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Affordable headpones amp for my computer

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by joms, Jun 11, 2018.
  1. joms
    Can someone recommend an affordable headphones amp for my computer? (insert via USB).

    Maybe in the P8000 (philippine peso) or (USD 160) price range and preferably powered by the wall outlet since USB powered are not that loud.

    I will use it mainly for watching videos and some music.

    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
  2. PurpleAngel Contributor
    So you want a headphone amplifier that is in the price range of an Epson P8000 printer ($3400)?
  3. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    I think it's either Mexico or Philippines.

    Assuming that's PhP, your only option to get decent performance without having to blow money on shipping and taxes is the Fiio E10K or the Q1 Mk 2.
  4. joms
    Sorry fir thta, i meant philippines peso... =)
  5. joms
    I checked both the E10K and the Q1 MK 2 and it seems that they are only USB powered. Do you think they are powerful enough for video/movies? This is my main concern right now since when i watch videos in my computer i strain to hear the voice of the actors and the effects have no impact. I can stretch my budget to USD $200.

    Perhaps for this particular need of mine, i would prioritize loudness over sound quality since main focus would be for videos.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
  6. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    Q1 MkII is battery powered and has a little bit more power at low impedance if you use it in balanced drive.

    The material isn't really what you need that power for, even if it was recorded with lower gain, in which case then an amplifier's gain has more bearing on that than outright power. What you need the power for is whether you're adequately driving a headphone (or speaker at a given distance, as the case may be), where the primary determinant is sensitivity (how much power it needs to hit a theoretical 120dB, while you realistically listen at roughly 85dB at 1000hz average) and impedance (amplifier output can vary depending on the load impedance and circuit design). And then there's distortion and noise - lots of power isn't going to do you a lot of good if the signal sounds like crap, even if it gets to the desired output level without clipping the signal.

    If we're just talking about power, then either would have enough if you were using something like Philips Fidelio X2, HiFiMan HE400S, or Grado RS2e. Distortion and noise are well controlled for the money, but of course these aren't Violectrics.

    The other thing that can affect that is the headphones themselves. Assuming you're not necessarily getting enough distortion to totally reshape the response curve on your headphones, ie, you're hearing the headphones mostly as it is just at lower overall volume, an amplifier isn't going to drastically change that unless you're running out of power for dynamic peaks. So basically just don't expect an amp to just magically, literally, change the overall sound signature of a headphone. Depending on what that is you might be better served by getting a different headphone and the associated electronics later on than spend a little now and not get the results you want nor have a really good amp for whatever you decide to upgrade to later.

    Modi2 and Magni3.
    jrflanne likes this.
  7. joms

    So I plug in the Modi2 to the USB of my computer and it will be instantly recognized?

    Now I need to know where i an buy these in the Philippines. =)
  8. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    Assuming no software conflict with your OS, yes.

    Order from Schiit, use LBC's cargo forwarding drop off in California as your address, LBC receives it there and ships it to you for a flat tax based on the receipt or something.

    Note that at US $1 = Ph P53, that means it's PhP10,000, plus sales tax, plus PayPal fees, plus shipping fees, plus import taxes on any item over P10,000. That's technically two items, but the current government might have got that done but they also got Biazon hooked on the pork barrel scam, so I don't trust Customs officials again. The only time they didn't try to milk anybody for cash was when Biazon was in office who went in there having heard all the complaints, like that guy who ordered a bunch of parts to repair an amp and they were tagged as "commercial quantity." Or that time one guy sent an amp back to AudioGD for repair, he was given a replacement unit, and Customs officials wanted to tax it again because the serial numbers are different.

    If you're in Metro Manila I'd much rather just go to Egghead in Shangrila or Robinsons Galleria and try out whatever stuff they have there and see what you can get for your money that works well enough. Or look around for local classifieds and buy used.

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