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Why isn't this possible (quick newb question)

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Why doesn't a source + amp exist in one package yet? (Or maybe I'm mistaken) Thanks.

 

EDIT: Oh wait, it does, huh. Any portable mp3 player has a tiny amp in it?

 

Edited by jadawgis732 - 1/22/13 at 3:02pm
post #2 of 10
Players made by Hisound, Hifiman, and some Colorfly support there own internal amp sections separately, but you would be correct in saying they are few and far between as most mainstream consumers are happy with the amp chips used in todays MP3 players.

Check out the new Nova N1 or N3. they support their own internal amps.

. http://www.head-fi.org/t/629679/edit-hisound-audio-to-release-new-dap-product-line-nova-with-micro-sd-card-support
post #3 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by jadawgis732 View Post

Why doesn't a source + amp exist in one package yet? (Or maybe I'm mistaken) Thanks.

 

EDIT: Oh wait, it does, huh. Any portable mp3 player has a tiny amp in it?

 

 

If you can drive transducers - in this case ear/headphones - it has an amp. The real question is what kind of circuit is it using, which for the most part is an all-in-one chip that does the decoding and sends out a signal enough to power an ear/headphone with a digital volume control. Think of a DAC-Amp, but make all that one chip. then that shares the same case and battery as the screen, storage medium and the processor.

 

And there's the primary consdiration - size and battery life. You can't cram a high-capacitance, Class A-biased, beyond hearing range distortion level amplifier in a device that will be pocketable, affordable, and can actually play long enough before you run to a power outlet. Personally I'm alright with my phone for listening on the go, and if there's anything about it that I don't like, it's not the driving capabilities but the hiss with high efficiency, low impedance earphones, which were supposedly designed to compensate for low power/voltage output devices.

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Yeah, so I'm looking at the Colorfly C4 (~$700), and the Hifiman HM-602 ($399)... I suppose I should've mentioned affordable. (Don't take any of this as unappreciative for your post and advice, I just can't fathom the cost these guys are charging.) I really would rather not have to tote around something like a Fiio E11/E17 along with my phone, but I guess that's the state of affairs in this market.

 

Moving on, which of the Sansa's have the best internal amp? I know they're pretty well liked on here as far as PMPs go, and my dad has a Clip which is very small...maybe I'll try that route.

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by jadawgis732 View Post

Yeah, so I'm looking at the Colorfly C4 (~$700), and the Hifiman HM-602 ($399)... I suppose I should've mentioned affordable. (Don't take any of this as unappreciative for your post and advice, I just can't fathom the cost these guys are charging.) I really would rather not have to tote around something like a Fiio E11/E17 along with my phone, but I guess that's the state of affairs in this market.

Moving on, which of the Sansa's have the best internal amp? I know they're pretty well liked on here as far as PMPs go, and my dad has a Clip which is very small...maybe I'll try that route.


You could always consider something like Colorfly CK4, also has internal amp. But the downfall with these players the battery time, because you're feeding two separate internal sections you don't get much more than 8 hours from them. Sansa Clip do not have internal amp sections, they run an amp chip. If you want a player that has decent amounts of power Cowon is known for having higher than average outputs, though still no separate internal amp.

And again, owning a player that has an internal is not the same as amping, it doesn't feel as powerful imo, not my CK4 or HM-601. It's more a subtle gain that helps give support from my experience. It's not like you can turn the volume up much louder, I think Hifiman HM-601 only outputs 30mw at 32 Ohm from it's headphone out where as an amp the size of a credit card such as C&C BH ouputs 300mW. So the internal amps are not exactly what you may be expecting. I thought the same.
Edited by H20Fidelity - 1/23/13 at 1:49am
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by jadawgis732 View Post

Yeah, so I'm looking at the Colorfly C4 (~$700), and the Hifiman HM-602 ($399)... I suppose I should've mentioned affordable. (Don't take any of this as unappreciative for your post and advice, I just can't fathom the cost these guys are charging.) I really would rather not have to tote around something like a Fiio E11/E17 along with my phone, but I guess that's the state of affairs in this market.

 

Here's the thing - you don't always need to actually listen with the extra DAC-Amp. Find a nice earphone that's efficient (and take it from me - check reviews to make sure it won't hiss with your phone), and use that on the go. Then when it's an extended trip, then most likely you'd have at least one bag with you, you can cram the DAC-Amp and maybe a headphone that folds flat (or a custom-fit IEM that needs cleaner power) in that bag.

 

On the expensive DAPs, I know what you mean. I'm more into in-home listening, given I won't be listening critically when I have to mind not getting run over on the street or not missing any public announcements at an airport, so when we're talking that kind of money I'd rather buy AC-powered, stationary gear, given the battery limitation and most of these don't sound "right" by my ears. The HM602 for example is tonally a lot like my old DAC-AH and Marantz CD60, which isn't surprising given they use the same old Philips DACs, but the longer I listened the more I realized it was lacking dynamics. The S:Flo surprised me a lot on first listen, but then all the issues about people getting lemon units (like the one that heats up too much while listening, then it died; among many others that just died too soon and warranty processes sucked), just made the 8hr battery life seem trivial by comparison.

 

That said, I was impressed by the DX100. Not impressed enough to buy one, despite having it for two weeks, but I have to say two CDPs (one more expensive, the other just a bit less) I compared to it couldn't beat it in my book. Class A output going into my Cantate.2 aside, the Rega just seemed too soft in the treble and upper bass that seemed artificially boosted (on my HD600, but not as much on the Focal Chorus 706 they had in the store); while the Cambridge 640C was staging the percussions too far forward - in my head, actually, while the rest were noticeably behind that.  The DX100 was unremarkable in a good way - no single characteristic or frequency range gets all your attention but nothing annoyed me either. Plus it made going around a meet a breeze - instead of borrowing other people's headphones to try with my gear, I just sit by their table with the DX100. $800 is still a lot of cash though and I'll probably just get an Emotiva ERC-2 or Aune S1; I just haven't decided yet and my HT is priority for now.

 

OR you can always just wait for the Fiio X3. I thought I was past that with the Galaxy S, but given my S3's hiss and its battery life (and I'm not about to scratch it swapping out batteries - I was that clumsy and impatient with my older phone), I started following that thread again.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Do you guys think I should not even be considering an amp until I get a pair of high impedance headphones? My current lineup is:

Brainwavz B2 (43Ohm)

TF10 (32Ohm)

ATH-M50 (32Ohm)

Etymotic HF3 (16Ohm)

 

And my source is an iPhone 4s.

 

Wow, that Fiio X3 is a beautiful product. It looks like the UI of an old Zune too, which I love!

 
 

Edited by jadawgis732 - 1/23/13 at 7:39pm
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by jadawgis732 View Post

Do you guys think I should not even be considering an amp until I get a pair of high impedance headphones? My current lineup is:

 

It's not just high impedance cans that will need amping; like my example above, some just need cleaner power. Other low impedance cans, maybe even multi-driver IEMs (due to complex loads, etc) may also need a dedicated amp to provide current. Given what you have right now I'd rather not worry about an amp, especially if you're not getting any hiss out of the iPhone.

 

If you had a late-model, USB-audio enabled Android you can consider just getting a compatible DAC-Amp and a better (but harder to drive out of a smartphone) headphone, but since you have an iPhone and I don't know how to use it purely as a digital transport other than wirelessly or expensive iDevice DAC/digital transport docks, I'd say just wait for the X3 or maybe get the Colorfly CK4. Then whichever you buy try it with all ear/headphones you have and can conceivably use it with (ie, just portable if you have a separate home system, etc) to determine if you need an amp, but given the X3 is supposedly the E07 (I think) with an SD reader and a screen, most portable headphones and IEMs shouldn't be a problem for it.

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Well, I got a big refund check today, and I broke down and ordered both the E02i (which really can't be considered an amp, I wouldn't think) and the E11. If the E02i gives me any benefit at all I'll return the E11. Otherwise, I'll just keep both. Looking forward to it.

post #10 of 10

Yeah, they already have an amp-its about the quality of it. Same thing with DACs. Some players such as HiFiMans, use really nice internal amps and DACs.

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