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How to determine portable amp and headphone compatability?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I currently own a pair of Ultrasone HFI-580 that I use with a Fiio E10. I know these don't need that much power to be amp'd effectively. My E10 is one of the earlier production models and the Pod and headphone In are really malfunctioning, so instead of trying to repair I'm just going to upgrade.

 

I want a DAC/Amp that's portable and can also drive larger/harder to drive phones so I don't need another unit when I decided to upgrade the Ultrasones. But I don't know what values in the specs relate to how much power a pair of headphones need relative to how much power the Amp gives.
I'd be grateful with any help. Thanks.

post #2 of 19

What's your budget now? Have you seen the new E10K?

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

The new E10k is my fallback if I can't find anything. I guess much of the hardware issues were fixed. It doesn't allow for portable amp use though.

Right now I'm looking at the iBasso D-Zero MK2 or E17. I realize that at that price point (under 150$) I really am not going to drive phones at like 300+ impedance, but because I'm looking for a portable solution, anything that high I wouldn't be carrying around with me anyways.

post #4 of 19
How are you using a Fiio E10 with an ipod? The E10K is not portable. It does not have a battery and runs off USB power, so you have to have a USB port (or AC->USB adapter) that can supply power to it.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

The E10 is running off my laptop. An ipod was never at any point mentioned. Which is why I don't want to go with the updated E10k.

post #6 of 19
Oh, OK - I read this and I guess I translated it to "ipod":
Quote:
My E10 is one of the earlier production models and the Pod and headphone In are really malfunctioning,
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hahaha. I meant the potentiometer. The new E10 is supposed to have fixed this issue actually. But it's not portable. And some of the other Fiios are kind of big for perfect portability. 


From what I've read on other posts, you're supposed to go by the Impedance and sensitivity of the headphone and then there's some formula you can use to determine if your amp is good enough. Still trying to figure it out.

post #8 of 19

What headphones would you be considering in the future? Maybe a bad question, but if you want versatility... you need power, which can get expensive on the portable gears.

post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mortimerhobbs View Post

Hahaha. I meant the potentiometer. The new E10 is supposed to have fixed this issue actually. But it's not portable. And some of the other Fiios are kind of big for perfect portability. 


From what I've read on other posts, you're supposed to go by the Impedance and sensitivity of the headphone and then there's some formula you can use to determine if your amp is good enough. Still trying to figure it out.

Umm - I think it's more complicated than that. You would need to know the power output of your amp over the impedance range of your headphones (which varies by frequency). In addition, it depends on the SPL (volume) you are trying to achieve, and also the specific energy requirements of the music passage being played - which would require a spectral plot of the music.
post #10 of 19

If you wanted extreme accuracy for just one headphone at bare minimum specs and only with certain music, yes... but there's no reason on earth anybody should ever do that. Ever.

 

Sensitivity and impedance are used, nothing else. An amp that can push 0.5W into 32 ohms probably can power 85% of what's on the market with ease, I should think. Songs and headphones.

 

Sensitivity shows you how much power you'll need to reach a certain volume, and impedance shows you how it comes from your amp.

post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jodgey4 View Post

If you wanted extreme accuracy for just one headphone at bare minimum specs and only with certain music, yes... but there's no reason on earth anybody should ever do that. Ever.

Sensitivity and impedance are used, nothing else. An amp that can push 0.5W into 32 ohms probably can power 85% of what's on the market with ease, I should think. Songs and headphones.

Sensitivity shows you how much power you'll need to reach a certain volume, and impedance shows you how it comes from your amp.

I agree with you - I was disagreeing with the comment that there was an equation based on impedance and sensitivity that would tell whether the amp was adequate. The specs of the headphone won't give a pass/fail for the amp.
post #12 of 19

Specs will give a pass/fail... an amp either will have the power or not... what point of yours am I missing here?

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 

So someone sent me this website
http://www.audiobot9000.com

Where you can compare amps to headphones to get an idea if it will work.

The amp I've been looking at, a Ibasso D-Zero Mk2, according to Ibasso's Specs can be used with anything up to 300ohms. But according to this audiobot, it can't power anything over like 50ohms. Which is why I'm trying to figure out how this actually works.

 

edited for clarification


Edited by mortimerhobbs - 12/2/14 at 10:17pm
post #14 of 19

That site is a work in progress, I've been following and commenting on its development since day one. Cool site, but with lots of issues. Calculations for power with amps with high output impedances gets nasty, and that's not all that needs to be addressed. Which headphones were you looking at powering with that device?

 

EDIT: But that site is pretty cool, and isn't that off on power requirements in most cases.


Edited by jodgey4 - 12/2/14 at 9:52pm
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 

I haven't really begun the long drawn out search for a new pair yet. But right now the HD650s are a starting point. I have access to a pair that I can demo at a place I work, but may not decide on them. Using them as a reference kind of, because I know they're kind of a staple relative mid/hi-fi can.

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