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Small portable amp recommendation for a noob

  1. wdarner
    I am very new to the world of portable headphone amps but I'm pretty sure I need one. Nothing fancy, small and inexpensive is preferred. Here is what I am trying to do:
    I have a tv and DVD player set up in front of an exercise bike. I run video out to the TV but run an audio out cable from the DVD player to the bike so I can use my earbuds for sound. I use an old pair of Etymotic 6i IEMs that are 16 ohm and shouldn't require much power. The cable coming out from the DVD is male RCA plugs to female mini plug, about 12' long. I have a Koss Remote Volume Control, VC-20, plugged in to the extension, and the headphones plug in to there. Even with the volume control up all the way, the audio needs a boost so I feel a small amp would help in place of the Koss device. Small size is important because there is no good place to put a large device.
    Also wondering if an amp is all I need. Does getting a small amp/DAC combo help with the sound at all in this situation? Any advice on what I need generally or specifically is appreciated!
    FYI, I am able to use these IEMs directly with my iPod or phone with plenty of volume. I only need the boost when coming out of the DVD player.
  2. buke9
    https://www.brookstone.com/pd/big-b...j|cj|6172366|10373018|Brookstone.com+Homepage Out of stock right now but would work well for what you want. Not for sure if it is discontinued as I bought one just a few months ago and was in and out of stock quite a bit. After shipping I think I paid just around or under $20 usd. Incredibly versatile little unit as it is a Bluetooth receiver amp as well as inputs from a line out ( like your DVD player) and also spdif and usb. Sound is quite adequate (yes doesn’t rival the sound of my higher end dap or say a Chord Mojo) but it does have plenty of power though to run most of my over ear headphones.
  3. wdarner
    Thanks buke9, it looks like that would work well if it were still available. I decided to take a chance on the Fiio A1 from Amazon to see how if would work for me. I figured I could return it if it didn't do the job. Got it today and so far it has surpassed my expectations. Plenty of volume and even the standard EQ setting adds quite a bit of bass and fullness to the sound. The old Etymotics sounded clear but lacking in fullness coming from the audio out of the DVD player. Now the sound is full and much louder than I will ever need, and there is no hiss at all, which I was afraid of from reading the reviews of using this amp with IEMs. Time will tell how durable it is, but so far I am thrilled.
  4. buke9
    Well glad you are happy and that is all that matters. Reviews can be hit and miss as who does them.
  5. labrat
    The Brookstone amplifier is recommended, sound and function, as well as low price. They do pop up on eBay now and then, there is one there now!
  6. wdarner
    Seems highly recommended. I don't really need the bluetooth part for my application as I have to be hard wired to the audio out on my DVD player. But it would be useful to use with my phone for general listening. Anyone know if it's discontinued by Brookstone or does it just go in and out of stock? I like the Brookstone price better than paying a premium on eBay. I'll keep my eye out.
  7. labrat
    Brookstone has discontinued this item. Some companies had low price sellouts. What is available now seems to be last minute items found in a drawer or like. To say eBay has "premium price" is not vey accurate! You want it free?
  8. wdarner
    of course not.but the only ones I see on eBay right now are selling for $38.95 or so, and that IS premium price over what Brookstone was selling them for. Probably worth it, I just didn't want to pay that much for my purpose, so I got something else. If I see one in the future for less, I may grab one. I never said eBay has premium prices in general, but in this one case it's true.
  9. buke9
    $38.95 well more than double what I paid on Brookstone for mine like no more than 4 months ago so yes I would say a premium price if it were not discounted that could have something to do with it though.
  10. labrat
    I know some sites had them on sale for USD 20 some time ago.
    For US addresses only!
    I got mine for USD 50 with shipping included, and was happy about that price.
    The price Brookstone was selling them for while they were still in production was closer to USD 200!
    So to say the eBay price of USD 38.95 is a Premium Price is way over the top!
    All items that still have some interest after production, after sales offers, and supplies are down
    ,the prices will always go as high as buyers will accept.

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