amping for ipod & SF5 pro.. worth it?
Dec 12, 2007 at 12:57 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 18

irjoe

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Hey everyone.
i just ordered a pair of Super.fi 5 pro from amazon for $139 in black ($129 clear @ costco.com) and im thinking about getting an amp along with it.

I have an 160 ipod classic and im wondering if getting an amp of 100$ or less value will improve the sound as well as put good use to my s.f.5's.

Im thinking about the penguinamp's caffeine ultra amp (i hear good things about the AD8397 opamp compared to the other cMoy's using OP2227s)..
but if theres something better for the buck (the caffeine ultra is about $78.00) i will gladly look into it.

first, do you guys think its a worthy investment to buy an amp for an ipod and sf5's? I carry tons of music, and normally most of my mp3s are ranging from 128 to 320's (mostly around 192 ~ 224 kbps).. and i do not use .flac or any other file formats.

and two, are there other worthy portable amps that is better than cmoy for around the same or little more price??

thanks in advance guys.
 
Dec 12, 2007 at 1:28 AM Post #2 of 18

monolith

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The benefit from using an amp is probably more due to the fact that you'll be using it with the iPod's lineout rather than with its headphone out. Using my little amp (iBasso T2) I hear an imrovement between lineout+amp and headphone out for sure.

The amp isn't so much because the IEMs need more power.

That said, I've heard the headphone outs on the new iPods are pretty good. Wait till FeedMeTrance shows up, as he uses the same iPod and headphones.
 
Dec 12, 2007 at 3:02 AM Post #3 of 18

NeObliviscaris

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LoL - wait for me?

I'm quite content with my Tomahawk and SF5's.

I have been doing some comparisons, I find that using my amp, the soundstage widens up, and the music is less 'cramped' and in your face. It's presented better, I found that using the headphone out, its as if everything wasn't co-ordinated, with the amp the bass is much tighter and cleaner without drowning out other aspects of the song.

I am listening to both FLAC and a variation of MP3s, and the amp defeintaly shines when you listen to HQ music.

I shall do more and update if you require.
 
Dec 12, 2007 at 3:19 AM Post #4 of 18

monolith

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Quote:

Originally Posted by FeedMeTrance /img/forum/go_quote.gif
LoL - wait for me?

I'm quite content with my Tomahawk and SF5's.

I have been doing some comparisons, I find that using my amp, the soundstage widens up, and the music is less 'cramped' and in your face. It's presented better, I found that using the headphone out, its as if everything wasn't co-ordinated, with the amp the bass is much tighter and cleaner without drowning out other aspects of the song.

I am listening to both FLAC and a variation of MP3s, and the amp defeintaly shines when you listen to HQ music.

I shall do more and update if you require.



FLAC? Do you mean ALAC?
 
Dec 12, 2007 at 3:39 AM Post #5 of 18

NeObliviscaris

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yeah ALAC sorry, I use EAC to rip my CD into FLAC then DBPowerAmp to covert to ALAC.

You can def pick up the difference between a ALAC and MP3 track when amped!
 
Dec 12, 2007 at 3:49 AM Post #6 of 18

irjoe

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hm, so are you using the amp through the headphone jack or using the dock-port??
if you're using the dock, what would you suggest to connect with the amp?? ive been looking at this but i dont know if it'll provide the necessary output:
SendStation - Products - PocketDock Line Out FW

ive seen cables that cost over 200$ but i dont think i can spend that much, and im still looking into affordable amps..
any suggestions?
 
Dec 12, 2007 at 4:09 AM Post #7 of 18

NeObliviscaris

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I am using it through the Line Out Dock.

My cable cost me a great $75 from a user here called 'stevenkelby' - great cable
smily_headphones1.gif
, also there are many other DIYers along with stores like ALO who make the dock cables.

If you are going to amp the iPod, you should only if you are going to take it out of the Line Out from the bottom, if you are going to use the headphone jack, you won't be as satisfied IMHO.
 
Dec 12, 2007 at 4:35 AM Post #8 of 18

irjoe

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i will be using the line out, else i wouldn't even think about amping it.. its just the question of how will i link the amp to the ipod?

have you seen the link i posted on my previous post??
will that be enough?
can you show me your rig, and what you use??

thanks
and i understand tomahawks cost over 300$, have you tried any other portable amps?? (that is cheaper)


edit: a bit off topic, but how is the super.fi 5 pros with the ipod unamped through the headphone jack??
 
Dec 12, 2007 at 5:05 AM Post #9 of 18

monolith

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Quote:

Originally Posted by irjoe /img/forum/go_quote.gif
i will be using the line out, else I wouldn't even think about amping it.. its just the question of how will i link the amp to the ipod?

have you seen the link i posted on my previous post??
will that be enough?
can you show me your rig, and what you use??

thanks
and i understand tomahawks cost over 300$, have you tried any other portable amps?? (that is cheaper)


edit: a bit off topic, but how is the super.fi 5 pros with the ipod unamped through the headphone jack??



Will that cable be enough? Yes. There's a hot debate going on over whether cables with higher end components sound better, so it's better not to enter that. I had a cable made by the same Head-Fi member (and another that's on its way here actually), but both were for aesthetic reasons. I wanted a black cable, and specifically with the one that's coming a cable of a certain length. I don't believe they'll make a sonic difference. I wouldn't buy the thing to which you linked simply because I don't like the design and it would probably be bulkier. If you don't care about that, it'll be fine.

I don't mean to speak for FeedMeTrance, but I believe he used to have a PA2V2 and a Little Dot portable amp, and probably finds his Tomahawk an improvement over the previous two.

I started with a PA2V2 and moved to an iBasso T2 for my portable use, and the improvement there is small, but the iBasso is tiny, and has a useful bass boost feature that I like. I know I could spend more and get potentially better sound, but I'm happy with my very small setup for now, especially since I've put more money into my home headphones and amp. I have a pair of SF5s on the way, so I'll be able to speak to that specific combination (iPod > lineout cable > PA2V2/iBasso > SF5) shortly.
 
Dec 12, 2007 at 5:17 AM Post #10 of 18

NeObliviscaris

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I advise the following:

Little Dot Micro+ : Nice cheap and great sounding amp, great build as well.

Either contact StevenKelby or maybe look in the ForSale section, or look at Qables or ALO Audio for a nice IC, you don't need to spend $300, the ALO Bling is quite nice.

My old rig (with my Super Fi 3s):
photo.php


n571610728_711170_8544.jpg


n571610728_711168_7826.jpg


This is basically my setup except with SF5's - I Love it!

In terms of amps: PA2v2 < LDM+ < Tomahawk, the LDM+ is cheap, I think I saw one for like $35 in the FS area (http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f42/li...p-35-a-273863/).
 
Dec 12, 2007 at 5:23 AM Post #11 of 18

irjoe

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ok; being new to the amp scene, i feel as if i may be a bit misinformed.
I take that amps are used to power higher end head/earphones that cannot be powered to its full capacity by ipod built-in amps, and computer sound cards. But it seems that amps take emphasis on the fact that it can amplify sounds up to 300-400%. Now i dont understand why anyone would need ipod to have a volume of 300% louder than it already is.. or am i mistaken in the functioning of amps?


the iBasso T2 (and T1) looks really small (and stylish too) but how is it in comparison to the PA2V2 (which i hear is a bit better than the cMoy amps)

the only thing that bothers me (From what i read from their site) is that the battery is internal (non-changable.. unless taken apart- i dont know how complicated that process will be)
 
Dec 12, 2007 at 5:32 AM Post #12 of 18

NeObliviscaris

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Ok, the amp isn't ther eto give you 300% volume, whilst it does boost volume, it does it without distorting the sound quality. The amp further allows you listen to your music 'raw' as I like to put it. Meaning, you don't go through the iPods headphone jack which has it's own little amp thing. Make sense?

Basically, you are amplifying the sound signal without causing any loss in quality. Please, anyone, feel free to correct me if I am saying wrong things!

As for the PA2v2, its great, but its big! That is why I wasn't too found of it, as it didn't fit in my pocket. In terms of changing batteries on the PA2v2, its easy, 2 screws need to be undone, and change battery and put it back, easy. The LDM+, has a charger, so when it is running low - not sure how you can tell - but just plug it in. I preferred the LDM+ over the PA2v2:
n571610728_555405_148.jpg

n571610728_555406_334.jpg

n571610728_555407_507.jpg


The PA2v2, is very bassy, so I don't think it would pair well with the SF5s since they are quite bassy themselves.
 
Dec 12, 2007 at 11:06 AM Post #13 of 18

irjoe

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ok
now im really interested in some amps..
can anyone with ibasso T2 or penguin amps tell of their experience?

How is the T2 compared to Cmoy or PA2v2 amps?
i can't find a thread solely dedicated on the T2 while i found some on the D and P series..

thanks in advance.


Oh wallet, please forgive me.
 
Dec 12, 2007 at 2:42 PM Post #14 of 18

monolith

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Quote:

Originally Posted by irjoe /img/forum/go_quote.gif
ok
now im really interested in some amps..
can anyone with ibasso T2 or penguin amps tell of their experience?

How is the T2 compared to Cmoy or PA2v2 amps?
i can't find a thread solely dedicated on the T2 while i found some on the D and P series..

thanks in advance.


Oh wallet, please forgive me.



I first got a PA2V2 then a T2, as I said earlier. I (subjectively) prefer the T2. As has been said, the PA2V2 is a little bassy, but the T2 has a neat bass boost feature that can make it a little bassier if you're after that sound. The T2 also has two headphone outs, adjustable gain and a "wide sound stage" switch, which I believe is like a slight crossfeed.

Even if you can't tell the difference between them sonically, go with the T2 if for nothing but the size. It's really, really tiny. I was surprised when I first saw it in person. Here are some crappy photos of it with my iPod (5.5G 30GB) that I took with my phone (LED light on the phone makes everything look really dirty
tongue.gif
).



You'll notice that the lineout cable is too long, and that's why I'm having another one made. I should also mention that the T2 uses rechargeable lithium ion batteries. It comes with a charging cable that you can use to charge it through a USB port, or you can plug that cable into a wallwart and charge it from the mains if you prefer. One charge keeps it going for a very long time. I don't remember how long exactly, but it's a long time.

Also, as was mentioned above (and as I mentioned in my first reply to you), the amps aren't so much for volume. The iPod has enough juice to power these IEMs to sufficient volumes. They're there so you can use the iPod's lineout rather than its headphone out, the latter of which sounds noticeably worse, even when compared with a low-end amp plugged into the lineout.
 

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