How to use a headphone amp
I hear plenty of talk of there being "sound benefits" to be had in adding a headphone amplifier in between my device (phone/music player) and my headphones.
Unfortunately, the "why" seems to be a bit mystical and the "how" tends to remain unexplained.
There are cases where the need is obvious; with a set of Beyerdynamic cans of very high Ohmage, the circuitry in a mobile phone will be insufficient to drive it properly, and an amplifier is undoubtedly necessary.
But I'm running IEMs (and sometimes some Grado SR80s), where a high power amp isn't ludicrously necessary. I gather (and have the Fireye Minis that are supposedly a help) that some improvements in sound quality can be had in this range by using a headphone amp. To the straight questions, applicable to this sort of case...
- What are the settings supposed to look like that would give me "better sound" when hooking my NuForce HEM2s to my OnePlus One with a headphone amp (let's say, FiiO E18?) in between?
- How can I verify that it's working, and improving things?
- What should I be listening for as verifications of improvement?