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  #1  
Old 07-23-2011, 02:45 PM
TimYoung TimYoung is offline
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Default Portable Amp that can compare with the Fiio e9?

Does anyone know of any portable amp that is about the same level as the Fiio e9?

I am so impress with how well the Fiio e9 is performing on my home set up that I want something similar for my portable set up.

I know I'll probably have to shell out loads more to get a portable amp that is as good as a desktop amp but will be willing to splash out to get the same standard.
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Old 07-23-2011, 03:12 PM
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If you like the fiio desktop that much and are looking for reasonably priced portables, why not look at the fiio portables like the e7 or the newest e11. Also ibasso offers a variety of affordable amps ...
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Old 07-23-2011, 03:34 PM
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The e7 and e11 don't compare with the e9 tho. I was reading how even most mid price portable amps ($200) can't compare with a budget desktop amps and I would need to seriously splash out to get the same quality. Worse thing is can't really try it out to know the difference.

cool, I'll have a look at some ibasso. Any particular model is recommended?
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Old 07-23-2011, 03:56 PM
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Well designed amps generally just make the sound louder and fix some flaws that might be apparent in some sub-par sources that can't drive headphone loads properly (bass roll-off, hiss, channel crosstalk, etc). The E7 sure fixes some of these things too... and in a volume-matched listening test I couldn't distinguish it from other 'proper' home/studio sources - same as with many other portable amps I tried. Of course the E7 is a huge brick, not really portable. My favorite portable amps are the Headstage Arrow, Corda Headsix, Digizoid ZO, and Hippo Box. They all sound transparent and fix some shortcomings of some players, without adding too many other flaws on their own. But with decent players they're not needed in general.
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Old 07-24-2011, 12:47 PM
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When I tried using my e9 with Cowon C2 for example, it made a huge difference in that it got rid of the all the unnatural sound from BBE and gave so much more clarity to the music. When I tried it for my netbook, the difference wasn't so much that on first listening I thought it was only a tad clearer and probably wouldn't know the difference if nobody told me.

But having used the e9 for sometime daily on my netbook, that slight difference mattered more than I realise. Like it is similar to when I once did a listening test on a higher bit rate and lower bit rate to see if I noticed the difference and I thought the difference was minimal. But on daily usage, I found it much more enjoyable having that slight increase in quality. I usually listen on my desktop as it has a better sound card than my netbook, but since getting the e9, I find myself rushing home to listen on my bed setup using my netbook via e9 than my desk setup. My bed setup deffo has my desk setup beat despite the better sound card because of the amp.

That increase refinement makes music like I was actually in a concert hall and just give it that much of a wow factor than before. The music is a tad sharper and clearer and sound natural whereas it sounds like music reproduction without an amp. It is hard to describe. Just now that I know the difference, it is hard to go back to being unamp.

I'll be getting the Sony NWZ A845 and it suppose to have volume cap so I'll need to get a portable amp.

The problem is I have read I would need to get tier one portable amp to anyway near to close to a desktop amp. I am not sure whether a budget portable amp will give me the similar sound that my e9 is giving me now. Not sure how much and how good an amp I need really. Think maybe I'll try the best value for money mid price amp?
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Old 07-24-2011, 05:43 PM
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I do not mean to be rude or insult you but I agree with dfktís statement and think you may be suffering from placebo. I think you have a misunderstanding of what amps do and do not do. An amp does not give more clarity or increased refinement as you state, sure if you bypass the poor sound card that you state you have with a DAC then Iíd agree with your statements. A greater spend on good headphones renders better clarity and refinement without an amp, poor or meager sounding headphones or DAP will not benefit or improve sound quality if amped. If you want to improve clarity from a poor sound card you need to bypass it with a DAC. If you try some volume matched testing you should see hear what I mean ...
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Old 07-24-2011, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimYoung View Post
When I tried using my e9 with Cowon C2 for example, it made a huge difference in that it got rid of the all the unnatural sound from BBE and gave so much more clarity to the music. When I tried it for my netbook, the difference wasn't so much that on first listening I thought it was only a tad clearer and probably wouldn't know the difference if nobody told me.
That amp just just makes it louder. It sounds like you prefer your music louder. In which case, just get any good portable amp. They're all basically the same.
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:11 PM
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I do not mean to be rude or insult you but I agree with dfktís statement and think you may be suffering from placebo. I think you have a misunderstanding of what amps do and do not do. An amp does not give more clarity or increased refinement as you state, sure if you bypass the poor sound card that you state you have with a DAC then Iíd agree with your statements. A greater spend on good headphones renders better clarity and refinement without an amp, poor or meager sounding headphones or DAP will not benefit or improve sound quality if amped. If you want to improve clarity from a poor sound card you need to bypass it with a DAC. If you try some volume matched testing you should see hear what I mean ...
No I am not suffering from placebo. It deffo increased refinement.

I might not have heard the difference if it was just from my netbook but from my Cowon C2, all the unnatural sounds from BBE were gone so I expect as similar improvement when my Sony comes. The difference is like an unbearable distortion to a pure clean sound so is not like a small difference there. The difference with the netbook was much much smaller but it was a cleaner sound as well.

My headphones can produce better sounds but without the amp I can't get to hear its full potential.

Like without the amp I have to turn it up to get the same detail but the sound would be a tad thicker (because the volume is louder) whereas with my amp I can have it at low volume but I get to hear the same detail. Like if you watch TV and turn up the volume the sound would be more distorted. The difference is slight but very noticeable. I dunno how to describe it except it is a cleaner sound. I do matching volume as well and where I quickly unplug the line out and use my amp and have the amp at the same volume and like I said the difference was like listening to a higher bit rate mp3 versus a lower one. I can hear the string instrument is a tad sharper and the music feels more natural.

The only thing I deffo know is that the music I play on my netbook via e9 is better than my desktop when it was the other way around before. So when I play them side by side it was very noticeable that the amp help my netbook beat the desktop.

Yeah, one thing I am not sure about is spending so much on a portable amp when I could buy a new headphone and the SQ difference with a new headphone would be huge compared with the slight difference with the amp.

Thinking whether to get a cheap JDS cmoy and upgrade to Ultrasone Pro 900 or spend $200 odd on a portable amp/dac. Not sure whether I can go back to listening to the thicker less detailed sound but maybe a new headphone would help the clarity even more.

um... I might have to go to a headphone meet or something since no shops around to try out.
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:41 PM
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Believe what you will, but no amp is going to clean a signal like you state or increase refinement, you would only be able to do this by filtering the signal or bypassing the sound card you stated is poor. I have tested numerous of the top amps, I also own two portable amps and a desktop amp (the not so cheapo type) which I have been testing for a few years now and yea I like my amps for what they do but they don’t do any more than this.

Regarding what you state about BBE, I couldn’t say as I’ve never run it high enough to cause distortion with or without an amp. I could test this out but I don’t see this as relevant as I don’t use BEE at more than level 1 or 2 when I do run it.
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:50 PM
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If you wanted to get rid of the BBE sound, all you had to do was turn it off...lol.
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:57 PM
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Yup, what Marv said - I'm not a fan of BBE myself,...and my amp NEVER made it sound better,...turning OFF the BBE made it sound better.
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Old 07-24-2011, 09:31 PM
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What headphones are you using? Underpowered headphones can sound bad, so methinks what your saying could be true, but the way you describe it is not very convincing.

All effects are bad and do not improve SQ. :P (someone's bound to disagree)

A headphone upgrade is always your best bet for improving sound.
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Old 07-25-2011, 06:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WalkGood View Post
Believe what you will, but no amp is going to clean a signal like you state or increase refinement, you would only be able to do this by filtering the signal or bypassing the sound card you stated is poor. I have tested numerous of the top amps, I also own two portable amps and a desktop amp (the not so cheapo type) which I have been testing for a few years now and yea I like my amps for what they do but they donít do any more than this.

Regarding what you state about BBE, I couldnít say as Iíve never run it high enough to cause distortion with or without an amp. I could test this out but I donít see this as relevant as I donít use BEE at more than level 1 or 2 when I do run it.
Sorry you are wrong. I mean if I didn't have the Cowon than I might not be so sure but if you try using your high end amps and bash up the BBE to 8 then use it with and without the amp, you'll have to be deaf to not hear the difference. It totally cleaned the music. If it can do it for the Cowon then it can do it for my netbook. Obviously as my netbook has only slight distortion compared to the Cowon, the difference was minor as said.

Also, reading your link and one thing I forgot to say is the bass is now super tight whereas without the amp it sometimes sounds a tad flabby. The increase SQ in the bass alone is refinement in music.

Just want to ask, what headphones did you use to test out your amps? Maybe you used headphones that don't need an amp?
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Old 07-25-2011, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Marvin the Martian View Post
If you wanted to get rid of the BBE sound, all you had to do was turn it off...lol.
Problem was without the BBE, the music sounded flat and a bit thin. I couldn't get the right mix going between distorted music or flat music. So getting a Sony now.

Think maybe the player just didn't suit my headphones.

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Originally Posted by Satellite_6 View Post
What headphones are you using? Underpowered headphones can sound bad, so methinks what your saying could be true, but they way you describe it is not very convincing.

All effects are bad and do not improve SQ. :P (someone's bound to disagree)

A headphone upgrade is always your best bet for improving sound.
I am mainly using Ultrasone DJ1. It has low impedance (32 ohms) so shouldn't need an amp and I only bought the Fiio e9 because I was thinking of upgrading to high end headphones and needed one before I getting them. The Ultrasone DJ1 sound good without an amp and don't *need* one but the SQ has deffo improved with it.

I had a listened to the Ultrasone Pro 900 and that is a big difference in SQ to my DJ1. But I heard it at a meet when it was plugged into a high end amp and I was compared it to my unamped DJ1s so I dunno how much of a difference is due to the headphones or due to the amps.

I didn't intend to upgrade now as the Pro 900 is about £330 but maybe I should save up instead of blowing it on a $200 (£123) portable amp. um.. can't decide.
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Old 07-25-2011, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by TimYoung View Post
Sorry you are wrong.
lol, I donít believe my opinion is in the minority here, just read some of the post responses again.


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Originally Posted by TimYoung View Post
I mean if I didn't have the Cowon than I might not be so sure but if you try using your high end amps and bash up the BBE to 8 then use it with and without the amp, you'll have to be deaf to not hear the difference. It totally cleaned the music. If it can do it for the Cowon then it can do it for my netbook. Obviously as my netbook has only slight distortion compared to the Cowon, the difference was minor as said.
First off Iím not deaf yet Are you running BBE on your netbook also? Causing that distortion or is it just a poor sound card? BBE is one of the sound effects from BBE Sound Inc. that cowon offers on JetEffects and it is designed to add clarity/clearness by offering more pronounced highs, along with increasing the prominence of vocals relative to amplified instruments, itís no wonder you hear distortion at high levels. Running BBE high enough to induce this distortion is not worth running it at all IMHO. Also adding an amp to clean that distortion up does not make any sense. Personally I do not like to increase the level of highs ever, I could achieve similar results or better by lowering the appropriate levels in the EQ without adding distortion if needed or wanted. Again, I would rather run without an amp if itís not needed for my headphones/IEMs and I never run BBE that high if I use it at all as stated before.

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Also, reading your link and one thing I forgot to say is the bass is now super tight whereas without the amp it sometimes sounds a tad flabby. The increase SQ in the bass alone is refinement in music.
This may be possible by it fixing bass roll-off and any channel crosstalk Ö but to really tell for sure you need to ABX some files that are volume matched.

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Originally Posted by TimYoung View Post
Just want to ask, what headphones did you use to test out your amps? Maybe you used headphones that don't need an amp?
For long outings I use my UE11s, short outings A151s or others that I own that do not need amping and IMO UE11s need an amp to remove the little hiss I hear, aside from that I donít believe either of my amps fix issues as you state. Point in fact Iíve tried crappy headphones with my amps and they still sound crappy, only louder, not improvement in SQ. The two portable amps I own are the pico and the pico slim. At home I use the HD650s powered from a WA6 (from lappy via DAC). The WA6 only colors the sound a bit because itís a tube amp and adds harmonic distortion, but I like the warmth I perceive from it and how it sounds to me powering the HD650s.
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Old 07-25-2011, 11:18 AM
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Sorry you are wrong. I mean if I didn't have the Cowon than I might not be so sure but if you try using your high end amps and bash up the BBE to 8 then use it with and without the amp, you'll have to be deaf to not hear the difference. It totally cleaned the music.
This is basically what everyone ever says when they're hopelessly confused by placebo effect.

And amps don't clean up music. They make it louder and in some cases boost the base a tiny bit, but that shouldn't happen much with a good player like the C2.
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Old 07-25-2011, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by WalkGood View Post
lol, I don’t believe my opinion is in the minority here, just read some of the post responses again.




First off I’m not deaf yet Are you running BBE on your netbook also? Causing that distortion or is it just a poor sound card? BBE is one of the sound effects from BBE Sound Inc. that cowon offers on JetEffects and it is designed to add clarity/clearness by offering more pronounced highs, along with increasing the prominence of vocals relative to amplified instruments, it’s no wonder you hear distortion at high levels. Running BBE high enough to induce this distortion is not worth running it at all IMHO. Also adding an amp to clean that distortion up does not make any sense. Personally I do not like to increase the level of highs ever, I could achieve similar results or better by lowering the appropriate levels in the EQ without adding distortion if needed or wanted. Again, I would rather run without an amp if it’s not needed for my headphones/IEMs and I never run BBE that high if I use it at all as stated before.


This may be possible by it fixing bass roll-off and any channel crosstalk … but to really tell for sure you need to ABX some files that are volume matched.


For long outings I use my UE11s, short outings A151s or others that I own that do not need amping and IMO UE11s need an amp to remove the little hiss I hear, aside from that I don’t believe either of my amps fix issues as you state. Point in fact I’ve tried crappy headphones with my amps and they still sound crappy, only louder, not improvement in SQ. The two portable amps I own are the pico and the pico slim. At home I use the HD650s powered from a WA6 (from lappy via DAC). The WA6 only colors the sound a bit because it’s a tube amp and adds harmonic distortion, but I like the warmth I perceive from it and how it sounds to me powering the HD650s.
This is not based on voting or opinions. You claim the amp doesn't clean up the music yet it does for the Cowon. Like I said why don't you try it yourself?

I dunno or understand how an amp works but I know it got rid of the unnatural sound on the Cowon and made it sound much better. If it can do that then why so incredible that it also made the sound on my netbook sound better?

errr dunno what you mean fixing bass roll-off and any channel crosstalk. How do I do that? I use AIMP2 on my netbook and I use the equaliser.

What I don't get is that you said 'increases bass response, punch or thump' yet it is suppose to not increase the rest of the music? An amp doesn't ringfence increase SQ in bass does it? Why such a stretch to believe it just sounds better overall?

Well, since you have the HD650, try it with the Cowon on the amp and see how much it change the sound.

All this is despite the point anyway. I need to get a portable amp anyway 'cos I am getting the Sony NWZ A845 and it is suppose to have a volume cap. Since I only have one amp I don't really know the difference between a budget portable amp and a mid range portable amp so need to figure out how much to spend. Are you saying it is the same getting like the Fiio e5 to like the Corda Stepdancer? What is the best value for money? The reason I was against getting a budget portable amp like the Fiio e7 is because a lot of people have said it made no difference to their music so why I am thinking whether I need to spend more to get a difference.
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Old 07-25-2011, 02:22 PM
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You claim the amp doesn't clean up the music yet it does for the Cowon. Like I said why don't you try it yourself?
Pretty much everyone here has done this about a thousand times more then you. It doesn't work the way you think it does, and repeatedly telling people who have done this more then you how you incorrectly think this works is not likely to be effective.

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I dunno or understand how an amp works but I know it got rid of the unnatural sound on the Cowon and made it sound much better. If it can do that then why so incredible that it also made the sound on my netbook sound better?
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I do not mean to be rude or insult you but I agree with dfktís statement and think you may be suffering from placebo.
Seriously, he nailed it on the first post.

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Originally Posted by TimYoung View Post
What I don't get is that you said 'increases bass response, punch or thump' yet it is suppose to not increase the rest of the music? An amp doesn't ringfence increase SQ in bass does it? Why such a stretch to believe it just sounds better overall?
Because thats not how this works. If you have a bad amp on the player itself, then adding a second one in series can add enough current to fully drive low frequencies. But thats just fixing a specific problem, and one you're not likely to be experiencing.


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Are you saying it is the same getting like the Fiio e5 to like the Corda Stepdancer? What is the best value for money?
Get an E5. Cheap and as good as anything else.
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Old 07-25-2011, 02:49 PM
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I see it's pointless for me to keep replying, give it time and you will see the light if you do the proper testing. In the simplest explanation an amplifier takes a small signal and outputs a similar yet stronger signal. In that sense, the amplifier ultimately makes sounds louder by enabling you to apply a larger voltage to your headphones. BTW dfkt already made a few good recommendations, "Headstage Arrow, Corda Headsix, Digizoid ZO, and Hippo Box." If you want to spend more I'd add the HeadAmp Pico because I like it much better than the slim but that's double the spend he recommended and the Arrow is much thinner than the original Pico with a few extra features.

Edit: underlined the output
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Old 07-25-2011, 02:52 PM
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Pretty much everyone here has done this about a thousand times more then you. It doesn't work the way you think it does, and repeatedly telling people who have done this more then you how you incorrectly think this works is not likely to be effective.

Seriously, he nailed it on the first post.

Because thats not how this works. If you have a bad amp on the player itself, then adding a second one in series can add enough current to fully drive low frequencies. But thats just fixing a specific problem, and one you're not likely to be experiencing.

Get an E5. Cheap and as good as anything else.
eh? I don't know how it works and I don't care. I am just a user trying to describe what I heard not how I think it works. I dunno much about amps but I know with the amp it got rid of the unnatural sound from my Cowon. And being continuously told it was a placebo effect when the difference is unbearable unnatural sound from the BBE/Surround/Mach3Bass to normal music without the unnatural Cowon sound just get my back up. That is one big bloody placebo effect.

I am not sure what it is but it seems on this website, there a plenty of people that keep using my posts to push their own agenda. Really, if you have a problem with amps or problem with HM801 or problem with head-fi then start your own posts to rant about it instead of derailing my thread. I just asked for a portable amp recommendation not a lecture on placebo effect.

I LOVE MY FIIO E9. IS THE BEST THING IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. I don't care if it is placebo effect. Let me enjoy my gear and keep your placebo effect to yourself. :P

oh btw would the Fiio e5 be able to power the Ultrasone Pro 900? or the JDS Cmoy?
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