Originally Posted by delrosa81
Thanks for the prompt response. I'm very very new to this and recently I started to feel the sound from my E12 seems muffled? Seems like the amp is clouding the sound since you mentioned that you didn't like the E12.
Dunno about muffled, but IMO, the E12 has a higher noise floor than some other amps. It isnt necessarily something I can actively hear, but when i compare it to a different amp - such as the Conti V3 or the Quickstep - the background appears to be quieter and so the music stands out a little more, microdynamics are clearer and as a whole, the sound appears more refined.
Plus, I am also not a huge fan of "use a bunch of op-amps and apply heavy global feedback to get clean specs" approach to amp building. I cannot put my finger on what it is - and it may purely be a placebo, i have to admit - but the transient response, attack/decay and timbre of those amps does not seem right to me.
If you can spend more, something like a Meier Quickstep is a very well-designed amp, IMO. Although for the 535s, you dont need an amp - I wouldnt bother, in your shoes. There is a standard head-fi response - "get an amp, it will make the sound better", regardless of any critical thought to whether a $100 external amp is better than the internal amp of a $350 DAP, or even whether an external amp is needed. You need about <10 mW of power to drive the SE535s to ear-bleed levels, off the top of my head. Good luck find a huge enough difference in amp design in the $100-200 range for one to be noticeably better than another.
The X5 has more than enough juice to drive them really well and IMO, you gain nothing by adding another amp in the path. I am using my 535s with the DX90 directly, and am very happy with the sound. I dont imagine the X5 would be any different.
Edited by vkalia - 6/15/14 at 11:30am