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Line out dock vs. headphone out

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by norman314, Jun 22, 2012.
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  1. bigshot
    The DAC that is built into your iPod is as good as anything you will find in an external DAC. Save your money and put it into better headphones and music. Those are the things that make more of a difference.
  2. Spyro
      + 100!
  3. jsplice

    I have to disagree with this.  Primarily, this may be due to the amplification inside the iPod, but when I went from my iPod 5th gen to an iBasso D2 Boa back in 2008, I noticed a substantial difference in sound quality.  I'm referring to listening to the same music on the iPod, then listening to it via foobar in Windows, with the iBasso connected to the PC via USB.
  4. castleofargh Contributor
    there is difference, and there is better. 
    I'm one of those apple haters, so even if the next ipod was a little wonder, I guess my brain would still decide to not like the sound. but I still agree 100% with bigshot here.
    you pick your music, then try to find the headphone that makes it shine. and only then if the said headphone has needs of its own, provide to those needs.
    I'm saying this but I'm one to shoot in all directions at once ^_^. my audiophile trip is like some zen quest, I know what to do from the start, but it takes years to actually be able to apply it on myself.
  5. jsplice

    When we're talking about just ranking items according to their importance and impact on sound, yes, no one can really argue that headphones make the most difference.  The same applies to speakers.  I was just saying that I don't agree with the comment that the DAC/amp inside the iPod is hard to improve on.  There's also a balance to be achieved.  You can't just say "use the iPod with your $1000 LCD-2s".  There's certain point where if you don't upgrade other items in your arsenal, then you won't be getting anywhere near the full sound of of the headphones.  With that being said, I was able to hear an improvement in sound going from the iPod to the iBasso D2 when using even a relatively cheap pair of headphones, the Beyerdynamic DT-770.  With much more efficient earphones, the difference isn't as great, but it's definitely still there.  I'll do a better comparison with my Westone 3's once they arrive from Amazon this week.
  6. bigshot
    Try it out of the line dock. The line out on an iPod is audibly transparent. No coloration. It's as good as a standalone CD player. The problems people experience with iPods are usually due to impedance mismatches with headphones that the iPod's headphone jack isn't meant to work with. The headphone out is for portable headphones. The line out amped is for many home phones.
    You might be interested in this... http://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/ipod-touch-5g/audio-quality.htm
    the iPod Touch 5G is a wonderful high-fidelity audio source. While publications funded mostly by advertisements from makers of expensive cables, power conditioners and outboard DACs don't want you to know this, the iPod Touch 5G is a better audio source than most DACs will be when connected to a computer or CD transport. The only difference is that the iPod Touch has a level 6 dB lower than a proper CD player, but the iPod Touch still has more output at 1 V full-scale than some outboard audiophile DACs
    Stereophile review: http://www.stereophile.com/content/apple-ipod-portable-music-player-measurements
  7. castleofargh Contributor
    (off topic sorry) wow I remember reading with passion everything he posted in the early years of 2000 on photography I feel like I'm doing some internet archeology ^_^.
  8. portal2poe
    Ha!  I came across that site just a couple weeks ago, and read through quite a few of the audio reviews.  But since I'm so new to all this headphone stuff, and haven't listened to any of the equipment he's reviewing, I didn't know how much salt to take with his opinions, which are pretty emphatic.  
    I then did some googling on him.....some people love love love him, and others hate hate hate, and there doesn't seem to be much room in the middle.... 
  9. bigshot
    The thing to look at in that review is the measurements. Every one exceeds the perceptual thresholds of human hearing by a fair margin. You're not going to find better sounding equipment than audibly transparent equipment.
  10. harry501
    I know this is an old thread, but I have the Fiio X1 which sounds great with headphones straight into the Headphone jack. I was just messing around the other day and tried the line out option with an external headphone AMP (Topping Nx2) and using the same headphones it sounded noticeably much better. I use Grado sr80es and Senn HD25iis and both sounded better, better bass control especially. Even my IEM HiFiman e400s had more bass (which they lack).
    I then tried the same thing using the same headphones with my Fiio e10k desktop amp. Used the line out to topping nx2, and then to headphones (not speakers). Again I enjoyed the sound much more, actually was giving up a bit with Hd25iis but now they sound great, the bass control is outstanding imo.
    Going by what is being said (i think), does that mean the X1's internal amp is being bypassed? Also, is using the line out option with the e10k going into another amp (nx2) considered 'double AMPing'?
  11. castleofargh Contributor

    out of curiosity, a bunch of things to try:
    are you sure the EQ is off when using the HO?
    is the sound of the HO with volume maxed out into an external amp, also inferior to the LO into the same amp? (they should be pretty much at the same volume level that way if the EQ is OFF)
    double amping or not really doesn't matter if you have a preference in sound or usability with double amping, then just go for it IMO.
  12. Sp12er3
    2 question,
    1) when using a headphone out to an exteral amp, is it better to keep the Source volume at max or keep it slightly below that to keep distortion/ floor noise/ etc from happening?
    2) Does the sound sig of the source's amp will be kept and amplified by the external amp? ie Wolfson internal to Sabre external, will the sound that come out of the HO of the external amp soumd warmer?
  13. pinnahertz
    If you have your source up to max, and it distorts, what do you think you should do?  (Hint: if banging your head against the wall hurts, stop.)
    A good amp won't change any aspect of its input signal except to amplify it, and perhaps provide a different output impedance to the load.
    How would you connect a Wolfson internal to a Sabre external using the headphone jack?

  14. Sp12er3
    I ask question 1 as I find myself not hearing much distortion at maximum volume from the source (maybe they set the limiter quite low?), thus wonder whether it's alright to keep it go at max. As that way I'd have better headroom. Ah well, I'd be the judge myself when the time comes whether to choose battery life or driving power.
    For 2nd, oops, Sabre is a DAC chip isn't it? My b, I mean to say Cirrus amp.
    Now then, So you mean to say, the 1st amp (lets just sa its more warm than neutral) will not be affecting the sound coming out of the external, yes? It won't act as a pre amp to the external amplifier?
  15. pinnahertz
    A good amp will amplify its input. The "color" you refer to could in some cases be the result of the inability of the internal amp to drive a particular load well (should be rare these days). In that case, connecting the headphone jack to an amp effectively removes the load from the internal amp, and whatever distortion the load may have caused.
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