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Hardware Amp vs. Software Preamp


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What is your opinion on this? I recently bought some Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro's (80 omhs) and a Fiio E11 portable amp. I find that even without the Fiio the sound quality is pretty good and loud enough in Poweramp (with preamp all the way down). Are there any noticible differences by using the hardware amp vs. just bumping up the preamp if necessary? I'm wondering if I wasted money on the Fiio...

Any thoughts on this matter are appreciated!

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The limitation of the pre-amp function is that you will eventually start clipping as the output from the pre-amp starts to over drive the main amplification stage.

With a properly designed amplifier that is driven off the headphone output you should not have this problem.

You will, however, suffer from some degree of additional distortion due to the use of two separate stages adding their own noise.

There is also the problem of impedance matching between the two stages which may or may not be a problem.

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The limitation of the pre-amp function is that you will eventually start clipping as the output from the pre-amp starts to over drive the main amplification stage.

With a properly designed amplifier that is driven off the headphone output you should not have this problem.

You will, however, suffer from some degree of additional distortion due to the use of two separate stages adding their own noise.

There is also the problem of impedance matching between the two stages which may or may not be a problem.

Thank you for the detailed information! I guess I will probably enjoy my music more with the portable amp then. I turned the preamp down to 0 and will rely on the hardware amp so hopefully there won't be any noticible distortion.

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