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Portable amp help please.

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I'd like to begin by stating that I am completely clueless and have no idea but I'm learning. 3 days ago I didn't know what an audiophile is, what a portable amp is nor did I realise the scope with regard to headphones.

Basically, I've always used the headphones that came in the box.

So what changed? 3 days ago, on a whim I decided to buy the Bose QC20i. I realise that Bose seems to be a dirty word for audiophiles, but 3 days ago I'd never read a single forum post about headphones in my life lol!!

Despite having bought these stupidly expensive earphones, I am not rich. (I'm European and these phones cost me $440)

Having read A LOT about this new world these last three days, I understand that the advice I would get is to invest in a new pair, but realistically this is not going to happen for a while, although the research has begun!!!

So on to my questions; I would like to improve the QC20i somehow. I have been reading about portable amps, and again, 3 days ago I didn't even know such things existed, but now I want one!! Haha!

I've seen the expensive ones which I am sure are great, but as a newbie I think it's best to start nearer the budget end. (Also, I can't afford it yet!) So I have been looking at Fiio E11 and E12.

My questions therefore are; can I use a portable amp with NC headphones like my QC20i? Is there anyone out there that does? And if the quality isn't improved would I at least get more volume? As European laws/directives have apple devices with a limited volume.

Any help is greatly appreciated!!!!
Edited by yianni1066 - 4/28/14 at 12:57am
post #2 of 8

If you're using an iPod, for example, make sure you use an adapter like the FiiO L11, so that you connect the amp from the line-out of the device, not from the headphone-not.

Otherwise you will be double-amping which reduces quality.


Using a portable amp, you WILL be able to reach higher volumes than the device will normally allow (with sensitive headphones and especially with IEMs).


If you also want a bit more control and more features like equalizer etc (and the ability to use it as a DAC/AMP for your laptop/computer at home) you might want to look into the FiiO E17.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply, I appreciate it. I'm connecting my iPhone 5 and as far as I can tell there is no lightning apple type cable for Fiio. I do have a 30pin to lightning converter and have been told this will work with the L3 cable. I don't need laptop/pc amplification.

My question is really about the Bose QC20i. It has this 'active noise cancelling' technology and I am wondering if I can use an amp on these. Whether it could damage them with an amp. And If not, whether there would be an improvement in sound.

Again, any help is greatly appreciated and I thank you!
post #4 of 8

A cleaner signal would in theory give you better sound. But it will be marginal. The place to get the most improvement in sound is from the hp itself. As far as good portable amps, I like the ibasso dx50. It's a very very good dap. You can keep a sizeable collection of nice hi res music there. 

post #5 of 8

ANC is overrated, as long as you get a good seal from your IEMs than you will be good, and this is why Comply Foam Tips are so popular.  Also, in rare occasions, some DAPs, like the Sony F807, will have ANC function built into the DAP for any mic enabled IEMs.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies! I'm not interested in another player right now but thanks for the recommendation.

I know that ANC is a controversial subject lol but I have them now and I don't want to debate their merits.

If anyone can let me know what their thoughts are on using Bose QC20's with a portable amp, I'd appreciate it!
Thanks again!
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Any help regarding whether bose QC20i ANC In-ear phones can be used with an amp would be greatly appreciated!

I'm guessing no-one knows so i I'm just gonna buy it and report back.

Thanks all!!
post #8 of 8

You can always use an amp with headphones. The amount to which this will "improve" the experience differs with the respective headphone & amp. I'm not really sure how much your Bose will improve with an amp, I don't really think they were manufactured to take advantage of outside amplification, but you never know. You should at least get more volume out of it, since you asked, but in terms of improvement of the audio quality, it is doubtful. The only thing you can do to improve your audio quality is get a different headphone. If you enjoy the Bose's then by all means stick with them, but if not you can easily sell them used and get a new pair that will give you better sound.

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