Okay, so I freely admit that I'm not nearly the tech-savvy audiophile that most of you guy seem to be. I'm primarily here to lurk and learn because I can't "talk shop" on a level with the big boys. Disclaimer aside, I have questions that seems appropriately timed, given the current dispute about external amplification in the thread. I love my DX90. I absolutely love it. I've never heard instrumental separation like this in my entire life and to call the clarity outstanding is an understatement that borders on insult. The one issue I have with it—and this may well be the result of an iffy IEM pairing and/or lackluster mastering—is that while the low end is present and accurate it sometimes lacks the impact I prefer. I don't get a lot in the way of obvious sub-bass, in particular.
I'm not the type of basshead who would shell out for cannons or even Velodyne vPulses but I'd like the option of dialing up the bass a notch or two. I'd like to get some opinions from the majority of you regarding eternal portable amplifiers and the DX90. Specifically, I'm looking to spend no more than about $150 right now and I want to maintain as much accuracy as possible in the mix while boosting the lower frequencies. I'd really like to avoid bass bleed or drowning out my highs/mids.
1) Yes or no—does it make good sense to use an external amplifier with the DX90 to reshape the sound signature in the way I've described above?
2) What brands/models would you recommend for this, if any?
Thanks in advance to anyone who's willing to take a few minutes to educate a noob.
The DX90's amp is very capable for intended loads. ie iems, and highly sensitive, low impedance headphones like Grados. While I can enjoy my 600 Ohm T1 directly out of DX90's HO, an external and more powerful amp (like O2) will drive my T1 with more impact and grunt. However, for a late night low volume bed time listening, DX90 alone is sufficient for T1.
As for Grado headphones, an external amp is certainly not needed. DX90's amp has more than enough to Drive my Grados with amazing clarity and authority. In fact, changing the cushions on these phones have more dramatic SQ changes than trying different amps.
IMO, instead of looking for an amp to get the right SQ shape you are looking for why not try EQ first. Or get the right headphone instead with the sound signature you are looking for.
For me, the only reason I would use an external amp is if the headphone I'm using requires extra power that the DX90 can't provide. To my ears DX90 is neutral enough that it allows my headphones to sound exactly how they are suppose to be tuned.