Which MP3 player is a good match for Etymotic ER4P?
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Fourgates

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Hi,

Stumbled on this site a while back and was impressed with the wealth of info. Lots of good stuff!

I have recently became more attracted to portable music and am now in the process of looking for a good MP3 player that will mate well with my Etymotic ER-4S. My other headphone is the Grado SR-80. Needless to day, neither will be easy to drive. I know about cmoys and headphone amps, but I really don't want to go down that road yet. I'm open to suggestions and haven't count out any particular players out there. I know the best thing to do is to audition all the different players, but I'm not really inclined to "buy" something with the intent to possibly return at a later date. If you guys can help me narrow it down to a few it'd be great.

Thanks in advance.

/f

: edite: Mistakenly typed ER-4P instead of ER-4S
 
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Fourgates

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I've just tried the Zen Micro and found the headphone amp terrible for my Etymotics. I had to turn the volume almost all the way up to get a decent sound and there's not bass. I'll be getting an amp soon.

Which players has a clean line out and support Flac? Something larger then 5gb would be nice too.

Thanks.

/f
 
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seeberg

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If you're running just the ER4S, and not the ER4P with S adaptor, you'll need an amp pretty much no matter what. Reason being, there's no portable player out there(to my knowledge; correct me if I'm wrong) that is set up to play any headphone with 100+ ohms of impedance with any kind of generous volume. The ER4P was made for this purpose, with 27 ohms impedance, and you can get a P->S adaptor to convert it to the ER4S for high power drive, but you'll definitely need an amp to fully realize their potential(and boy do they have potential!).

As far as searching for suitable portable players (DAPs), I can't be of any sufficient help yet. I'm about to get mine, and almost no one at HeadFi knows anything(except maybe like 3 people or something)about it, it's the Entempo Spirit.

,
Abe
 
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episiarch

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I agree with seeberg. The only MP3 player I know of that's really a good match for an ER-4S (or an ER-4P for that matter) is "one to which you've added an amp."

Not that a naked iPod will fail to power the ER-4S to a very high level of quality; even unamped it will still sound quite good. But you'll have the volume turned up close to max, and you won't get anywhere near all the sonic excellence that that earphone is capable of.

Luckily for you, the portable-amp space is really active right now. There are lots of good choices (upon which I'd happily elaborate further, but there are plenty of other threads that address that). The choices are so good that even if MP3 players had better internal amp sections than they currently do, I'd probably still go with a dedicated external amp to get all the Etys have to offer.
 
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Fourgates

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I'm currently trying the Zen Micro and I have to say I'm not impressed. Sounds ok, controls are ok, and navigation is just-ok. Actually the sound is not ok with my headphones. I've looked around for headphone amp and really didn't see any negative reviews about any of the amps. I guess going from no amps to amped is drastic, but not many people have really done A/B comparision between the headphones. Picked up a Maxi Moy from Ebay last night and have them upgraded the opamps to Burr Brown OPA627. The price was right so it wasn't much risk buying it without auditioning.

I'm interested in the Iaudio X5. On paper, the FLAC and OGG support sounds great. Line in and line out are also bonus. I can careless if it plays movies, but since it does, it's a plus also. It's very new so I haven't read much about it yet. Are there any comparable players out there?

/f
 
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