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Are seperate heaphone amps/DACs really worth it?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone I'm gonna be in the market soon for a higher end pair of headphones and I plan on getting a portable amp/DAC to power them rather than my Samsung Galaxy SIII that I use with my Grado SR80i's. I want to upgrade to the Grado RS1i's if I can get myself to spend the pretty penny on them and since they cost $700 I want to squeeze every bit of performance/sound quality I can out of them with an external amp/DAC. My question is this: do the RS1i's greatly benefit from an external amp/DAC rather than using my phone and if so what would be the best choice? I was considering getting the RS1i's and a Fiio E17(or Audioengine D1, iBasso D2+ Boa, etc...) with an Fiio L9 iPod line out and re-ripping/downloading my music in some sort of lossless format(currently all my music is 320kbps AAC). Is the E17 "good" enough for the RS1i's? Is there any other amp/DACs I should know about below $200? Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Also, about how much improvement are the RS1i's over the SR80i's(which i currently have)? BTW I mainly listen to rock and metal. One last thing: what is the best/perferred audio file format? FLAC, WAV, or ??? Thanks so much!! 

post #2 of 4

Below 200, I guess you already have whatever's good out there. 

About the file format, all lossless formats are the same.

post #3 of 4

You may find a better presentation with the Grados and an external amp over the SGSIII internal amp. You're not going to improve over the internal DAC's inherent limitations, but you may find that the external amp handles the load a little better and gives you, for example, tighter bass and/or better resolution of complex music.

 

Below $200, the E17 is one of the best choices. If you can take a slight step up in price, (from personal experience) the Tralucent T1 or (from what I've heard from others) the Leckerton UHA-6S Mk II are noticably better, at least with IEMs like the Etymotics that have high resolving power. 

 

Personally, I think you're crazy to either (a) drive $700 headphones with a DAC out of a smartphone and a $200 amp, or (b) haul around $700 as a "portable" headphone.

 

On file formats, all lossless formats should have the same quality, however a compressed format such as FLAC or Apple Lossless will occupy significantly less disk space than an uncompressed format such as WAV.

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffsf View Post

You may find a better presentation with the Grados and an external amp over the SGSIII internal amp. You're not going to improve over the internal DAC's inherent limitations, but you may find that the external amp handles the load a little better and gives you, for example, tighter bass and/or better resolution of complex music.

 

Below $200, the E17 is one of the best choices. If you can take a slight step up in price, (from personal experience) the Tralucent T1 or (from what I've heard from others) the Leckerton UHA-6S Mk II are noticably better, at least with IEMs like the Etymotics that have high resolving power. 

 

Personally, I think you're crazy to either (a) drive $700 headphones with a DAC out of a smartphone and a $200 amp, or (b) haul around $700 as a "portable" headphone.

 

On file formats, all lossless formats should have the same quality, however a compressed format such as FLAC or Apple Lossless will occupy significantly less disk space than an uncompressed format such as WAV.

Oh I'm sorry I should've been a little more in depth. If/when I get the RS1i's and a amp/DAC I will certainly eliminate my smartphone out of the equation and use my iPod with a line out cable from Fiio. Also, I absolutely do NOT plan on hauling around a $700 pair of headphones for portable use lol. They won't be leaving the house by no means. Thanks for the suggestions(Tralucent T1 and Leckerton UHA-6S Mk II) I will check them out.

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