post #11 of 11
Some people claim improved imaging from better or different amplification, but I've never heard a significant difference there, at least nothing on the level of different headphones. In theory an amplifier with lower distortion (so clearer sound with less garbage mixed in) with a flatter phase response, should improve fidelity in ways that would impact the perception of positional cues. There also could be some impedance interactions between source (if not a low-Z out) and load that would effect the phase response, depending on the headphones.

In practice, the headphones just make a lot more difference, as usual.

A FiiO E7 is a USB DAC + amp that can be used as an amp only, if you plug in an analog input. Not sure why you'd want to buy it to only use it as an amp (internal amp isn't much better than E5/E6 around $20), or to use as DAC + amp and thereby bypass your sound card?
Edited by mikeaj - 1/14/12 at 11:49pm