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The benefits of desktop amps vs portable ones?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Sorry if this is a no brainer, i just wanted to confirm.

 

As far as iv gathered, an amp connected to an external power supply, i.e, the mains, will provide the proper voltage swing needed for dynamic range in the "packed" bits of music. I mean when theres like a crescendo or a climax where all the instruments are playing together.

 

Is that about right or did i get it entirely wrong?

 

If its right, then i could theoretically connect my cmoy to the mains and get a better performance out of it, as opposed to using batteries?

 

What other reasons would there be for getting a desktop amp, and not a portable one? 

 

Finally, what good desktop amps should i consider in the 150$ range, except for the magni and o2? (solid state and as neutral as possible, for powering the dt770 250, and either the m-100, a900x or mad dogs in the distant future)

 

Thank you all


Edited by adamlr - 1/10/13 at 7:49am
post #2 of 6

Desktop units typically have:

 

1.)  Higher gain

2.)  Cleaner power stage ( lower noise )

3.)  More room to separate components ( ventilation, noise, layout, ease of fixing )

 

As for this statement:

"As far as iv gathered, an amp connected to an external power supply, i.e, the mains, will provide the proper voltage swing needed for dynamic range in the "packed" bits of music. I mean when theres like a crescendo or a climax where all the instruments are playing together."

 

It really does not make sense is only true under certain circumstances.  Sometimes portable amps can sound as good if not better than desktop units.  It depends upon implementation of components, noise, power layout, solder joint quality, gain, and output impedance just to name a few.

 

An issue with battery powered units is as the battery voltage lowers the various bias voltages become marginal on some components and the amount of raw voltage available also lowers.  This can often lead to higher noise, lower gain, and other detrimental effects.

 

If you have a clean power supply that delivers the correct input voltage to your CMOY amp then, yes, you may hear / receive some improvement.  Unless you have a good understanding of electricity you may want to do some research or at least talk to someone familiar with building / installing power supplies before blinding trying to plug in your amp to an external power supply unless of course the amp was designed to do so in the first place.

 

In the $150 range I like the Total Bithead from Headroom.  It is built really well, sounds good for the price, and comes with a built in DAC which will improve almost any computer listening experience.  It can be powered via USB or battery.

 

Check it out here:

http://www.headphone.com/headphone-amps/headroom-total-bithead.php

 

If you can I highly recommend saving up for a separate DAC and Amp much like the Micro Stack offered at Headroom.

 

Micro Stack Package

http://www.headphone.com/packages/headroom-micro-amp--micro-dac-package.php

 

Yes it is relatively expensive, but the reviewers over there at Headroom us the combo to do their headphone reviews making a tried and true combo.  I personally like the sound from the combo as well as the price for performance value.  They look nice together and take up very little space.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NA Blur View Post

Desktop units typically have:

 

1.)  Higher gain

2.)  Cleaner power stage ( lower noise )

3.)  More room to separate components ( ventilation, noise, layout, ease of fixing )

 

As for this statement:

"As far as iv gathered, an amp connected to an external power supply, i.e, the mains, will provide the proper voltage swing needed for dynamic range in the "packed" bits of music. I mean when theres like a crescendo or a climax where all the instruments are playing together."

 

It really does not make sense is only true under certain circumstances.  Sometimes portable amps can sound as good if not better than desktop units.  It depends upon implementation of components, noise, power layout, solder joint quality, gain, and output impedance just to name a few.

 

An issue with battery powered units is as the battery voltage lowers the various bias voltages become marginal on some components and the amount of raw voltage available also lowers.  This can often lead to higher noise, lower gain, and other detrimental effects.

 

If you have a clean power supply that delivers the correct input voltage to your CMOY amp then, yes, you may hear / receive some improvement.  Unless you have a good understanding of electricity you may want to do some research or at least talk to someone familiar with building / installing power supplies before blinding trying to plug in your amp to an external power supply unless of course the amp was designed to do so in the first place.

 

In the $150 range I like the Total Bithead from Headroom.  It is built really well, sounds good for the price, and comes with a built in DAC which will improve almost any computer listening experience.  It can be powered via USB or battery.

 

Check it out here:

http://www.headphone.com/headphone-amps/headroom-total-bithead.php

 

If you can I highly recommend saving up for a separate DAC and Amp much like the Micro Stack offered at Headroom.

 

Micro Stack Package

http://www.headphone.com/packages/headroom-micro-amp--micro-dac-package.php

 

Yes it is relatively expensive, but the reviewers over there at Headroom us the combo to do their headphone reviews making a tried and true combo.  I personally like the sound from the combo as well as the price for performance value.  They look nice together and take up very little space.


i wasnt making a statement, i was verifying something i read elsewhere. i was really just asking for clarification, which i got, so thanks =]

 

the cmoy was just a hypothetical question, i noticed theres a plug on it, so i waged a guess. i wont actually do it.

 

thank you for the recommendation, i will look into it, but the fact is, i already own a cmoy (as mentioned) and an e11. granted, theyr probably not in the same league as the total bithead, but i dont want another portable amp. im looking for a proper desktop amp in the 150$ price range, one that isnt powered by batteries or usb. i was almost sure id get the schiit stack, but then turned for some reason and decided on the objective pair, then started going back and forth. so i decided to open this thread and see what other amps are recommended.

 

i am also looking for a dac in the same price range(150$), but i want to decide on an amp first. im sure the micro package is great, but its twice the price i set for myself, and id rather save up for new headphones.

 

thank you very much for your reply

 

edit: im also looking at audio gd fun. and if i were to go for a usb powered combo, id probably get and ibasso d7, which i found for a good price. any thoughts on these?


Edited by adamlr - 1/10/13 at 10:48am
post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by NA Blur View Post

Desktop units typically have:

 

1.)  Higher gain

2.)  Cleaner power stage ( lower noise )

3.)  More room to separate components ( ventilation, noise, layout, ease of fixing )


1)  True

2)  Not necessarily. Desktop amps are susceptible to noise and grounding issues.

3)  Maybe, but that depends on the design.

 

So, to sum it up, as long as an amp meets the power requirements, and is good in terms of the specs, it doesn't matter whether its desktop or portable.

Infact, the extra components needed for desktop amps just make them more expensive, so unless you want a tube amp, or a higher power amp for speakers, or high gain amp for some >5-600 Ohm vintage headphones, you don't need to spend the extra cash on a desktop amp.


Edited by proton007 - 1/10/13 at 6:03pm
post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by adamlr View Post

Sorry if this is a no brainer, i just wanted to confirm.

 

As far as iv gathered, an amp connected to an external power supply, i.e, the mains, will provide the proper voltage swing needed for dynamic range in the "packed" bits of music. I mean when theres like a crescendo or a climax where all the instruments are playing together.

 

Is that about right or did i get it entirely wrong?

 

If its right, then i could theoretically connect my cmoy to the mains and get a better performance out of it, as opposed to using batteries?

 

What other reasons would there be for getting a desktop amp, and not a portable one? 

 

Finally, what good desktop amps should i consider in the 150$ range, except for the magni and o2? (solid state and as neutral as possible, for powering the dt770 250, and either the m-100, a900x or mad dogs in the distant future)

 

Thank you all

 

Let me sum it up for you why a desktop amplifier is superior to a portable amplifier.

 

High quality power supply.

 

Your last question: Schiit Magni currently has the most output for it's cost and is of good quality at $99. The O2 & Magni really are the two shining stars at the moment in that cost range.

 

Very best,

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post


so unless you want a tube amp, or a higher power amp for speakers, or high gain amp for some >5-600 Ohm vintage headphones, you don't need to spend the extra cash on a desktop amp.

 

well, i noticed the portables wont perform 100% below a certain volume point, the bass in particular. is this amp-specific or is that because its portable?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

 

Let me sum it up for you why a desktop amplifier is superior to a portable amplifier.

 

High quality power supply.

 

Your last question: Schiit Magni currently has the most output for it's cost and is of good quality at $99. The O2 & Magni really are the two shining stars at the moment in that cost range.

 

Very best,

thanks, what are the benefits of high quality power supplys?

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