world. It just makes eveything sound that bit nicer, that makes you want to just listen to the music...Just sit, and listen...

 

post #40 of 43

My theory is that there is a certain amount of education of the ears that needs to take place.  Perception is not absolute.  It's like developing an appreciation for wine.  When you first drink wine you notice large differences- whether a wine is sweet, dry, tannic or acidic, but after a while and with some focus you begin to notice and appreciate smaller differences, and thus they are perceived as larger.  After some time and with some experience, the grapes of the same species from California or France taste nothing alike to me.  For me, the sound of my iPod with a LOD and a FIIO E7 amp section was like night and day.  That being said, change in my perception of sound is still taking place.  I was very happily listening to NuForce IEMs until I got an offer for a pair of Senn OCX 880s for $35.  The Senns have made the NuForce sound harsh by comparison.

post #41 of 43
Thread Starter 

Yea, I also notic that over the little time that I've been in the hobby I've begon to hear more of the subtle detail differentials between headphones - but between two good SS amp, i dont hear enough difference to justify one over the other. However I do enjoy balanced sound for the improvements it offers.

post #42 of 43

Good thread Victor. I've been pondering many of the things discussed here for a while now. What brought it to a head for me was wanting to have a good-sounding travel rig. As others have pointed out though, it isn't as straight-forward or absolute as amps making a significant difference or not, as it depends much on the headphones and source.

 

On the one hand, I have the new Sony XBA-3s. While I do have a Pico Slim (I had, way back, intended to get customs and might still in the future), I don't find it benefits the Sonys in the slightest, but in fact, adds a bit of unnecessary bass to the sound, without any refinement in any other area. So I only use them directly from my iPhone.

 

On the other hand, I own RE-ZEROs, which sound terrible out of my iPhone and far more pleasant via the Pico Slim. This is, from my understanding, due to their impedance and sensitivity.

 

I ended up taking a chance on a Fostex HP-P1 so I could bring full-sized headphones with me when I travel. The result was good -- better than directly from my iPhone for the headphones I was taking with me. However, at the last minute before leaving, I had the chance to try the new Sennheisers, so I picked up a Triad Audio L3 second-hand.  Direct from an iPod, it is a lousy amp. However, when I used the line out from the Fostex, the result I feel is fantastic -- clearly a better amp than what is built into the Fostex.  However, now I have a rig that is seriously expensive (though no $200 LODs!).

 

I also had the chance to try a Continental direct from an iPod, and liked the results with that. I wonder if it has to do with the different input impedance of each amp.

 

Was it worth it? On the one hand, I think it's great that I can get something approaching the performance of my home rig, or at least very good sounding, especially with many new great portable headphones available around the $300 mark. I wonder how much of that has to do with the Fostex being able to get a digital signal from my iPod or iPhone, especially because my money is going into the electronics and design, and not expensive LODs and capacitors. Maybe I just struck it lucky with my choices? I do wonder how much bang-for-the-buck one could get with AC-power only sources and amps for the same money. What am I paying for in my (trans)portable rig? Miniaturization? The batteries?

 

There are many questions I want to be able to answer now.

post #43 of 43
Thread Starter 

Hehe, as I may have mentioned I've ended up spending all my money onportable audio instead, because found that the portable balanced amps like the iBasso PB2 and the SR71b sounded as good or better than most of the desktop setups I've had so far, like a Burson HA160, Argon HA2 and a few others. So right now my portable rig is an iPod classic, a eBay LOD (i should get a better low profile one), the SR71b, a Norse Audio Norn cable and a Beyerdynamic T1 (which should arrive within a week).

 

I've considered getting a CLAS but from the changes I've experienced using dacs before I somewhat doubt its worth it unless i get to try it first. I've also really wanted to try a Continental amp, but havent bought one because of the fear of lacking low end bass, which I tend to enjoy, especially with the Denon D7000.

 

So I suppose I'm somewhat an unusual head-fi'er because I only keep gear if either a) It makes a significant difference in audio quality or b) it has some lovely placebo effect on me. For example I have no clue what the Norn cable will be like with the T1 but I've read that people like copper cables with it, and I love the design and norse mythology theme about the Norn cable... Hear the Tesla thunder of Thor1 rolling biggrin.gif

 

So I'm sort of an odd job, since thats my view on it, and yet, at the age of 18 and with 1,5 years in hifi, I've already spent beyond 10.000$ on headphones, speakers and so on... And my average classmate has barely spent like 200 bucks, whilst i go to class with a (including danish tax and customs/prices) 3500$ rig on a daily basis blink.gif off-topic...

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