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Value for money portable amp for Ultrasone Ed8

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,

I'm quite new to the world of high end headphones and for some strange reason I purchased a pair of Edition 8s. I understand those are easy to drive (I am using a smartphone as source, galaxy nexus/s3), but I would like to know if I could achieve a substantial acoustical improvement through a <=100€/$ portable amp (and if so, please suggest one smily_headphones1.gif)

Thank you for your time and excuse the slight vagueness of the thread.. I am just completely clueless and with serious lack of time to browse around.
post #2 of 12
Thread Starter 
No replies.. is this question daft?

I have pretty much no experience with amplifiers, so I dont know what difference they would make compared to a laptop dac. I am currently looking at an E10 or an E17 by Fiio. I would like more bass out of the Ed8s, I'd say.
post #3 of 12

Edition 8s but looking for a cheap amp?  I have to say it doesn't make much sense.  You could probably sell them and buy some cheaper headphones and an apropriate amp but perhaps you have reasons not to.

 

When you say portable amp what do you mean?  Are you planning on running the amp from the onboard laptop DAC line out?  Generally speaking oboard DACs aren't great and amping a non great signal isn't going to fix it.  If you're talking about getting a USB DAC/amp then there will be improvements to be had but I'm not sure what to recommend as I have very limited experience.

 

I can say that using an ipod nano 3g compared to the headphone socket line out to an iBasso T3D is an improvement, then putting the T3D in high gain there is a further all round improvement to my ears.  But if you want more bass especially you might want to look into a Digizoid Zo - that's what they're made to do!

post #4 of 12

If you're using it with a laptop and an S3 I'd recommend spending a bit more and getting a combined USB DAC/amp for using with both via USB (the S3 is one of the few phones that does that). DanBa maintains a list of all the ones known to work with the S3 in the Portable Sources forum in the Android devices and USB audio thread. As mentioned the DAC is likely to improve on your laptops sound fairly substantially.

 

Off the top of my head the Leckterton UHA-6S.MKII is a good choice that is confirmed working with the S3 and would also work well with the laptop, more than the price range you suggest, but I don't really think its worth spending that much on a headphone to then only spend that little on upgrading your source.

post #5 of 12

Well, you don't really need an external DAC+amp for the S3 as it already has a fantastic Wolfson WM1811. However, a portable amp would certainly not be a bad idea. I have the E17 and I love it.

 

Personally, if I were in your situation I wouldn't pair your Ed8s with an E17 though. The E17, in my opinion, is more appropriate for mid-fi cans. Your Ed8s are more "deserving" of, for example, Alo's RX MK3-B:

 

http://www.aloaudio.com/rx-mk3

 

Of course, it's just a tad bit more than you indicated that you wanted to spend. :-D But, it's a much much better match and would REALLY make your Ed8s shine, most especially in terms of bass.

post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fhoxh View Post

Well, you don't really need an external DAC+amp for the S3 as it already has a fantastic Wolfson WM1811. However, a portable amp would certainly not be a bad idea. I have the E17 and I love it.

 

Personally, if I were in your situation I wouldn't pair your Ed8s with an E17 though. The E17, in my opinion, is more appropriate for mid-fi cans. Your Ed8s are more "deserving" of, for example, Alo's RX MK3-B:

 

http://www.aloaudio.com/rx-mk3

 

Of course, it's just a tad bit more than you indicated that you wanted to spend. :-D But, it's a much much better match and would REALLY make your Ed8s shine, most especially in terms of bass.

 

Just amp, no DAC? What, and then he's just going to listen to junk from his laptops inbuilt DAC the rest of the time?

 

I think clear answer is to get a combined DAC/amp, and if he's doing that might as well get one that interoperates with the S3 (and probably other Samsung handsets into the future, that way, even if he is just using the amp component with the S3 he knows he will have good quality regardless of Samsung's choice of DAC and DAC implementation in later device).

 

Remember, just having a good DAC does nothing to assure good sound output, as the original Galaxy S illustrates.

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by NZtechfreak View Post

 

Just amp, no DAC? What, and then he's just going to listen to junk from his laptops inbuilt DAC the rest of the time?

 

I think clear answer is to get a combined DAC/amp, and if he's doing that might as well get one that interoperates with the S3 (and probably other Samsung handsets into the future, that way, even if he is just using the amp component with the S3 he knows he will have good quality regardless of Samsung's choice of DAC and DAC implementation in later device).

 

Remember, just having a good DAC does nothing to assure good sound output, as the original Galaxy S illustrates.

 

He didn't mention a laptop :-) If that's part of the equation though, I agree that a DAC/amp could be a better choice.

post #8 of 12

source first is the golden rule of audio, you need a Voyager minimum

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fhoxh View Post

He didn't mention a laptop :-) If that's part of the equation though, I agree that a DAC/amp could be a better choice.

He asked about a sound improvement over a laptop sound card in his second post, but on re-reading that I may have read too much into what he actually said.

Ray Samuels 'The Intruder' is looking good for both phone and laptop, if he wants to spend a bit more money...
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks a whole bunch for the suggestions guys! Unfortunately, the 600$ ones are like, thinking about buying a ranch on Mars for me right now. I do understand the 'source first' argument, but is the difference going to be tremendous comparing to the S3 wolfson/laptop DAC? Is the signal that bad on them?

I am also aware that ed8 are low impedance which makes them easily driven; I get a pleasurable enough output 1 notch before the end of the gain, yet sometimes I've noticed shrill highs; it might be the quality of my music though. Also, ths ed8s have smooth, natural bass which is great, but occasionally I miss the booming fun of a cheaper phone, e.g. ath m50.

Does this help at all?
post #11 of 12

You already have the S3 and the laptop so you're in the best place to answer that question.  Match the volume and play the same track on both, if you can't hear any improvement then you don't need to upgrade - it depends how good your ears are and how good your laptop is (like with everything all are not created equal). 

 

Some things to look out for with onboard sound would be constant background noise or noise whenit's busy accessing the hard drive (copying a big file), or doing something graphical (scrolling a webpage with a youtube video playing in it).  Also it's best if you don't double amp a signal - does the laptop have a line out or just a headphone socket, or an option to change it to line out in the sound settings?


Edited by suicidal_orange - 10/20/12 at 7:24am
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
No line out unfortunately, it would have been great. Laptop is an Acer timeline ultra m5. Of course I can hear differences in the sound when comparing phone and laptop, I think the laptop is a little thinner in sound, but can go definitely louder than the phone. There's no hissing or hard drive interference at all.

Double amping is indeed not the best idea. Is there any portable DAC+amp in the 100-200$ vicinity that is worth the money for a low impedance phone like the ed8?
Edited by DoomForce - 10/21/12 at 7:39am
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