Dac amp and IEM virgin looking for advice

pixelpoacher

Active Member
Hi peeps, can't really find any previous along the lines I'm investigating....
I've never had or been into headphones etc until lockdown. Had hifi before etc, but been listening to Spotify etc on my phone with some galaxy bud pros, plusses before that.

I am wanting to get much better sound quality but unsure which direction to go in.

Do I use the phone (S21 Ultra) as the source and just get some decent iem's, do I use the phone and get a dac and amp etc?

As the phone doesn't have a 3.5mm jack, do I get a DAP instead?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, listen to a wide range from Floyd to classical and I do like a bit of bass....

Cheers
Darrin
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
In ear monitors are, mostly, easy to drive. Focus the budget on the IEM. The thread by @gex23 about moon drop is a good start. I use the Shure SE846 straight from a smartphone for example, that model is notoriously easy to drive

Modern smartphones without a 3.5mm jack: buy a USB C to 3.5mm adaptor, which in itself is a digital to analog converter. Many available on the market for all budgets. Even the Apple I gets good reviews for sq

Digital audio player: special use case, have to know you will use it

Portable DAC amp: as with the USB C to 3.5mm form factor, can pull double duty with laptops or computers. Suggest looking at the iFi audio battery powered devices
 

pixelpoacher

Active Member
In ear monitors are, mostly, easy to drive. Focus the budget on the IEM. The thread by @gex23 about moon drop is a good start. I use the Shure SE846 straight from a smartphone for example, that model is notoriously easy to drive

Modern smartphones without a 3.5mm jack: buy a USB C to 3.5mm adaptor, which in itself is a digital to analog converter. Many available on the market for all budgets. Even the Apple I gets good reviews for sq

Digital audio player: special use case, have to know you will use it

Portable DAC amp: as with the USB C to 3.5mm form factor, can pull double duty with laptops or computers. Suggest looking at the iFi audio battery powered devices
Thanks for that, does the USB DAC have a big impact on sound, is it better to buy the best possible to allow the IEM's to shine even on Spotify?
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
Yes,

It is simply my personal financial experience at the budget end it is best bang for buck putting most of the budget into the in ear monitors

In your case you are forced to buy a USB C to 3.5mm DAC amp because your smartphone has no built in headphone jack. So I suggest 80% to 90% of the budget on the IEM and 10% to 20% of the budget on a dongle.

Adding a nicer DAC amp later is fine to help refine the whole package. But a nicer DAC in my experience cannot polish average earphones / headphones

In addition to moon drop there is also tin audio getting good reviews for budget models

The alternative are Bluetooth headphones. Wireless BT headphones have a built in DAC and your smartphone is the BT source. That simplifies the chain
 

The latest video from AVForums

AVForums Movies Podcast: Streaming Theatrical Releases And The Future Of Cinema
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom