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Noob needs advice before buying a FiiO E18 DAC & Audio-Technica ATH-M50 headphones for use with iphone 4s please

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hi all, im new here and i have been doing an aweful lot of reading about headphones and mobile amps. I am about to buy these 2     FiiO E18 DAC & Audio-Technica ATH-M50 headphones, and they will mostly be used on my iphone 4s and my laptop.

 

Before i buy them will they work ok with the iphone 4s or are the dac amps better for android?

 

Also which is better suited for iphone 4s a FiiO E18 DAC or a FiiO E17 DAC ?

 

Thanks for all your help everyone :)

post #2 of 16

FiiO e12, since the dac on the e17 and e18 will not bypass the iphone dac.  The Sony PHA-1 dac will bypass the iphone dac, but for $200 more.

post #3 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by homeriscool View Post
 

Hi all, I'm new here and i have been doing an awful lot of reading about headphones and mobile amps. I am about to buy these 2     FiiO E18 DAC & Audio Technica ATH-M50 headphones, and they will mostly be used on my iPhone 4s and my laptop.

Before I buy them will they work ok with the iPhone 4s or are the DAC amps better for android?

Also which is better suited for iPhone 4s a FiiO E18 DAC or a FiiO E17 DAC ?

 

I do not believe the e18's DAC feature will work with an iPhone.

Chances are you will not be able to find an affordable DAC for use with your iPhone4.

I would say to get a Fiio E17 (used on eBay), you can at least use the E17's headphone amplifier, with the iPhone4.

And use both the the E17's DAC and headphone amplifier with your laptop.

If you spent $100-$110 for the E17, how much of your audio budget would you have leftover, maybe find something better then the ATH-M50s?

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

If you spent $100-$110 for the E17, how much of your audio budget would you have leftover, maybe find something better then the ATH-M50s?

Agreed. Put more of your money toward headphones. That's where you get the most sound benefit for your money.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

I do not believe the e18's DAC feature will work with an iPhone.

Chances are you will not be able to find an affordable DAC for use with your iPhone4.

I would say to get a Fiio E17 (used on eBay), you can at least use the E17's headphone amplifier, with the iPhone4.

And use both the the E17's DAC and headphone amplifier with your laptop.

If you spent $100-$110 for the E17, how much of your audio budget would you have leftover, maybe find something better then the ATH-M50s?

Hi, thanks for your advice. Are you saying that the iphone 4 dac would be good enough to use with a good set of earphones?

Or should i just bypass using the iphone altogether and just use them through my laptop with dac and good ear phones?

post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by homeriscool View Post
 

Hi, thanks for your advice. Are you saying that the iPhone 4 DAC would be good enough to use with a good set of earphones?

Or should i just bypass using the iPhone altogether and just use them through my laptop with DAC and good ear phones?

 

Apple products usually come with a decent DAC, maybe something a little better then it's non-Apple counter part.

I guess with people willing to pay more for Apple stuff, Apple is able to use better parts.

As Apple charges a licensing fee for someone to make a external DAC that will work with Apple products, there is not a lot of choices for DACs what work with Apple products.

So those that make a compatible one are will charge a lot of cash for that DAC.

So it not like your sticking with the Apple DAC feature for it quality, it's you really do not have an affordable choice.

 

Using something like the FiiO E17 with the laptop should offer better audio quality, then plugging headphones straight into the iPhone 4.

Also with the laptop, you can use FLAC audio files for your favorite music (you may not be able to tell the difference from a 320k file).

post #7 of 16

Wait a minute. The iPhone 4S has the 30-pin connector, so the Fiio WILL bypass the iPhone DAC as long as you get one of these: http://www.fiio.com.cn/products/index.aspx?ID=100000035273127&MenuID=105026015

 

The thing they are talking about is only correct for the 5 & 5S, which have the new Lightning port.

 

The E18 I think is designed more for Android phones, although it would still work with your 4S. Also it appears that the line-in is on the top of the E18, so if you stacked it with an iPhone, one would be upside-down for the output / input to line up, which may be fine for you but isn't how the E17 was designed, with the line-in on the bottom. These are just things to be aware of. 

 

That said, I agree that the iPhone 4S DAC is pretty decent, and not improved that much with a Fiio (I have the E17). I would also recommend saving the money here and getting better headphones.


Edited by thievesarmy - 6/16/14 at 12:50pm
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by thievesarmy View Post
 

Wait a minute. The iPhone 4S has the 30-pin connector, so the Fiio WILL bypass the iPhone DAC as long as you get one of these: http://www.fiio.com.cn/products/index.aspx?ID=100000035273127&MenuID=105026015

The thing they are talking about is only correct for the 5 & 5S, which have the new Lightning port.

 

That 30-pin cable when connected to the Apple LOD port does not bypass the iPod's or iPhone's DAC, it bypasses the iPod/iPhone's headphone amplifier.

The LOD cable provides a slightly cleaner analog audio signal, because it bypass the Apple product's headphone amplifier.

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

 

That 30-pin cable when connected to the Apple LOD port does not bypass the iPod's or iPhone's DAC, it bypasses the iPod/iPhone's headphone amplifier.

The LOD cable provides a slightly cleaner analog audio signal, because it bypass the Apple product's headphone amplifier.

 

Hmmm… I thought the 30-pin connectors could bypass the onboard DAC. I guess I misunderstood that. Does it bypass the onboard DAC if you use the CCK, and then run the usb cable into the Fiio USB-in? Does the CCK even work on iPhones? 

 

edit: According to this, that scenario would work: http://blog.jdslabs.com/?p=838


Edited by thievesarmy - 6/16/14 at 2:54pm
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thievesarmy View Post
 

Wait a minute. The iPhone 4S has the 30-pin connector, so the Fiio WILL bypass the iPhone DAC as long as you get one of these: http://www.fiio.com.cn/products/index.aspx?ID=100000035273127&MenuID=105026015

 

The thing they are talking about is only correct for the 5 & 5S, which have the new Lightning port.

 

The E18 I think is designed more for Android phones, although it would still work with your 4S. Also it appears that the line-in is on the top of the E18, so if you stacked it with an iPhone, one would be upside-down for the output / input to line up, which may be fine for you but isn't how the E17 was designed, with the line-in on the bottom. These are just things to be aware of. 

 

That said, I agree that the iPhone 4S DAC is pretty decent, and not improved that much with a Fiio (I have the E17). I would also recommend saving the money here and getting better headphones.

Thievesarmy thanks very much for this very informative answer. I have put the lead into my amazon wish list :) And after doing some more research i have decide to buy a set of Philips Fidelio X1 headphones :)  so i hope a Fiio E17, with the lineout dock cable and the Philips Fidelio X1 headphones i should be equipped to start listening to some good quality music 

post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thievesarmy View Post
 

 

Hmmm… I thought the 30-pin connectors could bypass the onboard DAC. I guess I misunderstood that. Does it bypass the onboard DAC if you use the CCK, and then run the usb cable into the Fiio USB-in? Does the CCK even work on iPhones? 

 

edit: According to this, that scenario would work: http://blog.jdslabs.com/?p=838

So are we saying this won't work now?  :(

post #12 of 16

Yes, my previous post was incorrect. I misunderstood that the line-out cable bypasses the DAC in the iPhone 4S, but it DOES bypass the iPhone's internal amp and provides a cleaner signal to the Fiio E17. Many use this as their portable rig, and as already stated, the onboard DAC in the iPhone is considered to be pretty decent. You might find that you are happy with this as your portable rig, especially if you end up getting the X1's which are amazing headphones. It is the headphones that ultimately provide the most bang for the buck and will improve your experience the most.

 

I THINK you can bypass the iPhone's DAC with the Camera Connection Kit but I'm not positive. This article says it will work, but I haven't done it myself. I would wait for someone who has done it to confirm it, if you really want to go that route. 

 

EDIT: some have confirmed it in this thread: http://www.head-fi.org/t/655068/compatible-mobile-amps-dacs-for-the-iphone-5/90

 

the key thing is you have to have upgraded to iOS 7


Edited by thievesarmy - 6/16/14 at 6:01pm
post #13 of 16

question for @homeriscool - are you running iOS 7 on your iPhone? 

post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by thievesarmy View Post
 

 

Hmmm… I thought the 30-pin connectors could bypass the onboard DAC. I guess I misunderstood that. Does it bypass the onboard DAC if you use the CCK, and then run the usb cable into the Fiio USB-in? Does the CCK even work on iPhones? 

 

edit: According to this, that scenario would work: http://blog.jdslabs.com/?p=838

 

I believe there are docks you can use with an Apple LOD port that allows to pass digital audio thru the LOD connection.

But I'm guessing cable manufacturers did not want to pay Apple the licencing fee, or something along those lines.

post #15 of 16
This may help

LOD means Line-out dock, a dock that sends line-out signal from an source to the amp, and line-out is ALWAYS an analog signal. The problem with Lightning connector is that it only has digital signal, so it doesn't have any line-out or analog signal to send, and therefore you can't make a LOD out of it. The best you can do is making a 'digital cable' for some DAC that support iDevices. The genuine Apple Lightning-to-30pins adapter is NOT a LOD, but actually a miniature DAC. Therefore using it can give you line-out signal, though it might not be better than double amping the headphone-out.

So if you can get a Lightning digital cable, can it support any DAC? Unfortunately the answer is no. To really get iDevice to detect external DAC, you need to have the MFi chip in the DAC, which you will need to get a license from Apple to use. that's why many external DAC that has MFi chip costs over US$500 (there are a few cheaper one, in the US$300 region). But if you have a iOS7 device, you can use the camera connection kit (CCK) to enable the USB host function hiding inside iOS7, which will let you use most USB DAC that doesn't have the MFi chip, as long as the USB DAC itself doesn't draw too much power from the iOS7 device (and if you ever wonder - yes, the Lightning-to-30pins adapter had the MFi chip built-in as well).

This was quoted by clieos!
Edited by howdy - 6/16/14 at 7:05pm
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