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easy to drive IEM for use with (unamped) mobile phone - Page 2

post #16 of 28
Thread Starter 

i agree completely--a separate player would be much better except that (a) i always have to have my phone on hand, and it's not always optimal to carry around an extra device, and (b) like many people, i've gotten into streaming (mog, etc.), which the garden-variety mp3 player won't do. i suppose i could get an itouch or galaxy player-type device, or go the portable amp/dac route and have it implanted in my chest (not a bad idea, as i think about it--the surgeon could install a 3.5mm input). a quandry within a conundrum.

post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by loomisjohnson View Post
 

i agree that most iems are designed with mobile phones in mind; however it seems like the current iteration of smartphones aren't designed for iems, or for audio enthusiasts generally. case in point (and what precipitated this whole thread) is i recently upgraded my perfectly serviceable galaxy s2 phone to a lg g2, which has a superfast processor and an amazing hd screen and promised all sorts of a/v nirvana. (btw, you know you're getting old when you get more excited about a phone upgrade than broads). in practice, the audio output was so low that it was barely audible unless maxed out, at which level it distorts significantly.amping with a little fiio didn't help all that much. i tried the galaxy s4 and note 3 (somewhat better but not really loud) before settling on an htc one, which for all of its beats audio hype is still not as dynamic as you'd expect. (the iphone, as with all things apple, is probably the best of the breed). what i surmise is that these phones' amp sections have fallen victim to the inevitable design compromises inherent in making thinner/lighter products. as always, thank you for the feedback.

 

I think the problem with some smartphones isn't the hardware but the software, and it goes well beyond the EU.* Voodoo sound "unlocks" the volume limit, I think, but I don't remember if I even switched it off given my MEE M6P was loud enough on it at 40% volume, but it's not available for all smartphones. In any case, I'm using the Galaxy S3 now, and even without a good seal with an IEM, my ears are bound to bleed at 70% setting on my MEE M6P (plus it's distorting), and at around 50% on my Aurisonics ASG-1. If anything my brother's older HTC One was a little weak driving his Westone 2, and distorts at our listening level, but it can get loud enough without a lot of easily audible distortion on a CX200 and CX300II. In any case, thinner an lighter isn't always bad - it's "cheaper" that probably has more to do with it, considering the HM700 music player is far from the form factor of a brick and yet has a balanced amp in it, but then again you aren't paying for a Quad Core processor and large screen at the same time. So unless you aren't expecting important calls from work to come in while you're listening on the go (and interrupt your music, instead of it ringing in your bag or pocket while everyone on the train looks at you with an annoyed face), you probably should just get a dedicated player. 150mW or so should be enough, right?

 

BTW, Beats Audio doesn't work like you think it does, which is why you can't feel it improving anything that much (rather, at all).

 

 

 

 

*Some devices are volume capped, much like how you can buy an M5 with 500hp and you only get up to 155mph - not that you'd need more than that, or that the car isn't a brick compared to a Lamborghini, but some German tuners remove those damn chips from German cars and also Jaguars

post #18 of 28
Thread Starter 

i fully agree a separate player would be better but: a) i always need my phone on hand, and it's not always optimal to carry around a separate device, and b) i don't believe the garden-variety mp3 players like the clip allow streaming (i could use an ipod touch or galaxy player). i know there are roots/hacks/apps which are supposed to increase the output on the phoen, though there seems to be some question of their efficacy.

post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by loomisjohnson View Post
 

i know there are roots/hacks/apps which are supposed to increase the output on the phoen, though there seems to be some question of their efficacy.

 

Personally, the only question about Voodoo's efficacy is whether it's even necessary on all phones it is compatible with. I just charged my original Galaxy S (scratched up and no one bought it, kept it as back up if I get mugged) and that feature is indeed not in use, and I can get to deafening levels with my ASG-1 at 50% and my M9P at 70% or thereabouts. Actual listening is around 30% and 40% respectively.

 

Maybe instead of the phone or IEMs, you should just go visit an ENT? For all we know you could have earwax build up, hence the perception that the IEMs aren't loud enough. I accidentally pushed some hard earwax into my ear back in 2008 and in 2013, and in both cases I was effectively deaf in the affected ear. A partial blockage can affect your hearing still. I visit my ENT once every year to have a more thorough cleaning since you can't see your own ear canals like any other part of the body, like the belly button.

post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by loomisjohnson View Post
 

i agree that most iems are designed with mobile phones in mind; however it seems like the current iteration of smartphones aren't designed for iems, or for audio enthusiasts generally. 

 

smartphones aren't designed for anything in particular, but for a lot of things in a.....less particular way.

 

if any so called specialised phone was good for what it did( be it audio or video) , we wouldn't need to haul DSLR's and the big time audio sources complete with all those other things. while in theory one may be better than another, the price you pay for that difference isn't worth it.

post #21 of 28
Thread Starter 

protege, my ears are still okay (tho probably covertly damaged from years of abuse)--i didn't have the same issues with my (two-year old) galaxy s2 or with basic sony walkman-type gear, each of which have a much beefier output than the current iteration of phones. actually, to epic's comments, the mobile phone people have the video part down--movies, etc. look incredible on these ultraHD screens. it's the audio part that seems to be given short shrift.

post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by loomisjohnson View Post
 

protege, my ears are still okay (tho probably covertly damaged from years of abuse)--i didn't have the same issues with my (two-year old) galaxy s2 or with basic sony walkman-type gear, each of which have a much beefier output than the current iteration of phones.

 

 

You sure about all newer phones? I got to try my cousin's HTC One last December and I still used around 30% of the volume setting on my ASG-1, and that was in a crowded restaurant serving deep-fried piglets that they chopped up and wrapped (like Peking Duck) right by the tables. That's a good enough seal on an IEM rated at 121db @ 1mW.

post #23 of 28
Thread Starter 

protege, as i may have indicated i'm now using the htc one as well and i'm not getting the output i expected or got from prior phones. (those deedfried piglets sound great, btw). some of this may be inherently subjective or may be a function of the sensitivity of the iems i've used, which was the purpose of my original post seeking advise on easy-to-drive iems.   

post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by loomisjohnson View Post
 

protege, as i may have indicated i'm now using the htc one as well and i'm not getting the output i expected or got from prior phones. (those deedfried piglets sound great, btw). some of this may be inherently subjective or may be a function of the sensitivity of the iems i've used, which was the purpose of my original post seeking advise on easy-to-drive iems.   

 

I'm all out of ideas on how we can be absolutely sure you can get IEMs as loud as you want them; best thing to do right now is just buy one those in the list based on reviews/feedback on which sound signature you like best, and maybe also for comfort. Getting the absolute loudest one among them but you don't like the sound will not be worth it compared to getting the one you like and, well, who knows...it might still get really loud.

post #25 of 28
Thread Starter 

i ended up buying the fxt90s, which seemed to be the easiest-to-drive of the iems on my list. in fact my htc one does drive 'em to reasonable spl, but even after toying with tips/placement they sounded kinda flat, so i bit the bullet and added a fiio e11, which i had hoped to avoid. big, night-and-day difference--lots more dynamic slam, low end presence etc. so what i've learned is that (a) as others have noted, published specs are misleading; and (b) the current iteration of mobile phones really aren't up to the task.

this has been an informative exercise for me, and (again) appreciate the input.

post #26 of 28

Give the FXT90s some time. Mine didn't sound that great out of the box, and they took a couple months before they started to loosen up.  Those carbon nanotubes are tough little suckers.  After a couple months of use, they opened up nicely.  Too bad somebody swiped them from me.

post #27 of 28

Try the SE115m? They have a microphone and don't need that much burn-in, and are cheap on amazon... has great low-end depth, and ironically, imo it's better than the SE215 because the newer generation of shures don't fit for most people as well. The SE115m's are by far my favorite IEM's around $120 for a mobile phone (cuz of the mic).

post #28 of 28
Thread Starter 

i'm not at all unhappy with the fxt90s--i just think they sound better with more power and at higher volumes. for (unamped) portable use, i've been using the thinksound ts-02 and/or moshi vortex.

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