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Need help to find suitable HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER for SONY XBA-H3!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi there,

Does anybody know and can recommend a good headphone amplifier (I don't mind if it's not a USB DAC, although I don't understand completely what a DAC does..) under <£100 to support SONY XBA-H3?
The problem I came across in the forum here is that these IEM's have 40Ω Impedance. I just ordered them yesterday and wait for them to arrive in couple of days. I could not go to bed last night reviewing every single Headphone Amplifier out there but could not get anywhere. My budget at the minute is below £100. I worry too much about the sound quality I am going to get from these IEM's without
by-passing the original source (laptop or mobile phone) through a headphone amplifier.



 

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post #2 of 7

I think you might be fine with your phone -- I'd try that first. I'm not sure a cheap amp will greatly benefit anything, especially since most commercial IEMs are designed to work from a phone. 40 Ohms will be sufficiently above the output impedance of your phone. Laptops on the other hand often have rubbish audio.

 

A DAC, let me explain. On your computer or phone audio is stored in a digital format. Inside your computer or phone is a chip that converts the digital audio to an analogue waveform. It may not be a chip any different to that in a DAC or sound card but it has to share all the electronics and power supply with the phone and computer and the sound quality may not be that good as a result. A dedicated DAC can have its own power supply and electronics and sound better as a result.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

I think you might be fine with your phone -- I'd try that first. I'm not sure a cheap amp will greatly benefit anything, especially since most commercial IEMs are designed to work from a phone. 40 Ohms will be sufficiently above the output impedance of your phone. Laptops on the other hand often have rubbish audio.

 

A DAC, let me explain. On your computer or phone audio is stored in a digital format. Inside your computer or phone is a chip that converts the digital audio to an analogue waveform. It may not be a chip any different to that in a DAC or sound card but it has to share all the electronics and power supply with the phone and computer and the sound quality may not be that good as a result. A dedicated DAC can have its own power supply and electronics and sound better as a result.

The problem is my phone is very old (Samsung Galaxy GT- i7500) and its sound is already very bad.
I mostly listen to my MP3 collection on my laptop (I know its audio is rubbish!). I used to have a NATIVE INSTRUMENTS TRAKTOR AUDIO 2 soundcard but don't own it anymore (it had a significant impact on sound quality of my laptop!)
Maybe you are right, I have just to wait a couple o days until I receive them and stop worrying too much. Maybe it's all in my head, maybe they will sound brilliant even without amplification or maybe finally I will have to return to this thread for extra help.
Thanks for the description of a DAC as well.

post #4 of 7

Fair enough. If the phone sounds bad though, an amp will only amplify that bad sound. Amps can provide better drive to a pair of headphones, but they wont improve the sound quality of a bad source.

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

Fair enough. If the phone sounds bad though, an amp will only amplify that bad sound. Amps can provide better drive to a pair of headphones, but they wont improve the sound quality of a bad source.

I think I've read that somewhere and then I forgot. So thanks indeed for reminding me.
Actually I was thinking for some time to buy an amplifier for my mobile phone, I am glad
I didn't make that mistake. Maybe I should really consider buying an good MP3 player e.g.
I have been thinking about FiiO X3 a lot (which serves as a DAC too!)..Would that be a better 
investment than spend the money for the headphone amplifier at this stage? 


Edited by markoul80 - 12/14/13 at 5:52pm
post #6 of 7

That might not be a bad idea. I'm not sure about the X3. I haven't kept up on the thread about it, but it seems to be getting mixed feedback, probably due to the trouble makers are having making a good, working user interface and playback system.

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

That might not be a bad idea. I'm not sure about the X3. I haven't kept up on the thread about it, but it seems to be getting mixed feedback, probably due to the trouble makers are having making a good, working user interface and playback system.

Well, I have been actually looking for a good MP3 player for some time now.
It's something I've always wanted to have..I've never tried Apple's products and
I don't know why but I am not a big fan of them (!)..
Also, about the X3: Yes, there were problems with software, that's right!! That's
what I read on some threads..(and something about user interface!)
Sony also has some nice MP3 players (I've tried Sony NWZ-F805 with Bose QuietComfort Headphones
and sound was amazing for my standards!) but retail price goes far beyond my budget at the moment.
Sorry, maybe I should change the name of the thread since the discussion turns to MP3 players rather than
headphone amplifiers:-)
I just thought, after all I've learned so far, either a good USB DAC/HEADPHONE AMP for my laptop or a good DAP
is all I've ever wanted (since my fantastic, I believe, headphones are on their way to my door!:-)
I don't know...I believe time will tell!


Edited by markoul80 - 12/14/13 at 6:16pm
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