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Backpacking This Summer. Need Portable AMP/DAC

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

 

I am going to be backpacking in Europe in August and I am looking for a portable AMP/DAC that I can use with my Asus UX21A Ultrabook and IEM's. I want to keep the price around $100ish.

 

I've been looking at the following.

 

Fiio E17

 

Fiio X3

 

Fiio E18

 

Audioquest Dragonfly V1 & V1.2

 

HiFimeDIY Sabre U2 Asynchronous DAC

 

 

I like the price of the HiFimeDIY and was also told that there is a small OpAmp installed. Would this be powerful enough for IEM's? Let's say Klipsch S4's? (Looking for IEM's also)

 

Plugging my JVC HA-FR50 IEM's, the volume is severly lacking playing FLAC files through my laptop.


Edited by BabylonDown - 6/26/14 at 9:32pm
post #2 of 14
Thread Starter 

Nobody?

post #3 of 14

If was going to be in your boots, so to speak, I would get the Fiio X3 (used in the forums) as it can serve as a stand-alone DAP when you need, which I would find more valuable on a backpacking trip, and as well as a respectable DAC when connected to your Ultrabook.  That way, should worse case scenario happen to you and end up losing one through self negligence or theft, you still have a music source to help you through the rest of your trip at the expense of getting a HiFiMeDIY. 

 

Go lite and go smart.  Best endeavors.  I envy you.  I wish I would have done the same thing 25 years ago.

post #4 of 14

Another option is go really lite and robust.  Get a Sansa Clip Zip, Rockbox it, fine tune the sound, get a 32/64GB microSD card if you must, an with the left over money get another iem and/or portable USB battery pack.

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpha421 View Post
 

Another option is go really lite and robust.  Get a Sansa Clip Zip, Rockbox it, fine tune the sound, get a 32/64GB microSD card if you must, an with the left over money get another iem and/or portable USB battery pack.

Hey,

 

Thank you so much for the friendly advice. Your idea about buying the X3 as a backup player in case of loss/theft is a great idea and will take it into considerations.

 

I got a PM from someone with an E07K and was wondering your thoughts on it. I have a Galaxy S3 and noticed that it seems to work with it, which is a bonus. I also noticed that it isn't very far off from the E17, which I was considering.

 

I am considering getting a pair of IEM's like Klipsch S4, Shure SE215, Hifiman RE-400 etc. What would you recommend? I really want to bring a pair of over ear headphones like the Sennheiser Momentum, but don't think it is quite practical unless I stick with the IEM's I already have (JVC HA-FR50).

 

Thoughts?

post #6 of 14

I haven't owned either Fiio DAC/AMP device.  Sounds like if you're using your S3 as a source, either model may suit your goals. 

 

Regarding the iem's that you listed, which I've owned all three, what exactly is the sound signature you're after for?  In the sequence you have listed, you have really bass heavy and slightly bloated (S4), bassy but a little more balanced sound (SE215), and a very balanced sound that sacrifies a little in the bass quantity, but much better overall sound quality (details, accuracy, and stage), IMO, with the RE400.

post #7 of 14

Hi

 

I've got a HiFiMeDIY. I use it to play FLAC files on a laptop. Sounds great, but doesn't have an amp, it's just a DAC. On my laptop with different headphones, the volume isn't load enough. Decided to replace it with something like the Dragonfly which is an Amp/DAC.

 

Regards

 

Darren


Edited by Darren Cotter - 7/3/14 at 12:38am
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpha421 View Post
 

I haven't owned either Fiio DAC/AMP device.  Sounds like if you're using your S3 as a source, either model may suit your goals. 

 

Regarding the iem's that you listed, which I've owned all three, what exactly is the sound signature you're after for?  In the sequence you have listed, you have really bass heavy and slightly bloated (S4), bassy but a little more balanced sound (SE215), and a very balanced sound that sacrifies a little in the bass quantity, but much better overall sound quality (details, accuracy, and stage), IMO, with the RE400.


Let me elaborate. I will be using my Asus UX32A laptop for flights, hotel rooms etc. I will most likely be using my S3 as a backup while backpacking, but may be rare considering I will be with other people, so likely no music.

 

I listen to everything, but definitely mostly alternative rock, classic rock, some classical music etc. I was leaning towards the RE-400's myself, but are about twice the price than the others.

post #9 of 14

If you like or prefer the sound of the RE400, I would seriously consider the Zero Audio Tenore ($40-50).  I forgot to add that the RE400 isn't that robust, at least mine wasn't.   Then, grab any one those DAC/AMP on your list and you should be good to go. 

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpha421 View Post
 

If you like or prefer the sound of the RE400, I would seriously consider the Zero Audio Tenore ($40-50).  I forgot to add that the RE400 isn't that robust, at least mine wasn't.   Then, grab any one those DAC/AMP on your list and you should be good to go. 

Ok interesting. I am looking into them right now. Only issue is I have to purchase them from japan and there shipping could take 22 business days, which is cutting it too short for time unless I can find a set on this forum.

post #11 of 14

You can order from amazon.jp and then use Tenso forwarding service (have to setup and account).  Took about 6 days from the day I made the amazon.jp purchase and when it arrive at my door.

 

OR send a PM to one of the many hoarders on the Tenore thread (you know who you are) and see if he/she is willing to sell a set.


Edited by alpha421 - 7/3/14 at 8:26pm
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpha421 View Post
 

You can order from amazon.jp and then use Tenso forwarding service (have to setup and account).  Took about 6 days from the day I made the amazon.jp purchase and when it arrive at my door.

 

OR send a PM to one of the many hoarders on the Tenore thread (you know who you are) and see if he/she is willing to sell a set.


I will look into Tenso forwarding service.

 

I sent a PM to one member already, but he seems reluctant to sell any of his. :D I will keep looking.

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

I just came across a pair of barely usedShure SE215 Clear with Fiio RC-SE1 cable for $70.

 

Any thoughts if the cable improves sound quality at all and do you think this is a good purchase, or would you still go with a set of Tenores?

post #14 of 14
Cables provide minimal (if any) improvement in SQ. Really not worth worrying about until you get into more expensive IEMs/headphones.

Are you in the US? FiiO X3 is $150 from B&H photo through today. I think that's your best deal for the reasons alpha421 mentioned. Plus, I think it's good when traveling to have a separate music player so you don't accidentally use up all your battery in your phone.

However, for backpacking, I have a nice DAP, but I would take my Sansa Zip or Sansa Clip+. Weight will really matter to you while you are on your trip. Extremely small and light weight with excellent SQ. Takes microSD cards for extra storage. So for about $50 to $55 bucks, you could have 32GB of storage and a good sounding DAP.

Otherwise, B&H has the E12 on sale, too: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/968290-REG/fiio_e12_mont_blanc_pro.html. However, for backpacking, I might go with the C&C BH for it's much smaller size and battery life: http://www.head-fi.org/t/644363/c-c-bh-portable-headphone-amp-80-hours-from-a-single-charge-buyer-review. Weight consideration again. If you are interested, I was planning on listing mine for $65 shipped (I just don't use it enough and have an E12, too). Send me a PM if interested.

Tenore Carbos can be purchased from Amazon prime: http://www.amazon.com/AUDIO-ear-stereo-headphone-Tenore-ZH-DX200-CT/dp/B0093VVP0Q/

I would also suggest looking into the Havi-B3 Pro and Ostry KC06. These are generally considered comparable in class (and price) to the Tenores with some people liking their sound signature better. Penon Audio is pretty quick on shipping:
http://penonaudio.com/HAVI-B3-PRO%20?manufacturer_id=41
http://penonaudio.com/OSTRY-KC06%20?manufacturer_id=38

Lots of discussion about those three IEMs in the Chinese/Asian brand thread: http://www.head-fi.org/t/684159/chinese-asian-brand-info-thread-headphones-iems-amps-dacs
Research and ask questions there.
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