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Old 07-04-2009, 12:30 PM
anthony_samson anthony_samson is offline
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Default Recommended Portable Headphone Amp for Cowon S9 + Shure SE530

Hi guys. Tentative moments are here as I am making my first ABI post. So go easy on the content if something is amiss.

The Cowon S9 16GB will be with me very soon. But I have come across headphone amps as a useful option for increasing musical satisfaction.

Is there any reason to spend the extra cash on getting a portable headphone amp for this already decent duo - Cowon S9 + SE530?

I have not had much experience with headphone amps in the past. I have only tried the Fiio E5. This little amp provided the extra oomph that was needed to boost the sound level, bass and clarity of the weak Iphone output. It does the job but how would a more expensive portable headphone amp compare with the E5? i.e Little Dot MKI, CMOY etc

Does anyone know any dealers that allows the buyer to trial/test a headphone amp before buying?

I would love to receive some feedback from you guys.

Cheers
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Old 07-04-2009, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anthony_samson View Post
Hi guys. Tentative moments are here as I am making my first ABI post.
Welcome to abi, hope you enjoy your stay

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Originally Posted by anthony_samson View Post
Is there any reason to spend the extra cash on getting a portable headphone amp for this already decent duo - Cowon S9 + SE530?
I’d wait till after you have a few weeks on the new combo and if you find the se530s hiss too much you might want to try amping them.

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Originally Posted by anthony_samson View Post
how would a more expensive portable headphone amp compare with the E5? i.e Little Dot MKI, CMOY etc
Depending on who makes the cmoy and the quality of parts it's either worse, at par with the e5 or a little better. IMO the Little Dot MK I is a little better since the opamps installed w/a 8 pins IC-socket makes for easier to change to another OP amp.


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Originally Posted by anthony_samson View Post
Does anyone know any dealers that allows the buyer to trial/test a headphone amp before buying?
None that I know, but if you attend a headphone meet in your area there might be someone who owns one to let you test out. You can check in the head-fi forums to see where the closest meet might be.
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Last edited by WalkGood; 10-07-2009 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 07-05-2009, 03:08 AM
anthony_samson anthony_samson is offline
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Thank you for the quick reply, WalkGood.

I will get back to you on how the Cowon S9 + Shure SE530 sound asa the Cowon S9 arrives.

Isn't the Cowon S9 able to drive most headphones reasonably well (even Sennheisers HD650).

What causes the hissing anyhow?
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Old 07-05-2009, 06:21 AM
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… … Isn't the Cowon S9 able to drive most headphones reasonably well (even Sennheisers HD650).
The S9’s amp can not drive 300 Ω headphones the way they are meant to be heard, it just does not have the power, the hd650s need a good amp to drive them properly. When driven properly, the hd650s can produce a diverse sound range of audio performance from very low to acceptable highs and everything in-between. Without a good amp, they are not able to deliver their full potential of well known sound performance, defined instrument separation and soundstage that the hd650s are famous for.


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What causes the hissing anyhow?
The se530s are particularly sensitive (119 dB SPL/mW) iem's, which is strange as they do have a high enough impedance (36 ohm) to make you think other wise. Don’t get me wrong, many people don’t hear it, either due to age (me) or their hearing is off. If you do get hissing from them, then a portable headphone amp should be a good solution.
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Last edited by WalkGood; 10-06-2009 at 06:48 PM.
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Old 07-21-2009, 09:03 AM
anthony_samson anthony_samson is offline
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The combo sounds awesome! I thought I had heard it all using the Sony A-Series with the Shures, but this takes things to another level. You'd be surprised how much difference a change to a good audio source makes.

Regardless of the good sound from the combo, I decided to dish out on a Little Dot MK I just to see the difference it makes. I simply had to try it out. This was my first official headphone amp ever!
Well, the LD didn't change things must in terms of general listening, but I do feel it has made some kind of difference. Instruments sound punchier when the punch is needed. Bass is tighter and more powerful. Mids are as good as ever. However the hiss that was mentioned was still present. It was a different sort of hiss. You said that the hiss would be reduced when an amp is used. By the way, the LD was used at 75% on gain 4.
I gonna keep listening with the LD. Apparently a burn-in period is needed to get the best out of them. They sound great already. I can't wait!
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Old 07-27-2009, 03:48 PM
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I am interested in an e5, but I read some reviews about the E5 on the net, and people complain about the cables delivered with the e5(3.5 jack interconnect), and about interference due to lack of magnetic shielding(GSM/WiFi/Radio/nearby HDD??), can anyone tell his or her experiences with the e5?
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Old 10-06-2009, 06:20 PM
trautix trautix is offline
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omfg dude. seriously. Fiio E5 is extremely cheap amp with decent output and overall good performance. if u want better amp u gt invest 50+ dollars at least .i have fiio and i am pleased. (S9+ GradoSR125).dont worry about mag shielding so much. its meant to be in a pocket anyway.... so far ibasso t4 is only 30% better SQ, which doesnt justify prise increase. BTW Fiio E7 is gona be released this winter. cant wait for SQ to see how it will stand to i basso and others....
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Old 10-06-2009, 07:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anthony_samson View Post
Ö Ö However the hiss that was mentioned was still present. It was a different sort of hiss. You said that the hiss would be reduced when an amp is used. By the way, the LD was used at 75% on gain 4. Ö
Well I did tell you that the se530s are overly sensitive and that a portable amp should help. Unfortunately some ampís can introduce a little hiss as well, although I canít help but notice that you had it on gain 4, isnít that the highest or is 8 the highest setting? IMO with 36 ohm iemís you should have the gain on the lowest, the higher settings are for higher ohm headphones. AFAIK the Little Dot MK I is supposed to be able to drive up to 300 ohm phones, like the hd650ís, clock that gain back to see if it makes a difference in the hiss you are getting.

BTW you might wana try a little op-amp rolling too, here is a quote from dfktís recent amp review (front page) to give you an idea on some other op-amps:

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfkt
... I tried a few varieties and found the National LME49710 op-amps to be superior to the stock AD8610 in most aspects (less background hiss, somewhat punchier bass response). Burr Brown OPA627 were pretty much exactly the same as the AD8610, and Linear Technologies LT1115 didnít work at all in the MBE+ (loud oscillating sweeps, very noisy). Other op-amps that should work well are the Analog AD797, but I didnít try those myself. ... review link
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