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Pico Slim or Headstage Arrow 4T for Sennheiser IE800

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi, this is my first post here.  I have bought a few items in the for sale forums, and have came to my first situation that I would appreciate a little clarification on.  I use the Sennheiser IE800s with an AK120 amped through an Arrow 4T.  The IE800s are 16 ohm IEMs I read and I also read in the forums that the Headstage Arrow 4T's output is between 3 and 5 ohms.  Is that a problem because of the 8x rule?  Would it be better for me to go with the Pico slim as its output impedance is <1 ohm?  I will be getting the RWA-S mod soon on the AK120 and would really appreciate some guidance.  This is my first foray into the audiophile world, coming from iphones and throw away apple ear buds.  Thank you

post #2 of 6
Amping low-impedance IEMs can be tricky. You can cause the amp to clip and distort.

I think my question would be: Have you tried the IE800 directly from the AK120? I wouldn't be surprised if the amp really isn't doing much for you and might not be required at all.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

I did detect a slight improvement in audio quality with the amp; but since I am planning on getting the S mod soon I will need an amp since it requires it.  I keep reading about the 8x impedance rule and just wanted to learn a little more about that and whether its important when pairing an amp with IEMs

post #4 of 6
Well, like the pirate code, it's more of a guideline than a rule. wink.gif It really depends on the demands of the music and the actual impedance vs frequency load the IEMs present to the amp. Here's an article:
http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/meridian-explorer-case-study-effects-output-impedance

Here's what I know firsthand: There are two issues with IEMs on amps. One is the impedance and damping factor, as discussed in the article, the other is the gain of the amp. I have a pair of Westone IEMs. They are VERY efficient, with a high sensitivity and a low impedance of 16 ohms. I have to be very careful when trying to use them with an amp. They can hiss, sound distorted and I lose all the volume control - barely touching the volume will cause them to be over-loud. Very low gain amps are much better - and for me, I found that using them straight out of my ipod was the best combination of easy to use and good sound. I have been much happier since I stopped thinking I need to have a lineout and amp.

If you are happy now with the IEMs on the Pico, then you will also be fine if the Pico is being used to drive them after the S-mod. On the other hand, if you replace the Pico with a different amp with a higher gain, then that's a new story.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

I currently have the Arrow 4T.  I was thinking of getting the Pico slim cause its 1 Ohm output should be a better pairing for the IE800s than the 5 Ohm output of the Arrow.  Maybe it doesn't even make a difference, I'm still trying to learn all the technical details.

post #6 of 6
Oh - sorry - OK, then substitute "Arrow 4T" for everywhere I said "Pico" in my last post. It all still applies.
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