looking for the least expensive portable amp that can drive 400.ohm headphones.
Apr 7, 2015 at 10:28 AM Post #2 of 8

billybob_jcv

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400 Ohms & 94 dB/mW - you need some power. I think I would look at the Schiit Valhalla 2, or if you don't want to spend that much, you could try a Magni 2. I think I would stay away from the Fiio products for this application. In my experience, they tend to struggle in situations of high impedance and low efficiency.
 
Apr 7, 2015 at 11:47 AM Post #3 of 8

CrystalT

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A creative soundblaster e1 is capable of driving headphones up to 600 ohms and its the same hardware as the fiio e7k. Would that be sufficient?

I'm looking for the least expensive options currently. Ideally sub 100
 
Apr 7, 2015 at 1:10 PM Post #6 of 8

cel4145

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I don't see anywhere in the review urging me away from the product.


"As a USB DAC+amp, the max output is about 1.93V. As a pure headphone amp, E1 has a gain of 6dB. It can actually pump out higher volume as a pure headphone amp than as a USB DAC+amp, probably due to the limited volume coming out of the DAC section. That means that although Creative claims that the E1 can drive headphone up 600ohm, you might not get enough volume if the headphone sensitivity isn’t high enough. "

The sensitivity of your headphones is pretty low.

Is there something in my price rage that would perform better?


Sorry. I don't know what to recommend since portable headphone amps are generally generally designed for lower impedance headphones. But, I doubt you'll find a portable amp "that can drive this beast" for under $100. If I had to guess? The E11K headphone amp seems like it should be better. But as billybob said, it really depends on how it was designed to deal with high impedance, low sensitivity headphones. Maybe you might ask in ClieOS thread for sub $100 portable amps and see what he says: http://www.head-fi.org/t/596482/the-sub-100-portable-amps-shootout-11-1-amps-compared
 
Apr 7, 2015 at 9:02 PM Post #7 of 8

billybob_jcv

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Sound card mfrs love to say things like "up to 600 ohms" - but they put absolutely no specs behind their claims. How many milliwatts can it actually produce at 600 Ohms, and at what level of distortion?

So - let me ask this: If you plug those headphones directly into the headphone jack of your PC or your phone, what do they sound like?

Your best bet under $100 is probably double-amping off your PC by connecting a Schiit Magni2 to your PC headphone jack. If you must have portable, then you can try the E11K directly off your phone's headphone jack.
 
Apr 8, 2015 at 7:07 AM Post #8 of 8

CrystalT

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Sound card mfrs love to say things like "up to 600 ohms" - but they put absolutely no specs behind their claims. How many milliwatts can it actually produce at 600 Ohms, and at what level of distortion?

So - let me ask this: If you plug those headphones directly into the headphone jack of your PC or your phone, what do they sound like?

Your best bet under $100 is probably double-amping off your PC by connecting a Schiit Magni2 to your PC headphone jack. If you must have portable, then you can try the E11K directly off your phone's headphone jack.

 
Plugging in to HPO on laptop and phone sound is quiet and rather weak. ipod nano 6g and zune hd 16gb can drive them reliably for home usage, but not quite well enough for portable usage. Being that they're semi-open, outside noise is a factor.
 
From experience double amping is fine. I have a home receiver that can drive them to adequate levels when double-amping off my laptop, provided all digital volume is set to +0dB.
 

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