Old 11-24-2006, 07:44 PM
Champkat Champkat is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 31
Default Portable headphone amps

I have been reading a lot of different forums lately. Mostly about portable amps. I see a few people on here has the PA2V2.

I have also found the Boosteroo
Headroom Headphone amps
ZVEX amp
and this one if you can afford

I have found DIY pages which are useless for me.

So..........why do you need a portable amp? Does the amp really make the sound "better?" Or does it just "amp" the volume. I can't really imagine using an amp with IEMs. My reason for considering an amp is because I have a hard time wearing earbuds, my KSC-75 are great when it is quiet but not as comfortable as I would like. So I am looking at larger, fuller headphones.

I have a sansa E260 and and iAudio U3 for players. What should I consider when looking at headphones/amps? Is there any other amps I should consider?

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Old 11-24-2006, 07:57 PM
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dfkt dfkt is offline
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Vienna, Austria
Posts: 15,330

You don't need amps for IEMs, generally. They're usually sensitive enough for the weak amps found in DAPs.

Big cans with higher impedance benefit much more from amping.

I'm quite happy with the price/value ratio of the PA2V2 - it works great with my Beyerdynamics and AKGs. Bass and soundstage get better. But my Ultimate Ears don't benefit at all from it - due to their ultra-low impedance (11 Ohm) I only get some background hiss from the amp added to the signal...

What makes the PA2V2 especially nice for my needs is that it plays over 120 hours on two 2400mAh NiMH AA batteries. And you can charge the batteries in the amp, too (which isn't too common in many portable amps).

What I don't like much about the PA2V2 is the volume knob... it doesn't work well in very quiet positions, it affects the stereo balance of the sound - but this only happens in the first 5-10% of turning the knob, on higher volume it's fine. And with my Beyers and AKGs I never play it under 50% volume.

Here's some more headphone amps: (a lot of people on Head-Fi swear by it) (this one looks nice, with bass boost) (you don't want to know the price...)

Some are really affordable and some are astronomically absurd...
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Old 12-16-2006, 01:55 PM
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HighLife HighLife is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 75

Depends on IEM though, i know the higher end ones pretty much require that you run a amp or the sound is just not as bright or bass not as tight.

For example, E4s, E5's, UE10's. These will sound ok without a amp, but with a AMP it opens them up as intended.

So let me dont NEED a amp, it will work without it...however, if you want the most of a set of 300$+ IEMs, a small 50-80$ amp is a small price to pay for SQ and Performance. If you have a cheap pair of IEMs then no you do not need a amp.

If you want to run your big home cans on the go, depending on which cans you have, you will want/need a amp or you will find that you dont have enough volume at times. Again, this depends on the impedance of the headphone in question.

Remember this, the more impedance on your headphones, the harder they are to drive. Ive seen mostly 16ohm and 32ohm. My HD555s are 50ohm. KSC75s are 60ohm.
Headphones: Sennheiser HD580-MX500, iGrado, Shure E2G (modded)
Sources: PC/Audigy2/Foobar - Zen Vision:M 30GB
Amp: Go-Vibe v3/AD823AN (Hammond Case)
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