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Old 07-10-2009, 04:00 PM
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Default Fiio E5 and Sony MDRXD300, will I notice any improvement?

Hey everyone,

So, here goes as I suck up my pride and admit my noobish failures . I've recently purchased some Sony MDRXD300 headphones, and when I hook them up to my laptop and my respective MP3 players/Phone music players, they sound pretty good but I feel as though I could crank a more powerful crisper sound out of them. So I'm looking for some opinions on whether you guys think that a Fiio E5 would make any kind of a reasonable improvement. I've done some spec cross referencing and they should be well within impedance levels.

Fiio: 16ohms - 300ohms
Sony MDRXD300: 70ohms @ 1kHz


I know the Fiio E5 is definitely a starter amp, but come on, it's so cheap. But then again, it's cheap (it's cost makes me skeptical). The amp would mostly be used for home use in driving the headphones when connected to my laptop.

So I guess I'm asking, would it be worth grabbing an E5 or will it be a futile attempt at sound glory, also I'd rather not spend $100 US or more for a higher power amp, I'm on a tight budget here.

Also, if an E5 might be a worthy investment, does anybody know if head-direct ships to Canada? The UK Fiio supplier does, but the Amp would cost me upwards of $50 CND after shipping!

Thanks for the input!

P.S. I've been sucking up all I can learn about all about how audio systems work, it's really fascinating. My goal is by Christmas to build my own CMoy pocket amp (it's ambitious I know, but I don't think beyond reason)
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:28 AM
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Well...thanks everybody for jumping at the bit on this one. Anyways, in the latest series of developments I found a dealer that I could get the Fiio from for about $20 bucks CND plus free shipping so I'll test it out and send in my report to home base once the Fiio arrives. I've already established I can't use the Fiio on my current MP3's headphones, Sony MDR-EX85 their impedence is only 16Ohms so they'll hiss like a cobra on the Fiio, but we'll see how it goes.
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:37 AM
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Marvin the Martian Marvin the Martian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MojoPatrol View Post
Well...thanks everybody for jumping at the bit on this one. Anyways, in the latest series of developments I found a dealer that I could get the Fiio from for about $20 bucks CND plus free shipping so I'll test it out and send in my report to home base once the Fiio arrives. I've already established I can't use the Fiio on my current MP3's headphones, Sony MDR-EX85 their impedence is only 16Ohms so they'll hiss like a cobra on the Fiio, but we'll see how it goes.
The key to minimizing any hiss is have your DAP volume up real high and control the volume with the E5. I have no experience with your headphones, but I have used the E5 with 60 ohm headphones with success (KSC75). The option to turn the bass boost on or off is very nice.
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Old 07-14-2009, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin the Martian View Post
The key to minimizing any hiss is have your DAP volume up real high and control the volume with the E5. I have no experience with your headphones, but I have used the E5 with 60 ohm headphones with success (KSC75). The option to turn the bass boost on or off is very nice.
Fair enough, yeah my MDR-XD300 are running 70 Ohm impedence (and that's the original pair I bought the Fiio for) and I think the impedence on the higher end give more productive results. After reading about don527's rig on the front page of ABI he noted that he tried one pair of headphones at 16Ohm impedence and got some pretty solid hissing. He said when he upped the impedence though, that cleared it right up. Oh well, for 20 dollars I'll try it with anything ha ha
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Old 08-05-2009, 11:52 AM
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Cool, recieved the pick-up order yesterday so later today I shall go get my Amp and give it a test. I shall come back with a review upon arrival and testing
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Old 08-07-2009, 02:16 PM
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Alrighty everyone! Here goes.

After trying out my E5 for a couple of days I have to say I'm quite impressed thus far. I've tested the E5 with my MDR-EX85, MDR-XD300 and my crappy pioneer headphones and quite frankly have found all three to have slight gains from the E5, but mostly with the EX85's.

The EX85's: From all original reading I've been doing on the E5, many have noted that low impudence headphones around 16Ohms to 32Ohms have had trouble with "hissing". So respectively I was rather skeptical about trying the E5 with my EX85s consider they are only 16Ohms. But, I actually found that the driver handled them quite nicely and actually added a fuller sound, even more so than just my laptop or my E280 could provide. It sharpened out the mid-range and actually gave a bit more "OMF" to the lower bass end. It also made the tweets and highs a lot sharper too. I'm actually quite glad I had the option to turn down the volume down, things got pretty intense, a bit too intense for me actually.

The bass boost was actually quite neat as well, while the bass boost does detract from the trebles of the song making them sound almost hollow, or as if they were placed behind a thin pane of glass, the bass was amped up significantly. My head rung a little bit with the boost on, so any bass heads out there might get a kick out of it if that's really what you’re looking for.

Overall I also never heard any "hissing" at least that was audible to me. I could also adjust volumes on both my DAP, Laptop & E5 and not have any problems. It was quite a pleasant surprise actually.

Of course I never really listen to my music very loud so that may be why I never had this "hissing" problem. It's usually quite quiet, to the point where even with "leaky" headphones people don't usually notice me listening to anything, at higher volumes with more stress on the amp I may notice something, but for the way things went, I was quite surprised.

The DX300's: Running at 70Ohm impedance the DX300's ran well, even without the amp, but I always felt I could get a bit more out of them. Turns out I was right. Using the E5 did make a mild impact on the DX300's, especially with the Bass and sharpening up the trebles. No doubt they were good before, but they just sounded a bit crisper. Also the bass was increased as well giving it that etra bit of power to really bring out its full potential.

Also, no problems with hissing, and it was great once again to have that boost and volume function just to play around with for a different feel to some of my music that had otherwise been kind of "static".

Even with my crappy pioneer headphones I noticed a difference. While they were always rather "tinny" for over-ear headphones I chalked that up to the price and general design. But, using the E5 I actually saw some improvement. The sound was fuller/richer with more punch behind the bass and some actual life behind more of the treble without that tinny whine.

Generally I'm quite impressed. Who knows, maybe if I can find a cheap pair of really top end headphones I'll put the E5 to a real test. Personally I think that I'd get a bit more awe out of a higher power/quality headphone, but even for lower end headphones, I'm quite impressed. I'm looking forward to using it with my sound system when I get back to my apartment at university. Should be interesting to see if it can make any improvements there as well!
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