Originally Posted by mclldavidson /img/forum/go_quote.gif I bought a cheap cmoy Altoids with bass boost and volume control and liked it, how does the Fiio E3 amp stack up?
That would depend on the phones to be used with each amp, the build of the cmoy (wired on protoboard or built on a PCB), who the maker is and the source to be used with each amp.
I own a small variety of cmoy amps, three are wired on protoboard each by a different builder, one is built on a designed PCB. The PCB build gives a considerably clearer/cleaner sound than the wired on protoboard ones.
Compared to the best of these cmoys (not exactly cheap at about $60), and used with Yuin PK1, the FiiO E3 gives a considerably higher sound quality with it, using the same sources - either a Creative Labs MP3+ USB Soundcard or a MASantos Alien USB DAC. The other phones that I would usually use with the cmoy or FiiO E3 are the Koss KSC75. With those, I really enjoy the cleanness of the sound from the PCB cmoy - it's an especially "refreshing" sound - very pleasant, like eating lemon ice between courses of a meal. The sound of the KSC75 with the FiiO E3 is a more refined sound - and very enjoyable in a different way - more like sipping a fine, clean white wine than eating lemon ice. When I tried my Senn HD600's with both, I thought that the FiiO E3/HD600 combo allowed quite a bit more of the sound to be heard and enjoyed than the cmoy/HD600 combo.
I think that's pretty amazing considering that I got the E3 for $9 shipped and the cmoy was $60 shipped, and that the E3 is running from a single (1.5 V) AAA battery and the cmoy is running from a single 9V battery, and the relative sizes of the two amps. The FiiO E3 really amazes me for what it delivers in such a minimalist package.
I've built several Cmoys, from bog-standard proto board to upgraded parts and high quality PCB. There can be a big gap in quality among them depending on parts choice and build quality. But The E3 doesn't really measure up, the only reason to use it is for a bass boost in a tiny size package. The E5 is a different matter, it's in the same league as a well-made CMOY.
I've been wondering this same thing. I'm downsizing my portable setup and looking for a cheap amp to feed the line out of me ipod video/to drive my PFEs. Is a fiio e5 in the same league as a nice cmoy? I mean, even if it's not quite as good, it's $20 shipped.
Originally Posted by majurglery /img/forum/go_quote.gif a cmoy IMO will beat a Fiio in all possible ways, except maybe price and size.
I've got an E5, PA2V2, Headroom Total Airhead, JDS (AKA jseaber - three3three3 - blackinches) CMoyBB, and an iBasso T2, and IMHO the E5 can't compete with any of the larger amps in sound quality, clarity, or output but it blows them all away in portability, convenience, and price. It can hold its own against the T2 SQ-wise, but I don't find the T2's SQ to be all that impressive. It's definitely classier than the E5, though.
It's a nice little amp for the price, but don't expect it to perform miracles.