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Which Portable Amplifier Pairs Best with the SM64?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I'm very interested in purchasing a pair of SM64s after hearing so many positive reviews about it. I'm just curious to know the general consensus on which portable amplifier(s) pair best with it. Which one(s) are most recommended?
post #2 of 25
With very few exceptions, "pairing" concept is best suited to wines and food. Any quality headphone amp will drive your headphones well, especially since they are highly efficient and relatively high impedance. The only questionable pairings are low impedance headphone with high output impedance amplifiers, but fortunately these combinations are few.
post #3 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaddie View Post

With very few exceptions, "pairing" concept is best suited to wines and food. 

LOL. Audiophile blasphemy, yet completely true. 

post #4 of 25
Research the portable amplifiers you're interested in and see what kind of coloration (if any) the amp applies to the sound from your source. Which one you end up choosing really does not matter in the end as its just a matter of your budget and your preference. :-)
post #5 of 25

As long as I'm committing audio blasphemy...

 

The very idea of "pairing" implies that each member of the pair have a distinct quality that either compliments or detracts from the other.  Amplifiers are largely neutral, especially when compared to the rather extreme variations in headphone sound quality.  A well designed amp approaches the ideal of "a straight wire with gain".  Where an amp has a deliberate signature, there is nothing about that signature that couldn't adequately be accomplished in another manner, and arguable creates more possible mis-pairings in the process.  

 

The big issues to solve relate to an amp driving a load, and that load not being consistent over frequency, and the resulting frequency response.  Once that's been solved, and noise and distortion are below audibility, there's just not much else to do.  You can also address frequency response with EQ, and with more precision.

 

I can't think of a good comparison to food, sorry.  

 

Ok, I've blasphemed enough for one day.

post #6 of 25
FWIW, my SM64 came with the govibe martini+. It's a nice little amp and is very well made, but it adds some warmth/thickness to the bass. That's OK for my brainwavz B2, but not the SM64.

The SM64's bass is sooooo nice. I didn't think a BA phone could extend much lower than my W4, but these do so noticably. But thankfully without a mid-bass hump. All across, the bass is strong but not boomy, and with nice detail and clarity.

I've been considering an amp or a new portable player (x3 maybe), and so have been reading a fair bit. It seems a low impedance is critical to good tight bass control. With my clip zip being ~1 ohm (iirc) I'm not willing to risk loosing this kind of bass performance on new hardware with much higher of an impedance.

The beauty of the SM64 is also in the cohesiveness and balance of lows, mids and highs (no muddy bass hump or veiled mids here). You wouldn't want to change that, so what I'm looking for is for hardware that's neutral / clean / accurate (with very low impedance)!

Hope that helps.

-Eric
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaddie View Post

With very few exceptions, "pairing" concept is best suited to wines and food. Any quality headphone amp will drive your headphones well, especially since they are highly efficient and relatively high impedance. The only questionable pairings are low impedance headphone with high output impedance amplifiers, but fortunately these combinations are few.

 

Most practical thing I've read on Head-Fi in years lol. Dead on.

 

My favorites that I have owned

iBasso D6

RSA Hornet

RSA SR-71

RSA Tomahawk
RSA Predator (i'm a bit of an RSA fanboy)

iBasso D4 w/ optional opamp kit

 

 

Most of the Fiio amps I like. I have trouble differentiating between them all tbh.

 

All 3 will do the job and sufficiently well. All the differences in tonality (I've owned,demo'ed these all) are only if you buttclench analyze and are rather minute surprisingly. Just buy the one you like and carry on.

 

To be fair I own SM3v2, but I feel that this stuff should all work magnificently. 

post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericr View Post

FWIW, my SM64 came with the govibe martini+. It's a nice little amp and is very well made, but it adds some warmth/thickness to the bass. That's OK for my brainwavz B2, but not the SM64.

The SM64's bass is sooooo nice. I didn't think a BA phone could extend much lower than my W4, but these do so noticably. But thankfully without a mid-bass hump. All across, the bass is strong but not boomy, and with nice detail and clarity.

I've been considering an amp or a new portable player (x3 maybe), and so have been reading a fair bit. It seems a low impedance is critical to good tight bass control. With my clip zip being ~1 ohm (iirc) I'm not willing to risk loosing this kind of bass performance on new hardware with much higher of an impedance.

The beauty of the SM64 is also in the cohesiveness and balance of lows, mids and highs (no muddy bass hump or veiled mids here). You wouldn't want to change that, so what I'm looking for is for hardware that's neutral / clean / accurate (with very low impedance)!

Hope that helps.

-Eric

The SM64 has an impedance in the mid 90 ohms range.  That's basically a very easy load for any amp.  The difference in output impedance from 1 ohm to 10 ohms would, in this case, have no impact either way, in and of itself.  

 

Amp "signatures" are almost all related to frequency response.  The largest influence of frequency response is a load impedance that changes with frequency driven by a high impedance source.  Once both of those issues have been minimized, the audible differences between amps are minimized too.  

 

So, if we have an amp with an output impedance of in the 1 ohm or less range, and a load impedance of 10 ohms or higher, the combination will be neutral from a standpoint of amplifier/headphone interaction.

post #9 of 25
I though the sm64 sounded great out of my c+c BH2. While the bh2 may not be the most powerfull amp around, the clean sound is great, and added even more detail and staging to the 64s. And the lf switch made them hit harder than before, not even needed, but fun sometimes
post #10 of 25
I read that the X3 is more for higher impedence IEM... And I believe it would work quite well with the SM64? I'm not too sure myself but I'm also deciding between the W4 and SM64
post #11 of 25

Try these 2 I list below:

 

- Apex Glacier: improve the mid + high range and clarity.

- Headstage Arrow 4T: improve the mid + low range and a little bit on high range. You can use the bass or treble boost to tweak by the way.

post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by midnightwalker View Post

Try these 2 I list below:

 

- Apex Glacier: improve the mid + high range and clarity.

- Headstage Arrow 4T: improve the mid + low range and a little bit on high range. You can use the bass or treble boost to tweak by the way.

Both are kinda pricy. How about the Fiio line

post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gryphus0204 View Post

Both are kinda pricy. How about the Fiio line

 

No complaints, never had a bad product, and I love their pricepoints.

post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 
Does anyone have recommendations to boost the bottom end and widen the soundstage?
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by BassInMyFace View Post

Does anyone have recommendations to boost the bottom end and widen the soundstage?

Get an amp that is as transparent as possible.The rest you can simply achieve by EQing.
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