Amp advice for a newbie, please?
Oct 18, 2008 at 11:21 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 8

Philski

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Hi, I'm new to the forum, so if this question steps over any lines, let me know!

I mainly use portable audio, preferring the Cowon products (X5 and Q5W at the moment, with the S9 a likely addition soon) for lossless formats, with Shure SE530 earphones. I'm very happy with the performance of these, but I now want to see whether the addition of a portable headphone amp will be a step up?

From some reading around, two products that seem to be of top-end quality are RSA Predator, and HeadAmp Pico. Can anyone recommend one of these over the other (I am aware of the relationship between HeadAmp and head-fi.org, but as objective an opinion as possible would be appreciated!), or another amp instead?

Thanks in advance for any advice, you guys really seem to know your stuff..
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 4:46 AM Post #2 of 8

qusp

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Philski /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Hi, I'm new to the forum, so if this question steps over any lines, let me know!

I mainly use portable audio, preferring the Cowon products (X5 and Q5W at the moment, with the S9 a likely addition soon) for lossless formats, with Shure SE530 earphones. I'm very happy with the performance of these, but I now want to see whether the addition of a portable headphone amp will be a step up?

From some reading around, two products that seem to be of top-end quality are RSA Predator, and HeadAmp Pico. Can anyone recommend one of these over the other (I am aware of the relationship between HeadAmp and head-fi.org, but as objective an opinion as possible would be appreciated!), or another amp instead?

Thanks in advance for any advice, you guys really seem to know your stuff..



i'm running a pico with my DIYMOD 5.5G ipod/iphone 3G and SE530's and I love it. I got the amp only version because I have no need for a portable DAC. the pico is a really quality amp but if you don't need the DAC and you want something you can buy straight away I would go for the Ray Samuels SR71A or the new Ibasso P3 herron (<-this one is really great value too)

the pico is wonderful but the waiting list is LLOOOONNNGGG

welcome to head-fi
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sorry about your wallet
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 10:24 AM Post #4 of 8

Philski

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Thanks guys, I'll take a look at your recommendations. I don't think I would need a DAC for my set-ups, would I? I'm only planning to use the amp with my Cowon portables and SE530s... and although I don't have an unlimited budget, I tend to put quality before price, as my poor, battered wallet will testify. Looks like I have found the right place for this sort of advice!

Anyway, since I'm pretty new to this, if there might be a benefit to using a DAC it would be good to know how and why...
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 9:38 AM Post #5 of 8

qusp

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Philski /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Thanks guys, I'll take a look at your recommendations. I don't think I would need a DAC for my set-ups, would I? I'm only planning to use the amp with my Cowon portables and SE530s... and although I don't have an unlimited budget, I tend to put quality before price, as my poor, battered wallet will testify. Looks like I have found the right place for this sort of advice!

Anyway, since I'm pretty new to this, if there might be a benefit to using a DAC it would be good to know how and why...



yep you have come to the land of the eternally leaking wallet
tongue.gif
you would only need a dac if you are planning on using the amp for double duty in a laptop rig or as a home dac that you can also take out on the road with you connected to your DAP. the DAC gives you superior analogue conversion to anything that you would find in a DAP. but if you already have a home setup , no laptop and you are primarily going to use it with your cowon or other DAP then you have no needfor a dap whatsoever. its one thing to blow more money on something you actually need but another to get something that wont see any use just because you can.

the meier amps are good and you might want to take a look at the RSA tomahawk; it's designed/voiced specifically with IEM's (actually the SE530 in particular) in mind. RAY apparently used the SE530 to design this amp and the synergy between them is well noted.

hope this helps
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 11:53 AM Post #6 of 8

rasmushorn

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I recommend a Headsix also - or an iQube if you want to spend a little more. But the Headsix really does a great job!
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 8:32 PM Post #7 of 8

Philski

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Again, thanks for the opinions. The Tomahawk has edged it due to the Shure compatibility. I might well get the Pico too, because... you know. Sprung for a Qable interconnect dock for the X5, and mulling over an ALO Cryo SXC dock for the Touch as well.

***. I'm already toast, aren't I
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 10:05 PM Post #8 of 8

Aimless1

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Both the Predator and Pico are nice portable amps ... but if you don't need the DAC then no sense spending that much $$$. I have found the RSA products have good synergy with the Cowon products...or at least with the D2/SE530 combo. I was perfectly happy with the Tomahawk but the Hornet would have been another good choice. The Meier lineup is also worth considering as well as the Graham Slee Voyager. You're looking for a little warmth to go with the Cowon sound signature.

BTW, the SE530s are an incredibly good choice with Cowon products.
 

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