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FiiO Q1MKII-Apple MFi Certified DAC & Amp, Native DSD Support, XMOS USB DAC chip, DAC AK4452, 20 hours

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by FiiO, Jul 15, 2017.
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  1. fourrobert13
    An amp takes a signal and amplifies it. Others can explain this better than me, but here we go. Let's say your DAP can drive you headphones, but you are near max volume to get them to your desired level. The amp will then take that signal and amplify it and give you more head room in volume. It's technically not supposed to color the signal, and just amplify it. However, people hook up the amp and go wow, but the truth is that it's just louder and nothing more. If you were to volume match, there would be no difference. We tend to perceive louder as better this or that. Amps have many benefits obviously. They can help you drive high impedance headphones and IEMs. Some offer bass boost to color the sound. They can also extend the battery life of your DAP because most line out ports bypass the internal amp causing the DAP to use less power. Maybe someone will come along with a more detailed answer, but that's the basics on amps as explained to me on head-fi.

    ETA: Brooko noted he heard no difference between balanced and SE when the volume was matched, so that tells me there is no increase in soundstage when using balanced vs. SE. Balanced has increased power to drive higher impedance headphones, and from my research, that's it. Like I said, we perceive louder as better, but in reality the only difference is output power.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2017
  2. fish1050
    It kind of depends on a few factors as to whether an amp will alter a sound signature of a DAP. The most obvious is LO vs HO and I use my Sony A17 as an example. Sony uses a class D digital amp in their DAP's which tends to be cleaner sounding. If I go LO to my Q1 I get a noticeably warmer sound. But when I go HO like I am now there is a slight increase in warmth but not as dramatic. I also find with HO that as I adjust the volume on my A17 up or down I can affect the warmth slightly up or down. I keep my A17 at 22/30 and my Q1 generally between 4 to 6/10 as it produces the most pleasing sound to me. I actually prefer the sound using HO vs LO as it seems to produce a better sound stage and an almost 3d quality to the sound.

    While not really an issue with portable audio the class of the amp can affect the sound as well. Class A amps generally produce the warmest sound and are usually found in high end home amplifiers but pretty rare on portable amps. Class A/B amps which are the most common in portable amplifiers can produce some warmth. Class D digital amps like the ones found in the Sony DAP's and alot of smartphones and tablets tends to have a slightly cleaner sound. We are not talking night and day in terms of differences and again the headphones used will make a big difference as well.

    Class D digital amps are the preferred amp in smartphones and tablets because they are the most efficient and produce the least amount of heat. Class A/B amps are not as efficient as Class D amps and tend to lose more power to heat. Class A amps are quite inefficient overall and lose a large amount of power to heat which is why they are used primarily in high powered home amplifiers. The Class D amplifier in the Sony DAP's helps alot in producing the excellent battery life.

    Without going to deep I am speaking in general terms when it comes to amplifiers and there are alot of other factors and components involved.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2017
  3. Ynot1
    This maybe different altogether but a louder amp played at lower volume still sounds better because the power can be felt even at the lower volume because of the way the amp is authoritative. By louder I mean stronger amp.

    In guitar amps 30 watt sounds better even when played much lower volume when compared to a 15 watt amp.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2017
  4. mike138
    From my perspective, the specs on this are exactly what I need. I don't really want to spend the money on a DAP with streaming capabilities right now, but $100 for this and $100 for the F9 to go with my phone to listen to TIDAL tracks in balanced mode sounds pretty awesome.
     
  5. fish1050
    I don't listen any louder with or without the Q1 with my A17 I just like the touch of extra warmth the Q1 adds to the sound.
     
  6. Midorie
    I have been waiting to purchase this unit and the new f9 but nothing can be bought in the US. Why announce a product is out and available on US forums and you cant buy for at least 2-3 months?
     
  7. Sp12er3
    definitely subbing to this~~ just one thing though... why's the line in/out port out in the front? I can accept bass boost switch moved to the back, but that port? is it design constriction?
     
  8. fish1050
    Oops got my threads mixed up and deleted content
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2017
  9. JWolf
    Speaking of balanced, can one use an adapter to convert to balanced without needing to buy a new cable?
     
  10. Ynot1
    I don't think it's possible.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2017
  11. Midorie
    I would assume an adaptor would work however you would not get the benefit of balanced, but if your asking to use the balanced port without new cables then yes but would not differ from normal 3.5mm
     
  12. JWolf
    So what makes a balanced cable balanced?
     
  13. Ivan TT
    4 separate lines: L+, L-, R+, R- (as opposed to single-ended cable, that still has 4 wires, but share common ground: L+, R+, GND, GND).
    Simply connecting L- and R- together to convert balanced into single ended MAY work, but will most likely damage output buffers that are used to make output balanced.
     
  14. fish1050
    Okey so something like this wouldn't work then?
    4X TRRS 2.5mm Male to 3.5mm Female Stereo Audio Headphone Jack Adapter Converter
    http://www.ebay.ca/itm/4X-TRRS-2-5m...426800?hash=item51fd43c070:g:MZsAAOSwhQhY39p-

    I am just looking for a cheap solution that would allow my standard headphones to be able to take advantage of the balanced power output from the Q1 MKII 2.5 mm output. Otherwise the single ended power at 75 mW through the 3.5 mm jack just isn't going to be enough.
     
  15. mike138
    I got my F9 from Penon Audio in China. Free shipping to the US, and it got here in a few days.
     
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