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What portable amp/dac for iPod Nano + Shure SE535? - Page 2

post #16 of 38

Unless you find the volume on your Shures is too low, I don't see any reason for using an amp/dac with the iPod. As long as you use lossless music, the amp/dac is not going to fill any void, becuase nothing's missing in the first place.

I use the SE425 with my iPod, and they can get pretty loud at 75% volume. I've never gone past 60%. The 535s are an even easier load to drive.

As for the sound changing in some way, its probably placebo, or the amps are distorting the sound in some manner, or changes in the listening environment (car, home, big room, small room, furniture, no furniture etc etc) can affect the experience.  

The best way is to listen for yourself. If someone you know has an amp, ask him/her to give you a listening test, without you actually knowing if an amp is connected or not. That will be the ultimate test for your needs. If you feel the difference with the amp, by all means go ahead and buy one.

 

post #17 of 38
Thread Starter 

Hi Proton,

 

Thanks for the feedback.

 

I already figured it might have no use adding an amp after doing some more reading about the technicalities. The 535's are 36 Ohm so should be very easy to drive. 

 

I think this became an issue with the Nano. The Nano really sounds as if it's struggling to deliver. Like it's always just over the edge of control. It's just messy and unbalanced. Maybe it's just not my sound ;)

 

I agree with your approach, do a blind test and see if it makes a difference. 

But i have no friends who are into audio like me, they are easily satisfied, so no portable amp. If so i already had a better idea of what an amp might do.

 

But i can understand it if you want to fine tune your sound a little more. If you need a push somewhere along the range. It's not really about how loud it can go to me. Especially bass is a bit more power prone to get it a little more punchy and agile. Well, that's usually so at least. No idea if it makes much difference with a low impedance headphone. 

 

Anyway, i've put the amp on hold. Ordered a Sansadisk and ordered the Phonak Audeo PFE-232 headphones. Then i'm gonna compare and see what happens. If the Phonak isn't any better i'll just return it. 

 

From there i'll hope to find out more. 

 

Cheers.


Edited by Xstream - 4/11/12 at 12:07am
post #18 of 38

The Phonak are great with iPod or any source: almost no hiss even with Sony players! 

 

I agree mostly with Proton: you don't really need an amp for the Shure SE535. The only catch is that some players won't be able to handle the low impedance when the SE535 hits low notes (usually where the impedance dips). But, those frequencies are usually very very low. You can hear the difference if that is the case, but it is usually very very small and you must listen closely.

post #19 of 38
Thread Starter 

Thanks shig,

 

But i can't imagine the Nano in this case can deliver with some power to deliver those lows. They are so small, how can they do it compared to a bigger device like the classic, which probably has some more amplification to it (at least, it's what i think, should look it up :)). The Nano really sounds powerless. On the Galaxy S2 with Poweramp it's already much better. On a poorly DAC smartphone :)

 

But i'll take it step by step on my quest for better sound :) 

post #20 of 38

The new nano 7G is a very very good source. It isn't perfect by any means, but has a very low output impedance that drives the Shure fine. It doesn't get heaps loud, but put the EQ on and you get more bass. I've tested it extensively and can say with assurety that it is a fine player for delivering resolution to ALL frequencies no matter the earphone. It may not be the best if you need lots of volume with low sensitivity like with the ER4s, but again, we are not talking about such a beast, we are talking about the SE5 series. 

 

Have you tried the EQ? 

post #21 of 38
Thread Starter 

I have the 6G. 

And the EQ is even worse then the base sound. It just makes it more veiled when lowered or very sharp when opened. To me it's no EQ, at least a very poor one. 

 

The only part which is clear are the mids. But the highs are just very sharp and empty sounding. The lows, well, which lows? They are there but just out of balance. You can't put up the volume because the highs will make you mad, you can't use the EQ because it only gets boomy and messy. 


Edited by Xstream - 4/11/12 at 12:25am
post #22 of 38

There are many EQ settings. Which did you try? I find electronic and classical very clear, though not as much as flat. The bass boost version isn't great, I'll agree. But, the z02 is great.

post #23 of 38

Hmmm... I sense there's some confusion going on. The lows being low are not really iPod's signature. The problem is on the reproduction side. 

The SE535s offer tight, controlled bass, which can feel small for certain genres of music, especially if you listen to the same music on bigger speakers like 2.1 etc. 

A headphone/earphone that favors lows more than the SE535 will produce the biggest difference imo.

An amp, on the other hand, will not boost the lows unless it has been designed to boost low frequencies, or any other part of the spectrum. So even if you do use an amp, you might end up hearing the same sound.

 

I'll suggest this: Try out some headphones that are bass boosters. Beats by Dr Dre will do fine. You can try them out at a shop. See if you like the sound of the lows. If yes, then either you need a bass booster amp (not a good choice), or bass booster headphones/earphones (not the Beats, though).


Edited by proton007 - 4/11/12 at 3:08am
post #24 of 38

I'm not sure about the iPod Classic, but every other iPod from 2009 and on hits the lowest lows perfectly evenly. The thing iPod doesn't do is exaggerate the lows unless you use an EQ. They are studio flat, but a few players like the iPod touch 3G-4G had a little trouble with very hard to control earphones like the SM2. Otherwise, in terms of actual bass output, I've not found a more linear player than the current crop of iDevices. The T51 did a fantastic job of just that, if you didn't mind all the other stuff that went with it.

 

But if you want exaggerated bass, the iDevice isn't the one to get.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

Hmmm... I sense there's some confusion going on. The lows being low are not really iPod's signature. The problem is on the reproduction side. 

The SE535s offer tight, controlled bass, which can feel small for certain genres of music, especially if you listen to the same music on bigger speakers like 2.1 etc. 

A headphone/earphone that favors lows more than the SE535 will produce the biggest difference imo.

An amp, on the other hand, will not boost the lows unless it has been designed to boost low frequencies, or any other part of the spectrum. So even if you do use an amp, you might end up hearing the same sound.

 

I'll suggest this: Try out some headphones that are bass boosters. Beats by Dr Dre will do fine. You can try them out at a shop. See if you like the sound of the lows. If yes, then either you need a bass booster amp (not a good choice), or bass booster headphones/earphones (not the Beats, though).



 

post #25 of 38
Thread Starter 

Ok, i've got my Sansaclip + Phonak Audeo PFE-232. :)

 

Just did my first listening tests.The first thing i noticed is it sounds much better with the Nano. So i just think it's the SE535 / Nano combo i don't like.

It sounds much more balanced and controlled on the Phonak. (even though it has a slightly higher impedance as the Shure's). 

The EQ (even classical or Electronic) still seems to make it worse though. The off setting sounds the best, more open and live like. Any other setting only makes it more veiled in some parts. 

It is however much more balanced sounding on the Phonak, so i don't really feel the need to change it so far. 

 

I also prefer it over the Shure's on the S2 so far. And i don't even need to point out what part, it's just everything so it seems, aside from possibly the soundstage, which seems to be wider on the Shure's, where the Phonak has more depth. 

 

But the Sansa however, although it seems to sound nice, has a serious power issue. It's on max now and it's still too low for my preference. It's somewhere distant.

So i guess, in this case, an amp would be needed. 

 

In time i'll write a review about the Phonak, so far i'm very impressed. 

 

The thing is, i'm no basshead at all. But bass IS an important part of music, it gives much depth, rhythm and warmth. 

I hate booming bass. I prefer an agile punchy, thin even but present, bass without being too solid. I prefer speed over laziness sort of speak. 

This seems to be better done on the Phonaks compared to the Shure. 

 

EDIT: Just installed rockbox on the Sansa and this seems to fix the power issue :) It can go much louder now :D


Edited by Xstream - 4/11/12 at 8:30am
post #26 of 38

The only thing I don't like about the Sansa Clip+ is that when reading information from the external card, it makes squiggle noises in the background, and that happens every 15 seconds. Yes, I use rock box, and no, using stock firmware isn't a possibility. The sansa is rotting in a camera bag somewhere now as I cannot stand the squiggle since I listen to low volumes that are not loud enough to overcome the squiggle (nor even if they were, would I like to use such a player for very long). 

 

Too bad as I love the size and format and of course, rock box.

post #27 of 38
Thread Starter 

Hm, don't notice any squiggle noise so far, but it may come at some point. If so that would be highly annoying. But i'm not using an external SD yet, so that might be it. 

So far i can't keep that smile of my face. I think i've never experienced portable music this good so far. Especially the Phonak is amazing! All the details and clear/open sound without any hissing and losing warmth/musicality is just pure enjoyment :) (comes at a price though :))

 

By the way, i see you have quite an inventory of equipment in your profile.

What are your experiences so far with the amps / headphones used (favorites)?

 

 


Edited by Xstream - 4/11/12 at 9:00am
post #28 of 38

Hi! I've been reading your thread. I am finding an Amp for my SE 535 + Ipod nano as well! Which one did you go with finally? :)

post #29 of 38
Thread Starter 

See mylast posts. I dropped the Nano and the SE535's for de Sansaclip + Phonak and i'm very happy now. Both were a very big improvement. No more iPod's for me :) Had 2 and sold both within a few weeks of disappointment. I still use the SE535 occasionally, but i'm always happy when i can go back to the Phonak. Don't feel the need for an amp anymore with this setup. 

post #30 of 38

Hi! Thats great :) Which Phonak are you using? When you were using your nano + 535 combo. Did you ever use an amp with that? I am trying to find an amp that is best for that combo :) Thank you!

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