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DAC / Amp partner to Sennheiser Momentums

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi

 

I wonder if you could advise please. I have an HTC One and a Macbook Air which I fairly regularly use as a source paired with my Sennheiser Momentums. Sounds pretty good.. but I'm getting greedy and after much trawling of this forum I've discovered that such a thing as a portable DAC /Amp exists. I'm a little clueless as to whether or not sound quality would be improved by adding such a device, so I wonder if you could advise on these questions please?

 

1. Would adding a DAC improve significantly the sound quality of the HTC One and Mac?

 

2. Do I need an extra Amp at all given that the Sennheisers are very low impedance?

 

3. If I can get a decent boost to SQ, what would the best DAC / Amp option be? I can spend up to about 300 USD if necessary, but would rather spend less

 

4. I suspect that I don't actually need anything that's overly portable as I'm not sure that I would be able to pocket the HTC AND another device, so it might end up being something that I just use at home or lug into work in my bag. So transportable, sure, maybe not completely portable if that makes sense..

 

Hope you can help, any advice gratefully received!

 
post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by warth0g View Post
1. Would adding a DAC improve significantly the sound quality of the HTC One and Mac?

Not sure about the HTC One, but as to improvement on the Mac, not significantly.

Quote:

Originally Posted by warth0g View Post

2. Do I need an extra Amp at all given that the Sennheisers are very low impedance?

 

The Sennheiser's are't all that low impedance.  

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SennheiserMomentum.pdf

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by warth0g View Post

3. If I can get a decent boost to SQ, what would the best DAC / Amp option be? I can spend up to about 300 USD if necessary, but would rather spend less

See #1.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by warth0g View Post

 

4. I suspect that I don't actually need anything that's overly portable as I'm not sure that I would be able to pocket the HTC AND another device, so it might end up being something that I just use at home or lug into work in my bag. So transportable, sure, maybe not completely portable if that makes sense..

 

Hope you can help, any advice gratefully received!

 

 

If you spend a lot on a big heavy DAC/Amp, you may think you hear a big heavy improvement, but only a very small portion is likely to be real.  The biggest improvement in SQ will be had by precision EQ or changing headphones.  By audible comparison, adding an amp or DAC/Amp will make a zero to very small improvement, equalizing or changing headphones will make a very audible to huge improvement.  However, that assumes you focus on just the real audible change.  When you add the psychological bias of lugging around a big expensive amp, you may "hear" a big expensive improvement too.

post #3 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by warth0g View Post

Hi

 

I wonder if you could advise please. I have an HTC One and a Macbook Air which I fairly regularly use as a source paired with my Sennheiser Momentums. Sounds pretty good.. but I'm getting greedy and after much trawling of this forum I've discovered that such a thing as a portable DAC /Amp exists. I'm a little clueless as to whether or not sound quality would be improved by adding such a device, so I wonder if you could advise on these questions please?

 

1. Would adding a DAC improve significantly the sound quality of the HTC One and Mac?

 

2. Do I need an extra Amp at all given that the Sennheisers are very low impedance?

 

3. If I can get a decent boost to SQ, what would the best DAC / Amp option be? I can spend up to about 300 USD if necessary, but would rather spend less

 

4. I suspect that I don't actually need anything that's overly portable as I'm not sure that I would be able to pocket the HTC AND another device, so it might end up being something that I just use at home or lug into work in my bag. So transportable, sure, maybe not completely portable if that makes sense..

 

Hope you can help, any advice gratefully received!

 

You can't really take most of what is on this forum seriously as it is designed to make you become greedy and buy dubious products. You could consider the O2 and ODAC combo however for you macbook air. 

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

OK thanks for the advice.. so sounds like it would be a bit of a waste of money then. I'm a bit confused about why products like the Fiio E17 etc exist at all then though? I'm definitely after a real improvement in SQ rather than some sort of placebo.. oh well, I guess I've saved some money..

 

To go off on a slightly different tack, would getting something like an Astell & Kern make much difference?

 
post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by warth0g View Post

OK thanks for the advice.. so sounds like it would be a bit of a waste of money then. I'm a bit confused about why products like the Fiio E17 etc exist at all then though? I'm definitely after a real improvement in SQ rather than some sort of placebo.. oh well, I guess I've saved some money..

To go off on a slightly different tack, would getting something like an Astell & Kern make much difference?
 

fiio e17 is decent and has a reasonable price tag so there is no reason as to why it should not exist.

Tha Astell and Kern is a ludicrously overpriced DAP. AK100 was a disaster due to its output impedance, AK120 better but has such a ridiculous price tag. If you want a standalone DAP why not look at reasonably priced but excellent performance ones such as the fiio x3 or even the sansa clip+
post #6 of 8

Just my opinion: 

Clip +, performs well, fine SQ, good bang for the buck, but cheaply made. 

iPod Cliassic 160/120, better user experience, holds my entire library, well built, fine SQ, best deal for complete large libraries

iPhone 4, iPod Touch: well built, excellent user experience, fine SQ, expensive storage, but user experience makes up for it.  Additional app and phone functions justify the price.

iPod Nano gen 6: fine SQ, built well, much preferred over Clip +, but also much more expensive.  Easier to use.

 

None of the above require an external amp to drive the Momentums, but the O2 would be my choice (I have two) if I wanted an amp.  

 

One little detail, since you're after a significant SQ improvement.  The Touch, iPhone and iPad all will run the Audyssey "amp" app, which has, IMHO, the best and most accurate headphone EQ available, along with Dynamic EQ.  That little app will do way more for your sound than an amp or an exotic DMP. Adding an amp is the icing on the cake, but not really necessary once you pick out the EQ for your headphones in the Audyssey app. 

 

"amp" won't run on the Clip, the FIIO, the iPod Classic, or the Nano.  That alone would steer my choice regardless of what headphones I have.  I own three pairs that are in the Audyssey "amp" library, and all three benefit significantly from Audyssey's EQ. Two of the three become spectacular with it, to the point that everything I always didn't like about them is gone with "amp" running the EQ. 

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaddie View Post

Just my opinion: 
Clip +, performs well, fine SQ, good bang for the buck, but cheaply made. 
iPod Cliassic 160/120, better user experience, holds my entire library, well built, fine SQ, best deal for complete large libraries
iPhone 4, iPod Touch: well built, excellent user experience, fine SQ, expensive storage, but user experience makes up for it.  Additional app and phone functions justify the price.
iPod Nano gen 6: fine SQ, built well, much preferred over Clip +, but also much more expensive.  Easier to use.

None of the above require an external amp to drive the Momentums, but the O2 would be my choice (I have two) if I wanted an amp.  

One little detail, since you're after a significant SQ improvement.  The Touch, iPhone and iPad all will run the Audyssey "amp" app, which has, IMHO, the best and most accurate headphone EQ available, along with Dynamic EQ.  That little app will do way more for your sound than an amp or an exotic DMP. Adding an amp is the icing on the cake, but not really necessary once you pick out the EQ for your headphones in the Audyssey app. 

"amp" won't run on the Clip, the FIIO, the iPod Classic, or the Nano.  That alone would steer my choice regardless of what headphones I have.  I own three pairs that are in the Audyssey "amp" library, and all three benefit significantly from Audyssey's EQ. Two of the three become spectacular with it, to the point that everything I always didn't like about them is gone with "amp" running the EQ. 

Jaddie which apple product to date has the best measured specs? Am I correct in thinking it is the latest gen ipod touch?

@Wath0g
Don't fall into the trap of head-fi thinking apple=bad SQ.....
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by uchihaitachi View Post


Jaddie which apple product to date has the best measured specs? Am I correct in thinking it is the latest gen ipod touch?

I don't know, I don't spend time comparing specs on DMPs unless it's an issue. But all have specs that are good enough to present music undistorted and drive most headphones to adequate safe volume.  I would place the ability to use the Audyssey amp app over the best specs, but I would also guess that the current iPad, iPad mini, iPhone 5 and current Touch would be among the best anyway.  On-board EQ on all Apple products is limited, and not customizable, just a set of pre-set curves, so "amp" is a huge improvement. 

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