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In search of portable headphone amp/DAC under $100

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 

I am searching for a portable headphone amplifier and DAC thats reasonably priced: under 100 dollars.  I have been eyeing the FiiO E7 for quite sometime.  Is it a decent headphone amplifier? My headphones are all around 64 Ohms impedance, so I know the FiiO can drive them fine.  I will primarily be using Sony MDR-7506's, Sennheiser HD 280 Pro's and Etymonic HF2's with this setup.  Are there any better options in terms of a headphone amp/ DAC's under 100 dollars? How would you describe the FiiO E7's performance sonically and build quality wise? I am on a tight budget, and just looking for something to get a little cleaner more impactful bass out of my Sony's and Senn's, and the mids could use a little cleaning up too.  Any advise would be appreciated.

post #2 of 39
From what I've read, it's hard to beat the value of the E7 at that price. I'm very happy with mine. With low to moderate impedance / high to medium sensitivity cans, the E7 is more than adequate. What's great about it, is its < 1 ohm output impedance. And personally I enjoy both the high quality DAC and the bass boosting function.
post #3 of 39

Is the dac necessary? Otherwise you could look into the E11

post #4 of 39
Thread Starter 

I want a DAC/ Amplifier combo, it increases sound quality.  The E7 also appears to be better built.

post #5 of 39

If you don't need to pair it with a phone or anything, I think Fiio E10 would be the better choice than E7.

post #6 of 39
Thread Starter 

I am planning on using it with my iPhone 4

post #7 of 39

Ratchetman123

You do know that the only few external DACs that will work with your iPhone cost around $500.

So the DACs that come with the E7 & E10 will not work with the iPhone.

I believe the iPhone come with a decent built in DAC.

The Fiio E11, with a Fiio L cable would work better.

The Fiio L cable, connects from the iPhone's LOD port to the line-input on the E11.

The L cable allows you to bypass the iPhone's headphone amplifier, giving the E11 a cleaner analog audio signal to work with.

post #8 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

You do know that the only few external DACs that will work with your iPhone cost around $500.
So the DACs that come with the E7 & E10 will not work with the iPhone.
How come?
post #9 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by ratchetman123 View Post

I am planning on using it with my iPhone 4



If you are planning to use it with an Apple iDevice, you have two options.  One is to extract the analog signal via line-out, in which case all you need is an amp.  Two is to extract the digital signal, in which you will need a transport, a DAC and an amp.  Which one are you aiming for?

post #10 of 39
Thread Starter 

I guess it's also worth mentioning that I will use the amplifier with my laptops line out also, or actually doesnt the FiiO E7 come with a USB connector?

post #11 of 39

Very likely, USB DAC/amp like FiiO E7 will work with Android phone, without custom driver like with a PC or with a Mac.

 

FiiO is sending a USB DAC/amp to an Android modder to enable USB audio on the smartphone Google Galaxy Nexus.

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=22954310&postcount=7399

 

Instructions for enabling USB audio on Ainol Novo7 tablet:

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?s=96481bcc078914b1fa50cc96fb94175e&p=23114861&postcount=61

 

USB DAC should be considered as standard USB device able to connect to an Android smartphone/tablet like a USB mass storage device, a USB keyboard or a USB mouse.

The capability is there (i.e. Android kernel = Linux kernel, and Linux can interface to these USB peripherals).

 

The official USB audio request is currently ranked 24 of 18148.

http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=24614&sort=-stars&colspec=ID%20Type%20Status%20Owner%20Summary%20Stars

 

In fact, it is ranked in top 3 of less than one-year-old requests.

 

Vote: Click on the star

 

Thank you for your votes!

post #12 of 39


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

You do know that the only few external DACs that will work with your iPhone cost around $500.

So the DACs that come with the E7 & E10 will not work with the iPhone.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skamp View Post


How come?

 

A common USB DAC (which is compliant with PC, Mac and hopefully Android smartphone/tablet with USB audio enabled) acts as a USB device, while a PC acts as a USB host.

 

A USB DAC, which is compliant with iPod/iPhone/iPad, acts  as a USB host, while iPod/iPhone/iPad acts as a USB device.

 

380047_3113194234716_1410232016_33294153_951131866_n.jpg

 

350x196px-LL-6c32295a_378089_3113193714703_1410232016_33294150_1500926361_n.jpeg

 

.

 

And a iDevice compliant USB DAC has to include an Apple authentication coprocessor.
 
However, an iPad can connect to a common USB DAC via an Apple Camera Connection Kit which switches the iPad into USB host mode.

 

post #13 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by skamp View Post
How come?


You would need to ask Apple why they designed their products the way they do.

The most common way to get a digital sign is with USB, optical or coaxial, which your iPhone has none.

 

 

post #14 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by ratchetman123 View Post

I am planning on using it with my iPhone 4



Then under $100, your absolute best choice for audio quality is the Fiio E11 in my opinions. E7 is a USB DAC, and iPhone 4 doesn't have a USB port, so it won't benefit from the E7's DAC. The E7 will just be an amp, but in that case, the E11 is the better amp.

post #15 of 39
Thread Starter 

I thought the entire point of a DAC is to convert a digital signal to an analog one because analog sounds better.  Using the iPhone line out dock, the DAC will work, correct? Using the line out dock bypasses the iPhone's internal amplifier.

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