From my experience with SE530s, they don't really improve all that much with different amps. I have tried a few (iqube, xp-7, hornet), I could hardly tell the difference from my Zune headphone out vs. through the headphone amps. The se530s are so efficient that it isn't really all that necessary to use an amp. I think most people do it in order to go through the iPod line out (which needs an amp). In any case, don't expect much of a change....they will still pretty much sound like your current unamped SE530s.
portability = tomahawk or p-51 best sq while still being pretty portable = sr-71a imo I know ray uses 530's as a testing as one of his iems along with his UE customs and possibly others so it will most likely work wonderfully.
Tried mine with 3 different portable amps: iQube, Predator, Mini3.
Agree with other posters: slightly better with an amp, tighter bass. Not much difference among the 3 amps.
So go for the smallest: Pico or RSA's newest small one (Mustang).
Source was Cowon i7 with uncompressed WAVs.
The 500/530's are so good they sound fine with an unamp'd iPod, even the Shuffle with MP3's, believe it or not. The whole thing (Shuffle+500's) take essentially zero space in a pocket and therefore is always with me, unlike my bulky portables, which are now for the gym, airplane, train, and hotel only (not walking around the mall with the wife or waiting at motor vehicles).
I know not everyone is in universal agreement on this one - am just sharing my experience - but in order to get the best sound from an ipod you need to use uncompressed files (apple lossless for example) and you need to use the docking port. In order to do that you will need an amp and a LOD. Whether or not it will make a difference for you using IEM's I can't say but it certainly makes a difference for me when using full sized headphones.
I have used my SR-71A to amp my Shure SE530's. It sounds absolutely breathtaking. However I have found that my Tomahawk is equally impressive and does a wonderful job driving the SE530's. The reason I pick my Tomahawk over the SR-71A is because of portability. When I'm at work I put my 120 GB Ipod Classic, and my Tomahawk in my front shirt pocket and forget they are there. If it were my SR-71A I would simply have a harder time forgetting it was there. The Tomahawk never ceases to amaze me. The sound that comes out of that little thing is just amazing, it truly pushes the SE530's to a level of performance I think they are very worthy of, and does it all with such a small footprint. My vote is for the Tomahawk. My friend has a nicely burned in Tomahawk that in my opinion sounds as wonderful as one of the original SR-71's that I previously owned. I'm telling you the Tomahawk is an amazing little piece of gear. Or you could never go wrong checking into the P51 Mustang. I on the other hand will sit happily with my Tomahawk and wait for Ray to release an amp named after my favorite WWII bird the F4U-4 Corsair! Happy amp searching, and enjoy the hobby!
Originally Posted by monsieurguzel /img/forum/go_quote.gif From my experience with SE530s, they don't really improve all that much with different amps. I have tried a few (iqube, xp-7, hornet), I could hardly tell the difference from my Zune headphone out vs. through the headphone amps.
I couldn't agree with this more. I tried my SE530s with a Corda2Move and a Pico and wasn't able to notice a degree of improvement that would have justified the limitations in portability. (And this was even compared to the HP out of the 1G iTouch which is known to be worse than the Zune's!) I found that the TF10 benefit a lot more from amplification, especially when used with the Pico's DAC.