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- productdigiZoid ZO2 Personal hi-fi experiencetagged by dbsaffor, 9/10/13
- productEtymotic Research ER4S MicroPro Reference Earphonestagged by dbsaffor, 9/10/13
- productFiiO E12 Mont Blanctagged by dbsaffor, 9/10/13
- productFiiO E17tagged by dbsaffor, 9/10/13
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- productJDS Labs Objective2 Assembled PCBtagged by dbsaffor, 9/10/13
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Head-Fi Buying Guide (Portable Amps, DACs, & DAPs)
Last edited: 1/22/15
This review is for the Ubsound Fighters, let me introduce myself before I get started. My name is Adam I am 38 years old and have been into audio equipment since I was in high school. In the past 2...
Introduction: One of my favorite part of this hobby that I've grown to love over the past few years is trying new things and just experiencing how different components (or combination of...
The H10 from Gustard is the best solid state amplifier I've heard that retails for under $500. It's better than most that retail for under $1000. This thing deserves a quality review so here it...
PreIntroduction: I am in no way affiliated or work for Aune. For this review, the Aune B1 has been provided to me as a review sample by Aune, as one of the 10 review samples sent out to...
Note: Review was done with a sample provided by DUNU-Topsound. For a more complete picture, please visit the dedicated thread for the DUNU DN-2000J (here). The DN-2000J is a classically...
The Sub-$200 Portable Amps Shootout – 13 (+11) amps compared - Page 7
Gear mentioned in this thread:
Edit: I was tired and typed the wrong thing. Edit in bold. Sorry for the confusion.
Edited by Evshrug - 9/9/12 at 7:17am
I think one of the challenges for new amp buyers is the difference between high current, high voltage & high gain. I know it confuses me! All I know is that low-impedance headphones tend to hiss and sound bad if the amp's gain is too high - but I really don't know why - I'm guessing it is because gain is actually a voltage increase? And if the amp gain is too high for a low-impedance 'phone, then you can overdrive the 'phone (supply too much voltage) - is that correct?
Unlike current, you can control the voltage using the volume knob. With low impedance headphone, the problems are two folds: first, if the gain on the amp is too high, a slight turn on volume knob can make the headphone too loud. Since many volume knob also have imbalance issue on very low position, you will also get imbalance issue as well. That's the first sign your amp's gain is too high for your headphone. Often, it is also a sign your headphone doesn't need any voltage gain at all. In cases like this, digital volume control (which doesn't suffer from imbalanced) and zero voltage gain are preferred, because it is really the current you are interested at this point. The second issue is, high gain brings higher noise level, which comes in the form of hiss. That can be easily picked up by a low impedance, high sensitivity headphone, like custom IEM.
Edited by ClieOS - 9/9/12 at 9:49am
Wow, sounds complicated, I have no idea what to get now. :/
When I get it, what do I do with the gain settings and whatever? I'm confused about the fiddling with the settings and stuff also and how turning up the gain causes distortion and whatever. The ibasso t3 has +10 db gain,Maximum Output power:120mW+120mW, Signal to Noise Ratio:-98dB. What does that mean? This amp buying buisness is so confusing lol.
Edited by clairyvic - 9/9/12 at 12:04pm
What would you guys say about the Fiio E11 vs the Audinst AMP-HP? I know the Fiio E11 is half the price, but considering it's amp is "better" than the E17's, and my options are an E11 or an Audinst (or some thing comparable to the Audinst), I figured I'd ask anyways.
The e11's amp is better then the e17, well I guess that just leaves the choice between the t3 and e11. What's frusterating is that is says the MD's require at least 100 mw per channel for best effect, but I can't find how much mw per channel each of these amps have on the internet. :/
Don't know what a dac does. The EQ i'm not really interested in. I'm not sure what impedance means or a lot of this stuff means or else I would just look at the stats myself which is why i'm asking you guys.
But this headphone has 50 olms impedance, I don't know if that's a lot or a little. I guess I want minimal hissing because a lot of my music has a lot of atmospheric silence and hissing tends to bother me. So for power/lack of hissing what would be the best choice for a 50 olm headphone between the e11, e17, and t3? I don't really care about the money difference. For the sake of conversation lets just pretend they where all the same price, so even if one is just a little bit better despite the price difference I would want to get it.
Ok, going back to this post I am quoting... The reason we know (or are learning) what the stats mean is that we want to match an amp to our headphone. The whole voltage/current requirement isn't that difficult to wrap your head around.
A good amp for a low impedance headphone (measured in Ohms) doesn't have much output impedance (so it can supply plenty of current). Meanwhile, a good amp for a high impedance headphone will need more and more voltage as the impedance goes up, and it will probably have enough current once you've got enough voltage. Basically, my understanding is that if you start with an amp that has a very low output impedance, and enough voltage to drive your headphone to acceptable volume decibel levels (preferably without turning the amp up to max), you have a good amp for your headphone.
If all that is still a mystery to you, or you can't find manufacturer listed specs for output ohms and voltage, then consider that ClieOS has found 19 options and measured them for you, and reviewed their sound character too. If you STILL can't decide what has priority for you, then just get the all-around very good Objective2 amp, and consider that part of your headphone audio DONE.
By amp section alone, I won't say E11 is better than E17. It is more like 'different'.
- The Sub-$200 Portable Amps Shootout – 13 (+11) amps compared
Gear mentioned in this thread:
- › The FiiO X3 2nd gen (ex X3K, X3II) Thread : 192K/24B,... 2 minutes ago
- › FiiO X5 2nd gen Impressions and Discussion + Tour Application... 6 minutes ago
- › What is better as sound quality ? D1 vs ZXR 8 minutes ago
- › Audiophile Music Player 8 minutes ago
- › SONY NW-ZX2 HI-END DAP 8 minutes ago
- › FiiO X5 firmware 2.50 download and discussion 10 minutes ago
- › Knowledge Zenith (KZ) impressions thread 10 minutes ago
- › Band Name Game II 11 minutes ago
- › Three Word Story 11 minutes ago
- › SONY NWZ-A10 Series 11 minutes ago
- › Ubsound Fighter in-ear monitor with universal inline microphone and... by acain
- › T-Peos Altone250 by Cotnijoe
- › GUSTARD H10 High-current Discrete Class A Stage Headphone Amplifier by JoeDoe
- › Aune B1 by avitron142
- › DUNU DN-2000J by tomscy2000
- › Sony MDR-1A Premium Hi-Res Stereo Headphones by GrindedDown
- › Sennheiser PX 100-II Supra-Aural Mini Headphones - Black by ElMarcado
- › Final Audio Design Pandora Hope VI Headphones by ItsMeHere
- › T-Peos Altone 350 Hybrid 3 driver IEM by Peter West
- › AUSDOM M06 Over-ear Stereo Bluetooth Headphones Wireless + Wired... by Hisoundfi
- › Can I change my user name? Can I delete my...
- › Table of Earphocalypse
- › The Great FiiO DAP FAQ Wiki
- › Audio Connections between components --...
- › Head-Fi Buying Guide (Introduction)
- › Head-Fi Buying Guide (Over-Ear Headphones)
- › Head-Fi Buying Guide (Over-Ear Headphones) 2
- › Head-Fi Buying Guide (Over-Ear Headphones) 3
- › Head-Fi Buying Guide (In-Ear Headphones)
- › Head-Fi Buying Guide (In-Ear Headphones) 2