line out vs. headphone jack
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Caboose

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Okay, bear with me as I ask what may be considered a newbie question. I am not an experienced audiophile but am interested in maximizing my headphone listening experience. I have a pair of E4's on order (from earphonesolutions.com by the way. may be a couple dollars more, but for the customer service, and the fact that they sponsor sites like this, what's the biggie?) so I'm about to venture out on my higher end listening adventure.
My question deals with whether I should be connecting to the "line out" jack or the headphone jack on my portable devices? I've seen a couple people make mention of this in a couple of threads, but there hasn't been enough accompanying explanation to satisfy my curiosity. I do think I know that you need some form of volume control on the downstream device (e.g. headphones, headphone amp, etc.) because the line out is not influenced by the devices' volume control, (or am I fill of sh**)?
What advantages are there to using the line out vs. headphone out? if any.....
Thanks.....and I know, I know........."Sorry about my wallet"
Boy, you guys aren't kidding. I'm already looking for another pair of headphones for home to replace my old Yamahas (YH-150?). Seems like a mouse took a liking to the cord.
Dean
 
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YngwieJMalmsteen

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The line out is used to bypass the ipods headphone amp, and connect your own portable headphone amplifier. Novices usually start with the go-vibe or pocket-amp, or you could get an SR-71 and just be set for a long time.
 
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joelongwood

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Caboose
What advantages are there to using the line out vs. headphone out? if any.....


Welcome, Dean. You made a nice choice with the ER4. Did you purchase the P or the S version?
As the previous poster pointed out, the line-out is used to bypass the internal amp of the source, so a higher quality amp can be inserted. With my iPod, I notice a distinct improvement when using the line-out/amp over the headphone out/amp. The sound is cleaner, more detailed, and the bass is tighter.
If you plug the ER4 directly into the line-out, you may find them too loud or too low in volume......plus, as you stated, you would have no control over the volume.
Of course, you are aware that this means that your next purchase will be a portable amp.
 
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gshan

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Caboose
What advantages are there to using the line out vs. headphone out? if any.....


From what I've gathered, yes - most audio player devices including discmans have built-in amplifiers that process the sound before you hear it through your phones. Some devices have weak amps, some have better ones. The major point of using a line-out would be for an external amp, because the sound leaving your player will be more "pure".

--

edit: oops, too slow to the reply =)
 
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Oliver :)

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Someone had the idea to connect the E4C to the iPod's line-out since it comes with a in-line volume control adaptor. This could actually work very well since the line-out sounds much cleaner (as it should be in most devices, sadly it is not always the case). It of course adds a bit of cable hassle, but possible still better than also having to lugg an amp. I'll definitely try it should I get some E4Cs.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE should you try this WITHOUT such an inline volume control turned ALL THE WAY DOWN at the beginning, expecially NOT with CANALPHONES. Otherwise you could well kiss your eardrums buh-bye.
 
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Caboose

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Thanks for the replies everyone.
I went with the non-C E4's (the black). I'm not an Ipod guy, so the white wasn't my cup o' tea. I'll be using them with my XM Radio Myfi, PDA, Discman and notebook computer (which, ironically, has an Ipod color scheme) until I decide to buy an MP3, and I'm leaning toward an Iriver - but that's totally OT.
Now that you mention it.......I am looking at buying a portable amp.......Gee, I wonder how I got THAT idea? I'm starting to get an idea for a HeadFi promotion......Here's your wallet before HeadFi (picture of a feedlot-fattened steer): and here's your wallet after HeadFi (picture of the bony, leather-covered carcass of a dessicated cow left in the desert)....But I digress...again.
The only thing I worry about is forgetting to make sure the volume control is turned down 'cuz I know what the results could be. Do that once and my not-even-here-yet E4's would sound lke...*GASP*....stock earbuds.
Thanks again for the help you guys. I expected no less

Dean
 
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gratefulshrink

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Quote:

Originally Posted by YngwieJMalmsteen
The line out is used to bypass the ipods headphone amp, and connect your own portable headphone amplifier. Novices usually start with the go-vibe or pocket-amp, or you could get an SR-71 and just be set for a long time.


ok, but you should be balanced and mention the price differential ($60-70) for the go-vibe or pokcet amp versus $395 for the SR-71. I would argue that with the $330 savings, Caboose could get two amazing sets of cans. Then, maybe a month or two later, spring for the SR-71 anyway hahaha
 
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Caboose

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I was going to say that you know me too well, but then I realized something......Everyone here is like that!! Hence the wallet warning and the widely-used "Upgraditis" term. I'm making it my Memorial Day resolution to not spend more than $100.00 on an amp.....I won't, I won't, I won't..................So, tell me more about this SR-71 thingie, the name intrigues me

Dean
 
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socrates63

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Quote:

Originally Posted by gratefulshrink
ok, but you should be balanced and mention the price differential ($60-70) for the go-vibe or pokcet amp versus $395 for the SR-71. I would argue that with the $330 savings, Caboose could get two amazing sets of cans. Then, maybe a month or two later, spring for the SR-71 anyway hahaha



This is EXACTLY why I went from a cmoy directly to the SR-71. I know myself (which means I'm on the way to enlightment some day
) and if I went with cheaper amps, I'd eventually succumb to upgraditis.

OP, good luck with your amp search. Just remember -- know thyself.
 
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Caboose

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Hey Socrates, you live "just down the street" from me. I'm in Mount Vernon (you know - where the tulips are). I know some folks from Bothell.
 
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donaldekelly

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The portaphile amp is close to the SR71 in some people's opinions (see portaphile owner's thread) and only about $180.

IRivers - at least the H120, H320, H340 series - their line out is adjustable in volume and is almost as strong as the headphone out - and much less total harmonic distortion according to measurements. So, a very viable option for canalphones and a lot of headphones - without an amp.

edit:

IRivers are not quite as EQable as Karmas are, and some other sources - I hear. You can't do negative EQing that you might want to do to adjust to certain phones.
 
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socrates63

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Caboose
Hey Socrates, you live "just down the street" from me. I'm in Mount Vernon (you know - where the tulips are). I know some folks from Bothell.


I missed the tulips this year. I was there last year though. I have a friend in Mount Vernon so I drive up there once in a while.
 
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