Since purchasing my Q701s I have listened to them almost exclusively while amped.
Was bored this weekend and plugged them straight into my Vita and 3DS to see how they sounded and I was very pleasantly surprised. They sounded pretty good, much better than I thought they would. However, something is definitely missing.
I then went back and forth between my computer set up (ele dac and asgard 2) and my phone (headphone jack) and the difference is noticeable. How noticeable? For someone who listens to music on their computer often while doing my homework I would say it was worth the price I paid for the Asgard 2 and the cheapy dac ($220ish total).
That being said, I would certainly feel content listening to them straight out of my computer headphone jack, or any of my portable headphone jacks. The Q701's seem to scale very well and you shouldn't feel like you are completely missing out or wasting them by using the headphone jack of any of your equipment.
I agree with all this.
I think the truth is........"it depends".
My Qs sound very flat and uninvolving from the headphone jack on my old HP notebook PC.
But they sound fine from an iPod.
Sure they sound better from a better amp and DAC but, I agree, they usually scale quite well.
You guys are aware of different rates of taxation, standard and cost of living, right?
Anyway, as I've pointed out, it is not my experience that any old DAC/amp at a given rice will make the Q's sing. The Fiio E18 fits those criteria and fails, miserably. The ODAC/O2 walks all over it for not much more money. True, it's not a portable solution like the E18 but then neither are the Q's themselves. Your mileage won't vary very much. I don't have bionic ears. The difference is night & day.
Stillhart, the bass is awesome on these, when required.
They're just headphones!