iPhone 6s Sound Quality
Mar 1, 2016 at 1:05 AM Post #721 of 881

BlinkST

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  Thanks everyone for their input.
 
On a side note, I'm also considering an AMP. Does anyone have any recommendations? Budget: up to 200 USD.


It might be a better idea to purchase a DAC that supports Lightning-out instead, depending on what kind of headphones you're trying to drive. The iPhone has enough power to drive most IEMs. The cheapest ones are the Cozoy Astrapi, Schitt Audio Fulla, and Peachtree Audio Shift. With the introduction of the MFI spec for Lightning headphones, the days of amps and DACs might by numbered.
 
Mar 1, 2016 at 2:34 AM Post #722 of 881

Const4nt1n3

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It might be a better idea to purchase a DAC that supports Lightning-out instead, depending on what kind of headphones you're trying to drive. The iPhone has enough power to drive most IEMs. The cheapest ones are the Cozoy Astrapi, Schitt Audio Fulla, and Peachtree Audio Shift. With the introduction of the MFI spec for Lightning headphones, the days of amps and DACs might by numbered.

 
I'll be using IEMs for portability reasons. Right now I'm considering either XB90EX or XE800ST. I'm leaning towards the former.
 
When it comes to DACs, do they really sound that much better than internal iPhone DAC? Especially cheaper DAC+AMP options.
 
Mar 1, 2016 at 2:48 AM Post #723 of 881

Koolpep

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Not elegant but works well.
 
Lightning headphones will have the DAC/Amp internal which isn't a bad thing, since it should be perfectly matched to the headphone. 
 
But for anyone who wants to use their own DAC/Amp this is great news as well, as more DACs will be available that work directly from the lightning port. 
 
Cheers.
 
Anyhow - did a few blind tests with my DAPs and the iPhone and the iPhone 6 really holds up well. With easy to drive in-ears. 
 
 

 

 
Mar 1, 2016 at 3:44 AM Post #724 of 881

BlinkST

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I'll be using IEMs for portability reasons. Right now I'm considering either XB90EX or XE800ST. I'm leaning towards the former.
 
When it comes to DACs, do they really sound that much better than internal iPhone DAC? Especially cheaper DAC+AMP options.

 
Not really, unless they up-convert the audio. 
 
Built in Digital Sound Processing filter at 16/44.1 for enhanced sonic quality, advanced filtering system keep audible distortion to a minimum level. (Cozoy) 

 Bit Depth and Sample Rates Supported: 16/44.1 to 24/96, including 24/88.2 (Schitt)

 shift’s 32-bit/384kHz ESS SABRE32 DAC will make all of your music sound great from lossy compressed files to lossless uncompressed files and everything else in-between. It is compatible with high-resolution music files all the way up to and including 32-bit/384kHz PCM and 5.6MHz Direct Stream Digital (aka double-rate DSD or DSD128)! shift is an asynchronous design featuring two internal clocks that minimize jitter from the source device at all sampling rates. shift also includes an extensive power supply circuit design with multiple stages of regulation and ESS’s patented Hyperstream Modulator and Minimum Phase filters to create natural, lifelike sound from all of your digital files. (Peachtree)

 Digital audio signals stored in your iOS device or Android are extracted digitally via USB and processed through the HA-50's high-performance built-in digital-to-analog converter, with minimal sound degradation and allowing the purest playback quality, with maximum fidelity. The HA-P50 can be used with the free TEAC HR Audio Player app for high-resolution 24bit/96kHz audio playback for iPhones and other iOS-based devices... there's no need to buy a separate adapter (such as the Apple Camera Connection Kit) in order to connect. Also comes with rubber fixing straps for securing it to an iPhone or Android handset, making the HA-P50 very easy to carry around. (Teac)

 
Honorable mention: Celsus Sound Companion One
 
 
 
iPhone 5 and up generally don't need amps for most IEMs. That was my experience with my own iPhone 5 and the JDS Labs C5, and my iPhone 6 has made it obsolete. Just recently, there was someone here saying that the Chord Mojo doesn't sound much different from the 6s, so there's that to consider before spending any amount of money, on well, anything. 
 
The iPhone as of iOS 7.1, can send a hi-res signal through the Lightning port. The inline headphone amp/DAC combo of the headphones would then take care of the rest. That's why I suggest that it's better to invest in a DAC instead of an amp that actually might not even sound significantly different from the phone. You can read early impressions of the Audeze El-8 Titanium
 
Mar 1, 2016 at 5:32 AM Post #725 of 881

krismusic

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It might of been me saying I couldn't hear the difference between the 6S and the Mojo.
I ended up buying a secondhand Onkyo HA200 amp/dac.
That does make an enjoyable difference IMHO.
A word of warning though. The HA200 does not work with the 6S. Even in Airplane mode.
Clicks and pops galore.
I ended up using my old 5S. Even that I have to use in Airplane.
I suspect that the HA200 is not unusual in picking up interference from a phone.
 
Mar 1, 2016 at 7:58 AM Post #726 of 881

Const4nt1n3

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Not elegant but works well.
 
Lightning headphones will have the DAC/Amp internal which isn't a bad thing, since it should be perfectly matched to the headphone. 
 
But for anyone who wants to use their own DAC/Amp this is great news as well, as more DACs will be available that work directly from the lightning port. 
 
Cheers.
 
Anyhow - did a few blind tests with my DAPs and the iPhone and the iPhone 6 really holds up well. With easy to drive in-ears. 
 
 

 

 
Thanks for giving a perspective on how useful Lightning port could be and you definitely have some heavy artillery in your stable. Haha!
 
I'm not so worried about the DAC, but about the fact that XB90EX may not have enough power without an AMP. You've said it yourself that they could benefit from AMPing.
 
Mar 1, 2016 at 8:06 AM Post #727 of 881

Const4nt1n3

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Not really, unless they up-convert the audio. 
 
 
Honorable mention: Celsus Sound Companion One
 
 
 
iPhone 5 and up generally don't need amps for most IEMs. That was my experience with my own iPhone 5 and the JDS Labs C5, and my iPhone 6 has made it obsolete. Just recently, there was someone here saying that the Chord Mojo doesn't sound much different from the 6s, so there's that to consider before spending any amount of money, on well, anything. 
 
The iPhone as of iOS 7.1, can send a hi-res signal through the Lightning port. The inline headphone amp/DAC combo of the headphones would then take care of the rest. That's why I suggest that it's better to invest in a DAC instead of an amp that actually might not even sound significantly different from the phone. You can read early impressions of the Audeze El-8 Titanium

 
Thanks for very useful information.
 
That's definitely thinking long term as good DAC+AMP will cost. A lot.
 
Mar 1, 2016 at 11:11 AM Post #728 of 881

elfary

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Bob Katz's (living legend in the mastering engineering field) made these comments recently:
 
Anyway, in my upcoming review I've found that the combination of the iPhone, HA-2 DAC/amp, and the PM-3 cans is really synergistic! It's a killer combination. You get a 32-bit fixed point connection to the HA-2 DAC, which drives the Oppo cans incredibly well, and high resolution playback from the iPhone of the same quality (or maybe better?) than what the A&K player offers you. At maybe 1/8 the price of the A&K player alone and you get cell phone service, driving directions and more.

So I respectfully feel that what you're suggesting, even if it can be implemented, is total redundancy and kind of silly. If you already own an A&K player, enjoy it... it will drive the PM-3's just fine and sound terrific. If you don't own one, then I suggest not getting one, saving a lot of money and kicking ass with the combination of iPhone (my recommendation over the Android)/HA-2/PM-3/HF Player. The ergonomics of this lashup are VERY VERY easy... it is comfortable and not the least bit cumbersome.

 
Mar 1, 2016 at 2:43 PM Post #730 of 881

krismusic

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I honestly think that you will be disappointed at how little difference an amp will make to the 6S. My suggestion is to buy from a dealer that will accept returns and judge for yourself.
 
Mar 2, 2016 at 12:55 AM Post #732 of 881

MxChino

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I honestly think that you will be disappointed at how little difference an amp will make to the 6S. My suggestion is to buy from a dealer that will accept returns and judge for yourself.


Agreed. After using a fiio x7 which many consider to be a totl dap, I went back to my 6s and returned the x7. The differences were negligible.
 
Mar 2, 2016 at 1:25 AM Post #733 of 881

Koolpep

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Agreed. After using a fiio x7 which many consider to be a totl dap, I went back to my 6s and returned the x7. The differences were negligible.

 
Did a DAP shootout. Once you volume match the output and use an inout switcher like the one in the picture to quickly swap between players/sources. you are surprised.
 
The "huuuuge" differences you thought you heard, become small and sometimes insignificant. There is clearly an exponential rule of diminishing returns at play.
 
Always good to make a proper comparison!!
 

 

 
Mar 2, 2016 at 4:13 AM Post #734 of 881

elfary

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Did a DAP shootout. Once you volume match the output and use an inout switcher like the one in the picture to quickly swap between players/sources. you are surprised.
 
The "huuuuge" differences you thought you heard, become small and sometimes insignificant. There is clearly an exponential rule of diminishing returns at play.
 
Always good to make a proper comparison!!
 

 

 
+1
 
For driving iems using a dap instead of an iPhone is just not worth it. In my view only placebo justifies it and being more focused in the sound than in the music.
 
The hugh loss in ergonomy and ubiquity outweighs (by a country mile) any marginal sound improvement.
 
I seldom add my dedicated iem amp to the iPhone 6 cause (even when sat at my desk) i'm just too lazy to open the drawer and assemble the thing (which has more hiss with my SE846s than the iPhone 6 hpo btw).
 
May be i'm growing old or wiser. Or both.
 
Mar 2, 2016 at 6:13 AM Post #735 of 881

krismusic

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Did a DAP shootout. Once you volume match the output and use an inout switcher like the one in the picture to quickly swap between players/sources. you are surprised.

The "huuuuge" differences you thought you heard, become small and sometimes insignificant. There is clearly an exponential rule of diminishing returns at play.

Always good to make a proper comparison.



+1

For driving iems using a dap instead of an iPhone is just not worth it. In my view only placebo justifies it and being more focused in the sound than in the music.

The hugh loss in ergonomy and ubiquity outweighs (by a country mile) any marginal sound improvement.

I seldom add my dedicated iem amp to the iPhone 6 even when sat at my desk. Just to lazy to open the drawer and assemble the thing (which has more hiss with my SE846s than the iPhone 6 hpo btw)

I reckon that many people do not take placebo and expectation bias into account when evaluating equipment and posting "impressions" on here.
A phrase that immediately arouses my suspicion is " night and day"! :wink:
 

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