Beyerdynamic DT 880 with Fiio A5 : Having second thoughts...

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  1. abesh
    I recently acquired a set of DT 880s (250 ohms) and bought a Fiio A5 to drive them. While I like the combo, I was wondering if I should have tried out other amps namely, the Cayin C5, Topping NX5 and maybe the Aune B1 which is a little above the price range I am looking at, before I made the jump. The A5 is a great amp but I find the bass (even with the boost) and the soundstage a little bit lacking.

    What other amps should I be looking at in the sub $200 price range? Looking mostly at amps and I do not want a DAC at the moment.

    PS : Portability is a must for me.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  2. cossix
    If the bass is lacking, even with the bass boost, then perhaps the headphones were the wrong choice not the amp. I've driven my HD650 with my A5 and I didn't notice any severe bass reduction. Do you usually use a different amp with your Beyers?
  3. abesh
    No I don't notice any bass reduction at all, in fact I think the A5 powers the DT880 well. I was just wondering if there is a better portable amp for them :)
    I just got my beyers and this is my only portable amp, noob here :)
  4. Me x3
    The A5 is very powerful and slightly warm among solid state amplifiers.
    DT880 250 is most likely not a great pick for your preferences. It's clearly on the bass light camp, close to HD800 and K702.

    AKG K712 will give you a fuller and more layered bass response along with a bigger and more defined soundstage.
    abesh likes this.
  5. abesh
    I am by no means a basshead just looking for a more detailed soundstage with a little fuller bass :)
  6. cossix
    I can't really help to recommend a different amp but I would imagine the amps at that price point would sound similar. You may be overestimating the difference in sound between amps, especially mobile ones. I think the difference between A5 bass boost and A5 no bass boost is a bigger change than switching to any other amp, and if the headphone is still not "full" enough with the A5 boost (which adds too much bass IMO) then the headphones are definitely the bigger issue here.
    abesh likes this.
  7. abesh
    That actually makes a lot of sense. More than the bass I am looking at a wider soundstage. I have a Cayin C5 on the way anyways. Maybe I will just do a A/B comparison and return the one I don't like as much :frowning2: The A5 is a fantastic amp and with the Bass Boost it does get adequate bass but I also feel the BB sort of further narrows the soundstage. Reading reviews it seems the C5 does better in this respect. Fingers crossed :)
  8. cossix
    Good luck! Perhaps the bass boost does narrow the soundstage; I wouldn't doubt it. I tend to avoid stuff like that because it muddies up the bass on whatever headphone I test it with, but sometimes the song just calls for more punch and I don't blame you one bit for flipping the switch :p I think comparing both units is a good idea, but I wouldn't imagine the soundstage would change much. Either way let us know what you think once you try both units!
    abesh likes this.
  9. abesh
    Yes sir, will definitely update the thread with impressions after I receive the C5 tomorrow :)
  10. Me x3
    Being a semi-open desing DT880 won't provide a huge stage, it's relatively round and airy but not close to headphones like K7-series or HD800.
    Recordings play an important role here as well, after all soundstage should be there to begin with.

    Check this samples:

    Keep in mind an amplifier like the A5 will reflect quite well the characteristics of the source.
    If your DAC blurs the soundstage then there's little the amp can do to get the soundstage cues back.

    That said, the difference between different headphones is normally much bigger than the difference between different amps/dacs.
    If one wants a different sound, then switching the headphone is more often than not the shorter (and cheaper) path to enjoyment.
    abesh likes this.
  11. abesh
    That is a fantastic and detailed answer. Thank you !
    I really love the A5 as I have mentioned in my earlier thread. Don't have a DAC and listen mostly from MSI Laptop with a dedicated sound card and my 2nd Generation iPod (Yes it is about 13 years old and still going strong). I also have a Beyer DT1350 and ATH M50X to compare, however they are low impedance cans and sound pretty good without the need of an amp (i use one anyways).
    Since I am pretty new in the game I just wanted to try out another portable amp to figure out if I am missing out on anything :)
  12. PurpleAngel Contributor
    There is a chance the MSI laptop and iPod are not sending the best possible analog audio signal to the FiiO A5 headphone amplifier.
    So a DAC connected between the laptop and the A5, might improve audio quality, not sure what to do about the iPod (sell the iPod and buy a FiiO DAP?)
    abesh likes this.
  13. abesh
    Plan to get a DAP and maybe invest in a DAC in the near future :) The iPod is there for pure nostalgia purposes, not planning to sell it :)
  14. abesh
    What would your suggestion be for a good portable DAC/AMP combo under $200. I know I guess I am asking for too much :)
  15. Me x3
    Check the new FiiO X3 Mark III which is both a DAP and a USB DAC/Amp. I've been testing one for a while and it's a solid device.
    It comes with dual DACs from Texas Instruments and has both single ended and balanced outputs. It has a line out for the A5 and can decode DSD64 files.
    Fully featured and good looking device for the money. It's still a very recent product so more firmware updates and improvements are expected for the following months.
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