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My smartphone isn't loud enough to drive my big headphones. What should I build?

post #1 of 2
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So my smartphone (Motorola Atrix MB860) isn't loud enough to drive my big headphones.  It's barely even loud enough to drive in-ear-buds at max volume on the subway.  And I'm no audiophile/connoisseur, but I'm pretty sure the opamp they used in the Atrix is pretty crappy.  If I think that it sounds worse than my friend's iPhone, then surely an audiophile would notice it too!

 

But this phone has an HDMI output, and it can transmit audio over HDMI, and do a display clone.  Basically meaning that I could transmit audio over HDMI, and still be able to use the phone normally.  Do they make C-Moy-like things (portable headphone amplifiers) that accept an HDMI input?  Or would I need to build what I think is called a DAC for that?  Or are there 2-in-1 DAC/amps?  I've made a C-Moy before, could I make a DAC+Amp?

 

Or should I just not bother with that, and just amplify the Atrix's headphone out?  Wouldn't I just be amplifying a ****ty signal?  Or would I lower the Atrix's output volume to, say, 50% (way too low for normal use), and then let the CMoy gain it up, because maybe the opamp in the Atrix works just fine at lower volume levels?

 

Thanks for any advice!

post #2 of 2

I've never heard of a portable amp that accepts HDMI input. A dedicated DAC will give you better sound quality but your phone must support digital audio out through USB, which it probably doesn't. If you just want higher volume, any portable amp will do that. Fiio products tend to be a very good value. Check out the E11. If your phone has line out then connect using that, which would be better sound quality. If not, you will have to use your phone's headphone jack which would be double-amping and not ideal.

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