PLEASE try this for ONE WEEK!
computer >>> USB port on E09K >>> put E17 into E09K dock >>> plug headphones into E09K jack
computer >>> SPDIF port on E17 >>> put E17 into E09K dock >>> plug headphones into E09K headphone jack
it may take your ears a week to get used to this sound. You may just be used to the thick, heavy, muddy sound of the old SS amp. I used to use an old Yamaha CR-2020 receiver, compared to a good amp it sounded very thick and full and mellow. Sort of appealing in some ways, but not the world's most transparent amp. Thru a really good pair of speakers it sounded overly full and mellow. A good modern headphone amp will sound faster, cleaner, purer, the bass will be tighter and punchier and more accurate, clearer mids and highs.
Try it out, what do you have to loose?
At the end of one week, then go back to the Sherwood and see what you think.
If you still like the Sherwood more, keep it simple:
computer >>> USB or SPDIF into E17/E09K combo >>> line out jacks on E09K into Aux jack on the Sherwood and use the Sherwood headphone jack.
Don't do anything more complicated that that, things will only sound worse if you complicate it further.
After trying Kalbee's last suggestion, all I can say is that the sound has much opened up and it feels the woolly sound of the Sherwood (on relatively low volume) made way for the clearer (more "aggressive" sound) of the E09, despite the latter acting "only" as a pre-amp. I feel the instrument separation just wasn't there before.
Edited by ippudo - 12/16/12 at 3:31pm