Will a separate amp make a difference?
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Malphas Wats

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Hi, first post, but I've been lurking around for a month or so.

I have a Rio Karma and a pair of Shure E2c 'phones (Thanks to here) and I've just ordered a truck full of components to build a CMoy headphone amplifier.

I fancied having a go at building it anyway, just for a laugh, but I'm just wondering how much of an improvement in sound quality I can expect to get from it, assuming of course that I make a reasonable job of sticking all the bits together and lay-off the sellotape?

It cost me just under £50 by the time I'd bought 10 of everything because RS-components only sell most stuff in 10s, so I'm hoping for at least something in addition to the inital fun of building it.

Thanks very much.
-Malphas
 
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violeta88

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Yeah, even a Cmoy will make a difference over the headphone jacks in portable CD/MP3 players and also the jacks in home theater components (ie: receivers). The opamp you chose will have a large factor on the improvements you notice, but after the amp is broken in for 20 or so hours you should notice that the treble is more open and airy with the amp vs. non-amped and also that the bass is better controlled. You might also notice a slight to moderate increase in the level of the bass since more current is going to the headphones and they are better controlled with the amp. Good luck with your Cmoy. I spent around $500 building them and none of them are working presently
I ended up just having someone else build me a MINT. Hopefully yours works from the beginning!

Eric
 
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Malphas Wats

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Cool, thanks, I'm quite excited about all the bits getting here, hopefully they should arrive tomorrow. My soldering skills are roughly on a par with my Kung Fu skills and my brain surgery skills so I'm guessing that my first attempt will need some 'tweaking' but I'll save all that for the DIY forum
 
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Earwax

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"Will a separate amp make a difference?"

It depends on your headphones and source. I'm finding that a CMOY makes a big difference with the E3s and a wimpy source, it helps perk up the recessed bass and treble. It's best if you can run the amp from a real line-out jack, if all you've got is a portable with only a headphone out, the amp will make less of a difference and may even hurt if your headphones are already very efficient.
 
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violeta88

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I've also noticed that if you are using a cold or bright source that the amp will magnify those bad qualities, so it's good to have a warm or more neutral source that has a cleaner treble, especially for headphones that are very efficient and/or bright. The only source I have that is tolerable is my Sony D-EJ621 discman with line out (it's headphone out sucks though). My Aiwa XP-EV501R is similar, though it only has a headphone out and doesn't have as good of bass control. But it's a good idea to let your amp "break in" by using it for at least 20 hours before you pass judgement on your source or the amp since Cmoy's and similar solid state amplifiers tend to be a tad hard/bright the first 20-100 hours that they are being used. Good Luck!
 
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