I’m thinking about upgrading from my BLON BL03s to some FiiO FH3s with a BTR3K, but would the DAC/Amp make any difference if I’m coming from motherboard audio and the Apple lightning dongle? Should that money go towards better IEMs instead?
It is always worthwhile.
The main problem is that you need a Dac that can drive the Iem without distorting the sound.
This is actually the most important thing that it can handle with low ohmic.
Spontaneously I’d put out the Fostex Hp A3 or Hp A4.
The Hp A3 is plug and play but only plays on 96 khz not higher which would be sufficient and has an older Akm chip.
The Hp A4 is more advanced but has a Burr brown chip which is not mine.
I found the Hp A3 more alive.
Let’s see what other devices the other guys can do.
If it should be very cheap I would have a look at the Hidizs S3 or S8.
I have the S3 for my Android Tablet with the Emu Purpleheart and I am very happy with it.
Ah and welcome to the Forum
Thank you, if I were to get a DAC/Amp, I’d have my eyes set on the BTR3K since it’s small, and has bluetooth support. How big of a difference is a DAC/Amp from audio straight from the headphone jack though? Is it night and day? Or would it take some close listening? Like what does it exactly do in terms of sound?
So Bluetooth is different again.
It depends on what the Iem’s and the Bluetooth dac support for a codec.
So with Aptx you are not doing anything wrong, the codec is better than Acc or less.
But both Iem’s and the dac have to support it for it to work.
So with the Android system the differences can be heard quite dramatically, except for the increased volume the whole range is much better than without Dac.
With Apple I don’t know for sure, I haven’t tested it yet, except on my system, where it was better.
In general it will be better as long as you use tablets or smartphones.
It will also be better on a PC, probably not as dramatic as on tablets and smartphones, but audible.
I can’t say if the Fiio BTR3K is good or not, but there is always the question of how far the codecs fit in this respect, which is the most important thing with Bluetooth.
The question is what you need.
The majority of the time it’s gonna be plugged into my computer, so no bluetooth there. But I do plan on also using it on my iPhone, and I know there it’s not going to be as good because of the AAC. Like how exactly is the sound better? Like is the soundstage better? Better separation? I want to know if I should use the extra money on a DAC or use it on an even better IEM.
It will definitely be better in all areas, even on Windows 10, with Audirvana and Tidal or Qubozz Acc ne good combination.
Um when I connect my Ipad to the Matrix audio it shows me Acc, so Lossless.
When I connect my working tablet Samsung Glaxaxy Active 2 it shows Aptx, so even better.
To be honest, it would be better to invest in a Dac for home use and for the Iphone something small and not even necessary.
Because Apple has the better chip compared to Samsung.
If something for the smartphone is not bad, then the Hidizs S3 or S8, or the Ibasso would be enough, or your Fiio where you have suggested, for on the road enough to not completely give up the enjoyment of music.
For home use the Topping E30 would not be bad with a matching headphone amplifier that is friendly to everyone.
So the costs are also halfway within the limits.
I own a BTR5 (elder brother of BTR3K) and it is significantly better sounding than my laptop (HP) and my phone (Samsung s10e). What i mean by better is that, the output is much cleaner with blacker background, better clarity and separation. Honestly, BTR5 is almost as good as a entry DAP or even a Mid-fi DAP. and for someone who uses IEM’s mostly, it can be an endgame.
I also use a Sony WM1A DAP, and although the BTR5 is not as good, it is 80% of the DAP.
Is it a night and day difference? Do you think it’s worth the 60 bucks for the BTR3K? I’ve heard that the BTR3K and the BTR5 are very similar in terms of sound. A blacker background is like less hiss right?
I have the BTR5 and it’s silent for the iems I use it with ( kz 10 pros and Kph 30i’s). In my listening experience they do benefit from the amp and deliver a fuller bodied sound vs my lg G6 phone.
As for how much better than the btr3? I can’t say as I have not heard this one. I even ran my DT 880’s of it for a time but of course it struggled to give any weight to that headphone lol.
Actually, if you want a very nice dongle-like device, many love their Lotoo PAW S1. Check out some reading on that product.
I’m going to drop my two cents.
Like others said a dac is almost crucial for IEMs because of distortion/noise. It’s a worth investment, especially if you plan to buy any higher sensitivity IEMs.
Just from being on forums I heard that people preferred the EarMen Sparrow over Fiio amp/dac (forgot the exact model, but it was definitely one of their bluetooth amp/dacs), but I also heard EarMen’s bigger guy, the TR-Amp to be better than iFi and Fiio.
I own the Sparrow and didn’t have any issues with it, in fact it is capable of driving full-sized cans, as long as they are not planar magnetic or too hard to drive. High quality build, flagship chips, good value.
I strongly suggest you do your own research.
I have tested this twice this year, with my IEMs and headphones(Vokyl Erupt); the sound from a DAC(or a good phone) VS the sound from a DAC+amp, and I think most people, with most songs/content, with most IEMs/headphones, would hear 0% difference. The only difference(extremely small) I may be able to tell, is a tiny bit more dynamic range/depth, and less treble edge, even using a DAC with 100 ohm output impedance(d50s) into ~15 ohm IEMs. Therefore, I fully recommend buying a DAC(d10s), but NOT an amp for anyone truly in the budget realm, and possibly beyond. What an amp gives you, however, is a volume knob, since a DAC may or may not have a volume control. A typical 2 Volt output DAC alone still provides an immense amount of volume/power(I’m talking 5% Windows + 5% Winamp), that most people probably wouldn’t believe was there until they tested it.
I understand where you are coming from. However, with IEMs its extremely important that you have no noise, this is where investing in a good source pays off.
If the OP plans to buy some higher sensitivity IEMs, it is absolutely crucial that he looks into - pay attention to the SNR.
Of course, it depends what OPs budget is.
IMO for something like a bl03 a dac/amp can be pretty negligible but if you’re planning to go up in performance tier your source chain should match. Note that it also depends a bit on the source as some phones like the LGs, and desktop motherboard audio has gotten pretty decent. however laptop integrated audio is generally not very good due to it’s size and proximity to other electrical components.
Also worth mentioning that the fiio products in my experience really should be used balance (own a btr5) as there is a pretty massive difference in quality between the single ended and bal outputs, which for something like an fh3 would just need a 15ish dollar 2.5mm cable you can find off amazon.
IFI IEmatch is a great gizmo as it pretty much silences any noise… purchased one when I got my ridiculously sensitive Andromeda’s… Hell No !! I would not trade them for anything… well almost anything…Totally eliminates noise and I can run them absolutely run them on high gain through my Asgard 3 and rock out to zero noise !!
I’m planning on spending 200 USD, so I was looking at the BTR3K + FH3. Could I get more for my money? Ideally I’d want an IEM with a nice v shape. Something like my BL03.
I guess that would do it. I would personally grab a Kbear TRI i3 if you can find it for around the same as the FH3. It has a very deep bass extension, very clear top end, and the mid-range isn’t too recessed - so I am not sure if this is something that you don’t want, since you did mention you want a V-shaped IEM.
However… if you do get the TRI i3, you will have to buy a more powerful amp/dac. So maybe the FH3 is the best option, give it a shot
Thank you, I’ll be ordering the FH3s now
I have the FH3 and enjoy the hell out of them
If you have a pair of BL03s, how big of an upgrade are they? How sleepable are they?