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Can a outboard amp improve the sound of an ipod?

2chnfornow

Active Member
I currently connect my iPod directly to a set of AKG 701's.

Would there be any advantage in sound quality in adding a quality external headphone amp, given that the iPod to headphone direct connection generally supplies adequate volume.
 

PaulyT

Behind the Curtain
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Superstar
That's a loaded question. ;) (at least around here!)

I would say: possibly, though the difference may not be enormous. There are two factors as I see it: 1) cleaner amplification if you need more power (though it sounds like maybe power's not an issue), 2) is the DAC in the iPod good enough for a better amp to matter, assuming you're not also looking for an outboard DAC?

I think it depends on just how much you want to squeeze out of the system. I had K701s for a while, and I could definitely tell the difference between different amp sources - e.g. headphone jack on my receiver at the time vs. a dedicated (tube) headphone amp (but of course there you're throwing ss vs tube into the mix). But it's sort of like receiver vs. separates with speakers, there's a difference but it's not night and day. Just depends on how particular you are, whether it's worth it. If you're listening in a quiet room, it'll be more worthwhile IMHO than if you're using it on a bus or train where it's noisy anyway (and the K701s block no external noise).
 

Flint

Dog Faced Pony Soldier
Superstar
It is entirely possible that adding a decent headphone will help the sound, moreso with open style headphones than the super-efficient IEM style. Of course, the perceived improvement will be limited by the encoding format you use for the music. I cannot fathom attempting by to improve the sound of files encoded at any lossy rate below 192kbps, and even then I wouldn't bother with it unless the audio were at 256kbps or higher.
 

2chnfornow

Active Member
All music files are in Apple lossless. As for the quality of the dac I am limited to the ipod's internal dac. I can't afford a device that pulls a digital signal from an ipod, and even if I could I don't currently own a digital pre-amp or receiver, so I would need an external dac as well.
 

Rope

Well-Known Member
Famous
2chnfornow said:
I currently connect my iPod directly to a set of AKG 701's.

Would there be any advantage in sound quality in adding a quality external headphone amp, given that the iPod to headphone direct connection generally supplies adequate volume.
Depending on the output stage of the amp selected, there's little doubt in my mind that an out board HF amplifier would help the AKG K-701's, specifically the thin bottom end.

Judging by the HF's, I assume this is not a portable rig?

Rope
 
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