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Massdrop 101: What Is An Amp?
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My personal preferences lean towards "amp it" but I also have these amps around for phones that require them so I can't say that mantra is right for everyone. My opinion on amps:
High Impedance (250+) Low Sensitivity (<100)
Very Low Impedance (<16) and High Sensitivity (>103) ...dedicated Hi-Fi DAP works too
Double Magnet/Older Generation Planars
Electrostatic Designs (duh)
"I could use a bit more headroom"
Source impedance mismatch with can impedance (22 ohm output vs 8 ohm nominal impedance)
Curious and have spare cash
Current gen/single magnet planars
"I want bass boost/tone controls"
Certain headphones require more power than their specs would indicate.. e. g. AKG K7 series let your ears guide you more than the interwebs on these exceptions.
Included earbuds/pods/etcs from phones and portable devices
YOU ARE HAPPY WITH WHAT YOU HAVE
Basically if you don't know or don't care what's out there and you're content with what you have, then C'est la vie.
In the beginning we strive for the impossible, then we get close to what really should makes us happy, that's a difficult path. We're almost there but quite often many of us have a component that can't live up to the rest of our system, to those that realize that, life become hell. From that point we play leapfrog for eternity!