I just bought a new FiiO M9, as I've moved past my iPod 5.5 Wolfson DAC with FiiO Alpen E07k DAC/AMP rig combo.
I'm still a relative newbie to the audiophile world, and was really confused when I saw a Youtube review about the FiiO M9 saying that you can add a portable amp to it? I thought the whole purpose of the M9 aside from the bells and whistles was that it eliminated the need for separate unit portable amp? If someone can please explain the concept to me as to if this is true to achieve a even greater sound, or if the FiiO with a pair of Sennheiser IE40 should be suffice?
Please educate me on the pro's and con's of using an additional headphone portable amp (like the FiiO E07k, for instance) with the FiiO M9?
the IE40 can be driven just fine by the Fiio player direct, you don't need an amp.
However, it seems that people are using it as a source 'line out' and connecting it to other amps. People do this for two reasons:
1. more power to drive more demanding cans. Even lesser demanding cans/IEMs can benefit from more power (especially the current component of power) in some instances.
2. they like the sound of the portable amp they have and want to enjoy it's colorations.
Obviously, tradeoffs abound. Sacrifice portability and convenience for a better damped and controlled headphone performance, or preferred sound signature.
I enjoy using an external amp on my IEMs when I'm at home because I like how it differs from the player itself. It's a flavor I enjoy and I like what it does to the space/stage. But when I'm on the go, I plug straight into my player and don't feel like I'm missing out.
With headphones, it's a different story. I almost always perceive a quality increase when an external amp is involved (unless I'm using a VERY powerful player in balanced mode).