Iphone users, need small portable/desktop headphone amp for cheap

EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 17,165
edited July 2012 in Headphones
So now that I have an Iphone I am finding myself streaming Pandora all the time at work. I realize the quality is a bit crappy, but its for work using headphones so no biggie. I am planning on investing in a semi decent set of Audio-Technica ATH-M50 or Beyerdynamic DT 770 headphones

I am curious what if anything you guys are using headphone amp wise when at work. I am hoping to find something that bypasses the internal DAC's in the Iphone (since I will be loading it up with high quality music shortly) and has a headphone jack and a volume knob. I found a couple cheap decent options but they are all 3.5mm in, which if thats all I really can get is fine, just wondering whats out there.

P.S. I am very aware of head-fi but thought I would post here since I like you guys better

Here is one of the lower end options I found.

JDSLabs Cmoy
Review: http://www.headfonia.com/60-pack-of-awesome-jdslabs-cmoy/
Specs:http://www.jdslabs.com/gallery_cmoy.php?page=cmoy
"....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
Post edited by EndersShadow on

Comments

  • nwohlfordnwohlford Posts: 700
    edited December 2011
    I have been using the Pure i-20 (~$100) hooked to a preamp that I found for cheap. This allows me to switch between headphones and small speakers that I have in my office for low level background music. I think that this dock would be pretty good hooked up to a cheap headphone amp (there is a long thread about the dock on head-fi).

    The all-in-one solutions tend to be more expensive, but I do think that the NuForce Icon iDo looks intriguing.
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 17,165
    edited December 2011
    nwohlford wrote: »
    I have been using the Pure i-20 (~$100) hooked to a preamp that I found for cheap. This allows me to switch between headphones and small speakers that I have in my office for low level background music. I think that this dock would be pretty good hooked up to a cheap headphone amp (there is a long thread about the dock on head-fi).

    The all-in-one solutions tend to be more expensive, but I do think that the NuForce Icon iDo looks intriguing.

    Yeah I dont need this for speakers, strickly headphones so I am hoping I can keep it under 100. The NuForce Icon iDo is more than I want to pay right now.
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • codyc1arkcodyc1ark Posts: 2,543
    edited December 2011
    Do you have to wash your hands with bleach and sandpaper every time you use it?
  • codyc1arkcodyc1ark Posts: 2,543
    edited December 2011
    Yeah I dont need this for speakers, strickly headphones so I am hoping I can keep it under 100. The NuForce Icon iDo is more than I want to pay right now.

    Oooo... We got one of those for my brother for x-mas, I'll let you know my thoughts on it.
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 17,165
    edited December 2011
    codyc1ark wrote: »
    Do you have to wash your hands with bleach and sandpaper every time you use it?

    Yes I do.

    I did find one other alternative I might consider, but its still more than I really want to spend at this point for a cheap office headphone setup.

    http://www.headfonia.com/korean-pocket-rocket-the-audinst-amp-hp/

    I think the item in my first post might just be what I get myself for christmas, however I will go with the rechargeable one. I dont need anything massively powerful and its super portable and seems to stack up well against other headphone amps.
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 17,165
    edited December 2011
    My only other option in the sub 100 market seems to be this:

    spec's: http://www.electric-avenues.com/amplifiers.html
    review: http://www.headfonia.com/electric-avenues-pa2v2/
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • apcapc Posts: 788
    edited December 2011
    I've got the JDS Labs and love it! Simple, sounds great and a bit novel to boot. Always gets a second glance, then inquiries. My batteries last a long time too. I heard about it first over at head-fi.


    PS - why does the attachment always get turned upside down?
    Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Friend.
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 17,165
    edited December 2011
    apc wrote: »
    I've got the JDS Labs and love it! Simple, sounds great and a bit novel to boot. Always gets a second glance, then inquiries. My batteries last a long time too. I heard about it first over at head-fi.

    So in looking at the contenders we have the
    1. JDSLabs Cmoy Review: Specs
    2. Electric Avenues PA2v2 Review Spec's
    3. Fiio E11 Review Spec's

    Of those I like the unique look of the Cmoy, the fact its got a wall wart connection in the back that stops using the battery automatically when you plug it in. I also like the fact its very simple, line in, line out, volume. The Altoids can is also kinda neat.

    I will more than likely get the rechargeable model simply to be safe (it will mostly be connected at work and plugged in). I also am going to talk to the local custom cable master (pepster) to get a 3 inch 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable made just for the hell of it. I also might try purchasing the Fiio L9 cable (uses the IPOD connector on one end, line out on the other) provided it works with non Fiio gear.

    The PA2v2 came in second but I just dont like the way the cords are laid out and how overall big it is. The Fiio came in last due to the volume knob. It really isnt laid out well for my specific scenario.
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 17,165
    edited December 2011
    @ APC what headphones have you used with the Cmoy?
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 17,165
    edited December 2011
    Also anyone know if I should be looking at the Fiio Line Out adapter for my iPhone, or keep it simple with a 3.5mm adapter
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • apcapc Posts: 788
    edited December 2011
    @ APC what headphones have you used with the Cmoy?

    Apple buds of course, but prefer Bose Triport IEs. I originally bought more expensive Ultimate Ears model from an Apple store, but thankfully I tried them out before leaving the store. They lacked fullness and the associate suggested the Bose, which fit my ears better and had great sound and a nice carry case. I really prefer my Sennheiser HD 595, but they're not exactly portable.
    Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Friend.
  • dorokusaidorokusai Posts: 25,489
    edited December 2011
    Headroom Total Bithead....Audiophile Products FUBAR II....are a couple that I've heard recently. I thought about the FUBAR since it has a full size jack but it's not $100...$250 or less used.
    CTC BBQ Amplifier, Sonic Frontiers Line3 Pre-Amplifier and Wadia 581 SACD player. Speakers? Always changing but for now, Mission Argonauts I picked up for $50 bucks, mint.
  • apcapc Posts: 788
    edited December 2011
    +1 on the Bithead. I came really close or ordering it. but opted to save some $$. There are a lot of quality devices out ther. It's really hard to narrow down, isn't it?
    Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Friend.
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 17,165
    edited December 2011
    apc wrote: »
    It's really hard to narrow down, isn't it?

    It is, but I don't spend a majority of my time listening to headphones and when I do its at work so I am not focusing on the music as much. That's why I figure a decent headphone amp (under 100), decent headphones (200 or less) are about the most investment I am willing to make. Plus the sound you get from a 300 dollar investment in headphone type gear is normally like investing 3x as much in a 2 channel setup.

    My 2 channel rig I can justify the cost as when I am listening to that I am actually "listening" not just "hearing".....

    Plus I just need it for my iPhone, its not going to do double duty anywhere else as that will be the Squeezebox's job.

    Either way thanks for the suggestions, I will check them out but I think I am going to go with the JLabs option. Its kinda funky, works good and has just what I need.
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • nwohlfordnwohlford Posts: 700
    edited December 2011
    Also anyone know if I should be looking at the Fiio Line Out adapter for my iPhone, or keep it simple with a 3.5mm adapter

    I would definitely use the dock connector output over the headphone out to bypass the iPhone's headphone amp.
  • apcapc Posts: 788
    edited December 2011
    nwohlford wrote: »
    I would definitely use the dock connector output over the headphone out to bypass the iPhone's headphone amp.

    Another +1. I ordered this one from ebay from somewhere in China. Took a couple of weeks, but good qualty and inexpensvie.
    Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Friend.
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 17,165
    edited December 2011
    nwohlford wrote: »
    I would definitely use the dock connector output over the headphone out to bypass the iPhone's headphone amp.
    apc wrote: »
    Another +1. I ordered this one from ebay from somewhere in China. Took a couple of weeks, but good qualty and inexpensvie.

    Gotcha, I was wondering if that was why folks were using it. I was going to probably get something like the Fiio L9

    http://www.fiio.com.cn/product/index.aspx?ID=23&MenuID=020303

    20117181555994.jpg
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • apcapc Posts: 788
    edited December 2011
    Oh man, that is sooo much better than mine. Right angle plug and shorter are great. Thanks for posting it.
    Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Friend.
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 17,165
    edited December 2011
    apc wrote: »
    Oh man, that is sooo much better than mine. Right angle plug and shorter are great. Thanks for posting it.

    No problem. They also have one (E3) that I am probably going to get and the only diff is its not right angle, but thats due mostly to the orientation of my setup at work than anything.

    You gonna pick one up?
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • apcapc Posts: 788
    edited December 2011
    Already placed order. Plan to use existing (pictured above) LOD on my ipod and the new L9 for my iphone.
    Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Friend.
  • apcapc Posts: 788
    edited December 2011
    Just remembered another pair of cans that I liked alot. Check out the Sennheiser PX-100. Light weight, collapsable and came with a hard case.
    Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Friend.
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 17,165
    edited December 2011
    apc wrote: »
    Just remembered another pair of cans that I liked alot. Check out the Sennheiser PX-100. Light weight, collapsable and came with a hard case.

    Will do but at this point the ATH-50M and the DT-770 are the contenders. Both are sold at Guitar Center locally so I can pick up the DT-770's and if I dont like them exchange for the ATH-50M, or the other way around.

    I like the ATH-50M's price, but am not sure how comfortable they might be for prolonged use since they are rubber/plastic v. the velour of the DT-770's.

    Looking for some semi decent ones, dont need to be super critical, more fun for listening and both those models fit the bill, its more about comfort (I have glasses) and pressure at this point than anything since they are only 50 bucks apart in price.
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • zingozingo Audiophile Posts: 11,837
    edited July 2012
    I have one of these that I use with my iPhone while traveling, and it provides a little more umph, volume, and dynamics in a tiny package.

    http://www.amazon.com/Firestone-Audio-Fireye-Headphone-Amplifier/dp/B005WKJLT4

    Firestone-Fireye-Mini-large.jpg
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 17,165
    edited July 2012
    Appreciate it.

    Ended up going with a vintage integrated Yamaha (R-300). Hoping to get a Kenwood KA-7150 and use a LOD to RCA for my iPhone with my headphones.

    I realize its not exactly portable, but its for my desk at work so I have some good space.

    I might even try out a small tube amp using that adaptor you posted yesterday.....
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
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