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Headphone amps for ipods

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I have been interested in improving the sound quality from my ipod Nano and shuffle for a while - you just feel they are capable of better! I have some ADM9 speakers and a Nano connected straight in to these active speakers gives great results. This should be able to be recreated for portable use using a decent portable headphone amp. The Graham Slee Voyager in the UK is designed for just this. Anyone tried it, or similar? Phil.


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Perhaps cutting a bit below the what you're looking at, but I've gotten a lot of enjoyment with my Headroom Bithead.


Very nice as it has both the analog input for the iPod, but also USB input so you can use it with your computer. Love that flexibility. Also has a high and low gain setting. It won't have the dynamics, boost and richness of the more expensive units.


I'm using mine with Grado SR-200 cans.


2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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I have the Headroom balanced desktop and Senn 650's. It sounds great but I don't use it much for the ipod because it's overkill. I normally just plug my $50 Senn PX100's into the ipod and the sound is nearly as good. Without a digital output from the ipod it's hard to justify much expense to squeeze the very best possible sound out of it.


I have thought about grabbing the Bithead, which would allow me to use the digital output from my laptop and would probably improve the sound of my PX100's a little. But I wouldn't spend that kind of money just for the ipod.


My other advice is that if you really want to sink some cash into a headphone amp for the ipod, get an amp with a volume control and take the output from the ipod's bottom connector, rather than the headphone jack. That will bypass the final amplification stage in the ipod.


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Yeah man unlock the volume limit on your ipod - google will find it easily for you.


I have had many portable headphone amps including RSA, Head-Amp, iBasso... actually there's no point in listing them, the point is they make only a very small difference to sound quality IMO. Best result is via a Line Out Dock (LOD) from the dock connector of your iPod into a 3.5mm which will connect to your amp.


Other option is to ebay a non EU iPod which doesn't have the volume limitation (what's up with you European kids and your pretty little sensitive ears anyway???)




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Thanks - I am amazed that EU ipods are quieter than US ones - I would have thought Apple would have made them inaudible in the litigation mad US!


I have a Graham Slee headphone amp now. The line out from a Nano into the GS playing lossless sounds pretty darn good! Mind you, a shuffle playing AAC into the GS also sounds nice - a warmer, softer sound. The only disadvantage of course is the system is more bulky, but still portable.


I guess we are all waiting for ipods with digital output so we can really unlock their potential via external DAC, amps, etc.




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Someone with a user name ADM9 - I guess you like them? So do I


I have plugged my Nano playing lossless directly into my ADM9s and been pretty impressed - I have also tried a shuffle playing AAC files and been impressed. However, my main sources are a Macbook playing lossless or AIFF via the digital input, an Arcam CD into the analogue inputs or, if I am playing music DVDs, a Cambridge Audio DVD player into the analogue sockets. All sound great - I can't say one is better than the other, etc. I had hoped a Mac would give better sound than a conventional CDP, but can't say it does. What a Mac does do, however, is open up flexibity via itunes, etc, and syncs with the family ipods - I tend to listen to most music when out and about these days!




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