Anybody buy a headphone amp for your sansa?

I’ve had my 8gb fuze for almost 2 months now and loving it.  However even on the “Loud” setting, I’ve noticed that the volume could be louder, especially on poorly encoded mp3s or just bad mastering of an album.   So I’ve decided to buy a headphone amp, anybody have one or thinking of getting one?  Any suggestions would be valued. 

I’d recommend you to buy some isolating pair of headphones, rather than buying a headamp to listen louder to music, because you could damage your ears.

Although personally I’m using a headamp (MxM amplifier, the schematics are available online, but they are in polish), but I use it indoor with my grado sr60 and sansa Clip (I don’t have any good stationary source, so I use my mp3, hope it’ll change in the nearest future).

If you really need one, get yourself a Cmoy (or build it yourself), Little Dot Micro or sth. like that.

Message Edited by kilarezan on 07-06-2008 02:23 AM

wow, either the earphones from the sansa are rubbish or youre listening tooo loud ^^

Im listening with Sennheiser CX300, (amazon) they cost around 50 bucks and theyr are great :smiley:

You wont hear noise from your surrounding. And you can hear real Bass. Never heard such sound quality with earphones before.

Bythe way, this is the bad thing about cheap earphones. If you wanna hear a little Bass, you have to listen at a very high level of loudness. But then the higher frequences are much to loud, so you ruining your ears!

I have my Fuze on “normal” and Im listening at around 40-60% of the Volume.

If your problem is with inconsistently-encoded MP3s, you’d be better off fixing the gain on those files witih mp3gain. Its software to set all your music at a standard gain. I suggest you target them at 92dB rather than the default 89 (which is rather quiet).

Just Google for it.

If you really want a cheap headphone amp, look for the Boostaroo. You can often get one cheap on eBay. Its also useful for using multiple headphones on one device (without losing volume).

Try noise cancelling headphones or in ear headphones. I use Skullcandy earbuds with the metal jackets and it sounds great, you can pick up a pair for about $70. Or get the big DJ headphones that have ear cups, it’ll seal the gaps around your ears so no sound leaks out.

@bdb wrote:

If your problem is with inconsistently-encoded MP3s, you’d be better off fixing the gain on those files witih mp3gain. Its software to set all your music at a standard gain. I suggest you target them at 92dB rather than the default 89 (which is rather quiet).

Absolutely agree.  This is exactly what I do.  Even if you ultimately decide to get an amp anyway, it’s still worth using mp3gain to get an even level across all your mp3’s.

My suggestion is to go to the internet and look for a free program called MP3 Gain. Does not wotk on any other format except MP3

Download it

I set the target Normal Volume at the default at 96 - 97DB

You can bulk change your music.

Put the music in a folder you want to change.

Click on add folder load the folder you have your tracks in.

Run the Analysis tab first just so you can see what your tracks are now.

Then click on the modify gain tab. Click on the Apply Track gain. That way you won’t be chasing the volume control on your player

I have done over 25,000 tracks with this software, it works great

Message Edited by Jimro on 07-09-2008 08:15 AM

I have a significant hearing loss (otosclerosis) which can be overcome via amplification.  For some years I had been using the Boostaro (old one, not the new Revolution) to good effect.  When I recently migrated from CD players to the Sansa Clip, I found that the included headphones were so good that I didn’t need an amplifier with them.  However, they were uncomfortable and only worked if precisely situated in my ears.  I searched online and found that the Philips SHE5910 was recommended as being very loud.  I got a set and they are great.  With some sources, I can even reduce the Clip volume to less than top setting.  Two drawbacks to them are that they have unequal-length cords to the left and right sides.  Apparently they expect you to drape the longer cord over your neck behind your head.  This is somewhat annoying but works OK.  Other is that they are in-the-hear sets (not buds) and are fairly large.  They are comfortable for me, but not for some.  One poster said (quite correctly) to put a AAA battery in your ear - if it fits, then the 59810s will be OK.  So you may want to try other headphones, before committing to an amp.

Re amps, the Boostaroo is $25 at Radio Shack and works OK.  Mine now has a bad cord connection (after 4 years of heavy use) and I tried the FiiO which is available on eBay (  This works about as well as the Boostaroo, with the earphones, and is much smaller. However, I also use the Boostaroo for input to radios (for some reason, plugging in Clip directly doesn’t work well).  On these, the FiiO produces a buzzy, staticky sound which is annoying.

There is another portable amp from Little Dot Micro which is also available on eBay (, but I haven’t tried it yet.

Anyway, good luck with this, whatever you decide.  (Also, not to get too personal, but you may want to have your ears checked.  My hearing had been deteriorating for some time, but so gradually that I was not aware of it as such.  I only found out because I also had tinnitus (ringing in my ears) and went to the doctor for that.)

Also, thanks to those who posted re MP3 Gain.  I will give that a try.

Thanks to everyone for the great responses and advice.  You were all very helpful and informative and I took something away from each post.  I have decided to invest into a quality pair of headphones. 

First, I do listen to alot of obscure, underground music which doesn’t always have clear sound quality.  I’ve actually tried decoding alot of my mp3s back to standard wav’s and re-encoding them to the latest VBR Lame setting, which helped immensely in alot of cases.  Mp3Gain was a good suggestion as well; thank you to bdb, skinjob, Jimro.   Many of my mp3s were not even originally encoded in stereo. 

Second,  I have a few pairs of over-ear 30mm and 40mm headphones by Panasonic and Koss, the Sansa earbuds and my HP laptop earbuds.  All of which are not great.  I was listening to a friend’s Sansa Clip with his Sony MDR-V700DJ headphones and it sounded great.  I haven’t bought headphones in some years so I have been looking at 50mm Grado’s, Sennheiser’s and Sony’s.  I have yet to decide on a worthy pair; my price range is between $100-150. 

Thanks to the posters like kilarezan and coyote400 (great post, coyote) for the information on amps.  I’ve looked into the custom-made Cmoy amps on Ebay which look interesting.  The Boostaroo is also a nice option because it is cheap and simple.  I will have to mull over how much I can invest into an amp after I get new heaphones.   

I am sure that the problem is internal and not with the Sansa player itself.  I either have poor hearing, poor headphones, bad quality mp3s, or all three.  In fact without this minor annoyance, I couldn’t be happier with my 8gb Fuze.  It’s nearly perfect in every way: the size, the capacity, the micro sd slot, the battery life, the solid firmware, the scratch resistance, the aesthetic look.  It blows away every mp3 player I’ve owned.  Sansa’s rule…

DX has an interesting looking headphone amp for $8.50 shipped.  According to the specs the total harmonic distortion is .05%, signal to noise > 90dB.  That’s not bad for $8.50.  Uses a single AAA battery for 20 hours of playback time.  Brand is FiiO E3.  Never heard of it, for what that’s worth.

FiiO E3 is the one I mentioned in my previous post.  Works about as well as Boostaroo with headphones and is MUCH smaller, not much bigger than the AAA cell inside.  I had problem using it through radio, as noted in my post.  Have just begun using it as means of saving battery in my Clip.  Allows me to drop sound level from top volume to about 15% lower.  Can’t speak to 20 hours on a AAA cell, as I use rechargeable NiMH which are aging.  I paid $20 to Oneshine (Wangxuan) on eBay; $8.50 is a steal.  Regrettably, the DZ deal never came up when I Googled FiiO.  Makes me wish I needed two of them.

Amplifiers are not only for making the audio louder. A good amp will clear up the sound and increase the sound quality, but for most people it’s not that noticeable. If you’re an audiophile it’s a must. Just remember when looking for high quality media, “garbage in, garbage out” (that includes your headphones). Now with flac support on the fuze, it shouldn’t be hard to have portable high fidelity music. The setup I’m using is a fuze with a portable amplifier from and a pair of Grado SR-80 headphones. Here’s a few images:

Message Edited by widowmaker on 11-26-2008 10:03 PM

I’m a brand new user of the 8 GB Fuze; but I have also (as others have mentioned) been using a Boostaroo for quite some time with other players with good results.

I’ve also tried the Boostaroo “revolution”; but I like the original Boostaroo best.  The Revolution uses AAAA batteries which aren’t as easy to come by as AA’s used in the original - and it doesn’t have an “on-off” switch… (the power can be disconnected by removing the cable from the player or the revolution, however)

With the original Boostaroo, the batteries last a very, very long time and the sound quality is pretty good as well.

There are lot more than “louder” sound, when you are using Head-Amp.

Detail is mostly increasing.

Try iBasso P3 Heron, it’s amazing product.

Combine Fuze with P3 and open-cans, such as Grado SR60,SR80 it will produce music exquisitely.

Also, it will make you “stay away” from Fuze “muddy” digital Equalizer.