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Headphone Amp for Philip Fidelio X1 Headphones

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The Mad One's picture
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As the title says I'm looking for the best headphone amp for my new headphones and as its not easy to try b4 i buy its essential to try and get it right first time. the Amp will be used with my macbook pro and my iPhone and i pod (mainly spotify and albums on the pro) so will not be used through my main hifi as its to far across the room and am not prepared to drape headphone extensions across so im going to sit the amp on a table beside me. im currently using a Fiio E7 and is surprisingly very good but I'm sure the philips deserve better my absolute price is up to £300 and i don't mind secondhand the reviews for graham slee solo and voyager look very promising but is there any other amps worth considering. thanks in advance for your help and views

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quadpatch's picture
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RE: Headphone Amp for Philip Fidelio X1 Headphones

I have been very impressed with the Schiit Modi and Magni combo and also the Ifi iDAC (posting a review for that very soon). Are you looking for an amp and a DAC combined, or a pure headphone amp? Because I think it's well worth getting a DAC better than the E7.

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dalethorn's picture
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RE: Headphone Amp for Philip Fidelio X1 Headphones

Quadpatch has good recommendations there. Myself, were I looking for DAC and amp both for a laptop for an efficent hadphone like the Philips, I'd get a good Mini-DAC like the HRT Microstreamer or equivalent. But that DAC/amp would not work with iphone/ipod. You could buy a DAC for the i-device, but it's very expensve due to Apple licensing. If you had the Schiit combo, you could run DAC and amp from the laptop, but only the amp would work with the ipod, and the quality would likely be very compromised. You would never want to amplify the ipod/iphone's already amplified sound coming from the headphone port - no matter what anyone tells you. You would want to use a LOD cable from the i-device line out dock connector (30-pin or lightning), but then getting the miniplug end of the LOD cable to the Schiit amp input is likely to further compromise the Line Out signal.

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The Mad One's picture
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RE: Headphone Amp for Philip Fidelio X1 Headphones

Thanks for your input guys.

I've looked at the schist combo and agree it looks good.

dalethorn

you say that the phones are efficient and a Hrt micro streamer would be good enough.lets just say that I'm only going to use my macbook only and forget the iPod/phone in your opinion is the Hrt good enough its got great reviews and it does keep cables boxes down to minimum which pleases me.

thanks

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dalethorn's picture
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RE: Headphone Amp for Philip Fidelio X1 Headphones

The Mad One wrote:
....you say that the phones are efficient and a Hrt micro streamer would be good enough.lets just say that I'm only going to use my macbook only and forget the iPod/phone in your opinion is the Hrt good enough its got great reviews and it does keep cables boxes down to minimum which pleases me. thanks

I can't think of anything that would outperform the Microstreamer until you get up to $500 or so with a desktop DAC/amp in a single enclosure. Having DAC and amp separately means the signal goes through connectors on the DAC and connectors on the amp plus the interconnect cables, and DAC/amps like the Microstreamer or desktop combos eliminate all of that. Desktop amps also have another major source of signal pollution - A/C power supplies.

Edit: i.e., running the Microstreamer from a Macbook that's running on battery power alone will yield the cleanest sound.

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The Mad One's picture
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RE: Headphone Amp for Philip Fidelio X1 Headphones

Thanks for your input guys I've just purchased the Meridian Explorer Dac and have to say I'm very impressed with it from what I've heard I've only had it a day so I'm just letting it bed in.

But its way better than the macbook pro's internal sound card

thanks again

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dalethorn's picture
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RE: Headphone Amp for Philip Fidelio X1 Headphones

The Mad One wrote:
....I've just purchased the Meridian Explorer Dac and have to say I'm very impressed with it from what I've heard I've only had it a day so I'm just letting it bed in. But its way better than the macbook pro's internal sound card thanks again

That's a very good choice. It should be at least as good as what I mentioned or better.

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MrSpeakers Alpha Dog, FAD Pandora IV/VI, Beyer DT1350/T51p, v-moda M100/XS, Beyer A200p/Microstreamer/FiiO E07k DAC/amps, PA2V2 amp.