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Pro Audio headphone amp?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Looking at pro audio stores on the net, I see a lot of cheap headphone amp. Most of them in the $100-200 range. Most have 5 outputs rated at 500mW (and my portable has 9mW!).

Some have fairly impressive specs, like the $130, 5-channel Samson Q5:

500mW per channel (600 Ohm), 484mW (250 Ohm), 180mW (32 Ohm), 42mW (8 Ohm)
S/N ratio 95dB.
THD: 0.003% (600 Ohm)

By comparison, the Creek OBH-11 produces 300mW, S/N of 65dB and THD <0.1%

What do you guys think? They sure have the power.
post #2 of 12
I'm truly shocked if the S/N ratio of the creek is only 65db!!

From the QED Website reference the QED MB45 amp

Amplifiers line level output to drive up to two pairs of headphones
Output 2 watts R.M.S. per channel
Channel separation :60 dB
Input impedance :10k ohms
Signal to noise ratio :70 dB
Volume control
Balance control
Connects to tape loop or Pre-Amp output
12 volt D.C. 500 mA power supply (supplied in UK)
Gold plated phono contacts
Size (mm): 110(w)x55(h)x120(d)
As you can see the S/N ratio is better on the QED, and... at least to my ears that hisses like anything (with sensitive 'phones)

The X-Cans V2 on the other hand

Output power Typically 1W
Input impedance 47kOhms
THD <0.015% 20Hz-20kHz unweighted
<0.005% 20Hz-20kHz 'A' weighted
S/N ratio >96dB unweighted ref. full output
>108dB 'A' weighted ref. full output
Frequency response 30Hz to 75kHz <+/-1.0dB
Power requirement 12V AC 500mA (via mains adaptor supplied)
Dimensions (mm) 110 x 110 x 220 (W x H x D)
Width and height include feet.
Reported to have a S/N ratio of between 96 and 108db which is virtually silent in operation

Is the Creek hissy with low impedance 'phones?
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

They advertise the OBH-11 at 65 dB S/N, and the OBH-11SE at >65dB... Tho the 11SE's THD is half that of the OBH 11.

Then again, they don't say how it is measured.
post #4 of 12
On my original OBH11-SE I was able to notice a slight hiss on my HD600's so I'd say ~65dB SNR is pretty accurate.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Now, let's get back to "pro audio" headphone amps. Do you think they would be good in a home context, when listening to music?

I doubt they sound like crap, considering that's what they use in studios. But they are so cheap!
post #6 of 12
I haven't personally heard any "pro" amps, but I am going to guess (and someone like Mike Walker can confirm) that they might well sound too analytical for home listening

When you are making your master recording, you don't want your (headphone) output to sound warm really, or else that would make the final tone rather cold to compensate?!?

So... Highly accurate, more than likely... but, musical? I'm personally not so sure
post #7 of 12
I can definitely say that the OBH11 is totally silent. Even with my Sonys that are very efficient (more so than my Grados) it is dead silent at full volume with the music stopped or on pause. DEAD SILENT, not even a hint of a hiss.
post #8 of 12
I'm with mcbiff on this one -- the OBH-11 I had was dead silent with every headphone I plugged into it too.
post #9 of 12
the OBH-11 I had was dead silent with every headphone I plugged into it too.
Same here, my OBH-11 has zero hiss with my HD600s, my SR225s, and my MDR-V6s.
post #10 of 12
I had the OBH11 and yes it was dead silent.
About the pro amps, these are designed for studio use and IMO don't sound as good as HiFi amps. I've heard several multi chanel (I mean that feed 5 or so pairs of phones) amps in studios and wasn't amazed. The sound is on the bright side but still missing some details.
If you ask me, for home use something like OBH11 is a much safer bet.
post #11 of 12
DesBen , any chance you could tell us more about which pro head amps your talking about, more exactly. a url for the manufactururs info would be good.

Might Find this link useful too:

Sound on Sound Q5 Review
post #12 of 12
About the statistics of amps...

This is why I pay secondary attention to published specs - I have the X -Canv2(with quieter tubes) plugged into a Monster Power Conditioner(supposed to drop noise floor by 30db?) and I can easily hear some hiss with the volume at 12 " O Clock w/ no CD playing. The noise could be due to my old house's power quality, but then again, the Monster thing should compensate for that.
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