Headphone Amp recommendation

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sera2775
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Headphone Amp recommendation

Postby sera2775 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:56 pm

Hi Marcus

I'm looking at the headphone amps for sale at $49, that is the:

Hifiman Express HM-101
Brainwavz AP001
Fiio A1

For use with Sennheiser HD414 mainly, but I also have Hifiman and Vsonic in ear buds. I would mostly be listening while im out.

A YT review mentioned that HM-101 have a scratchy sound when used.

Since all same price, would you recommend one ? Or alternatively, would it be better to spend more on an amp?

Thanks in advance.

Nick

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Re: Headphone Amp recommendation

Postby Marcus » Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:39 pm

What are you plugging the headphones into at the moment?
Basically what any of the above is going to do for you is pretty much just add volume. You may notice a ~10% performance gain otherwise but little else, add to this the inconvenience of another device to charge and have tethered and you may find it isn't worthwhile unless your current source is awful.
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Re: Headphone Amp recommendation

Postby sera2775 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 4:28 pm

Hi Marcus,

Thanks for the reply. In answer to your question, I plug headphones into a mobile phone - Nexus 4.

I ask because the Sennheiser HD414 (which i bought about 20 years ago or so) are very quiet at the highest level, although I don't plug these into the mobile phone, but rather the computer or tv speakers. In an article I read about them, it mentions that a headphone amp is required to drive the cans to their potential.

Would this be worthwhile given I'm listening from a phone?

I listen to a mix of digital files - mp3, flac, etc - with electronic music and other genres.

Cheers

Nick :)

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Re: Headphone Amp recommendation

Postby Marcus » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:05 pm

From something like a desktop or laptop computer with poor quality onboard sound something like the HiFiMan 101 should make a decent amount of difference for the price, however it's not going to be a massive step up. Technically if you're using a desktop computer a ~$50 soundcard would be a better investment.
From your phone one of the basic amps will give you a volume bump if needed along with maybe a slight performance increase :)
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Re: Headphone Amp recommendation

Postby sera2775 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:11 pm

thanks, is it worth paying for the fiio a3 versus the other $49 amps or not worth it if listening on phone?

thanks

nick

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Re: Headphone Amp recommendation

Postby Marcus » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:15 pm

Well, technically you'll have to consider whether it would be better to invest in a higher end pair of headphones instead.
eg: a $200 pair of more efficient headphones will sound 100% better from your phone than an inefficient ~$100 pair with a ~$100 amp, without the inconvenience of the extra thing to carry/charge/tether.
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Re: Headphone Amp recommendation

Postby sera2775 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:18 pm

thanks :)

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Re: Headphone Amp recommendation

Postby Marcus » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:23 pm

I know it's tempting to add a gadget, but I'd guess the majority of people that buy entry level headphone amps end up shelving them. I don't use any of my portable amps because my phone (HTC 10) drives more efficient portable headphones 90% as well as a higher end portable amp/DAC. The inconvenience of the extra thing to carry/charge/tether just isn't worth it to me.
Plus the difference in actual quality becomes far less noticeable when I'm not actually sitting there A/Bing my phone vs my phone with DAC/amp.

For the desktop I'm currently using (some off the shelf HP) I always use an external DAC/amp because the onboard is terrible (I hear hiss, HDD access chirps etc for starters) and even the most basic model cleans that up.
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Re: Headphone Amp recommendation

Postby sera2775 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:28 pm

Thanks Marcus, I appreciate your advice. Have a good one, nick


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