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Need dac/amp for shure 535

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hey headfi people
Just purchased the shure 535 and am running them on my iPhone
4s I am currently looking for a suitable amp/dac to improve the sound
Quality ' don't get me wrong they sound amazing as they are but feel
They are to bright as they are , they feel very loud overall on the highs
And mids ? I am using the flac player that I purchased from I tunes and
It works a treat with my high bit rate music , had to use the inboard
Eq to calm things down a bit , do you think that this is the way to go
Or will a portable amp make any difference at all if any !
Thanks guys and gals .
post #2 of 18
Correct me if im wrong, but It sounds to me like you might just need a tiny more base to equalize everything up. You might want to try the headstage arrow 12HEs.

You will most likely hear an obvious difference even with a relatively cheap external amp such as the Fiio e5 or e6. I also used the SE 535s with a headamp pico slim before, but since I really liked the forward and kinda violent mid, I never tried to deal with it.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your reply
I will look at these options and yes your right the bass was lacking
Slightly but use of the eq made things better overall . Hated the sound
Out of the box felt like it was going to blow my ear drums but after a few
Hours of use my brain seems to accepted them which is weird
After tinkering with the eq I think I found my sweet spot , but still crave
What I think the shure 535 s can accieve
I also read on some forums that in ear iems don't need any amp/dac
Cos there is nothing missing , but I'm sure a external dac would be
Better then the one in the iphone4s , what is your opinion on this matter
Thanks again for taking the time to write back .
post #4 of 18

Any external DAC/AMP would help with the sound quality not because how good the external dac/amp is but how bad the iPhone's internal DAC/AMP is. It's kinda like asking a audiophiles about how useful cable quality is, many would agree with the fact that a better quality cable could change the sound signature of the headphones but the same amount of people would disagree; however, most people would agree that bad quality cables will make the sound quality suffer. 

 

So.. My point. These things certainly won't need an amp just like many portable headphones, but getting one certainly helps. Good amps could change the sound signature of your headphones (to your favor or not, i'm not sure), but even a relatively cheap external amp(Fiio E5,E6) is capable of making clearer sounding signature for your IEMs. 

 

Hope that answered your question.

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Well I guess you are right in saying that it's
Down to the individuals preference and taste and some people say
That it's a placebo affect but I don't believe in that , I have gone through numerous
Amounts of cables and speaker cables and found that it does change
The sound signature , but as you said others will disagree with me, as
For the shure 535s just think the mids are to full on for me and at some
Points of a track I feel the need to turn down the volume cos it
Hurts my ears ( to shrilly ) if that's the right word , and when I turn down the volume
I can't enjoy the track how I want to ! So if an amp/dac can change
The sound signature to the point where tracks become more balanced
I will be very happy .
Thank you for your info I will try the models you have stated
And see what happens '
Untill next time 😃 nice one!
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golila3 View Post

Any external DAC/AMP would help with the sound quality not because how good the external dac/amp is but how bad the iPhone's internal DAC/AMP is. It's kinda like asking a audiophiles about how useful cable quality is, many would agree with the fact that a better quality cable could change the sound signature of the headphones but the same amount of people would disagree; however, most people would agree that bad quality cables will make the sound quality suffer. 

 

So.. My point. These things certainly won't need an amp just like many portable headphones, but getting one certainly helps. Good amps could change the sound signature of your headphones (to your favor or not, i'm not sure), but even a relatively cheap external amp(Fiio E5,E6) is capable of making clearer sounding signature for your IEMs. 

 

Hope that answered your question.

 

Actually the iPhone 4 and 4S both have pretty good Cirrus DACs - flat, low impedence, and very capable.  They get a bad rap from the "wolfson crowd" who seem to prefer the rolled off bass and treble from the iPod classic 5 series.

 

BTW - quick question - do you own either an iPhone 4/4S or the SE535?

 

I ask this because suggesting adding an E5/E6 to the already low impedence 4S - coupled with the very sensitive SE535 - IMO bad idea, and will have every chance of degrading the sound rather than helping it.

post #7 of 18

Nicholas

 

I own an iPhone 4 and also the SE535 Ltd Ed.  With your 4S, I don't recommend an amp.  I'm guessing you won't be able to get the volume of your iPhone much over 1/3 without it getting too loud (unless you have one of the volume limited EU ones).

 

The SE535 is both easy to drive and very, very sensitive.  You shouldn't be getting any hissing because of the low impedence from the 4S headphone out.  I have tried my SE535 with the $300 Arrow HE 4G and noticed no improvement.  If anything, because they were so sensitive I had to lower the volume pot so much I risked channel imbalance.

 

If you want to hold onto your SE535, grab the Equaliser app (which has a very good parametric EQ - much better than Apple's limited one), and lower the mid-range/highs until you get the signature you're after.  Otherwise I'd suggest selling them, and getting something closer to the sound signature you're after.

 

FTR - the standard 535's were definitely not sibilant to me (if anything their highs were a little rolled off which is why I went for the SE535 Ltd Ed).  They do have a very forward mid-range though.  I'd either look at your recordings, the EQ you are currently applying, or the tips you are using (olives should take a little glare away).  If it's none of those - consider buying something a little more to your desired signature.

 

Good luck.

post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
It's nice to hear opinions and all taken on board just looking for a wide
Range of views until I find a solution , I am using flac player from the
App store priced at £5.99 and seems to do a great job and it does come
With an eq , I have lowered the mids and the treble and it's a lot closer
To the signature that I desire but it's still not bang on the money
Do you know of a better player for flac or wav files for use on the iPhone
4s , il try adjusting the eq some more and see what happens
So you think the internal dac on the iPhone is good enough ? So confused
So many opinions to take on board my head is spinning
Thanks for your input ....
post #9 of 18

Yes - I do believe the iP4/iP4S DAC is very good.  You're going to find a lot of different opinions - but I'd ask a quick question.  Forget what everyone else thinks - how does it sound to you?  Too many people tend to 'follow' what they think is the popular opinion - instead of actually listening with their own ears.  I do know it measures really well - very flat with no major roll-off.

 

As far as having a flac player for your iP4S - two suggestions:
[a] Convert to ALAC and play them natively = still lossless, but that way you don't have to use the flac player app.

[b] Set up a program like Foobar (assuming you have a laptop/pc) where you can do a controlled level matched abx test, and using same headphones and source - compare one of your flacs with the same file transcoded to aac 256.  I'd be willing to bet that unless you are a trained listener, you won't be able to tell the difference.

 

If you can't tell the difference (most people - including "audiophiles" won't be able to) don't despair - it just means you can now keep your flacs for archiving and listening at home, and then load your iPhone with much more music files and listen natively.

 

If you do switch to either ALAC or aac256 - then you can use Equaliser - and that way you're only playing around with a parametric equaliser.

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
That is very usefull information I will give that a try and will come to my own conclusion
Trust my own ears and see what the outcome will be , as for how does it sound to me!
Well I would say it is very clear and precise and not really much to complain about just think for
Me there is something missing , maybe the warmth to the sound and it just has not put a smile on my face as yet but it's getting there
Will try out foobar convert to the format you suggested , at least I can use an eq without the
Use of the flac player I'm guessing that the eq would be better ?
Does the other eq have a wider frequency range than the flac player one ? And what would be
The best one to use ?
Thanks again "...................
post #11 of 18

The Equaliser app has a full parametric equaliser - it is very good.  You can really tweak to the highest degree.

 

I can't comment on the FLAC player app - as I haven't tried it.  I learnt quite a while ago that I can't discern lossless and aac256 (when properly transcoded from the same source file) - so I use FLAC from home (the original files), but for my portable, I always use aac256 now.

 

Personally I don't use EQ now - when I got the SE535 Ltd Ed I found that they were perfect for me as they are.  Before that I used to use the EQ when I owned the SE425 - just to bump up the treble a bit (because of the roll off).  Equaliser was my preferred app then.

 

If you do try the Foobar abx test - just google "Foobar abx" and you should get instructions on how to set it up.  It's worth doing as it is enlightening.  If you have any troubles - PM me, and I'll help you through it.

post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your input I will get foobar and see how I go will convert the
Files and take it from there hopefully will be able to use the eq and
Sort out whats missing , if I have trouble will pm you for a walk
Through
Thanks again .
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Just downloaded the Equalizer pro app and it looks amazing haven't
Used it yet and looks like it has a lot of presets , just wanted to
Know cos I'm quite new to this side of things .
Going back to my last post concerning the to forward mids of the
Shure 535 at what frequency should the eq be adjusted for mids
And highs?
And it's a great app cos I don't have to convert my flac files
They are added directly through file sharing on iTunes
Not really bothered about the size of the files would like to keep
Them as they are , will be running an abx test just to comPare
Different file formats I doubt that I could tell the difference anyway
Thanks guys ........
post #14 of 18

This is a really good graph to get an idea of different frequencies - and their effects ....

 

http://www.independentrecording.net/irn/resources/freqchart/main_display.htm

post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Wow wow what an app it's amazing and has sorted eVerything in regards to the forward
Mids and high treble has transformed my music , the frequency graph was a great help also
Thanks again for your help much appreciated .........smily_headphones1.gif
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