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Old 05-11-2013, 03:42 PM
tisumner tisumner is offline
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Default What headphones would I need an amp with?

Nevermind.

Last edited by tisumner; 05-11-2013 at 08:35 PM. Reason: No need for input...even though many seem to have amps for no reason then ;P
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Old 05-11-2013, 04:43 PM
skip252 skip252 is offline
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You keep asking this, the answer isn't going to change. Despite what you seem to be reading other places there's actually only a few instances when an amp brings any benefit. saratoga outlined them for you the last time you asked a variation of this question. http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum...31&postcount=4

Instead of looking for an amp to make your headphones louder why not think in terms of matching quality headphones with a decent source so no amp is needed? That way you'll become familiar with what good quality sounds like and be able to more easily identify when you've hit a situation when an amp is really needed.

It's how I was able to identify that my rooted Nook Color needed an amp to deal with an high output impedance issue. It isn't able to properly drive the same headphones that a Clip makes sound great. The volume is low, they hiss and roll off in the bass something terrible. I added a Fiio E6 and they sound fairly decent now.

There's a sticky in this thread you'll want to read as part of looking into what an amp actually does. http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum...ad.php?t=44202 You'll notice there's a strong emphasis on upgrading your headphones instead of adding an amp. If you really want the best sound that's where I would start.
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Old 05-11-2013, 08:42 PM
tisumner tisumner is offline
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I am not sure how my asking twice is the same as me keep asking, but regardless, I am just confused as I have browsed the show off thread on this site and have seen numerous people using amps with earbuds and headphones, so I thus have to wonder- if you do not need an amp, why would so many people on here have them? I apologize I am just confused.
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Old 05-11-2013, 11:57 PM
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TundoBoy TundoBoy is offline
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Peer pressure and Placebo. The second one is more prevalent. But I guess that's how common consumers would react to marketing bluffs. Spending gives people peace of mind. Perhaps this article should help enlighten you a bit. http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/02/...-ampsdacs.html
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Old 05-13-2013, 05:09 PM
saratoga saratoga is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tisumner View Post
if you do not need an amp, why would so many people on here have them? I apologize I am just confused.
Lots of audio noobs in that thread.
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  #6  
Old 05-13-2013, 06:21 PM
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The DarkSide The DarkSide is offline
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The moderator WalkGood once said to me that the reason we use amps "is because we can". It's as simple as that. 99% of the cans we use get no benefit from amping,...but we do it anyways.

Me, I got over it. Too much to carry, and a waste of money (that I can always waste on other shiit!!!).

Now, no amp,...
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Old 01-04-2014, 06:06 AM
gustav gustav is offline
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...this has been an eye-opener for me! I've thought an amp ALWAYS improved sound quality and volume.
I'm astonished by the huge amount of discussion and reviewing taking place on sites like head-fi. frankly I'm astonished that there is a whole industry devoted to this, like completely useless toys for grown babies. at least model railroading has some sort of fun factor. I guess
//not-so-proud owner of two Fiio amps
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Old 01-05-2014, 02:58 AM
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skamp skamp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tisumner View Post
if you do not need an amp, why would so many people on here have them?
Groupthink. It happens in pretty much every online community.

Audiophiles think that great sound quality is forever elusive, and they're never satisfied: so they keep adding to their audio gear (headphone amps, DACs, silver cable upgrades, etc). This picture of an audiophile's "portable rig" is not a joke:


From top to bottom: iPod, a DAC that only acts as a USB to coaxial converter, another DAC with a balanced line-out, and a balanced headphone amplifier.

Myths are perpetuated by those audiophiles who speak with "authority" on the matter, and in turn by newbies who think that they've learned something about audio, and pretty soon everyone's buying useless headphone amps. At some point, it has become so pervasive, that it has become a de facto "truth", and it's nearly impossible to convince anyone that they don't need all that crap.

There is similar groupthink here and elsewhere, for instance with the Sansa Clip+ that's supposed to be this extraordinary DAP, that gets recommended all the time, even when it doesn't make any sense. The truth being, that it's technically quite average, it's sometimes audibly inferior, and it's so small that browsing large collections or operating it with normal to large hands, is unnecessarily difficult. That's just one example where even objective people are subject to groupthink.
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Last edited by skamp; 01-05-2014 at 03:31 AM.
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  #9  
Old 01-05-2014, 07:31 AM
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The DarkSide The DarkSide is offline
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I amp now only with a hard-to-drive set of cans. I will NOT go with a "portable" rig that's more suitable for sitting on a desktop powering speakers. I prefer to just carry a player, and if it needed an amp it stays home. Too much to carry, negligible sq improvement, way too expensive for placebo.

That's IMO, YMMV. Remember, to each their own.
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Old 01-07-2014, 12:16 AM
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TBH iv taken to flat out refusing to do most amp reviews on my site even though I get a lot of requests to do so from the manufacturers.

There are a few areas where I will allow it.

a) if its designed to give a volume boost for crappy mobiles etc (upcoming nuforce mmp review) I can see value for that for buyers stuck on long mobile contracts.

b) I don't mind if its being used to bypass the craptastic headphone section on an ipod. For me there is a noticeable improvement in that case but something like the smsl-sap4s at $40 is more than sufficient and the audible difference going up to $300 is negligible.

c) in the case that its a dac/amp wich being used to bypass my computer or nexus 5 audio.

d) If specifically designed to use with hard to drive full size cans.

I liken most high end audio stuff (other than headphones) to Formula 1 cars in that they go to extremes to shed weight to go faster by 0.00000000001 second (hollow wheel nuts and super light pain anyone?) it does make a difference although most people in casual listening aren't hearing anything other than tuning and eq differences in source/daps. Its all great in theory but take that performance machine on the road and it fast becomes a pain in the ass. Better sticking with my gt-r on the road (a good simple DAP with an excellent set of headphone/earphones)
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  #11  
Old 01-07-2014, 09:41 AM
skip252 skip252 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SHY View Post
...b) I don't mind if its being used to bypass the craptastic headphone section on an ipod. For me there is a noticeable improvement in that case but something like the smsl-sap4s at $40 is more than sufficient and the audible difference going up to $300 is negligible.
It's this type of nebulous statement that have people chasing sound improvements that are meaningful only to the person that made the original statement. Which iPod? Craptastic in what way? With what headphones? Does the addition of an amp make a quantifiable improvement? Are there test results showing the before and after difference in the signal posted anywhere? All of that information is a minimum needed to make your statement helpful to someone trying to determine if a portable amp is needed.

If there's a headphones\iPod combo that needs a amp to sound decent to you it would be helpful to the next person to say what that combo is. That way they would have the information to start researching if they want make that pairing. Just painting an entire brand of DAPs with a generalized label doesn't do that.

In general the output of most iPods is as good as anything on the market. The iPhone and most Touches are just about as good as it gets regardless of brand. The current gen iPod classic has a output impedance around 5.5 ohms that might, repeat might, present a problem with some exotic headphones. Other than that there's nothing from any test results I've seen or what my ears tell me that make me think of the output of any recent iPod as "craptastic".
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Old 01-07-2014, 01:28 PM
saratoga saratoga is offline
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The ipod output is actually way better than a lot of common amps, which is why its so funny when people talk about "bypassing" it, whatever that means.
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  #13  
Old 01-10-2014, 04:57 PM
keyb_gr keyb_gr is offline
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True enough. Modern iPhones and Touches tend to have about the most noise-free outputs you can get (with fairly low output impedance), and their DACs generally are among the best you'll get in a portable device, too.

That said, it's not like there aren't any applications for amps at all. In fact, there's plenty:

For example, I'm still looking for a glorified attenuator for my Clip+ to eliminate the flash memory access noises and the bit of audible hiss when using my super-sensitive Soundmagic E10s, preferably decently small (so the O2's out) and not breaking the bank. (Some sort of cMoy maybe?)

Then I have somewhat dated onboard audio with a ~75 ohm output impedance. Fine for the HD580s there, not so much for HD590s or anything else that's fussy. (Arguably going with a better soundcard first would be a better starting point here.)

Then there's a home theater receiver with a generally usable output but estimated 200-ish ohm output impedance (Onkyo TX-NR616). (Still a big step up from the previous Kenwood KRF-V8090D. "Hissy like a mad snake" seems like an apt description for that one. Crappy PGA volume control. 95 dB SNR in that kind of device generally = it sucks.)

Then there's an FM tuner on my bedside table.

Then there's a communications receiver with pretty awful sound and channel imbalance when at very low volume, which is where any but my least sensitive 600 ohm cans end up at (and even those sound better at higher volume).

(I am now using a FiiO E11 for the latter two, as it turned out unfit for the first due to hiss levels.)
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