recommend a portable headphone amp for my iPhone 4

quadpatch

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I would say the Fiio E11 but then it's under your budget. You could go for the E7/E17 (depeding on cost vs features) and have a DAC as well as a portable amp (although the DAC will only work on a computer and NOT on a portable). The E17 is a bit over your budget at £100 but it's DAC is better than the E7 and the amp is better than the E7, E10 or the E11. Wow that looks confusing to read, sorry about that.

I had the E7 for a while and really loved it but the next few I am suggesting I have not tried...

£65 - SoundMagic A10 - http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/soundmagic-a10-portable-headphone-amplifier-in-black-prodid-3824.html

£69 - iFuzen HP-1 - http://www.advancedmp3players.co.uk/shop/Gadgets.4/Auzentech.573/iFUZEN-HP-1/iFuzen_HP-1_Portable_Headphone_Amplifier__Battery_Extender_and_Protective_Carry_case_for_iPhone_4_4S__Black_.13444.html

£74 - Musiland Lilo V Enjoy - http://www.ampcity.co.uk/brands/musiland/musiland-lilo-v-enjoy-dac-amp.html

£79 - Digizoid Z02 - http://www.advancedmp3players.co.uk/shop/Digital_Home.23/DigiZoid.585/DIGIZOID-ZO2/DigiZoid_ZO2_Portable_Personal_Hi-fi_Audio_Amplifier.13689.html
 

Big Aura

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sorry, to hijack, but would I hear any notable gains from my current E5 and LOD(3), by buying a E11?

Am I correct in saying that the E11 is a better bit of kit than an E7 (the 11 is available for less than the E7).
 

quadpatch

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The E11 is better than the E7 as an amp (because that's all the E11 is) but if you use the E7 as a DAC as well it will trump the E11 on SQ.

Come on WHF, can you post all the stuff I wrote out here? I put down loads of useful info and links!!
 
A

Anonymous

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I use the Firestone Audio FIREYE 1 sounds great with my Grado SR 80 i headphones. It is charged via usb. I bought it from Russ Andrews website and comes in at your price bracket. Cant comment on any of the Fiio range as I havnt heard them.Hope this helps.
 

gbhsi1

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quadpatch said:
The E11 is better than the E7 as an amp (because that's all the E11 is) but if you use the E7 as a DAC as well it will trump the E11 on SQ.

Come on WHF, can you post all the stuff I wrote out here? I put down loads of useful info and links!!
instead of the links can you write down which examples you originally added? I'm intrigued :)
 

gbhsi1

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diy hubs said:
I use the Firestone Audio FIREYE 1 sounds great with my Grado SR 80 i headphones. It is charged via usb. I bought it from Russ Andrews website and comes in at your price bracket. Cant comment on any of the Fiio range as I havnt heard them.Hope this helps.
the USB connection is not needed as I will be using an iPhone 4 thanks for the input though :)
 

quadpatch

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gbhsi1 said:
quadpatch said:
Come on WHF, can you post all the stuff I wrote out here? I put down loads of useful info and links!!
instead of the links can you write down which examples you originally added? I'm intrigued :)

Yeah sorry about this they are obviously not releasing it :(. I have not tried any of these but they are just things that I have found along the way while looking for portable DACs...

● Fiio E3 (£7 or under £4 for an as new open box - Advanced MP3 Players website)

● Fiio E5 (£14 or just over £9 for an as new open box - Advanced MP3 Players website)

● Fiio E6 (£20 - Amazon website)

● Fiio E11 (£46 or under £24 for an as new open box - Advanced MP3 Players website)

● Musiland Lilo V Enjoy (£74 - Amp city website)

● Musical Fidelity V-Can (£100 - custom cable website)

● iFuzen HP-1 (£69 - Advanced MP3 Players website)

● SoundMAGIC A10 (£50 - Amazon website)

● Digizoid Z02 (£79 - Advanced MP3 Players website)

I found a few more this time :p.
 
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Sorry I meant that it charges via usb , ie. it doesnt need batteries. You dont actually connect it via usb. It is supplied with a cable to connect to your iphone. Hope this clarifies things.
 

gbhsi1

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gbhsi1 said:
diy hubs said:
I use the Firestone Audio FIREYE 1 sounds great with my Grado SR 80 i headphones. It is charged via usb. I bought it from Russ Andrews website and comes in at your price bracket. Cant comment on any of the Fiio range as I havnt heard them.Hope this helps.
the USB connection is not needed as I will be using an iPhone 4 thanks for the input though :)
Just realised what I posted there. Sorry DIY hubs you were saying it charges via USB which is fine! I'll have a look at it, thank you!
 

quadpatch

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I just remembered another one. The Audinst Amp-HP. It's about £80 on eBay (direct from Audinst themselves). Again I don't know much about the amp but their combined DAC/amp (the only other thing they make) is very well reviewed, oh and I think it's lovely too :).
 
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Anonymous

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DAC/ Amplifier combo, it increases sound quality. E7 also appears to be better built.
 

ESP2009

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The Fiio E7 and LOD is a good solution - it works for me.

Caveats to that are: in it's rubber diving suit, the buttons are sometimes a bit awkward when you're out and about (unless it's just me); and mine at least loses its battery charge relatively quickly if left unused for a period. Even when attached to computer via USB, it won't function until the charge has built up to a certain level. Easily close to my iBasso Boa in terms of sound, but sometimes a pain to use.
 

quadpatch

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johnnydepp said:
DAC/ Amplifier combo, it increases sound quality. E7 also appears to be better built.
I avoided this recommendation because the OP was only looking for an amp and the E7's amp is not brilliant (E17 is much better). As far as quality from an iPhone goes since the DAC cannot be used the sound quality cannot be improved (only boosted in volume). Only connection to a computer will improve the sound.
 

eggontoast

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ESP2009 said:
...................Snip.................

and mine at least loses its battery charge relatively quickly if left unused for a period. Even when attached to computer via USB, it won't function until the charge has built up to a certain level.

...................Snip.................
Mine does this too, very annoying.
 

quadpatch

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eggontoast said:
quadpatch said:
.................snip................

the sound quality cannot be improved (only boosted in volume).

.................snip................
Really, why can't it be improved ?
As I understand it the external amp will only be amplifying the signal from another amplifier. If your volume is already fine from the original amplifier what is the point in amplifying it to the same volume with something else. Even if the signal is processed 100% perfectly (which it wont be) it won't 'improve' the sound. If it changes the sound then it's colouring it or cleaning it up artificially which is a bad thing. Without access to a clean source (the DAC) the unit can't do anything positive accept to making the sound louder than the original amp can manage. That's as I understand it but please correct me if I am missing something.
 

eggontoast

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quadpatch said:
As I understand it the external amp will only be amplifying the signal from another amplifier. If your volume is already fine from the original amplifier what is the point in amplifying it to the same volume with something else. Even if the signal is processed 100% perfectly (which it wont be) it won't 'improve' the sound. If it changes the sound then it's colouring it or cleaning it up artificially which is a bad thing. Without access to a clean source (the DAC) the unit can't do anything positive accept to making the sound louder than the original amp can manage. That's as I understand it but please correct me if I am missing something.
It's sort of correct. Not all amplifiers are equal, the headphone output of the iPhone is quite limited and only really works best with lower impedance headphones. Even then it's mediocre. An external amplifier, if designed well, will have enough oomf to drive any load to ear bleeding levels. Your point above would sort of be correct if you were feeding the external amplifier from the headphone output of the iPhone, but one would usually feed it from an LOD. This is a line level output which would be driven from an op-amp straight from the DAC, hence it is missing out the inferior headphone and other associated circuits of the iPhone. Think of it as changing the amplifier in you Hi-Fi.
 

quadpatch

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I see what you mean, I stand corrected. It would be similar to changing the amp connected to a CD player. Thanks for the explanation eggontoast :)
 

MajorFubar

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I don't think the headphone output on an iPhone so bad to call it mediocre.
You do need to match it carefully with headphones though, to get a decent volume.
 

dalethorn

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I had a Sennheiser HD800 for nearly 3 years, recently gave away. I could drive it from an iPod Touch or iPhone 4, and the only difference from a good amp was - 1) Less volume, and 2) Less detail, clarity, sense of space and so on. There was no difference in the frequency response.
 

lonely boy

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One benefit of using an amplifier with a portable source (via the headphone output) is that the device won't struggle with the low impedance of some drivers, it will only see the high input impedance of the amplifier, this should result in a much lower noise floor.

My Sony X-series is very hissy straight into the Shure 530s, with the O2, they are totally quiet.
 

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