iPod Nano - does it need an amp?
Jan 19, 2007 at 9:00 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 22

OakIris

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I have decided to join the 21st century and get a portable MP3 player. Currently I listen to either redbook CDs or vinyl so have no MP3 library to download from - another project for this winter! Whatever player I end up with I will be using with either my Senn PX200 or Koss KSC-35 headphones. My primary music listening is done at home with, IMHO, much better audio equipment; I would only be using the player when I am "out & about" but I still want decent SQ.

I am seriously considering a Nano. Though a long time PC user, I bought a MacBook Pro at the end of last year, so the Nano would be a good match - and maybe working on burning MP3s from my CDs would help me learn to use the laptop.
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So, does the Nano need the use of a headphone amp to sound best? I currently have only 2 amps - the Supermini V.3 and a CHA-47 - that are portable, but would be willing to buy a better amp - maybe even the Hornet - if the opinion is that this will be a major improvement.

Another question - just to show how ignorant I am - if you use a headphone amp with an MP3 player, do you connect it to the headpone output or to the line out?
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Holly
 
Jan 19, 2007 at 9:13 PM Post #2 of 22

LFC_SL

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I think a far better way of going about things is commit to a DAP. Buy it and listen to it. You already have 2 amps. If you're not satisfied, then buy another amp

TBH I think buying better headphones than the ones you have is far more value for money and will offer a bigger performance boost than an amp
 
Jan 19, 2007 at 9:33 PM Post #3 of 22

OakIris

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Thank you for the response, LFC. You are right, I guess I should try the amps I have before spending lots more money on something better, but I still would like to know if people think the Nano requires an amp for optimal SQ.

What headphones do you suggest are better than the two sets I have? Remember these are only for outside of the house use...I don't want IEMs, as I do want to be aware of what's going on around me when I am walking, (and IEMs don't really appeal to me anyway.
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) I have some headphones that are way superior to the ones I listed in my OP, but they should only be used in the privacy of my own house.
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Holly
 
Jan 19, 2007 at 9:46 PM Post #4 of 22

abitdeef

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Heres the deal, a headphone amp gives you more power, dynamics and soundstage, especially on higher impedence phones. I would suggest you invest in some kind of line out cable as the line out is better amped than the headphone jack.

However most units sound really good out of the headphone jack, and despite how small an amp is, it is still an extra piece of gear to carry around. I have a nano and a 5.5g ipod and for most listening I use my shures, or my trusty senn cx 300's right out of the HP jack. I use my amp when I want to sit down and do some serious listening with my senn. 595's
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Oh, and you 2 sets of cans you have right now are probably 2 of the best if you don't want iem's for active use.
 
Jan 19, 2007 at 9:54 PM Post #5 of 22

LaBreaHead

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One advantage of a player such as the iPod Nano is its excellent portability. I realize amps can improve performance, but in loud environments or just for the sake of convenience, just how necessary is an amp for even a relatively discerning on-the-go listener? Obviously a question that must be answered by each person in his/her own way, based on preference, but ...

I like the way the Sennheiser PX100's sound with my unamped 2nd generation iPod Nano (supposedly better than the 200's, but I haven't heard those). They're open, lightweight and certainly very portable. Also, Koss's PortaPro's look kind of geeky, but sound very good on the Nano, too, as you no doubt can already can imagine from your Koss ownership.

You say you don't want IEMs -- does that also preclude canal phones that don't isolate quite as much, such as the V-Moda Vibes, Sennheisers, Creatives, JVC's, Jays, etc.? Very low-profile and ultra-portable ...
 
Jan 19, 2007 at 11:20 PM Post #6 of 22

3X0

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Technically, the iPod Nano does need a headphone amp to sound its best. This is true for the overwhelming majority of MP3 players. However, it does not need a headphone out to sound good.

I used to be a non-believer, but now I think amps make a tremendous difference. A simple $70 investment really made my $450 set-up sound like a $450 set-up.
 
Jan 19, 2007 at 11:33 PM Post #7 of 22

4metta

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A nano does not NEED an amp any more than any other mp3 player out there. An amp makes it sound much better but it is not necessary.

Why not just try the nano by itself for a while and see if you're happy enough with the sound first? And I HIGHLY recommend the nano. It's a fantastic little device with great software to go with it. Just get the black one which has the most space. It goes very nice with e500s ampless. I use mine like that in the gym all the time.

I also want to second what somebody already mentioned about loud environments: in those cases you won't hear the difference an amp provides. When it's quieter, though, it's very nice to hear high quality bitrate music amped from my nano and e500s.
 
Jan 20, 2007 at 8:13 PM Post #8 of 22

ComfyCan

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If you want to keep it simple, just plug into the nano and it sounds pretty good. For significant improvement, use a line-out cable and your supermini, and velcro the stuff together.
 
Jan 21, 2007 at 5:54 AM Post #9 of 22

alanz

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I am delighted with size and sound of an iPod nano combined with a Xin SuperMicro.
I'm currently using an 8gb 2G unit, but the photo below is of my older first generation unit. Using the line-out is a significant improvement, even using the inexpensive SIK Din connector.

smicro496.jpg
 
Jan 21, 2007 at 2:27 PM Post #10 of 22

Digitalbath3737

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I use the 1G Nano with my E500's no amp, and I'm very happy with the results. My current set up is all about getting the best portability with the best sound. So I don't want to include an amp with this set up. Having no amp doesn't prevent my from getting eargasms though
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Just try it out with no amp first for a week or two. If you enjoy the sound then don't try an amp. If you feel it needs more slap and amp on there... don't for get to use the line out though.
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Jan 21, 2007 at 4:57 PM Post #11 of 22

packetloss

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I use an Ipod mini and nano both with a Xin Supermini 4 (ALO bling bling lineout cable) and straight through the headphone jack. My headphones are ES500.

I find the sound through the headphone jack to be very good. It's slightly better on the mini, but it's very close. Through the Xin it does sound better. For my regular commute, I use them with the Xin. If I'm going to the airport I don't bring the amp.

Since you already have a supermini 3 you will probably be more than happy with that. If you want you can send it back to Xin to be upgraded to his new 4 channel architecture. It won't be exactly the 4, but it will have most of the new circuitry.
 
Jan 21, 2007 at 10:10 PM Post #12 of 22

abitdeef

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Quote:

Originally Posted by alanz /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I am delighted with size and sound of an iPod nano combined with a Xin SuperMicro.
I'm currently using an 8gb 2G unit, but the photo below is of my older first generation unit. Using the line-out is a significant improvement, even using the inexpensive SIK Din connector.

smicro496.jpg



Damn thats a small amp, I might have to reconsider and amp as being portable.I hear good things about Xins amps too. I currently have a minified pint v3, in a big-ish hammond case. I might have to check a micro out!

Sorry for the thread hijack
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Jan 22, 2007 at 1:16 AM Post #13 of 22

OakIris

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Thank you for all of your responses. I guess the Nano is indeed the way to go. I will try it un-amped and then with the portable amps I have to see which I prefer. If I decide the amped Nano is better, I will then decide whether or not I need a better amp.
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Jan 22, 2007 at 6:17 AM Post #14 of 22

alitomr

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I think you should consider the HD555 as the best upgrade you can get.I mean for an entry level in the $100 range. They are at $95 in amazon. I received mine last friday and I havent been able to take them off. Most people say they dont require an amp to work properly. I have to say the sound coming out of my zen with these is something I had never listened before but when I connect it to my receiver the sound is even more in your face and the soundstage broadens. A LOT. I am starting a thread to ask about this, because most people say they dont need an amp with the ipod, i dont know if the zen has a weaker output or they are not aying much atention to how much beter it gets whenconnected to a more powerful source.
 
Jan 22, 2007 at 8:46 AM Post #15 of 22

valkolton

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Personally I find the headphones, proper song encoding, and 2G Nano most important first, then later adding the amp. The encoding and source of the music especially can make a large difference with quality headphones.
 

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