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Newbie; New headphones or amp?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi all, first post. I've been reading a while and trying to absorb what is a LOT of info on this guru site. Hopefully I can get steered in the right direction!
I listen to an iPhone 4S. I have the MEElectronics M9 which I know are budget. I love them however I have never heard anything else aside from a few budget Koss lines. I'm looking to get a really nice bass head set up for my iPhone. My question is: should my next purchase be an amp? Or is the headphones which are cheap (but IMO awesome!) the bottleneck here? I'm just so new to the amp idea in general I'd rather make a move on that front if deemed necessary. OR should I just start looking at a better set of headphones altogether and skip the amp?
Thanks in advance, any info, links, or recommendations are extremely welcome!
post #2 of 5



Your bottleneck is two fold:


1) quality of media.

2) quality of device that renders media (the headphone).


You do not need an amp. Amps don't just make things better magically. The headphone needs to need an amp for it to be worth while. If you put an amp on something that doesn't need an amp, you get noise floor and it gets hissy and noisy. It's amplifying everything. Efficient headphones don't need amps. So don't read into everything thinking you need an amp for every single headphone. You don't. And in your situation, an amp is the last thing you should think of wasting money on.


Set a budget.

Get a nicer set of IEMs or headphones that will be efficient enough to run from your iPhone.


And then focus on getting higher quality media that is lossless or near lossless so that all this is even worth while.


Very best,

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thank you for clarifying that. I've read reviews on other headphones with people using IPhones who want amps. It threw me off. I'm definitely looking for information, but like car audio- it makes sense that only headphones that need more than my iPhone can give need amps. So look for a better iem, and also a better digital music system to build from?
post #4 of 5
There are exceptions in requiring an amp in the OPs situation looking for a bass head set up. What Mal didn't mention is members using amps specifically for their bass boost features which is exactly what the OP is looking to achieve.

To further the outcome on amps and low impedance/sensitive IEMs, many highly established members using $1000+ 1plus2 universals for example swear by scalling them up with a good portable amp. So there's really two sides of the fence here. Personally I don't like amping as I believe in keeping the signal clean as possible. This isn't to say I haven't heard improvements in layering, soundstage, amoung many other areas.

The most improvement will always come from the headphone/IEM purchase however for bass boosting and having some fun something like FIIO E6 or E11 is inexpensive and allows a member to make their own conclusions.
Edited by H20Fidelity - 11/30/13 at 5:38pm
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Sounds awesome! If a new set of iems doesn't get me where I want to go, ill look into an FiiO which I've been researching. Thank you so much for the insight
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