New to Hi-fi - been lurking for about a week or two - although lurking suggests I was much more laid back in my reading. Anyway...
Will be getting some ATH M50s soon, but the portable I plan to use it with, my 4th gen iPod Nano, is a little ****ed up. The audio jack doesn't work. So I'll be bypassing that and using a LOD cable. I'll be able to use it also with the next generation iPhone I plan on purchasing (horray for the return of Wolfson) so I'll get some better quality (or so I've read) - if I find this not be the case, I guess I'll just not use it when said source upgrade rolls around. For now, I'll use LOD out of necessity - it'll be cheaper than jack replacement even if possible - the part was in high demand for 4th gen Nanos - only can find 5th gen replacements. Not sure if compatible. But I digress.
With a LOD connection, if what I've read is correct, I'll need some external hardware to control the audio. So one of those cheap sub $25 dollar amps from Fii) seems to be an option. Again, use it for now play with it, ditch both later if I don't need em.
It'll be driving, as I said ATH-M50s (And in the future, possibly their Pro700Mk2s - or some Etymotics, but that's too general) so not much power is required - if it must mess with sound balance, benefiting the recessed mids is the most helpful alteration. But distortion and some of this buzz from some of the considered amps are not favorable at all, and loss of clarity/detail.
Up for consideration at this point:
FiiO E1 - integrates both the LOD connector and Amp/volume controls
FiiO L3 + E5 - cheap, possibly better build? But not as flat.. or am I mistaken?
FiiO L3 + E6 - slightly more expensive but from what I've seen just overall better than the E5. Half as much high volume buzz/hiss one reviewer claims (during quiet sections particular noticeable)
Or something I haven't seen yet?
Buddy of mine is offering this accessory: http://i.imgur.com/8ELXy.jpg
Would this essentially be a simple volume control connected via LOD?