Should I buy a portable amp for my MacBook Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by oris diver, May 18, 2013.

  1. oris diver macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2013
    Hi All

    i've decided to buy some good quality headphones for my macbook pro AKG451.

    This got me thinking of adding a portable amp and was wondering if it was worth it. I have a 2010 macbook pro and feel the sound coming out of such a
    expensive laptop as poor.

    On Amazon the FiiO E17 Portable Headphone Amplifier and USB DAC has some
    good reviews . Does anyone use this and if so is it worth buying .Or for that matter any other Amp.

  2. johnnnw macrumors 65816


    Feb 7, 2013
    If you are listening to extremely high bitrate songs and are experienced in noticing the difference, then an amp will help you.

    However don't expect an amp to just make it better in every way, you need to be experienced in hearing the small things that "audiophiles" look for.

    The Fiio is a good choice, it's definitely the most popular introduction amp.
  3. tomtakesphotos macrumors newbie

    Apr 19, 2013
    Audioquest Dragonfly is a wicked product for headphones. It's a DAC and headphone amp and I think it comes with instructions on getting bit perfect outputs too. Really worth a look. I had a demo from the rep and it really made a huge difference. I use those headphones too.
  4. swerve147 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 12, 2013
    I've been using a cheaper Fiio E6 for about a year now (paired with a set of Velodyne V Pulse earphones) and have been very happy with it. Although I'm not an audiophile I definitely hear the difference the amp makes - deeper, fuller bass and overall boosted volume (there are a few presets as well). I can only imagine an E17 being that much better.
  5. oris diver thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2013
    i've checked up on the dragonfly DAC on Amazon and its got some great reviews,the price though puts me off. I don't won't to spend more then £100 ,which is why i first mentioned the FIIO E17 .

    Thanks for the info
  6. maz-o macrumors member


    Jul 16, 2010
    I use in-ear headphones. The stock headphone jack on my 2008 MBP is AWFUL! On lower volumes all I hear is background noise, cracks, buzz, etc, and it's just unbearable.

    I can't listen to headphones without a USB headphone amp/dac. I use Nuforce uDac-2 and it's great. For bigger beefier headphones I'd probably need something bigger but for in-ears that thing is great. Absolutely doesn't need to be lossless/super-high bitrate to hear the difference. I will never go back.
  7. Brandon263 macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2009
    Beaumont, CA
    The sound from the jack on the 15" rMBP is similar to what I get using a portable amp on my iPhone. This of course depends on what headphones you have, but I find negligible improvement with mine.
  8. Markus5411 macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2013
    Low volumn

    You don't need speakers but simply download VLC and play everything with that. I did this and can watch a movie from across the room.
  9. Astroboy907 macrumors 65816


    May 6, 2012
    Spaceball One
    Not that kind of amp :D
    Headphone amps for high bitrate songs/audio quality.

    I guess I'm not an audiophile because my Late '08 headphone jack sounds fine! Sure, the system EQ needs tweaked a bit... but I don't experience too much buzz :p
  10. devilcm3 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 3, 2011
    South Melbourne, Australia
    get the FiiO ... use it for a while, then remove the FiiO and use only the AKG ...

    if you couldn't notice any acoustic difference between AMP on and AMP off then you probably should keep yourself from spending unnecessarily.
  11. NewishMacGuy macrumors 6502a


    Aug 2, 2007
    A good DAC and amp can make a world of difference, particularly with harder to drive headphones (like AKGs).

    I doubt that the Fiios, being an entry level brand, will sound a whole lot "better" in every sense, but will sound quite different - better in some ways and not as good in others. This is basically what I have experienced with my inexpensive Nuforce Icon Mobile DAC/amp (first purchase). They will drive the headphones better, but overall sound quality will just be different.

    If you step up the quality ladder you get a lot more overall improvement. Usually this means spending more money on something like an RSA (my final purchase), but occasionally you stumble across a manufacturer that manages to deliver very high quality at a relatively low cost, like iBasso (my second purchase).

    While the iBasso's aren't as cheap as they used to be - nothing is when the Fed's busy creating more $$$ out of thin air - they offer A LOT of bang for the buck. My $350 RSA amp is better in every way than my $150 iBasso, but it's definitely not twice as good.

    Try this dedicated headphone amp forum for info, reviews, and tips.

  12. bobcan macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2007
    Sunny but Cold.. Canada
    Pricey, but REALLY does Make a Difference!!

    Well, I am not sure if you might be looking for anything like this piece from ALO Audio.. Rechargeable Battery lasts ~14 hours stated.. as opposed to amplifying the MBP Headphone out, the USB input connection makes a GOOD set of IEMs (In Ear Monitors) sound unbelievably better.. and DEAD Silent when it should be!! :cool:

    And a decent review clip:
  13. hummel003 macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2013
    i have the fiio e17. i use it in combination with my imac. its a big difference in sound. everything sounds richer and clearer. u can also give it more bass if thats your thing. also use an optical cable with it otherwise you hear no difference. u need an optical to 3.5mm converter to use it on a mac. one is included in the box, but u need 2 of them

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