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Are these hard to drive?, for example can you use the shangling m1 or m2 with the headphones?.
Yes, they're in need of proper amping.
These are not hard to drive at all. I have the 400i's which are similar. You can plug them into an iPhone and listen. I have even plugged them into a Bluetooth receiver and listened to my TV (Aluratek was the brand - it had a battery to charge, but I wouldn't call the device an "amp" by any means). Completely find plugged into a laptop.
That said, they could benefit from an amp...But no, it is not required. Makes for a good future upgrade if you don't want to immediately buy one. I do use an amp with them when I can.
Yes, they are hard to drive. And yes they will likely be loud enough from the back of your phone. Any headphone in the world (other than electrostats) will be loud enough from the back of your phone. Amps are only there to help with distortion.
They will definitely benefit from a proper amp.
Yes, in addition to increasing the volume potential, amplifiers are meant to lessen distortion. But as audio enthusiasts know, a phone's headphone jack is certainly not the ideal source. An amplifier will always sound best in conjunction with a capable DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter) with a proper Line Out (RCA, XLR, TRS connections).
The sound of amps (and DACs) can be described with numerous attributes: resolution, sound-stage, frequency signature, etc).
DAC+amp units combine the functionality of a separate DAC and amplifier into a single package. For phone set-ups, USB/battery-powered portable DAC/amps are an excellent choice.
It is my opinion that amps shouldn't have a "signature" of their own, but the ideal solid state amp should have plenty of power, be as transparent as possible, with the lowest output impedance as possible and as little negative feedback as possible. It's not easy but when amps achieve this, they become magical and tend to be described as resolving, having a large soundstage, musical sounding etc.