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  #1  
Old 06-04-2007, 04:00 AM
origami origami is offline
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Default Portable Headphone Amps

Does anyone know wheter these have any effect apart from making your music louder? Also can anyone suggest a decent brand/model to look out for?
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Old 06-04-2007, 07:03 AM
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That depends entirely on the phones you use. Generally speaking, for phones under 80 Ohm impedance, driven by a decent powered DAP, they make little sense. Of course there are exceptions to that rule (low-impedance AKGs or Grados might benefit a lot from amping, even the Koss KSC-75 might sound better).

Besides making the sound louder, headphone amps should make the sound "better" - better focus, bass extension, soundstage, clarity.

For decent entry-level amps, you might look at the Go-Vibe or the PA2V2. For the high-end, some of the most respected portable amps are the RSA Tomahawk or Hornet, the Xin Supermicro IV, or the LaRocco PRII.

I have the PA2V2, and it adds virtually nothing to the sound of my IEMs, but it helps a bit with my 80 Ohm Beyerdynamic DT770 - makes the bass more controlled and adds a bit to the soundstage.
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Old 06-04-2007, 11:53 AM
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thanks, thats clears alot up. I think i will get one soon. my DAP has a weak output which doesn't mix too well with my DT770s. The RSA Hornet looks amazing (bit pricey though). otherwise the go-vibe is tempting, but then so do the Ibasso t1 and xtra x-1.
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Old 06-04-2007, 07:33 PM
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dfkt is right, I have found that 60ohms and above sound much better with amping. I prefer all budget phones below 60ohms unamped, ie. KSC75. But my Grado's love amping. Again, it is always personal preference. Origami, if you have even some basic DIY skills, you can build a CMoy for $30 and it works as well as most of the commercial offerings. My first portable amp was a Pengamp. They are sold on ebay and are amazing!
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  #5  
Old 06-05-2007, 04:18 PM
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had a bit more of a look round and found this thread on head-fi:

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=216903

seemed to give good short reviews of a variety of amps (variety of prices aswell). Unfortunately the amps are only ordered on a audio quality and not "value for money" Still, reading the descriptions helped alot, If anyone else is looking at getting an amp, it seems to be a good starting point.
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Old 06-18-2007, 11:54 AM
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Ok, my amp arrived today, I got the ibasso T1 and it arrived today. Review to follow (maybe, after my exams are over). But first thoughts.

Size is no indication of power. This thing is TINY but has way more power than my DAP or my PC (onboard sound). I am currently listening to it on tower speakers and a full size amp which it has no problem driving. It makes a massive difference to my DT770s, The sound stage switch makes listening much more pleasant (scary actually. i keep wondering why im wearing headphones, it sounds so much like a speakers soundstage). The bass switch is nice aswell, especially with the x20s weak bass. Overall, fantastic value at only $60.
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Old 06-18-2007, 01:08 PM
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Funny thing is: I was testing headphones again, in my local music store. Tried the 250 Ohm Beyer DT990's and the 300 Ohm Senn HD600's. They both sounded better out of my 74mW Cowon D2 than over the 200mW PA2V2. No joke. Perceived loudness was about the same, but on the D2 the high-impedance cans sounded clearer, less muddy. Guess the PA2V2 isn't a great match for a high end DAP paired with high end cans.
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Old 06-19-2007, 12:28 PM
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D2 = 74mw

X20 = 16mw

i guess explains why the amp makes such a big difference to the X20s sound.

how do the DT990s compare to the 770s btw. I was very tempted by them but IIRC they are open so no good for isolation.
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Old 06-19-2007, 12:36 PM
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Yeah, for anything under 20mW even a cheap amp makes a lot of difference. The DT770 were unlistenable on my friend's 14mW Cowon U2 - with the PA2V2 they worked quite well together.

The DT990 are open, so no isolation at all. They're also very bass heavy - at least the older version I tried. I heard they "tamed" the newer revisions a bit. As far as open cans go, the HD600 sounded more detailed, precise and balanced, also the soundstage was better. In order of personal preference: HD600 > DT990 > K701.
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