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Because life is to short to be listening to bad audio at the gym

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by wiredin, Jan 3, 2012.
  1. Wiredin
    Hello all,
    I've been living in a realm of medicority and sub-par audio for years, hoping that by buying higher end headphones and earbuds that I can relieve some of the strain of the dreaded ipod sound quality on my ears. I've purchased a large collection of ear buds and over ears from Shure E2's, Sure E3's, Sennheiser CX300, Sennheiser eH350, Monster Turbines, JVC HA-M750, AKG K171, Ultimate Ears 600 and even the Bose In-Ears. (Collected over about 10 years)
    At home through my Onkyo home theater setup, or my Rotel preamp I can be quite happy with most of these. But at the gym I'm relying on Apple iunit crud in , crud out kind of setup. And life is really just too short to be listening to crummy audio at the gym.
    I won an ipod nano which is small enough that if I ditch my cell phone in my locker (which I started doing anyways) I could put one of these portable DAC's I keep reading about in my pocket and not worry too much about the extra bulk. Then I can listen to my fav headset and not worry about the lack of mids or 101010011 sound stage that the ipod creates.
    I've been getting confused though.... FIIO seems to be the one to look at. And the E7 seems to be the one in the lead. But what about the E6 or E11. I'm only using it at the gym, and I got a more than capable Rotel at home. So is it worth it to spend $100 when I can get away with maybe spending $40 or $60? The phones I use at the gym now are the CX300's or the Turbines (The two best in ear style I'm comfortable wearing at the gym. I use the Shure's with my wireless-inear kit for my band)
    OR, could I get away with the E1?
  2. firev1
    You can get away with either the E1 or E6 though the E6 will be better in this regard. E7 is more of a DAC anyways with a amp section comparable to the FiiO E5. 
  3. Wiredin
    What benifits or advantages does a DAC and amp in the E10 give me over the E6?  pretty much a newbie
  4. steviiee
    E10 is a desktop amp isn't it?
  5. Wiredin


    sorry yes it is, I ment E11
  6. kiwirugby Contributor
    What about the iPod Nano > LOD > RSA Shadow > IEM (in my case Klipsch X10)?
    That's what I use at the gym.  Fits in my gym shorts pocket just fine.
  7. Coop
    E11 and E6 are amp only, so no DAC, with the iWhatevers 'Crud in Crud out' as so eloquently put it, it would would do absolutely nothing for SQ if you hook it up to the headphone out. If you use a LOD it will probably be a nice improvement.
    My personal experience with portable audio at the gym is that if you notice SQ, you're not doing your workout right :) 
    I think a halfway decent set of IEMs that are comfy to your ears and stay put during excercise is a much more valuable investment than any DAC for this type of use. That's why my preferred gym setup is a Rockboxed Sansa Fuze w. Westone 1 IEMs. Fuze plays FLAC and sound is pretty good but nothing spectacular, Westone 1 is definately not the best sounding IEM, but judging by the fit, Westone has a replica of my ears somewhere in their factory.
  8. basementdweller
    Wiredin,  If I am reading your post right you are looking for a portable DAC.  There are only two portable DACs that I know of that will work when not hooked directly up to your computer: Fostex HP-P1 or the ALO CLAS and both cost between $550-$700.  The E7 is nice for the money, I have one and like it, but when it is hooked up to the ipod and not the PC it is only utilizing the amp function, not the DAC.  Now if you are looking for an amplifier you might see some gains simply by using the Nano's LOD rather than headphone out, but as far as that goes the price is the limit.  I started out with a simple CMOY and Fiio's stuff is pretty good for the money or you could look at the top of the line Pico Slim or Shadow since they arguably have the best formfactor for the Nano at the upper end of the portable amp category.  Personally, I am considering the Pico and the shadow right now, but for me, I couldn't justify either until I started considering customs and prices became a non-factor.

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