android
Go Back   abi>>forums > General Audio > Headphone Amplifiers (Portable)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1  
Old 12-06-2011, 12:09 PM
Moyt's Avatar
Moyt Moyt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 103
Default Recommended amp for HD650 used with laptop and J3

Primary use for the HD650 is with this Alienware laptop, more than the Cowon J3.

Unfortunately the tech specs provided for the laptop sound card isn't of great detail:
Quote:
Audio and Speakers

Internal High-Definition 5.1 Performance Audio with WavesMAXX Audio (Standard)
Internal High-Definition 5.1 Performance Audio with SoundBlaster MB Software (Optional)
2.1 Speaker configuration with Subwoofer
Audio Powered by Klipsch®
7.1 Digital Audio out using HDMI out connection or S/PDIF Optical port .
If you need more information to better help me choose let me know and I'll see if I can find out more.

Considering I only want to spend say $100 on an amp I'm hoping something of that price range will suffice.
Would love to buy another headstage but that budget just won't cut it. I'm prepared to buy another though if it means getting the most out of the 650's.

Any recommendations / advice would be great thanks
Reply With Quote

Advertisement [Remove Advertisement]

  #2  
Old 12-06-2011, 12:13 PM
WalkGood's Avatar
WalkGood WalkGood is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: FL
Posts: 12,579
Default

Don't rule out used amps, I've seen some great deals on some.
__________________
WalkGood,
Ramón

abi >> | Forum Rules | Glossary | Why Rockbox | FLAC or MP3? | irc
Reply With Quote

  #3  
Old 12-06-2011, 12:40 PM
Syndrome's Avatar
Syndrome Syndrome is offline
Redneck Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 1,278
Default

Your going to want an external sound card(DAC) with that Notebook as well. I've got an Asus G73 and its sound card doesn't sound good enough for something like the HD650's. And I believe the G73 has better sound card than the M18x.

I would suggest the Echo AudioFire2. Or if you want something USB so it will be more compatible(say with notebooks like the G73 that are too useless to have an express-card slot) then you could get the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

And on a site note... Sweet rig. Wish I would have gotten Alienware instead of Asus.
__________________

Ruger M77 , Howa 1500 , Czech Republic 452-2E
Ruger .22 Single Six, Springfield Armory XD-9 , Springfield Armory XD45ACP
2007 Elite Archery Synergy

Gamo CFX, Gamo PT80
Large Rock


Need your headphones fixed or something soldered? Syndrome's Soldering Service
Reply With Quote

  #4  
Old 12-06-2011, 01:42 PM
WalkGood's Avatar
WalkGood WalkGood is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: FL
Posts: 12,579
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moyt View Post
... Considering I only want to spend say $100 on an amp ...
The FiiO E10 USB DAC/amp is around $80.00, I've not tried one but there's a few around here that have one.
__________________
WalkGood,
Ramón

abi >> | Forum Rules | Glossary | Why Rockbox | FLAC or MP3? | irc
Reply With Quote

  #5  
Old 12-06-2011, 02:59 PM
Moyt's Avatar
Moyt Moyt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 103
Default

Holy mother of.... *ahem* anyways back to reality

Sorry bringing out your quote from elsewhere WG:
Quote:
Originally Posted by WalkGood View Post
The 650s are not as hard to drive as most would have you believe, so any of the better Fiio or ibasso amps should drive them fine. I use mine from my laptop/Pico DAC/WA6 to HD650s. But there's plenty of times I've powered them from one of the two portables amps I own from a DAP but I don't recommend them much because they're expensive (Pico Slim and Pico amp/DAC), of the two Pico's I prefer the origional amp/DAC.

Edit: that said, I've tried the 650s from a lot of sources without an amp and sometimes they sound very good, YMMV.
That's some nicely detailed reviews there, I need to read into those. I have no idea on these things really, but that wa6 looks unreal like some device that's meant to resurrect the dead or something hah
Anyways lots of reading to do.
I will see how these 650s perform first without an amp, but don't get me wrong I will be buying one either way.
I've never owned a pair of full sized headphones so it should be quite an experience, and the last time I put some on is probably at HMV over 10 years ago listening to some horrible pop single most likely that made me cringe.
Should be interesting to see what a different experience I'll have compared to using the ie8 and the SM3 iem's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WalkGood View Post
Don't rule out used amps, I've seen some great deals on some.
I don't mind used amps at all, I'm even trying to settle for a used 650 to make way for more funding for an amp

Quote:
Originally Posted by Syndrome View Post
You’re going to want an external sound card(DAC) with that Notebook as well. I've got an Asus G73 and its sound card doesn't sound good enough for something like the HD650's. And I believe the G73 has better sound card than the M18x.

I would suggest the Echo AudioFire2. Or if you want something USB so it will be more compatible(say with notebooks like the G73 that are too useless to have an express-card slot) then you could get the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

And on a site note... Sweet rig. Wish I would have gotten Alienware instead of Asus.
You own and use 650s on your laptop as well?
I don't rate the soundcard on this Alienware at all. It's why I always jam my SM3's into these things rather than listen to the built in speakers.
See I need to know what decent options I can choose for the laptop side of things to use with 650s, because I haven't a clue in that department either.
Would you recommend I look for an express slot sound card instead (as the m18x has one) or would you personally stick to something like the AudioFire2.
I'm still not sure if that would cut enough for the 650's would it?
If so let's say I'm prepared to take the spending on a DAC/Amp to $500, then what are my options?

BTW the G73 was one of my first options before the m18x. I only managed to go for it because my insurance paid for my previous broken laptop so I could go the extra mile. But please don't ask me how much I spent customising it... my word it makes me cry

Quote:
Originally Posted by WalkGood View Post
The FiiO E10 USB DAC/amp is around $80.00, I've not tried one but there's a few around here that have one.
Cool, but now I don't want to settle for less.
I think the 650's deserve more than a $100 boost I'll have to recalculate my expenses. But it just feels horrible when you buy something, but end up spending a lot more on the 'extras'
I've come across the odd mixed opinions on the 650s, and I can only assume it's down to not getting enough out of their gear with poor setups. Up to $500 do me your worst
Reply With Quote

  #6  
Old 12-06-2011, 07:07 PM
WalkGood's Avatar
WalkGood WalkGood is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: FL
Posts: 12,579
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moyt View Post
… I don't want to settle for less. I think the 650's deserve more than a $100 boost I'll have to recalculate my expenses. But it just feels horrible when you buy something, but end up spending a lot more on the 'extras' I've come across the odd mixed opinions on the 650s, and I can only assume it's down to not getting enough out of their gear with poor setups. Up to $500 do me your worst
There are plenty of good affordable amps that will drive them, no need to spend that much. In my case I really wanted a well built desktop tube amp for the harmonic distortion and warmth. I also wanted something that would last for many years to come so I spent a little more but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to power the 650s to acceptable levels with a $100 or $200 DAC/amp. Or have you changed your mind in wanting something portable?

If you want SS desktop you'll need to add a DAC and that will drive the price up, you should look at the O2 which you can make or buy one pre-built for a very affordable price (IIRC $50 DIY and $135 ready to go) and take a look at some of the affordable DACs that dfkt reviewed. If you want tube, look to the Little Dot MK III, if you want to spend more and better build quality look at the WA3 or WA6, hard to match Woo build quality. If you want portable, I already made a few suggestions, even the Headstage Arrow that you owned would be very nice again … It seems you may have some doubts, so I would suggest to start out with something that is affordable and that will do the job. Just remember the 650s are very forgiving ...

BTW Syndrome's recommendation was great and affordable, I'd love to have a AudioFire2. If you have a firewire interface on your lappy that would be the way to go, but it's not for your J3.
__________________
WalkGood,
Ramón

abi >> | Forum Rules | Glossary | Why Rockbox | FLAC or MP3? | irc
Reply With Quote

  #7  
Old 12-06-2011, 08:14 PM
Syndrome's Avatar
Syndrome Syndrome is offline
Redneck Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 1,278
Default

I actually don't have the HD650's would love to, but would never use them because I've got speakers at my desk. But I believe dfkt has the 650's and he uses Echo's Audiofire line of sound cards. I think you will need an amp, probably best to go with a tube amp, but nothing beats the Echo for the money. Even if you a tube amp such as the Woo6, you WILL have to buy a separate sound card. The amp only boosts the power for the power hungry HD650's.
__________________

Ruger M77 , Howa 1500 , Czech Republic 452-2E
Ruger .22 Single Six, Springfield Armory XD-9 , Springfield Armory XD45ACP
2007 Elite Archery Synergy

Gamo CFX, Gamo PT80
Large Rock


Need your headphones fixed or something soldered? Syndrome's Soldering Service
Reply With Quote

  #8  
Old 12-07-2011, 06:31 AM
Moyt's Avatar
Moyt Moyt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 103
Default

@ WG - Thanks for the reply.
I don't think I'm going to be able to accommodate for the J3, so I might not be going portable.
I'll get a headstage arrow 4g for another time (only this time I'll try not to lose it! ). And seems as I won't be wearing the 650's outdoors, just using the SM3's with the J3 will do for now without a portable amp.
Quote:
the Arrow is able to drive any headphones <600 ohms with authority - headstage.com
...But then exactly how good is the Arrow at driving full sized headphones like the 650's?? Say in comparison to me buying a full on WA6? Just to have an idea of how big a gap in performance I would be missing out on.
I still need to read your reviews btw



@ Syndrome - Ahh got you, thanks. So which options would be best?
PCMCIA - Indigo dj
OR
FIREWIRE - AudioFire 2

The problem with the mx18 being that it doesn't have firewire.
But if it's worth the hassle going for the AF2 over the express sound card, then I could buy an express card with firewire instead, hook that up with the AF2 and take things from there.
And then to purchase something like a wa6 along with one of the above to drive the 650's?

Going off topic but, can I ask what speakers you use also?
Cheers.

Anyone please feel free to answer any of my queries also thanks
Reply With Quote

  #9  
Old 12-07-2011, 06:44 AM
Satellite_6's Avatar
Satellite_6 Satellite_6 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: VA, USA
Posts: 871
Default

Probably not best to go with a tube amp. Just to confuse you.

Personally I want the ODA but it won't be ready for a while.

atm I use HRT Music Streamer II -> Matrix M-Stage -> HD 650.
__________________
satelliteaudioblog.blogspot.com
Reply With Quote

  #10  
Old 12-07-2011, 07:05 AM
Moyt's Avatar
Moyt Moyt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 103
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Satellite_6 View Post
Probably not best to go with a tube amp. Just to confuse you.
*cries* whyyy whyyyyyyy?!? Actually don't explain I'm already confused as it is ..... actually no I changed my mind again I demand an explanation!

Quote:
HRT Music Streamer II -> Matrix M-Stage -> HD 650
Is that setup doing wonders for you?
Reply With Quote

  #11  
Old 12-07-2011, 07:30 AM
WalkGood's Avatar
WalkGood WalkGood is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: FL
Posts: 12,579
Default

I'm going to stop quoting you here and just make a few points towards your last post.

1. If you went Woo, no need for the WA6 unless you intended to use IEMs on it, the WA3 is less expensive and drives them fine. Again if you did go tube, you could go with the Little Dot as I stated before for a lot less spend. Also you'd still need a DAC, but there's a few very affordable ones that will do the trick.

2. I did mention above that a good way would be to go with the O2 as Satellite_6 mentioned again and it's very affordable.

3. No need to go with FIREWIRE - AudioFire 2 and the express card you mentioned as Echo Digital Audio offers PCMCIA Products (Cardbus Type II) if you have the slot ...
__________________
WalkGood,
Ramón

abi >> | Forum Rules | Glossary | Why Rockbox | FLAC or MP3? | irc
Reply With Quote

  #12  
Old 12-07-2011, 12:04 PM
Moyt's Avatar
Moyt Moyt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 103
Default

Ok I'll come up with something to get now, cheeeers!
Reply With Quote

  #13  
Old 12-07-2011, 01:10 PM
Syndrome's Avatar
Syndrome Syndrome is offline
Redneck Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 1,278
Default

Definately go with the AF2, its more compatible with other systems. And I would also go with an expresscard to firewire, they work tons better than the 4-port firewire which is usually standard on a notebook. I have a rosewill expresscard that has a TI chip in it.

It may be simpler to just go with the indigo, but if you ever upgrade to a desktop you wont be able to use it, and the AF2 can run stand alone, without being hooked to a PC(for instance if you play guitar). While the indigo wont have that feature.

One more thing though, if your running linux, then firewire might not work unless your a linux genius.
__________________

Ruger M77 , Howa 1500 , Czech Republic 452-2E
Ruger .22 Single Six, Springfield Armory XD-9 , Springfield Armory XD45ACP
2007 Elite Archery Synergy

Gamo CFX, Gamo PT80
Large Rock


Need your headphones fixed or something soldered? Syndrome's Soldering Service
Reply With Quote

  #14  
Old 12-07-2011, 05:29 PM
WalkGood's Avatar
WalkGood WalkGood is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: FL
Posts: 12,579
Default

Here is the assembled Objective2 (O2) amp that I was telling you about and here is the AC adapter as JDS Labs does not include it. Now all you need is a low cost DAC like the Creative X-Fi here and you can read NwAvGuy’s test on it here. This is a very affordable solution for the HD650s and seeing that they're 300 ohms this set up shouldn't give you any issues.
__________________
WalkGood,
Ramón

abi >> | Forum Rules | Glossary | Why Rockbox | FLAC or MP3? | irc
Reply With Quote

  #15  
Old 12-07-2011, 10:44 PM
Moyt's Avatar
Moyt Moyt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 103
Default

@ Syndrome. What's the significance of having a TI chip on an express card?
Point taken on going for af2 over Indigo io.
If the Indigo's weren't pricey then I wouldn't mind so much if they went to waste, if for example I did end up going desktop.
Unless there's a major advantage I'm missing out on (sound quality wise) not going the Indigo option.

Off topic but going back to your G73 laptop have you tried running it on a higher quality sample rate of 24-bit 192?:

Noticed much difference when playing back on your speakers?

@ WG - btw I was going to say the WA3 would work great for the SM3's as well, but that's only for SM3 v2 as they have much higher impedance. v1 is only 17 ohms I think?.... doh! But this may not matter as I have a feeling I may not want to use the SM3's at home when I get these 650's set up right. And looks like I'll be getting rid of the ie8's now.

Objective2 (O2) amp - will take 3-4 weeks to manufacture.... yikes Guess I've had worse waiting for an Arrow
And to go with that you're suggesting a low cost Creative X-Fi usb dac will do the job nicely? Again I need to read the review on that as well

Anyways I've done so much looking and hardly any reading. It's rare to come across people with the same setup there's too much out there.
Well HD 650's arrive on Friday so that's one thing out the way. I'll cook something up right (hopefully!) to drive those beats

Thanks again for your feedback everyone. Criticism more than welcome if you have a feeling I'm going to somewhat get this wrong with a ridiculous dac amp combo

Cheeeers!
Reply With Quote

  #16  
Old 12-08-2011, 01:06 AM
Syndrome's Avatar
Syndrome Syndrome is offline
Redneck Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 1,278
Default

I'm no expert in all of this, just saying what I was told. Basically if you get an expresscard>firewire with a real chip (Texas Instruments is just a brand) then it will work more flawlessly. If it doesn't have its own chip then it will basically be creating the signal virtually. At least thats how I understood it.

And just a personal opinion here, avoid Creative.. I've never had a single card from them that I have liked and I've had a few that I hated a good amount.
__________________

Ruger M77 , Howa 1500 , Czech Republic 452-2E
Ruger .22 Single Six, Springfield Armory XD-9 , Springfield Armory XD45ACP
2007 Elite Archery Synergy

Gamo CFX, Gamo PT80
Large Rock


Need your headphones fixed or something soldered? Syndrome's Soldering Service
Reply With Quote

  #17  
Old 12-08-2011, 05:46 AM
WalkGood's Avatar
WalkGood WalkGood is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: FL
Posts: 12,579
Default

I've been trying to present a low cost solution that works and works well, as I remember your original budget was $100.00. Don't forget to keep your feet on the ground, if you haven't already seen you'll soon see that you can get into the thousands for just one component and still spend more. I've seen set ups that far exceed $10,000

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moyt View Post
... @ WG - btw I was going to say the WA3 would work great for the SM3's as well, but that's only for SM3 v2 as they have much higher impedance. v1 is only 17 ohms I think?.... doh! But this may not matter as I have a feeling I may not want to use the SM3's at home when I get these 650's set up right. And looks like I'll be getting rid of the ie8's now. ...
I don't know the SM3 specs off hand but that's easy enough to look up. When I went for the WA6 I had in mind that I would be using IEM's from it, to be honest I rarely ever do. The WA3 handles headphones impedance: 30-600 Ohms and the WA6 handles headphones impedance: 8-600 Ohms (high/low impedance switch). If I were to get a Woo again, I'd go WA3 but then again tube amps may not be what you want. Either Syndrome's or my suggestions would be fine, but I would do as much looking and reading as you can. BTW the both the indigo and the AF2 are made by Echo Digital Audio
__________________
WalkGood,
Ramón

abi >> | Forum Rules | Glossary | Why Rockbox | FLAC or MP3? | irc

Last edited by WalkGood; 12-08-2011 at 06:54 AM.
Reply With Quote

  #18  
Old 12-08-2011, 05:02 PM
Moyt's Avatar
Moyt Moyt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 103
Default

@ Syndrome - Ahh I see now. I have to admit I've not been a fan of creative either, but that was a while back when I had a PC over 10 years ago. I know well enough not to use creative software if I ever resorted to using their hardware.
Anyhow looks like I won't be going by either of the express card, firewire or creative options now.

@ WG - Well I'm slightly levitated now, especially when against the original $100 budget.
I did sneakily say I'm upping to $500 though Now it could go beyond that, but hell no nothing like like 10k!! Not even $1000 I hope (depending on the amp).
Damn and I thought PC enthusiasts like to burn money.
But I see exactly where you're coming from with the creative and 02 combo as it suggests from nwavguy's tests that this is a good enough cost effective rig to drive the hd 650s.

Would have been very interested in the ODA if only it were ready and available.

Ok DAC wise...
I've decided on THIS Emotiva XDA-1 DAC. It's not the most fantastic choice (nothing seems to be these days unless you're spending insane amounts), but it's certainly good value for money and does well against the competition in its price range IMO.
Other DACS I had my eyes on were the Music streamer 2+ and the Centerance DACport LX

Hopefully no objections there

Amp wise, it's been advised to me before but can I ask why I may not go for a tube amp? Also why would you go wa3 than wa6 apart from costs?
I would have been interested to see what significant differences there would be between an o2 and a wa3/6 using hd 650s
What a bummer these things can't be tried out.

Ya was aware about indigo and af2 being Echo brands, I just thought one device might have had an advantage over the other (quality wise).

And I've still a hell of a lot more reading and learning to do 8(

Anyhow less than a day to go for the 650's to arrive

Last edited by Moyt; 12-08-2011 at 06:02 PM.
Reply With Quote

  #19  
Old 12-08-2011, 06:52 PM
WalkGood's Avatar
WalkGood WalkGood is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: FL
Posts: 12,579
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moyt View Post
... Amp wise, it's been advised to me before but can I ask why I may not go for a tube amp? Also why would you go wa3 than wa6 apart from costs? ...
That was Syndrome, I'll enjoy reading his response too Been a long time since I tried the WA3 but IIRC it should be transparent with the HD650s, I think the main difference: The WA6 drives both high and low impedance phones, if you will ever want to drive IEMs or other low impedance headphones, the WA6 would be the way to go. As the WA3 is not designed for low impedance headphones, it’s an OTL amp (output transformer less or look here), simply meaning it’s not designed for low impedance phones. But the WA3 will drive the HD650s and many other high impedance phones just fine, using the HD650s I couldn’t claim to be able to tell the subtle differences unless I had both side by side and even then I would be hard pressed IMHO. The price difference could be that good transformers are expensive, other than that on a quick look on Jack’s site you’ll see the spec differences like THD numbers, etc, etc...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Moyt View Post
... I would have been interested to see what significant differences there would be between an o2 and a wa3/6 using hd 650s What a bummer these things can't be tried out. ...
I wouldn't doubt to see the O2 at some of the annual meets in the near future, you're sure to see a lot of Jack's amps but AFAIK the only way to test these things out are at meets which all are welcome.

*BTW I'm very happy with my set up but in no way am I pushing it or tubes in my posts, that's a decision you'd have to make.

Edit: If you end up going solid state, you could always get a tube sound by picking the right VST plugins for your player. For example on foobar2000 you can look here and there's plenty for winamp too, I ran BBE on it.
__________________
WalkGood,
Ramón

abi >> | Forum Rules | Glossary | Why Rockbox | FLAC or MP3? | irc

Last edited by WalkGood; 12-08-2011 at 08:12 PM.
Reply With Quote

  #20  
Old 12-08-2011, 08:36 PM
Moyt's Avatar
Moyt Moyt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 103
Default

I thought it was Satellite6 not being big on the tubes

As regards to wa3 & 6, on paper it shows 6 has the slight upper hand. That still might make no difference for me, just one of those things again where I won't know unless I tried.
So really as I see it, it comes down to if I want to spend the odd $120 extra to get the wa6 for the sake of using iem's as well. That's even if I go for WA at all.

Why won't you push it to tubes? I guess there's still the o2 or Pico route

If there's ever a meet in the UK it won't be anytime soon, and I'm too impatient so I'll have to take a risk in deciding by reading more and get lured looking at fancy pictures.
Reply With Quote

Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:15 AM.