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Portable DAC/AMP with a good EQ?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm just starting to look at dedicated portable DAC/AMPs and the Fiio E07k and E17 come up quite a bit.  As I understand those, they have a bass boost and that's about it for manipulating the sound.  Are there any good, recommendable preferably portable (or at least small) DAC/AMPs that have a full range, multi-band EQ for fine tuning?

post #2 of 11

Try the new e E18. Sounds very good and should work with many of the latest Android phones. Some of these phones might need the KitKat update. It works rather well with my Samsung Galaxy S3 and Sennheiser HD600. It also works with my laptop. Good luck finding multi-band EQ, especially on a portable. You might try using PowerAmp or NeutronMP on an Android device for EQ,

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
I wasn't sure if such an animal existed but it seemed like something that should (or at least, could) exist. I don't know if my older Droid 2 can do USB audio out. I was thinking of something portable/smaller so I can take it with me to and from work and use it with a regular PC. I'd probably try it as an amp with my phone. I do have an eq app on my phone. It seems to work. I haven't found much info about sound quality with my phone. It's my primary source for listening with IEMs. An amp/dac would open up some options.
post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yardstick View Post

I wasn't sure if such an animal existed but it seemed like something that should (or at least, could) exist. I don't know if my older Droid 2 can do USB audio out. I was thinking of something portable/smaller so I can take it with me to and from work and use it with a regular PC. I'd probably try it as an amp with my phone. I do have an eq app on my phone. It seems to work. I haven't found much info about sound quality with my phone. It's my primary source for listening with IEMs. An amp/dac would open up some options.

It is unlikely that your Droid 2 can do USB Audio as is. It is possible that you might be able to root it and find an Android kernel that does this. You can check on xda-developers, link below:

http://forum.xda-developers.com/droid-2

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
After doing more reading, I'm about to pull the trigger on a Schitt stack. Not totally portable but small enough to be easily transportable and seems like it should be an improvement over my computer's audio by quite a bit. For the phone I'll just keep using it standalone.
post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yardstick View Post

After doing more reading, I'm about to pull the trigger on a Schitt stack. Not totally portable but small enough to be easily transportable and seems like it should be an improvement over my computer's audio by quite a bit. For the phone I'll just keep using it standalone.

So which stack of Schiit are you in to? Even the cheapest Magni Amp looks great on paper. It's THD and IMD specs are very low, lower than a human can perceive. Unless you have cans that require a lot of driving power, e.g., HE-6, this one looks sweet and quite the deal. Their middle models actually have more distortion.

Depending on the Audio amp in the Droid 2, it might benefit from Amping. Which software do you use to playback music on your Droid?

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'm looking at the Magni/Modi setup.

I'm using either free Pandora or Slacker on the phone for the most part. I'm not sure what the MP3 player is -just whatever came with the phone. I haven't tried anything else for a player on the phone. I do have an EQ app that seems effective. It's hard for me to tell what the base tuning is on the phone (as far as EQ setting and whatever other audio tricks are going on). I have tried a few adjustments to the EQ to replicate it but can't get there. With no EQ app the phone's output has quite a bit of bass and even acentuates the sub-bass region well and the sound stage is wider. No matter what I have tried so far the sound stage seems narrower with the EQ app on.

I just found the Aune T1 now. I have been curious about tube amp sound... this could get expensive!
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yardstick View Post

I'm looking at the Magni/Modi setup.

I'm using either free Pandora or Slacker on the phone for the most part. I'm not sure what the MP3 player is -just whatever came with the phone. I haven't tried anything else for a player on the phone. I do have an EQ app that seems effective. It's hard for me to tell what the base tuning is on the phone (as far as EQ setting and whatever other audio tricks are going on). I have tried a few adjustments to the EQ to replicate it but can't get there. With no EQ app the phone's output has quite a bit of bass and even acentuates the sub-bass region well and the sound stage is wider. No matter what I have tried so far the sound stage seems narrower with the EQ app on.

I just found the Aune T1 now. I have been curious about tube amp sound... this could get expensive!

Pandora and Slacker are streaming apps. If you're playing MP3 or audio files (Ripped or purchased, etc.) then you can look into PowerAmp (10 Band Graphic EQ) or NeutronMP (Parametric EQ) on Android. I'm not a fan of tube amps as they are generally used to color the sound, hence tube rolling. IMO the Schiit Magni is probably a very good amp. A lot of folks get more joy from fiddling around with amps than they get back in sound, imagined or otherwise, If that brings joy to one's heart, that's OK, just not for me. If I had a set of hard to drive Planar Mags then I'd be looking for an amp with the muscle, but my hardest to drive Sennheiser HD600's do not require brutal amping, although a cellphone, ipod or the like can't really drive them well, a FiiO E12 or Schiit Magni can do the job quite nicely.

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'm thinking of using the Schiit stack for my PC, taking the place of the noisy output it has now. On that I have some flac and various quality ripped and downloaded MP3s. The phone drives my Vsonic GR07 BEs pretty well. I'll check out those apps you mentioned. I'm just using IEMs now so I probably don't need much amp at all.
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yardstick View Post

I'm thinking of using the Schiit stack for my PC, taking the place of the noisy output it has now. On that I have some flac and various quality ripped and downloaded MP3s. The phone drives my Vsonic GR07 BEs pretty well. I'll check out those apps you mentioned. I'm just using IEMs now so I probably don't need much amp at all.

NeutronMP sounds great, if you can manage a parametric EQ and it's lousy user interface (UI). Power amp has a great UI. Either sounds much better than the stock apps most phones come with.

Some IEMs like multiple armature BA types that have lower impedances can underperform without amping a phone or many DAPs. Although most IEMs do fine. But you can't say as a blanket statement, " I'm just using IEMs now so I probably don't need much amp at all."

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
I can understand that. I get less noise out of the GR07 BE than the SoundMagic E10s I have and it seems like mostly an effect of impedence and sensitivity. Then again I don't have a lot to compare with.

Edit to add: What I should have said is that I'm just using easy to drive IEMs now so I probably don't need much amp at all
Edited by Yardstick - 12/2/13 at 7:31am
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