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Do the ath m50s le need an amp and what exactly do amps do

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Im plan on asking for the ath m50s le for Christmas and was wondering
If i need an amp. Also, what do amps do? If they just make the music louder
Or that is their main purpose, then i dont want them cuz i find the voume fine.
If it improves sound quality and are necessary for the ath m50s and do not make
The music louder, then i would probably ask for a cheap amp later for my birthday.
My budget would probably be up to $50. Any help is appreciated!
post #2 of 12

Don't get an amp.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Why not?
post #4 of 12

Well, I can tell you I can't hear any difference between my M-50's amped or unamped via Fiio E17, out of my iPhone 4 LOD. In this configuration, you use the iPhone's internal DAC and amplify the signal with Fiio's E17 amplifier.

 

Out of my PC, there is difference when I output from it via USB to the Fiio DAC, but this difference is very probably because of the DAC and not the Amp (integrated sound card is Realtek). It helped smooth out the treble IMO.

 

But I would not drop to much money on an amp for the M50's... from experience I think a clean source provides better results than amping this cans.

 

As for your question "what is the purpose of an Amp?". To begin with, all modern digital DAPs / receivers / stereos / etc. have an integrated amplifier for the headphone out, but it may not be powerful enough to drive "hard driven cans" (like the AKG Q701 and its siblings) or may not have the sound signature you preffer, or its output impedance may not be a good match for your 'phones. So you feed your cans via an external amplifier.

 

Much related is the DAC, I suggest you google a bit, as this is an extensive subject.


Edited by Elektrospeed - 11/10/12 at 8:46pm
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by lakersfan2424 View Post

I'm plan on asking for the ATH-M50s le for Christmas and was wondering
If i need an amp. Also, what do amps do? If they just make the music louder
Or that is their main purpose, then I don't want them cuz I find the vou me fine.
If it improves sound quality and are necessary for the ATH-M50s and do not make
The music louder, then I would probably ask for a cheap amp later for my birthday.
My budget would probably be up to $50. Any help is appreciated!

It might help to know what your plugging the headphones into?

post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by lakersfan2424 View Post

Im plan on asking for the ath m50s le for Christmas and was wondering
If i need an amp. Also, what do amps do? If they just make the music louder
Or that is their main purpose, then i dont want them cuz i find the voume fine.
If it improves sound quality and are necessary for the ath m50s and do not make
The music louder, then i would probably ask for a cheap amp later for my birthday.
My budget would probably be up to $50. Any help is appreciated!

 

A properly designed amp just makes the music louder. An improperly designed amp changes the sound.

 

Generally, you don't need an amp for the M50's. What are you going to plug them into?

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Im going to be plugging them into an iphone 5
post #8 of 12
The M50 (the LE are the same thing, just different packaging and paint - imho they do look better) are VERY easy to drive and VERY stable, so they don't really need robust or complex amplification. With an mp3 player, decent PC soundcard, etc they'll do very well.
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

The M50 (the LE are the same thing, just different packaging and paint - imho they do look better) are VERY easy to drive and VERY stable, so they don't really need robust or complex amplification. With an mp3 player, decent PC soundcard, etc they'll do very well.

 

+1

 

And, if the OP decides to buy an amp for whatever reason, the FiiO E5 is a bargain at ~$20.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the help guys! Based on your feedback, I'm not going to buy an amp.
@obobskivick: I heard that the LEs have better noise isolation, leass leakage,
and better mids.
post #11 of 12

I did see some minor improvements of the M50 with a decent amp. Mostly level of detail, soundstage size and how controlled the bass is.

Not required though and i'm sure portable players these days will do just fine.

 

I did however see a greater benefit with a computer DAC. The HRT MSII was especially good with the M50, but totally overkill.

 

NOTE: some people will not hear a difference and if they do it's only if you do some a/b comparisons which is a waste of time. It's not like "night and day". Not with the M50 anyway.

 

I actually don't think I could like the M50 or D2000 without an external amp.


Edited by tdockweiler - 11/10/12 at 11:45pm
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by lakersfan2424 View Post

Thanks for all the help guys! Based on your feedback, I'm not going to buy an amp.
@obobskivick: I heard that the LEs have better noise isolation, leass leakage,
and better mids.

They're the same headphone. One is painted silver, one is panted black; there's also a white one if you're interested. There are reported minor differences between the original release of the M50 (from 2007-2008), and the present models, but the 50s/LE is based on the modern production.

In general they don't leak much, isolation is average; mids are still recessed and dead, bass is still boomy, highs are still sibilant. They still heat up, weigh a lot, and have no soundstage. But the LE looks nicer.

As far as changing amps, DACs, etc - the M50 are very stable, so as tdockweiler said, any differences will be subtle and it isn't worth wasting the time A/B'ing until you can nail it down. They're very consistent headphones.
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