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  #1  
Old 06-07-2009, 12:48 AM
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tenispal7 tenispal7 is offline
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Default Cowon S9 amp

Hey guys I know the S9 is supposed to have incredible SQ (i will finally get mine on Tuesday or Wednesday!!!!) but I have seen the Fiio E3 and E5 Amps and they are really cheap so i have 2 questions

1. Are these at all good amps? because ive only seen a few amps and they are bigger (ive seen ones for 100 at 2x and maybe even 4x) as these little guys. These are only around 10-20 bucks!!

2. Since they are so cheap, and if they are good, would they further improve the S9 sound quality? Howso?

I am a noob with external amps, never used em for a portable device despite the fact that i like using good headphones. So although the answer may be very easy for this question i would appreciate the help

Thank you!
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  #2  
Old 06-07-2009, 02:58 PM
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anyone?
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Old 06-08-2009, 03:10 AM
newone newone is offline
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Well I am now pro concerning this topic, but since no one answered I'll try my best.

1. I don't know since I don't use an amp. But have a look at the accessories section and I remember I read someone was recommending the E5 (maybe it was on another forum).

2. As far as i know an amplifier just amplifies the music and doesn't improve the quality of the sound. For example if you use some HQ earphones, which need more power input than simple ear-plugs for example.

But as I said, I am a noob to this topic as well and just wrote what I remember reading through postings in this forum, so you might as well have a close look at the posts or use the search for further advice.
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Old 09-06-2009, 09:14 PM
RoloJam RoloJam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newone View Post
Well I am now pro concerning this topic, but since no one answered I'll try my best.

1. I don't know since I don't use an amp. But have a look at the accessories section and I remember I read someone was recommending the E5 (maybe it was on another forum).

2. As far as i know an amplifier just amplifies the music and doesn't improve the quality of the sound. For example if you use some HQ earphones, which need more power input than simple ear-plugs for example.

But as I said, I am a noob to this topic as well and just wrote what I remember reading through postings in this forum, so you might as well have a close look at the posts or use the search for further advice.
newone has this partially right. The part about it not improving the sound is not right. What an amplifier should do is avert clipping. Clipping occurs when your amplifier runs out of power, the sinusoidal characteristic of the sound is in essence chopped off, the result is a square wave. For high pitched noises, the sound would be turn from a tuned note to screech.

Picture a Tsunami as the sound wave requirement, it's got a huge wave height. When the Tsunami hits a beach, it doesn't have anywhere to go so it backs up on itself and rises from the surface because it can't match the wave height. What happens next is the part that kills people. Gravity will not allow the water to stay up in the air, so when it does come down, it increases speed resulting in a storm surge.

The speed increase is what happens to tone during clipping. You get a different tone output than what was originally sourced before the pre-amp. This is very traumatic for speakers from a mathematical standpoint, what starts out as a predictable curve turn into a big crash where the electrical output tries to approach infinity. Normally stuff like this happens when a lot of bass is drawing power from the amp, then someone hits a cymbol really hard. The highs run out of power and then due to ohm's law, the shortage of amplitude is immediately converted into a higher pitch. If the notes are outside your tweeters specifications and they blow. Rolloff of cymbals is similar but not as violent. At this point, you aren't to the quite point of clipping, just approaching. You still don't have enough power, so the result is a starved tweeter that runs out of juice to finish the end of the note. Something most people don't understand, is that getting too big of an amplifier rarely blows speakers. It's usually sending a large signal from the pre-amp (the controller between you main amp & the source device) to an amp that can't match the power requirements.

In either case, the added amperage gives you more power as not to starve out on meeting the amplitude requirements. If you go to some of the audiophile site, this is a major issue with matching speakers to power sources. The crossover between internal speakers should match characteristics of the power distribution of curve of the amp. A mismatch is the condition where rolloff can occur.

So, does it make your player sound better? No not really. But, it will alleviate these two conditions by supplying enough power where things don't clip. In either case, what come out of your earphones will sound better than the starved signal without the additional amp. So the player doesn't sound better, but the speakers do. Or in this case the earphones.

I think I completely geeked out on this explanation. But, I'm an engineer and I'm all about "more power" and I feel compelled to profess what so cool about the topic. I also think I've watch too many episodes of Numb3rs. Curse that DVR.
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Old 09-07-2009, 03:23 AM
blacklung blacklung is offline
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I got an E5 and found that too much hiss was introduced at anything above volume 20 or so on the S9. I have Sennheiser cx-300 in-ears.
RoloJam's techo explanation certainly sounds reasonable, and i'd guess that a much higher quality headphone amp would help with what he says.
The E3 is even cheaper than the E5 so i'd guess it introduces worse hiss.
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Old 09-13-2009, 05:42 AM
RoloJam RoloJam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blacklung View Post
I got an E5 and found that too much hiss was introduced at anything above volume 20 or so on the S9. I have Sennheiser cx-300 in-ears.
RoloJam's techo explanation certainly sounds reasonable, and i'd guess that a much higher quality headphone amp would help with what he says.
The E3 is even cheaper than the E5 so i'd guess it introduces worse hiss.
I can go along with blacklung. The point is different headphones will act differently with different amps. It's all trial and error.

If you ever want to get stupid and anal about stuff, try being an audiophile. I really don't have the time or the money to really take that up as a hobby. My taste is way beyond what I'm willing to spend or have even the time to dedicate to that stuff. But, I did buy a tube amp to match to my Vandersteen speakers and it took months to get things right with rolling tubes in and out of that amp. I really don't care about the equipment like a lot of audiophiles do. I care that I have a very large music collection and if I'm going to spend all this money on records, cds, sacds and what whatever the next format is (multi-channel BluRay?), I might as well throw some money at the equipment to get the most value out of it. I actually haven't put any money into my system after I got it the way I wanted. It's been about 4 years. Lord help me if I ever get the time and money to actually upgrade it. Auditioning equipment is interviewing for a job, only you're the one hiring. I'll probably replace everything next time, so that will be more like starting a company from scratch.

With mp3 players, we're in a different league here. It's more about having something portable with very limited options. You want something that sound good that you can take with you. I'm not a big fan of headphones, but, I can't take my stereo with me on trips. Soundstage on floor speakers is a way more realistic presentation than very directional sounds between your ears. Done right with floor speakers, you can perceive someone actually playing instruments beyond the barriers of the room. But, if your going with more than just the the player and headphones, then you going the component route and all that audiophile stuff has some bearing. Headphone crossover will smear the sound if you select the wrong amp. And if you have high impedance headphones you need more power to get the subtleties that the drivers promise. Underpowering stuff is not a good thing. But most headphones under $150 aren't in that realm. So what you should be striving for in headphone amp of this caliber is a little extra punch to insure that the bass doesn't consume the amperage to sustain the midrange or treble properly. Just be realistic, if you buy an amp and you get little or no benefit. You probably didn't need the amp in the first place, being that your headphones where matched quite well with the player's built-in amplification. If it does sound better, then all the better, you've spent your money wisely. BTW my taste in music can forsake the bass volume if it is presented realistically. I would rather hear the midrange sound perfect and cymbals shimmer than have what audiophiles call "slam." Slam is rather than hearing the bass, you feel it in your chest. So in the case of headphones, I prefer to match up the player to the right headphone without complicating the sound with another component.
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  #7  
Old 09-13-2009, 02:47 PM
j3ff1986 j3ff1986 is offline
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The S9 doesn't need an amp, unless you have rediculously high impedance headphones.
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  #8  
Old 09-13-2009, 03:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j3ff1986 View Post
The S9 doesn't need an amp, unless you have rediculously high impedance headphones.
Or low-impedance, high-sensitivity IEMs.
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  #9  
Old 10-07-2009, 08:30 PM
slayerizer slayerizer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoloJam View Post
newone has this partially right. The part about it not improving the sound is not right. What an amplifier should do is avert clipping. Clipping occurs when your amplifier runs out of power, the sinusoidal characteristic of the sound is in essence chopped off, the result is a square wave. For high pitched noises, the sound would be turn from a tuned note to screech.

Picture a Tsunami as the sound wave requirement, it's got a huge wave height. When the Tsunami hits a beach, it doesn't have anywhere to go so it backs up on itself and rises from the surface because it can't match the wave height. What happens next is the part that kills people. Gravity will not allow the water to stay up in the air, so when it does come down, it increases speed resulting in a storm surge.

The speed increase is what happens to tone during clipping. You get a different tone output than what was originally sourced before the pre-amp. This is very traumatic for speakers from a mathematical standpoint, what starts out as a predictable curve turn into a big crash where the electrical output tries to approach infinity. Normally stuff like this happens when a lot of bass is drawing power from the amp, then someone hits a cymbol really hard. The highs run out of power and then due to ohm's law, the shortage of amplitude is immediately converted into a higher pitch. If the notes are outside your tweeters specifications and they blow. Rolloff of cymbals is similar but not as violent. At this point, you aren't to the quite point of clipping, just approaching. You still don't have enough power, so the result is a starved tweeter that runs out of juice to finish the end of the note. Something most people don't understand, is that getting too big of an amplifier rarely blows speakers. It's usually sending a large signal from the pre-amp (the controller between you main amp & the source device) to an amp that can't match the power requirements.

In either case, the added amperage gives you more power as not to starve out on meeting the amplitude requirements. If you go to some of the audiophile site, this is a major issue with matching speakers to power sources. The crossover between internal speakers should match characteristics of the power distribution of curve of the amp. A mismatch is the condition where rolloff can occur.

So, does it make your player sound better? No not really. But, it will alleviate these two conditions by supplying enough power where things don't clip. In either case, what come out of your earphones will sound better than the starved signal without the additional amp. So the player doesn't sound better, but the speakers do. Or in this case the earphones.

I think I completely geeked out on this explanation. But, I'm an engineer and I'm all about "more power" and I feel compelled to profess what so cool about the topic. I also think I've watch too many episodes of Numb3rs. Curse that DVR.
thanks for that explanation RoloJam, that was quite userful!
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  #10  
Old 01-01-2010, 09:31 PM
EmperorK EmperorK is offline
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Hi all,

I have my heart set on getting an S9 which I should be getting within the next month.

I have Westone UM2 dual driver earphones.... I paid a fair bit for them and their stats are as follows:

· Balanced ‘dual driver’ system with passive crossover

· Frequency response 20-18000 Hz

· Impedance 27 Ohms

· Sensitivity 119 dB/mW

I understand that the 2 drivers split the the low and high ranges and the range limits imply the lowest and highest frequency and therefore pitch that can be heard, (approximately the average range of the human ear according to that... perhaps a little short at the high end).

I'm not too clued up on impedance, and i'm guessing the sensitivity is essentially a way of saying noise filter, cutting out anything less than that value in what is essentially volume... ( ?)

I just recently sold my iriver clix 2. I loved it but 8gb was not enough; I have 'above average' hearing, so will I notice the difference in sound on the s9, and also, is it worth getting an earphone amp for these particular earphones that I have, and if so, which one/what sort of price range?

Thanks to everyone who can help!
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  #11  
Old 01-02-2010, 04:12 AM
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The hype around the FiiO is amazing to me, how can people think that a $15.00 amp can improve the sound quality of a $200.00 + mp3 player like the s9.
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