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Does amps give me better sound and do i need it?

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#1
Hey guys! I know that cables and dacs doesnt improve soundquality, but does headphoneamps increase/color/adjust soundquality or does it just amp the signal up?

Ive also looking for a headphone and i have my eyes on a oppo pm-3 or Aeon Closed. Paying between 150-200usd for pm3( from a friend) or aeon for 350-400 used. Hard to decide!

Thanks!
 

twsecrest

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#2
Kind of depends on the headphones, high Ohm (Impedance headphones like a lot of voltage, but not as much current.
Lower Ohm headphones need less voltage, but might need more current.
Pure tube (OTL) amps makes lots of voltage, but not much current.
battery power stuff, might be limited on voltage, but offer more current.
Solid state amps (AC powered) are usually good for voltage and current.
Hybrids amps are a combo of tube and solid state.
But I'm not the expert, just opinionated.
 

maverickronin

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#3
Hey guys! I know that cables and dacs doesnt improve soundquality, but does headphoneamps increase/color/adjust soundquality or does it just amp the signal up?
Good amps just provide clean power. Some especially "bad" amps will color the sound in ways some people seem to like.

Ive also looking for a headphone and i have my eyes on a oppo pm-3 or Aeon Closed. Paying between 150-200usd for pm3( from a friend) or aeon for 350-400 used. Hard to decide!
The PM3 is much more efficient than the Aeon so you may want to go with that if if you don't want to get an amp as well.
 
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Thread Starter #4
Good amps just provide clean power. Some especially "bad" amps will color the sound in ways some people seem to like.



The PM3 is much more efficient than the Aeon so you may want to go with that if if you don't want to get an amp as well.
So as long the amp can serve enough power to the headphone (due to resistance,ohm) its good? Or how do i see if it serve my headpho e well? So if i understand it right i can just pick the lowest price one that score highest on the list Amir made and ill be good? So a 100usd dac/amp can be uquaøly or better than 10.000 usd one?BTW ive got the PM3!
 

Jimbob54

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#5
So as long the amp can serve enough power to the headphone (due to resistance,ohm) its good? Or how do i see if it serve my headpho e well? So if i understand it right i can just pick the lowest price one that score highest on the list Amir made and ill be good? So a 100usd dac/amp can be uquaøly or better than 10.000 usd one?BTW ive got the PM3!
A $100 amp can be infintely better than a $10000 amp if there is massive incompatibility between the 10k amp and your speakers/ phones. Or the 10k is a straight up rip off.

I'd like to think the 10k amp covered a lot more bases, had various useful features /settings/ connectivity not present in the £100, was built like a tank, had long warranty etc etc. And possibly had better measurements, more power on tap. You name it. But I doubt it will be 100 times better.
 
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Thread Starter #6
A $100 amp can be infintely better than a $10000 amp if there is massive incompatibility between the 10k amp and your speakers/ phones. Or the 10k is a straight up rip off.

I'd like to think the 10k amp covered a lot more bases, had various useful features /settings/ connectivity not present in the £100, was built like a tank, had long warranty etc etc. And possibly had better measurements, more power on tap. You name it. But I doubt it will be 100 times better.
Aha! Good info! I also got 2 more questions if you can help me out? My gear per now is my PM3 that im picking up in few hours and samsyng a5 phone. Pretty new to hifi audio,so i want to learn as much as i can!

1. Ive read alot about DAP's so i could use f.ex Tidal offline. But after reading about Amirs measurements/spreadsheets ,he doesnt seem to recommend many at all. Why so?Is a DAP a hearable upgrade in soundquality from my phone? Or is DAP's just a marketing mumbojumbo? Or is it cheaper/better to use my phone with portable amp/dac as in question 2?.

2.
Is there any amp/dac or amp that you can recommend to use with Pm-3(many people says ut scales well?) and with a future open back like the sundara,hd58x,hd600 etc?

3. Ive been recommended to try the oratory1990 presets for my pm3. Are u familiar with oratory?Does it only work on pc or is it possible to use the presests on my phone via app?

Thanks so much for your help
! U guys are awesome and im looking forward to learn a lot about audio=) nice hobby!
 

Jimbob54

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#7
Aha! Good info! I also got 2 more questions if you can help me out? My gear per now is my PM3 that im picking up in few hours and samsyng a5 phone. Pretty new to hifi audio,so i want to learn as much as i can!

1. Ive read alot about DAP's so i could use f.ex Tidal offline. But after reading about Amirs measurements/spreadsheets ,he doesnt seem to recommend many at all. Why so?Is a DAP a hearable upgrade in soundquality from my phone? Or is DAP's just a marketing mumbojumbo? Or is it cheaper/better to use my phone with portable amp/dac as in question 2?.

2.
Is there any amp/dac or amp that you can recommend to use with Pm-3(many people says ut scales well?) and with a future open back like the sundara,hd58x,hd600 etc?

3. Ive been recommended to try the oratory1990 presets for my pm3. Are u familiar with oratory?Does it only work on pc or is it possible to use the presests on my phone via app?

Thanks so much for your help
! U guys are awesome and im looking forward to learn a lot about audio=) nice hobby!
1.does the a5 have headphone out? If so, that plus tidal app on phone is your starting point. Tidal app on phone will do offline playback. If phone takes memory cards, go down that road.

2. I have DAPs. My view and others here is that they don't offer value over a phone plus (something). The something depends on 1. Above and what you are trying to drive.

3.i don't know the pm3, sensitivity or impedance. If they require more power than your phone headphone out, you might be wise to wait a few weeks for the upcoming e1da 9038d (if you need 3.5mm output) or get the 9038s (if the pm3 can be run from a 2.5mm balanced plug). It's a high power dongle from your phones (USB c?) socket.

4. Then there are the "portable" dac /amps. Devices basically the size of a dap but take signal from phone. I don't know about these
 

Koeitje

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#8
I use the Oppo PM-3 with the Zorloo Ztella and Meizu dongle (non-pro), goes plenty loud. But I wouldn't recommend the PM-3 because of its build quality. The pleather headband is breaking down and there is no way to replace it. I suggest you buy a headphone that can last a bit longer...
 
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Thread Starter #9
I use the Oppo PM-3 with the Zorloo Ztella and Meizu dongle (non-pro), goes plenty loud. But I wouldn't recommend the PM-3 because of its build quality. The pleather headband is breaking down and there is no way to replace it. I suggest you buy a headphone that can last a bit longer...
Ive got the pm3 yesterday for ca 160 usd with all casecandy, original box etc( that must be a good deal since the oppo sold for 599usd new over here). Im gonna pick it up in a few hours. Only thing with it was as you said that there is a tiny sign of "crackling" under the headband in the pleather. No problem for me as ive ordered both a knitted grey headband cover(my pm3 is white) and the oppo pm3 zipper one for very cheap. If it doesnt lower the resale value, im gonna deliver it to a guy i knew in town and get him to upgrade the headband pleather to leather=)
 
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Thread Starter #10
1.does the a5 have headphone out? If so, that plus tidal app on phone is your starting point. Tidal app on phone will do offline playback. If phone takes memory cards, go down that road.

2. I have DAPs. My view and others here is that they don't offer value over a phone plus (something). The something depends on 1. Above and what you are trying to drive.

3.i don't know the pm3, sensitivity or impedance. If they require more power than your phone headphone out, you might be wise to wait a few weeks for the upcoming e1da 9038d (if you need 3.5mm output) or get the 9038s (if the pm3 can be run from a 2.5mm balanced plug). It's a high power dongle from your phones (USB c?) socket.

4. Then there are the "portable" dac /amps. Devices basically the size of a dap but take signal from phone. I don't know about these
1. Yea. My phone has 3.5mm
2. So generally, all the reviews that says dap x is so much better than dap y in soundquality is a bit of "placeboeffect" since a regular cellphone with an easy to drive headphone would be equally as good if it can drive it?

3. Idk the values on my phone or what i should look after.
 

maverickronin

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#11
2. So generally, all the reviews that says dap x is so much better than dap y in soundquality is a bit of "placeboeffect" since a regular cellphone with an easy to drive headphone would be equally as good if it can drive it?
The primary reasons to get a DAP are because you want something with physical buttons or because you want a separate device from your phone.

Most DAPs don't measure much better than most cellphones, other than sometimes more power. The PM3's are pretty efficient though, so that may not be an issue for you.
 

Jimbob54

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#12
The primary reasons to get a DAP are because you want something with physical buttons or because you want a separate device from your phone.

Most DAPs don't measure much better than most cellphones, other than sometimes more power. The PM3's are pretty efficient though, so that may not be an issue for you.
@W1ll1eTheP1mp Assuming you want a DAP with wireless streaming ability (I have the A&K SR15), it utterly kills the battery. Agree with mav the buttons the only real selling point. I'd try the PM3 direct from your phone , then if not happy , look at one of the more potent usb dongle dacs. See the review table on here . Unless your phone has a TERRIBLE Dac/amp inbuilt, you wont get night and day improvements from a DAP or anything else.
 

Koeitje

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#13
Ive got the pm3 yesterday for ca 160 usd with all casecandy, original box etc( that must be a good deal since the oppo sold for 599usd new over here). Im gonna pick it up in a few hours. Only thing with it was as you said that there is a tiny sign of "crackling" under the headband in the pleather. No problem for me as ive ordered both a knitted grey headband cover(my pm3 is white) and the oppo pm3 zipper one for very cheap. If it doesnt lower the resale value, im gonna deliver it to a guy i knew in town and get him to upgrade the headband pleather to leather=)
It's really hard to replace the headband with real leather due to the construction, I already looked into that.
 
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Thread Starter #14
The primary reasons to get a DAP are because you want something with physical buttons or because you want a separate device from your phone.

Most DAPs don't measure much better than most cellphones, other than sometimes more power. The PM3's are pretty efficient though, so that may not be an issue for you.
So then my concerns was true then. DAP's is just for having a dedicated player and doesnt offer substantially better SQ than my phone. And that my phone's dac id just prob as good as a DAP's dac?. Well, ive learnt that i should take the discussions and opinions/review at Headfi with a huge grain of salt. Its easy to get "tricked" to believe in mumbojumbo when your new at your hifi hobby!! Im happy thati have some background in electronics though. I like to think that i am a objective person such as i dont believe in cables improve SQ unless someone can prove it evidencly
 
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Thread Starter #15
@W1ll1eTheP1mp Assuming you want a DAP with wireless streaming ability (I have the A&K SR15), it utterly kills the battery. Agree with mav the buttons the only real selling point. I'd try the PM3 direct from your phone , then if not happy , look at one of the more potent usb dongle dacs. See the review table on here . Unless your phone has a TERRIBLE Dac/amp inbuilt, you wont get night and day improvements from a DAP or anything else.
I suspect that it isnt very good. When i hady RHA t20 iems , i had to have the volume to max on my phone and it still wasnt very loud at all. But idk what dac/amp samsung a5 has though. So when peoole say that f.ex lg v30 had awesome SQ due to other phones cause of the quad dacs, its just a perception? Or is that in most phone dacs sucks?
 

Jimbob54

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I suspect that it isnt very good. When i hady RHA t20 iems , i had to have the volume to max on my phone and it still wasnt very loud at all. But idk what dac/amp samsung a5 has though. So when peoole say that f.ex lg v30 had awesome SQ due to other phones cause of the quad dacs, its just a perception? Or is that in most phone dacs sucks?
The biggest problem will be the volume limits in Android more than the electronics. Trial USB Audio Player Pro and set it to use internal DAC in the settings- might bypass vol limits.

UAPP with an external dongle (Meizu Hifi Pro can be had for $30) definitely will bypass volume limits.

Phone Vs DAP performance of course depends on the DAP and the phone. Not all of either are equal! But your starting point should be using your new cans direct from phone. After that, decision is yours where to go. Personally my time with DAPs is done.
 
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Thread Starter #17
The biggest problem will be the volume limits in Android more than the electronics. Trial USB Audio Player Pro and set it to use internal DAC in the settings- might bypass vol limits.

UAPP with an external dongle (Meizu Hifi Pro can be had for $30) definitely will bypass volume limits.

Phone Vs DAP performance of course depends on the DAP and the phone. Not all of either are equal! But your starting point should be using your new cans direct from phone. After that, decision is yours where to go. Personally my time with DAPs is done.
So what is your next "thing " after DAP? I just want to enjoy my Zappa as much as possible=)
 

maverickronin

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#18
So then my concerns was true then. DAP's is just for having a dedicated player and doesnt offer substantially better SQ than my phone. And that my phone's dac id just prob as good as a DAP's dac?. Well, ive learnt that i should take the discussions and opinions/review at Headfi with a huge grain of salt. Its easy to get "tricked" to believe in mumbojumbo when your new at your hifi hobby!! Im happy thati have some background in electronics though. I like to think that i am a objective person such as i dont believe in cables improve SQ unless someone can prove it evidencly
The performance of both modern phones and DAPs is all over the place. Some of each are great, while others are terrible. Personally, I wouldn't buy anything new without tracking down some basic measurements like output impedance, power into different loads, and THD+N. Those are the important metrics. When it comes to electronics you can pretty much ignore the flowery prose the most people seem to spill on their "sound". (That kind of thing is much better suited to the headphones instead.)

Personally I use old school DAPs because I can't stand touch screens, or Android, or iOS. If you don't mind that, just start out with your phone 3.5mm jack and see how it sounds. If it dosen't go loud enough or the bass seems to get weak at high volumes you can try one of the more powerful dongles or a portable amp.
 

Jimbob54

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#19
So what is your next "thing " after DAP? I just want to enjoy my Zappa as much as possible=)
You need to decide where and how you listen to your cans. Do you want the "thing" to be in your pocket? On your desk? "portable" to the degree it can go in your day bag between work and home? Or stay on your desk at home. Decide the use and you decide the size. The size dictates the functions and (to an extent) the quality. The ultimate headphone experience is from a desktop size dac and amp or a dac/amp combo that requires external power and (more than likely) a pc. Or a CD player /turntable etc. That is to say something big enough not to move about daily.


BUT a good dongle on your phone might get you a large part of that experience, especially on easy to drive headphones.
 
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Thread Starter #20
You need to decide where and how you listen to your cans. Do you want the "thing" to be in your pocket? On your desk? "portable" to the degree it can go in your day bag between work and home? Or stay on your desk at home. Decide the use and you decide the size. The size dictates the functions and (to an extent) the quality. The ultimate headphone experience is from a desktop size dac and amp or a dac/amp combo that requires external power and (more than likely) a pc. Or a CD player /turntable etc. That is to say something big enough not to move about daily.


BUT a good dongle on your phone might get you a large part of that experience, especially on easy to drive headphones.
I'll just recieved my oppo's now. Just need to get my daughter to bed now, before testing them! Im gonna invest in a desktop dac/amp later to use with a open headphone, but that will prob be after the summer. And im a patient guy. I have search the web for a portable closedback can since february. Reading myself up, learning to read/understand FQ's ,writing pro's and con's , eliminated those cans that possibly didnt match what i think im looking for and patiently waited for the "perfect deal"! Just that chase is awesome.. so i bet the same will happen with open cans and a dac/amp. IF i want, can i use the EQ in UAPP so it works with tidal/spotify? It would be cool if it was a way to use oratory1990 presets on android or if there is an app that has atleast 10 parameter's to do it manually?

I also have a hearing damage that suddenly occur at high volume 's. Especially wth high volumes + high frequencies. Hyperacusis
. So ive found out so far that 70db is a very good listening volume for me. So my goal is to find i good sound without cranking the volume very high up.

I am only familiar with guitaramps.not headphone amp. To f.ex get the best tube sound for me in guitaramp world was to use a kt88 modded amp on high volume so that the tubes did their work and then use an attenuator to deliver the same cranked tube sound on very low volume 's. But i dont think headphones amps works like that at all?
 
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