ER-4P Amplifier Challenged
May 30, 2002 at 7:28 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 5

sailfree

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I recently received my ER-4P's and am in headphone heaven. I just read a review in which the writer says the 4P's are good but 4P's with an Airhead amplifier are at a whole new level. I'm a novice in this area and am wondering whether an amplifier would NOTICEABLY improve the already great sound from the 4P's.
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May 30, 2002 at 9:43 PM Post #2 of 5

Nezer

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Yes with one caveat... The degree of improvement depends in a large part on the source. The headamp will help in all cases but a better source will only improved slightly while a mediocre source will be improved quite a bit.

Of course a bad source can only be helped so much. :wink:
 
May 31, 2002 at 11:10 AM Post #3 of 5

Wes

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I would second Nezer's opinion.

I've got the 4s and a Corda amp used with a not notable, old JVC carousel CD player. I can compare to 4s's directly out of a Radio Shack pcdp with high--for these days--output. The point is that my sources are not exceptional in any way and probably qualify as "mid-fi" on the most generous estimate.

The with-amplifier experience is preferable, certainly, but by such a small margin that I use whichever combination is the most convenient for me, and, more often than not, that's without amplifier. Of course, my pcdp is not underpowered for the purpose. But the less-than-enviable status of both my disc players could be preventing my hearing what the amplifier can do in a higher level system.

So, if money for audio is tight for you, I recommend working first on getting a source that is sufficiently clean and powerful. If you're already OK in those respects and have amplifier power to spare built in to your source, get the mr. fixup converter cable or the soon-to-be-introduced Etymotic one that converts your P to an S so that it gets a little smoother. Lastly, get a nice amplifier. Nice as an amp can be, it probably will contribute less than any of the other elements.

Never yet have I heard an amp take anything to a whole new level. Of course, my sect in the audiophile faith tends to put transducers on the altar rather than other components. There are a number of different faiths among us, and you never know which is yours until you've made a few experiments.
 
May 31, 2002 at 4:24 PM Post #4 of 5

sailfree

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Nezer and Wes thanks very much for your insight on this subject. I would conclude that my primary improvement step was going from run of the mill 'cans' to the ER's and although the amplifier will provide some further improvement I am now in the area of diminishing returns. That is, the degree of improvement will not be as significant as what I experienced in changing to the ER-4P's. I had a similar dilema in choosing between the ER-6 and the 4P. So in the spirit of pursuing the Holy Grail of sound I am going to get the amplifier. Re your comments on the quality of the source, I had been focused on my iPod with 4P's and an amplifier. I had never thought of using the amplifier with my home system....new territory for me to explore. Thanks.
 
May 31, 2002 at 5:52 PM Post #5 of 5

sailfree

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Fedex just delivered my Total Airhead amplifier and there is a definite difference with my iPod/ER4P setup. Without the amp the sound is clean and crisp (that's a good thing) but with the amp the sound is richer, fuller (that's a better thing). That's not a very technical assessment but as someone said, "I don't know much about art but I know what I like".
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