Volume Boost for iPod

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by uriah, Nov 8, 2010.

  1. uriah

    uriah New Member

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    Hi,

    I'm after something that will give a significant increase in volume over the standard earphones supplied with the latest (volume restricted) 160GB iPod Classic. I would prefer a lightweight headphone (something like Sennheiser PX100 perhaps), but imagine that I might need to go for an in-ear type design to get a better percieved volume increase. Sound reproduction quality is also very important with good low/mid/high clarity. Budget is preferably £35, but can stetch to £50 tops.
    Many thanks.
    Geoff

    P.S. Excellent site!
     
  2. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Hi Geoff!

    The volume - or sound pressure level (rather than the volume produced this is a calculation of the volume produced within the space the headphones driver sits in. In ears produce much less vibration than a full size headphone but sit in a smaller chamber so you perceive them as being equally as loud) produced by a headphone or earphone depends on two variables -

    1 - The power of the output of your source

    2 - The resistance of the Headphones or earphones

    Quality of sound is not affected by the impedance or resistance of the headphones - You cannot make many assumptions about the sound signature from this rating and and high or low impedance does not dictate quality or accuracy. Higher impedance makes headphones hard to drive requiring more power and low impedance gives the opposite. Again this isn't a perfect science but you are looking for headphones that are easy to drive as the output on your new iPod is not very powerful.

    First of all go into your settings and make sure the rubbish Sound Check feature is switched off, next switch off volume limit. Really EQ is best switched off - Maybe you have a Gym Playlist with massive beats and a Bass Heavy EQ will work for that but if the EQ you pick happens to emphasise the same frequencies as new headphones you will think they sound horrible when they don't - Think of this like painting a room, you start with a clean brush or old paint from the brush will tint the new paint leaving an undesirable finish.

    You should pick headphones based on your own tastes and the use the headphones will be put to. Rather than worrying about picking easy to drive headphones a miniature headphone amp will get you a good enough signal to drive the vast majority of cans. These can be tiny and really in expensive and are normally rechargeable - this tiny little Fiio is perfect

    FiiO E1 Headphone Amplifier for iPod/iPhone in Black
    £17.95

    It also doubles as a remote so you can leave the iPod in your pocket and doesn't require it's own power source.

    This slightly bigger unit (1" x 1" x 1cm) also by Fiio is rechargeable but gives a much bigger boost.

    FiiO E5 Headphone Amplifier in Black
    £19.95

    It is not a perfect guide but if a mini amp is not for you try to stick to headphones with a impedance of less than 32ohms and these should work well to give you a good volume from a small not particularly powerful player.

    These would be a great pair to look at first with a rating of 12ohms they are nice and easy to drive.

    SoundMAGIC PL30 In-Ear Sound Isolating Earphones in Black
    £34.95

    :)
     
  3. uriah

    uriah New Member

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    Hi Robin,

    Thanks for the info. I think that your comments agree with my less informed understanding, i.e. an in-ear design would produce a grater perceived volume than a traditional design (given the same power input and resistance) since it has a much smaller mass of air to drive… but then the cone will be much smaller, so perhaps not…!?

    I don’t think that my model of iPod has a Sound Check feature, or at least I don’t remember seeing it in the Settings. I think there is a function to normalise the volume across all tracks, which appears to reduce the volume of the tracks down to the volume of the ‘quietest’ track, which is the opposite of what I wish to achieve.
    I don’t believe that there is an option to defeat the default volume limit. I wish there was! I understand your point about the EQ settings.

    My taste is generally ‘70’s progressive and hard rock (showing my age!) and the like, but I don’t like the sounds to be swallowed by an over exaggerated bass. I would generally listen to music around the house, in the garden (or preferably on the beach!) and I’m not too worried about sound leakage or excluding outside noise.

    I would prefer to avoid having a miniature amp. I think the extra wire etc. would probably bug. If I want to listen at seriously loud volumes I can always listen through the hi-fi using my Cambridge dock and full size headphones, so I guess what I’m after is a perceivable increase in volume over the standard earphones, but preferably without any extra bits. I would prefer the comfort of a traditional headphone, but if I can get a similar sound quality and an increase in volume by buying an in-ear design then I would go for that.

    Thanks again for your help.

    Geoff
     
  4. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Quite a few of the in ear headphones have very low resistance which normally results in plenty of headroom.

    I really like these as small light on ears that sound great and even look cool too!

    AiAiAi Tracks Closed-Back Retro Street Headphones in Black
    £49.95

    They come up nice and loud on my girlfriends iPod Nano which is woefully underpowered.
     
  5. uriah

    uriah New Member

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    Not my cup of tea I'm affraid.

    How about the V-Jays? I've read some v. good reports on these and they are only 24 ohms.
     
  6. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    I like these too but strangely a lot of people don't agree with us on a looks basis.

    No reason to not go for these at all![​IMG]
     
  7. uriah

    uriah New Member

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    I think I'm set on the v-jays. Can you offer these? I can see the c-jays on your site but not the v-jays.
     
  8. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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  9. uriah

    uriah New Member

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    OK. Thanks for your honesty. Much appreciated.

    I'll be back when I decide to splash out on upgarding my cordless headphones, hopefully this side of Christmas. I listened to what were top of the range cordless Sennheisers a few years back. I couldn't justify the cost for something that was short of what I was looking for in terms of sound quality, so I bought some cheap & nasty cordless Panasonic's from Argos. I'm hoping that the technology has improved since then!
     
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