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[Recommendations] Is there such a thing as hiss less portable amp?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I was dead set on apex glacier until I noticed some users were getting a bit of hiss noise some louder then others and for someone who sometimes listens to songs at lower volumes or have moments when nothings playing it really bothers me to have hiss noise. So are there any portable amps that are neutral that someone could safely say has no hiss noise? The IEMS that I own are the IE800, JH 13's and if possible I'd also like to use the amp for my HD800 as well. My limit is around ~$500.

post #2 of 16

I've used my O2 with Etys and no hiss, but it's not so portable.

post #3 of 16

The O2 is something of a brick though. The Pico Slim was designed for custom IEMs, but the Pico Power is also excellent if you want an amp that is more of an all-rounder.

post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

The O2 is something of a brick though. The Pico Slim was designed for custom IEMs, but the Pico Power is also excellent if you want an amp that is more of an all-rounder.

 

As I indicated. I think the Headamps are a good recommendation based on . . . your review, which I watched your review the other day. ("Cheap and cheerful" made me want to call the Stereophile police, though, or is it simply a non-American English expression?)


Edited by Claritas - 3/2/14 at 12:14am
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

The O2 is something of a brick though. The Pico Slim was designed for custom IEMs, but the Pico Power is also excellent if you want an amp that is more of an all-rounder.

 

As I indicated. I think the Headamps are a good recommendation based on . . . your review, which I watched your review the other day. ("Cheap and cheerful" made me want to call the Stereophile police, though, or is it simply a non-American English expression?)

 

Ahh, now that is a good question -- I'd guess I picked up that expression from Top Gear or the like, as that is the only gear-related show I have regularly watched. If I can pull my own chain a bit, that is one thing I wanted to point out in the video, that you pay for what you get, or don't get, with the Picos: A brick that isn't going to go in any pockets except on cargo pants, as the Picos are tiny for what they are.

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

The O2 is something of a brick though. The Pico Slim was designed for custom IEMs, but the Pico Power is also excellent if you want an amp that is more of an all-rounder.

That's interesting because I read through the Pico Slim thread as I was also very interested in the slim but alot of people are reporting hiss noise, some were reporting even louder hiss then the glacier in the thread.

 

Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 

I've used my O2 with Etys and no hiss, but it's not so portable.

I was considering getting the O2 + ODac but compared to other amps/dac I thought I could hopefully get something a bit more portable then that.

post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by 88records View Post

I was considering getting the O2 + ODac but compared to other amps/dac I thought I could hopefully get something a bit more portable then that.

I don't think the combo has batteries inside. I think they put the ODAC in instead of them.
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by 88records View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

The O2 is something of a brick though. The Pico Slim was designed for custom IEMs, but the Pico Power is also excellent if you want an amp that is more of an all-rounder.

That's interesting because I read through the Pico Slim thread as I was also very interested in the slim but alot of people are reporting hiss noise, some were reporting even louder hiss then the glacier in the thread.

 

Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 

I've used my O2 with Etys and no hiss, but it's not so portable.

I was considering getting the O2 + ODac but compared to other amps/dac I thought I could hopefully get something a bit more portable then that.

 

One guy (who PMed me actually) said that his Pico Slim had hiss, which is unusual. Mine doesn't.  I've found I have to be careful that the input plug is in all the way. I should have asked him if it had hiss with only his IEMs plugged in, now I think of it.

post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by 88records View Post
 

I was dead set on apex glacier until I noticed some users were getting a bit of hiss noise some louder then others and for someone who sometimes listens to songs at lower volumes or have moments when nothings playing it really bothers me to have hiss noise. So are there any portable amps that are neutral that someone could safely say has no hiss noise? The IEMS that I own are the IE800, JH 13's and if possible I'd also like to use the amp for my HD800 as well. My limit is around ~$500.

 

I've got a Vorzuge Pure II coming in this week.  Supposed to be deathly silent, I could let you know.  I was same way about buying the Glacier.  Almost did, then had concerns about the low volume noise.

post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by 88records View Post
 

I was dead set on apex glacier until I noticed some users were getting a bit of hiss noise some louder then others and for someone who sometimes listens to songs at lower volumes or have moments when nothings playing it really bothers me to have hiss noise. So are there any portable amps that are neutral that someone could safely say has no hiss noise? The IEMS that I own are the IE800, JH 13's and if possible I'd also like to use the amp for my HD800 as well. My limit is around ~$500.

 

BTW, I currently own an RSA SR-71A that is quiet, quiet. I've used Westone, FAD, Hifiman, and Fitear with no audible hiss.  You also have to be certain that your source doesn't add any noise.  And it has huge power for a portable.  You could also try the 71B for balanced if you prefer.


Edited by fiascogarcia - 3/3/14 at 10:51am
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by fiascogarcia View Post
 

 

BTW, I currently own an RSA SR-71A that is quiet, quiet. I've used Westone, FAD, Hifiman, and Fitear with no audible hiss.  You also have to be certain that your source doesn't add any noise.  And it has huge power for a portable.  You could also try the 71B for balanced if you prefer.

 

Yup, it's very powerful. You have to be careful with the volume knob.

post #12 of 16

The level of hiss will depend on the noise floor of the amp, the amp's gain, and your source's output level. Any portable amp will have hiss if the gain is high enough. There is nothing in existence that will be silent with the sensitivity of most high-end IEMs when you exceed gain levels of around 10-15dB (about 5x). But that's ok, because you don't need gain with the IEMs, you need attenuation and buffering. So you want to choose a portable amp that offers either a 1x gain setting or has a digital volume control which often work as gain controls, such as the Pico Slim. Using balanced outputs is a problem for IEMs because now you have twice the voltage, twice the noise floor, and twice the output impedance, the 3 things you don't want when driving IEMs!


Edited by justin w. - 3/3/14 at 3:16pm

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post #13 of 16
Thank you Justin. Excellent explanation. bigsmile_face.gif
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by justin w. View Post
 

The level of hiss will depend on the noise floor of the amp, the amp's gain, and your source's output level. Any portable amp will have hiss if the gain is high enough. There is nothing in existence that will be silent with the sensitivity of most high-end IEMs when you exceed gain levels of around 10-15dB (about 5x). But that's ok, because you don't need gain with the IEMs, you need attenuation and buffering. So you want to choose a portable amp that offers either a 1x gain setting or has a digital volume control which often work as gain controls, such as the Pico Slim. Using balanced outputs is a problem for IEMs because now you have twice the voltage, twice the noise floor, and twice the output impedance, the 3 things you don't want when driving IEMs!

 

That's actually very informative, thank you for taking the time to explain. Theres a local meet going on with the pico slim so I'll have some time to play around with it and hopefully it will satisfies my needs.

post #15 of 16

As for computers with usb dac, I've found that adjusting the bit and the sampling rate (in the speaker properties) WILL change the way that the hiss sounds and the how loud it will sound. Plugging the usb in different ports will also affect the way how the hiss sounds, the best ports to plug in are usually the ones that are integrated into the computer case and not the usb ports that are part of the motherboard because there is less electrical interference.

 

My hiss appears during playback and a little after the music is paused then about a minute later it will disappear completely.

 

In case you're wondering, I'm using the C5D.

 

So far, just by changing from 16 to 24 bit completely removed the hiss after pausing the music. The hiss is near inaudible even with the amp raised to painful listening levels.

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