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Will an amp blow me out of the water?

  1. BlackSushi222
    Hey guys, so right now I am using an Equation Audio RP-21 out of my Creative X-Fi Titanium sound card, with it EQd a bit in the bass region and to me it sounds great.
     
    However I'm lookin into amps (since this hobby is too addicting), and I read about the PA2V2 from Gary. For the price, it looks great, and I am wondering if this amp + soundcard + headphones would make my eyes go -> O_O.
     
    How about my 32 ohm (easy to drive) JVC HA-S650 for portable use from an Ipod Touch 3G? Would it also make me go -> O_o?
     
    I wanna know if it's worth buying an amp. Thx.
     
  2. ford2
     
     
     
    Try before you buy,it will save you a lot of heartaches,not to mention a lot of other things.
     
  3. stang
    I don't find amps make a night and difference. The actual night and day differences I have heard are from software tweaks. I would give the PA2V2 a shot anyway. It will give you an idea of what an amplifier does. But always put headphones before anything else, imo. I actually put source last on my list strangely enough. I did AB my $150 Zero DAC to a Matrix Mini-i $300 DAC and only found a tiny difference, so I guess that is why. Only single ended though...
     
  4. Uncle Erik Contributor
    It depends on your headphones. Some headphones really open up and sing on a good amp and some don't. I've seen a few people gobsmacked when they finally hear what their headphones are capable of, while other cans are just fine right out of an iPod.
     
  5. TheAudioDude
    I used an old Kenwood stereo receiver to power my D7000s for a couple of months before I got my WA22.  I was expecting to be blown completely out of the water, but at first I was a little disappointed that I paid close to $2k for pretty much the same sound.  Jump forward about 10 months, and I feel like that money was very well spent.  I'm loving my WA22 and tube-rolling is incredibly fun.  I'm tempted to try out my old Kenwood receiver, but sadly (or happily) I re-terminated my D7000s to an XLR connection.  I'm very certain it would sound like utter crap, though.
     
  6. WyldRage
    Yes, though it depends on your headphones and your ears. I have been blown away twice by amps: when I first heard my MiniMax, and a week ago, when I first heard my Castanet. And this was through my Alessandro MS-1i, a 100$ pair of headphones. I do not know your phones, but I would say that if they are heavily coloured, amps will not help.
     
  7. BlackSushi222
    Hmm, the RP-21 isn't colored at all to me, that's why I needed to bump some frequencies a bit to get it to where I like the sound better for a gaming/musical experience. The thing is, I use that only for at home.
     
    The HA-S650 which I use on the go sound pretty neutral too, almost like the RP-21s, so if you're saying colored phones won't make a difference with an amp, then these 2 mentioned might sound really different? Even if the cans are easy to drive like 32 ohms?
     
    Oh and where could I try these amps? Idk any stores in Germany, Munich specifically that have that, if there are can some1 tell me?
     
     
  8. WyldRage
    Alessandros are Grados, and they all are 32 ohms, and my MS-1i responded well to my amps. I do not know your 'phones, so I can't help you there, trying them out is the right idea. I don't know if you'll be able to find them in stores however, I have never seen any.
     
    Amps can help, but could also hinder, since they also give some colour: I find my MS-1i too bright and fatiguing with my Speedball Crack, due to impedance mismatch. They still deliver better details, a livelier sound and better transients, but I can't listen to it for long. If you are looking for tube amps, check the specs: they often (not always) have high output impedance, especially OTLs.
     
  9. jdkJake
    Don't forget to pay attention to your source as well. You know the adage, crap in, crap out.
     
    Then again, a good amp will take the line out of an iPod to a new level. At least I found that to be true.
     
    Just remember, it is a journey and not a destination. Finding nirvana might take a few unexpected twist and turns until you find a sound you like.
     
  10. BlackSushi222
    I'll take you guys' word for it. I guess I'll embark on a journey in hopes to finding sound fit for me. Thx guys, that will do.
     
  11. BlackSushi222
    Hmm maybe one more question.
     
    From what I read, the headphone out is also like an amplifier in a way?
     
    So if u were to connect the amp to that, then to the headphones, the sound would be like double amped?
     
    Is that suggested? And will that cause any type of abnormalities in sound? And if so, an LOD hooked up would be better?
     
    Also I noticed, even tho the Ipod EQs suck, that both RP-21 and HA-S650 were barely affected by any of the EQ settings making the music sound dull or cut off (is this clipping?), and no EQ was the best setting. Idk if that has any relation to how it would react to an amp, since the PX100-II I used to own reacted to the EQs really well.
     
  12. tvrboy
    I have never heard your specific headphones, but I have experience with lots of other models (high and low end) and I can tell you an amp won't make a large difference with your headphones. Your models are designed for the typical consumer to use with a sound card or ipod. An amp will make a difference, but it will be a tiny gain, and you may not be able to hear the difference. It's not worth the money to buy an amp with your current headphones. You will get much better sound quality if you step up to quality headphones like the Grado SR-225i.
     
    A dedicated desktop amplifier is only necessary with certain kinds of headphones that are difficult to drive. As you go up in price, headphones tend to have more specialized designs that are more difficult to drive well. There are exceptions (Grados and Ultrasones are very easily driven) but the majority of high end headphones require an amp. How difficult a headphone is to drive depends on its sensitivity and how its impedance reacts with the amplifier's output impedance (impedance changes with frequency). This topic is more than I can cover in this one post, so do some searches about these words. For you, I would not recommend buying an amplifier. Put that money towards better headphones and you will hear much more of a difference. You can find many good entry level headphones at $100 - $150 that run just fine from an ipod. I haven't owned or listened to all of these, so you can do a search to read others' opinions.
     
  13. BlackSushi222
    Alright thx tvrboy.
     
    I'll hold out on an amp for now. Thx for saving me money hehe.
     

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