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IEM Sensitivity question (GR07, SM3)

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Searched but couldn't find a good answer, so here's my question.  I recently bought some GR07's (to replace my lost SE530's).  So far I'm impressed with the sound, especially as I get them increasingly burned in.  But my concern is that I have to push my two listening devices (Clip Zip, Galaxy S3) almost to the max to get to decent volume levels. (FYI, I don't listen at ear-shattering volumes, but I do like it pretty full.)  So I researched and learned that the sensitivity rating on GR07's is 105db versus, say, 122db on Earsonics SM3, which I'd also seriously considered.  I don't know much about portable hifi, but do know that home audio amplifiers tend to sound worse as they get pushed toward their max.  So I'm wondering if I'd get better sound through a more efficient IEM (like SM3) that doesn't require me to push the source to the brink.  Any thoughts on this?

post #2 of 5

As an amp approaches its limits clipping typically occurs.  This goes for any device with an amps section be it iPod or other.  So you are right in your concern that pushing the volume towards 100% can cause distortion, but if you do not hear distortion at high volume levels then the amp is probably not clipping.

 

Remember that both Sensitivity and Impedance play a roll on how much power a headphone / IEM requires and if there are current / voltage limits on a device then the lower impedance headphone / IEM is going to max the amp stage our quickly.

 

This stems from:

Power = V^2 / R

As R lowers the power draw increases.

 

Many IEM headphones have low impedance ( 18 Ohms or less ) which draw more power from their sources.  Of course, in your case, the 17dB difference in sensitivity is definitely a factor, but you may want to check if your device has a volume limit on it because most headphones and IEM that I own can be driven to near ear-blistering levels at 50% - 60% volume on my iPod.

post #3 of 5

For example my SM64 have an impendance of 120 Ohms, but because of their sensitivity of 122 db there really isn't any distortion even when the volume of my J3 is turned up like 80%.

post #4 of 5

Hmmm, i can't help you on topic, but can say that i got Cowon iAudio 9 player and with gr07 volume level is very high. I am not able to get to max or i would break my eardrums. 20/40 level with this DAP is already high, 30/40 is very high and 35/40 is already painful. So i guess Clip Zip or S3 are just much weaker devices.

 

Quote:


Originally Posted by Tom Yum Goong View Post

For example my SM64 have an impendance of 120 Ohms, but because of their sensitivity of 122 db there really isn't any distortion even when the volume of my J3 is turned up like 80%.

Does lower sensitivity means higher distortion?


Edited by Alpina - 1/11/13 at 1:05pm
post #5 of 5

Sensitivity and distortion are two totally separate things.

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