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Advice for a noob please!

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi

 

Firstly, I should say that I am very much on the noob end of the spectrum here technically - I know I like good music sounding great, but that's about it.  That said, I have done a bit of research, so hopefully I am not starting with a totally blank canvas,

 

Basically, at the moment I am using a Samsung Note 3 smartphone as my main MP3 player, although I have an Ipad I sometimes use too.  My first question is: does that matter if I were to get a good headphone amp and set of headphones or would I be better off getting a dedicated player - will the difference in quality be sufficiently noticeable?  Any recommendations of players that would be worth paying the extra for and would produce a noticeable improvement and have at least 16GB memory, preferably 32GB or more?

 

Secondly, I am looking at a Fiio E12 amp and Grado sr125i headphones to go with my setup (either the Note 3 or another MP3 player) - is that a sensible outlay if I am looking at the best sound quality I can afford at the moment.  My budget for everything is approx £350 max if I need an MP3 player, but I would prefer to keep it to approx £250 if possible if I just need the Amp and headphones.

 

Thanks in advance for any advice / suggestions.

 

Ross

post #2 of 14
Have you thought about a player that is an amp/dac combo? Like the AK100, it's a little over your budget but a good all around and more simple option than a bunch of other devices.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldendarko View Post

Have you thought about a player that is an amp/dac combo? Like the AK100, it's a little over your budget but a good all around and more simple option than a bunch of other devices.


No I hadn't to be honest, but lookiing at the price I think it's too far out of reach for me!  It is £569 on Amazon - I don't think I'm that discerning yet!  Thanks for the suggestion though.

post #4 of 14
In that case I would say just keep using your phone and just get an amp & headphones for it, still pretty portable and a good FIIO amp can make music from your phone sound a lot better.
post #5 of 14

The FiiO line of DAP's are pretty well priced. The X3 is $200, while the X5 will be $350. They also will not need an additional amplifier because they have one built in.

 

Keep in mind the Grados are open back, so if you are using them anywhere other than a home environment, it won't be too good.

post #6 of 14
I would also recommend the Grado SR-80i's over the SR-125i's. I've owned both and the SR-80i's are definately a better value, really all Grado's sound pretty similar until you get into the higher end offerings. Just my 2 cents.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

That's interesting regarding the Sr80s - I was thinking about the 125s as the reviews I have read say that there is a noticeable improvement - I have some Sennheiser HD595s that I think are good, but what I read suggested that the 125s were significantly better.

 

I am generally looking for these for use at home rather than carrying them around, so I am more concerned about sound quality than other factors. 

 

One other question  - does it matter that the Fiio amp will be receiving already amped audio?  From what I can tell the only way to get output from an Android phone would be to use the headphone jack - Iphone on the other hand seems to have a dedicated lead.  Will this be an issue? 

 

Thanks again

post #8 of 14
Well, I don't mean to say that the SR-125i is not a better headphone, it is, but just like anything with audio it's only slightly better IMHO, certainly not 1.5x better as the price would indicate. Also, Grado headphones have a very similar sound signature too so it's not like they would be wildly different anyway.

As far the FIIO amp, yeah that's the way they are supposed to work, regardless of phone, from one 3.5mm headphone to the other. They are pretty much all the same way from what I understand, I used a FIIO E17 at one point the same way, but that one also had a built in DAC.
post #9 of 14

Well, then let me be the one to say that 125i isn't better. It's the one dud in the SR line up. It's a little clearer than 60i/80i, but it's slower sounding and comparatively boring. You can hear that 125i is a Grado in transition to 225i's clearer and more refined sound, but it doesn't pull it off.

 

If you haven't already tried 80i, I actually recommend 60i because it's the less likely to offend. But between 80i and 125i, 80i all the way.

 

They really don't need amps, but they sound somewhat better amped.


Edited by Claritas - 12/29/13 at 1:11am
post #10 of 14

Yeah, the SR-60i's are pretty good too, I would agree though, skip the 125i's, the 225i's are a great headphone though I don't know if they are in the price range your looking for.

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldendarko View Post

Well, I don't mean to say that the SR-125i is not a better headphone, it is, but just like anything with audio it's only slightly better IMHO, certainly not 1.5x better as the price would indicate. Also, Grado headphones have a very similar sound signature too so it's not like they would be wildly different anyway.

As far the FIIO amp, yeah that's the way they are supposed to work, regardless of phone, from one 3.5mm headphone to the other. They are pretty much all the same way from what I understand, I used a FIIO E17 at one point the same way, but that one also had a built in DAC.


Actually, some Android phones have USB line outs now. So you are not double amping anymore.

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Ok thanks. So I am now looking at the following:

Fiio X3
Fiio E12
Grado sr80/sr125/sr225

Given my current setup of Note 3 and Sennheiser HD595, which of these will make the most difference overall to sound quality. Every review I read seems to suggest that each of these products brings out "new sounds that have not been heard before" which sounds great, but surely there becomes a point of diminished returns- there surely can't be that many hidden sounds in the songs I'm listening to ;-). Would the X3 be better than the Note 3 with the Fiio E12 attached?
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryWA View Post


Actually, some Android phones have USB line outs now. So you are not double amping anymore.

Sorry to double post but I missed this post when I replied- does this mean that I am better off getting one of the USB amps aimed at laptop /computer users instead of the E12 then? The Note 3 has a micro USB connection.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Just for anyone who is thinking about similar issues- I went with the Fiio X3 (thanks GaryWA). Having never heard of it four days ago I am now listening to the best music player I have ever owned. Seriously, at £160 for the player and £40 for a decent 64gb memory card I now have a great 70gb player -an absolute steal. Having had a Cowon in the past, I can honestly say that this is on another level.

Thanks again for the help and advice.
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