- Aug 18, 2007
- Reaction score
- Aug 18, 2007
Thanks. I used to listen to many/most of my IEM un-amped when I'm mobile, but many like the W60 and W80 do show noticeable gains with an amp. Once I bought my BlueDAC which works great as a wired and wireless DAC/amp, it was easier to use an amp with my IEM more often.I had a chance to Amp the W60 at work with my Rupert Neve HP amp. That really bumped the performance up a level from listening on my Cowon P1. It looks like the can scale a little bit beyond my first impression. I thought the sound stage opened wider and I could hear more details.
Neve was also at RMAF also and they didn't say anything much to me other than they were cooking some other things up right now. I mentioned that I don't think it drives my Abyss well, so I felt like they were insinuating a more powerful amp with balanced HP support could be in the works but they said none of that specifically.
If you're looking for a small compact desktop amp similar to Magni but a little larger you should check them out. Neve is legendary in the professional audio world. I didn't really want or need a little desktop stack for work but that was my excuse to allow myself to buy the RNHP. It's really clean and sounds fantastic. Also totally worth watching the documentary Sound City.
But, using IEM with an amp on my iPhone presents issues when I get a phone call. If I'm using a bluetooth amp then I can't use the iPhone's built-in Mic while listening to the call with the amp. So, I tend to use the W60 or W80 with BT cable, or via a mic cable right our of the lightning adapter. I found that the W60 are more easily driven than the W80, which is why I made that comment about the W80 responding to an amp. I didn't mean to imply that the W60 don't.
I usually like to point out that the source (DAC) as the most important upgrade in the sound chain AFTER picking the headphone/earphone, but then an amp will add even further improvements in most cases (depending on the quality of the music player you are already using).
Cables are usually my last upgrade, so it surprised me how much the W60, W80, and ES60 improved with the Moon-Audio Silver Dragon cable. It's not as big of an upgrade as a DAC or Amp, but the difference was was like changing the tips on a universal IEM to the best ones with the best synergy. My son bought a Silver Dragon for his JH16pro at the same time (traded me his Audioengine A2+ since he's getting their HD6 speakers). I tried it out and it also helped them a lot.
My JH Audio Roxanne can sound okay when un-amped (lacking energy and excitement) and fantastic when amped where they really wake up and come alive. You definitely don't need the Roxanne if you plan to amp them, get the JH16pro in that case. But at CanJam this year I discovered that they became mind blowing when used with a 2.5mm balanced Black Dragon cable via my CEntrance BlueDAC. Once I receive my single ended Black Dragon adapter in a couple of weeks I will try them un-amped again. (Note - they didn't change much with a Silver Dragon cable, not better but not worse).
The Westone ES60 are similarly stunning when paired with my 2.5mm balanced Silver Dragon cable - I'm leaving that cable on the ES60 full-time, and will use the included ALO cable with my W80, while my W50 and W60 are currently paired with the BT adapter. I'll likely go to a Mic cable with the W60 again (to squeeze the most out of them), and only use the W50 with BT which really complements the W50 due to good synergy.
I got my son a BT cable for his W60 and he really likes it. Even though the sound is not as great as wired via BlueDAC, he can use the BT W60 for his ultra-mobile rig. On the other side of the coin, his BlueDAC and balanced Silver Dragon for his JH16pro will be his "transportable" HiFi rig. He's not planning to put a Mic cable back on his JH16Pro any time soon - he's a Silver Dragon fan for life. Now if he would just stop talking about wanting the ES60 for himself, and just focus on graduating college first.
It's hard to imaging things getting better from here.
PS: I gave my son a MODI and MAGNI for Xmas a few years back, and the Magni is actually a pretty good amp, which scales up with a better DAC. The MODI, I'd give it a pass. (haven't heard the newest Schitt yet).