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Radium
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AKG k550 + Fiio E11? Is it a good investment...

Hi guys, first time poster here. I would first like to thank Tyll for all the great videos and reviews.

Now onto my questions. Would the AKG k550 be a good headphone for home (mainly desktop computer, will look into getting a sound card) as well as longer journeys where I will listen to music for extended periods of time and just lying on the bed enjoying the music?

The other question would be do these AKG headphones need an amp or can I plug them straight into my ipod (I realize ipods have a poor DAC, but I can't really afford to get a new music player as well), if they do would the Fiio E11 be a good choice? I've read pretty good reviews and the price seems reasonable.

Or maybe I've got it all wrong and I don't need a headphone that costs £180+£45 for an amp and should settle for some ATH-M50s (which here cost £135). But would I be  missing out on great sounding music?

Anyway I just wanted to hear what you experts had to say on the matter.

Thanks in advance

ultrabike
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Tyll loves the AKG k550, and

Tyll loves the AKG k550, and HIGHLY recommends it... Pretty much everyone loves this HP with huge 50 mm driver.

The HP is 32 ohm and 114dB SPL/V. The M50 is 38 ohm and 99dB SPL. So, at least on paper, the K550 seems easier to drive than the M50. So, I don't think you need an amp.

Hope that helps :)

rhargreavesb
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Well if it helps at all I

Well if it helps at all I picked up a pair of these the other day without any amp and the sound quality is absolutely awesome and perfectly loud with most music types........but I do like to go up to 11 on occasion and so also bought exactly the amp you mentioned. 

And WOW! I've not had a pair of good headphones for years, but for me this exact combo seems unbelievably good in making pretty much all my music sound almost fresher, clearer and much much louder than i thought possible through headphones.

only downside is it seems I have an expensive new habit/hobby to feed now!

edwr
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The e11 cannot be used when charging

Hi there,

I am considering on getting the AKG K550 aswell for my sansa clip zip and pc for being the best it sealed sound quality and only 32ohm's, but I'm considering on getting the fiio e7 for 2 reasons over the e11. The e11 cannot be charged when its being used, meaning if you're using it with a desktop, you going to have to know how much battery power is left (annoying I know). The second reason is that the e7 is a dac aswell, so plug it into the usb of the computer and you can save yourself buying a soundcard as the dac is outside the pc. 

Just my 2 cents, hope this helps.

Check this guy out, he goes into depth about the fiio amps. 

http://nwavguy.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/fiio-e11-amp.html

http://nwavguy.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/fiio-e7-usb-dac-amp.html

ultrabike
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You have something there

You have something there mate! I didn't think about the e7 applicaton to improve sound out of my laptop! That is a compeling reason for me actually!

Pyle is making an E7 look a like (or maybe FiiO is making it for Pyle):

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00654LOCS/ref=s9_simh_gw_p23_d4_g23_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-3&pf_rd_r=0ZE4W8ADS8REG2RDS2ZS&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938811&pf_rd_i=507846

I asked Nwavguy about it and he feels it might be indeed the E7, but its a risk...

ultrabike
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You have something there

...double posted by mistake... but will take this chance to link this guy's E7 review which is very well done (video included):

http://www.amazon.com/review/R1WWXS6RGSZPMO/ref=cm_cr_dp_cmt?ie=UTF8&ASI...

Notice the review mentions that the E7 is NOT very good if sourcing with line out from the mp3 player... for that, the recommendation is the iBasso T3 (same form factor as the E7 it seems - see comments section)... However for PC applications the E7 seems to be really good... It's just another point of view :)

edwr
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Fiio does make confusing product's

Thanks for posting that link to that guy's review on amazon, had a good read and watched his review. Loved the tech he used in hearing the sound coming from his headphones, very useful in getting an idea what the amp/dac can do instead of the camera mic, although the headphones he had were very good.

Interesting to note that about the sourcing it out of the headphone jack, would presume that there would be some distortion and volume affect, bit of a bummer as I brought the sandisk sansa clip zip, so I can't buy a dedicated line out that fiio produces for e.g. the ipod, so not sure whether I should get an ipod for that feature or wouldn't there be much of a difference (thats if my clip zip can play it loud enough then there wouldn't be need).

There's also another problem with the e7, as it uses the e5 amp. So when you have it plugged into the computer via usb, it sets the volume as 50 on the LED screen, and the volume limit goes up to 60, so thats just 10 gain (think I read that correctly) So that rules out the e7 for sufficent loudness, the e11 cant be used while charging and the e9 can only drive headphones over 80ohms without changing the frequency too much. 

What is up with fiio's products!

edwr
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I have found your answer Radium!

Doing abit more research and asking a few more questions, I have found, not just for me but also for you, the answer to what you are looking for. As I am also considering the AKG K550's, they are (as said by Tyll) the best sounding sealed headphone and, on amazon uk, are only £180, £50 more than the m50's, so I would spend that extra £50 as the AKG K550's are brand new.

Considering which fiio amp to get, you mentioned the e11. Well as you can't use the e11 when it's charging, it wouldn't be useful for desktop use, but the e10 is the one to get as its not just an amp like the e11, but also a dac and is usp powered so can be used while charging. BUT it doesn't have a battery so is primarly used for desktop, but has a more powerful amp than the e7. For portable the e11 would be fine, so its up to you, but considering the AKG's are 32ohm's, there's no need for the e11, just get the e10 as it will be handy for future buys.

Check out the reviews and this guy's website who reviews it in detail. All credit goes to him for helping me choose.

http://nwavguy.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/fiio-e10-dac.html

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