iPod Classic... worth amping?
Feb 27, 2008 at 9:45 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14


100+ Head-Fier
Jan 25, 2008
I was afraid this would happen. After a very brief membership at Head-Fi, I'm already considering amping. I was warned....

Anyway, I'm running an iPod 80G Classic, and I'm considering a microshar amp (based on the lengthy and in-depth amp review thread here).

I'd like to hear from anyone who is amping a Classic. Ideally with the microshar, but really anyone's iPod Classic and amp combo thoughts would be helpful... especially if you found it not to make much difference in SQ.

Currently I'm using Sennheiser CX300's as my earbuds, but I'll likely soon be ordering a set of Denon 700's.

Again, my apologies if this same question has been asked and answered multiple times.

Feb 27, 2008 at 10:42 PM Post #2 of 14
IMO it depends on the application of the amp. If you're simply amping the headphone jack, you won't hear much difference, and it might amplify elements of the jack's sound you don't like (this happened to me) such as hums or other such things. However, if you're planning on doing a line out dock, and bypassing the headphone jack: 1. You would have to amp it as the volume control is disabled. 2. It does make a significant difference with high quality tracks.

With your earbuds, I'm not sure how much of a difference you would hear, as I've never had the chance to listen to them.

Oh, and for reference: I use an 80 Gig iPod with LOD to a Headroom Total Airhead with a pair of Shure e3c's.

Hope this helps.
Feb 28, 2008 at 12:11 AM Post #4 of 14
If I'm reading the specs about the iPod and the microshar correctly, it could be connected from either the headphone jack, or the dock port. Is the dock at the bottom of the iPod the same thing as a line out? I don't really know much about all of this, but am anxious to learn.

Feb 28, 2008 at 6:12 AM Post #5 of 14

Originally Posted by TickTockMan /img/forum/go_quote.gif
If I'm reading the specs about the iPod and the microshar correctly, it could be connected from either the headphone jack, or the dock port. Is the dock at the bottom of the iPod the same thing as a line out? I don't really know much about all of this, but am anxious to learn.


Personally I would not invest in the microshar. I'm using an 80g ipod with a put together line out I bought. And I bought the kick ass MK1. Not to many people talk about the MK1, they are too busy talking about the Pico ect...

which imo is overhyped. The MK1 sounds better then most higher end amps,
Don't tell David tho he might up the price

The best bang for your buck.
Invest in the MK1 for $140 which a High quality mini to mini is included.
Then buy a dock. With this simple set up you will be VERY happy and it hangs with set-ups 3 times the price. Below are some good links. Which save ya $$$$$$ The thing about this site is you have to take some things with a grain of salt. Mainly the hole cable debate...If people wanna spend $200 on a LOD more power to them...I'd bet my left nut in a blind test with their set up against what I'm using they wouldn't be able to choose

Ipod dock-Same as Turbos 1/3 the price-free mini to mini but the mini is on the cheaper side. but still FREE. He sells white as well for $9
IPOD LINE OUT DOCK WITH STEREO JACK(BLACK VER.2)W/CABLE - eBay (item 290209780204 end time Mar-03-08 17:23:09 PST)

Mk1- Buy far the best bang for your buck. the op is socketed as well so you can change the ops easy and find the perfect one for you. I'm using the stock because it is a little on the forward side so it works very well with DT770s. Also David has the BEST customer service out there period. The amp also includes a mini to mini that is VERY high quality. It's a Choseal, which is very good.

Little Dot MK I Portable Headphone Amp Amplifier! - eBay (item 190201510706 end time Mar-02-08 05:42:11 PST)
Feb 28, 2008 at 6:14 AM Post #6 of 14
That's correct line out refers to the audio coming out of a dock adaptor at the bottom and not the headphone jack. The signal coming out here is straight out of the iPod's digital to analog converter and since it is less processed and not attenuated electronically it has much less white noise and better SQ in general. However, since it is line level out there is no volume control and so must be amped in order to produce listening level sound.
Feb 28, 2008 at 6:24 AM Post #7 of 14
Personally I think the headphone out of the Classic is a step up from the 5 and 5.5. I think that it sounds very good direct. Cans used are HD600, DT990, CD3000, SA5000, D1000, F1. Buds are iM716, E888, EX90, EX71, EX51, Q-Jays. SQ is fine for normal listening direct. Amped HP jack is not much of an improvement. Amped line out there is a increase in energy and volume but not SQ compared to the HP jack direct.
As for docking devices, go custom. All mass marketed docks I've tried the line out sound terrible because of tiny traces on the board or ribbon wire.
In case someone ask. Home amps are NAD 325BEE and LB II. Portables are P2 & Headstage. As for the Microshar, I returned it.
Feb 28, 2008 at 11:42 AM Post #8 of 14
One of my portable combos is a 160gb Claasic -> ALO Cotton Dock -> RSA SR-71 -> Alessandro MS2's. Excellent combo. The SR-71 is a portable powerhouse that works really well with the iPod and MS2's.

Feb 28, 2008 at 11:48 AM Post #9 of 14
if you put the volume to 80-90% on the ipod and go straight from the headphone out, a good amp will only pick up on the signal and it should sound very good from the headphone jack. the amp will remove the low imp requirements of the headphones, making the amp much like a line out, just pre-amped. the phones should sound different. the bass-roll off should be gone!
Feb 28, 2008 at 12:00 PM Post #10 of 14
Done via the line out,yes it is worth doing.

One thing I learned is its better to buy something better in quality,farther up the totem pole and get it over with.
Feb 28, 2008 at 2:04 PM Post #11 of 14
I just upgraded from a good quality mini to mini cable to a Qables Silvercab LOD to mini. I have a 80gb ipod too. Great improvement in SQ - definitely worth the money.
Feb 28, 2008 at 2:16 PM Post #12 of 14
I don't think you even need those high-priced fancy LOD's to hear the difference between the line-out and the headphone-out.
I use my 80gb Classic with a Crossroads LOD that came with x3i (no idea why it did but I'm glad), my DIY mini-mini IC, and Headsix amp. The sound is awesome.
Feb 28, 2008 at 4:44 PM Post #13 of 14
Much thanks for all the replies everyone! Useful information. Just what I was looking for!

Feb 28, 2008 at 5:38 PM Post #14 of 14
yeah, so read up on the different amps, preferably skylab's review of 32 portable amps and see what you like. you can go the route of getting the best amp right away, or going slow and getting a cheaper amp first to see if you can hear any improvements. then slowly upgrade at will. i find that process more enjoyable... and besides, even if you get the 'best amp', you will always be wondering what other amps sound like and hence the process never ends....

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