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Need help - Just bough my first IEM, dont know what DAC + Amp to pair with

Alec246

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Hey there,

Long time follower of this amazing forum, the work of amirm is legendary! My gratitude goes to him

I just bought my first real quality IEM, Etymotics ER3XR. Loving it, so revealing. Just the Fit that takes time to get used to.

Now, I used to have some some decent audio equipment to pair with my sold Sennheiser HD600. Its been a long time, and now Im back with IEMs, and a Sony 1000M3 as Bluetooth and Active Cancelling Headphone.

I have no experience what to look for in a DAC + Amp combination for IEMs. I have read since they are way more sensible than a regular over ear, you cant have a too powerful Amp, or it will expose the noise of the equipment much more than a better fitted equipment.

My budget is under 150USD.

I have read about the Qudelix 5K, everybody seems to recommend those for IEMs and Portability. The issue is that my main usage will be on a Desktop, and the DAC seems to fall behind in measurement to non portable DAC solutions. So, I dont know if the tradeoff would be worth for me, since it will be most of the time connected with a USB cable, not using BT.

The S8 and S9 are other recommendations, but I read some issue with Latency and Delay, and this is a huge No Go for me. I am VERY sensitive to this, and since I also play games a lot on my PC.

I Have a Schiit Magni 2 laying around, that I could connect to a standalone DAC. But it seems the Magni 2 doesnt have the most noise free path, and I Would need to invest in cables and adapters to make it all work.

Please, if you have recommendations, I would greatly appreciate it!!
 

mrbungle

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The Topping Dx3 Pro+ is slightly over your budget with $200, but probably the best DAC/Amp desktop combo in that range. The Q5K is the standard recommendation for a reason though. The DAC in it is more than good enough. Just for IEMs, I would say go with the dongle. If you plan to get some wired headphones in the future, I would probably invest in the Topping.
 

jasonhanjk

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For IEM, look at the 33 ohm thd+n vs power graph.

This $54 excellent at this price range. Excellent by getting -100dB at 1mW!
index.php


Or Apple dongle $10.
index.php
 
OP
A

Alec246

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Thank you both for the kind suggestions!

The Topping DX3+ is a dangerous one for me, i would end up spending way over my budget, with no clear advantage over.other way cheaper solutions, since I dont plan on leaving my Bluetooth Sony Over Ears anytime soon. Way too convenient to me, i dont want the best sound quality when Im using that one.

I was told at the E1DA topic that it would work fine for the Etymotics, but it seems to be sold out. That and the review mentioned above by jasonhanjk made me jump the boat on the Tempotec Sonata Pro. The price is very good, the measurements are of units 4X its price. It seemed.to be like a good bet. It was either that or the Apple Dongle, which doesnt look like a very durable.solution for constant daily usage.

About the interpretation of the graph for IEM. I have to look at 33ohm graphs, at the 1M Measured Level at Watts then, to see how the Dac will perform.with my IEMs?

Thanks again!!
 

DVDdoug

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I have read since they are way more sensible than a regular over ear, you cant have a too powerful Amp, or it will expose the noise of the equipment much more than a better fitted equipment.
But strangely, you didn't mention that you are hearing noise... If it's not really a problem there is nothing to fix... ;)

more sensible
Sensitive. ;)
 

jasonhanjk

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I just realized there's no sweep for 33 ohm. So I can't tell is E1DA better.
 

jasonhanjk

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As share by Jimbob54. The 32 ohm is spot on with 10k ohm.
That makes calculation easier.

The E1DA 1mW is about -24dBFS point, too bad the graph didn't show but it's definitely more than -97.5dB.
It seems the tempotec have much lower noise since it reaches -100dB at 1mW.

If I were you, I'll save $50 to get the Tempotec.
The likely reason why E1DA is noisier is due to it's higher voltage output cause by higher gain.

 

Jimbob54

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As share by Jimbob54. The 32 ohm is spot on with 10k ohm.
That makes calculation easier.

The E1DA 1mW is about -24dBFS point, too bad the graph didn't show but it's definitely more than -97.5dB.
It seems the tempotec have much lower noise since it reaches -100dB at 1mW.

If I were you, I'll save $50 to get the Tempotec.
The likely reason why E1DA is noisier is due to it's higher voltage output cause by higher gain.

Worth pointing out that the Hidizs S8 IS the Tempotec Sonata HD Pro in a different case- so if OP has concerns re the S8, they apply to the SHD Pro too (I cant comment regarding latency on anything- I only ever listen to music, not games/ vids)
 
OP
A

Alec246

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Apr 27, 2022
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As share by Jimbob54. The 32 ohm is spot on with 10k ohm.
That makes calculation easier.

The E1DA 1mW is about -24dBFS point, too bad the graph didn't show but it's definitely more than -97.5dB.
It seems the tempotec have much lower noise since it reaches -100dB at 1mW.

If I were you, I'll save $50 to get the Tempotec.
The likely reason why E1DA is noisier is due to it's higher voltage output cause by higher gain.


THank you so much for taking the time to compare the performance of both units with an IEM such the Etymotics. If this is indeed true, I couldnt be happier to have gone with the Tempotec Sonata Pro HD, better performance and cheaper? I´m in 100%!

The Tempotec seems to be the holy grail for IEMs, it seems? I dont see much, if any, unit reaching this level of low noise at the power requirement of In Ears.

Worth pointing out that the Hidizs S8 IS the Tempotec Sonata HD Pro in a different case- so if OP has concerns re the S8, they apply to the SHD Pro too (I cant comment regarding latency on anything- I only ever listen to music, not games/ vids)

I am aware of that. What I have seen after my initial post, however, is that the latency issues were caused by something other than the Sonata unit, since the user has informed it happened with and without it being connected to the PC. So, this rules out the Sonata Pro HD as a source of very high latency, and makes me a happy man.

About the performance, there is nothing there I dont find plenty, and even more than I was hoping for a Portable DAC\Amp solution. I was expecting way higher price for this kind of measurements.

I will surely give my feedback when my unit arrives, specially focusing on Games \ Daily Usage Streaming etc. If I notice Latency \ Delay worth mentioning, I will make that known to the community.

Thanks all again!
 
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