IEM guys, what do you usually use as your source?

when you’re at home, are you still running from a phone / DAP or do you have a desktop DAC / Amp you plug into?

I have desktop stuff that can power my headphones and IEMs. Then I have portables that can wireless or direct/USB. I don’t use a DAP at all. I’ll use my phone into one of my portables.

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I use a DAP (Ibasso DX160) for IEMs. I don’t really listen to IEMs at home and when I do I’m usually away from my desk so I still use my DAP for those moments.


I also use the Ibasso DX160 at home as well as outside.

I use it at home since my library is actually sorted and that I can have it closer to me so the cables dont go over my keyboard. Also faster for me to detach and attach iems when I am doing comparisons.

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so you don’t have anything dedicated to drive / connect to your IEM’s? you use the exact same HW a you do for your headphones?

I understand IEM’s can suffer on high power equipment usually needed by full size headphones. there are gain modes to combat that, but not all amp’s have the feature.

ATM laptop + Lotoo PAW S1. I was eyeing an E1DA 9038S but it seems a bit buggy (pop noises when pause/play with some IEMs) and I’m a bit lazy to convert all my IEMs to balanced.

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iBasso Dx160, xDuoo XD-05 Plus and RNHP. It just depends how I’m feeling.


when I’m using buds or IEMS usually my btr5 or fiio q1 mk2. cause when I use them at home Im usually using them for portable uses… and my current desktop amp I struggle to use enjoy with IEMS maybe too much power? and maybe cause I would honestly much rather put headphones on at my desk


do you have any daily driver headphones for when you’re at your desk?

Generally for a desktop amp for iems I would look for something that has good gain control so you can have effective volume range, something with a low noise floor so even with sensitive iems you don’t hear the background of the amp, and also something with reasonably low output impedance, I would say at least under 2 ohms for most iems. If you can fulfill that, that amp has a good change of being solid for iems. There is something to be said for using daps or portables on the desktop as if you primarily listen to iems they are typically designed for iems in mind, they can yield a better experience than some desktop amps

58x, 990, 4xx are what I rock on my desk

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BTR5 since I got it, balanced out for my legacy 3’s

I wonder how many of these budget-fi chi-fi IEM’s are actually Linsoul sub-brands…

I use a Hiby R5 currently. It gets plenty of use, between work, the car, and the gym. It does a great job. Its got tons of power for the Tin P1s or over-ears, tons of storage, and in a tiny and light package. I use USB Audio Player Pro for bit-perfect playback or EQ madness.

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I’m using the THX AAA 789 with three gain stages. I obviously run IEMs on low gain, but I do connect them balanced at around 25%. If I’m single ended, it’s a bit under 50%. Most of my headphones I run on medium gain at about 50%.

I have the Monolith THX and the Fiio Q5s with THX amp and run IEMs less than half gain on both.

I use both the Monolith THX and the Fiio Q5s as desktop units for at work and home in my office. I use the Fiio for when I want to watch a movie wireless connected bluetooth to the TV. I rarely do this though.

Just answered that question @PapaEmeritus asked that of me on the cable thread lol…An iFi iDSD Micro it has 3 gain settings Eco, Normal and Turbo plus 2 IE match options High sensitivity and Ultra High…No hiss with low impedance IEM’s and enough :muscle: to drive 600ohm HP’s

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It has a Burr Brown chip which is my preferred DAC chip. I’m definitely going to look into buying one, at least for my IEM listening. Thanks for the rec!

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I really don’t think you need to go further/higher tier than say a Micro BL, Hugo2 or a Woo Audio Topaz for most people’s needs when it comes to IEM sources? @MON might be able to shine some light on higher tier stuff?

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Definitely like using IEMs on the Micro BL and the RME ADI-2 DAC FS. When on the go, I just use my LG G7 because it’s easy

I simply use my QP2R as a DAC/AMP. I only really use IEMs so it’s fine.

When I do want to use my HD650s, I use my NAD C350 that are for my Wharfedale Diamond 220