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Just noticed I never have the knob past 9-10 o'clock on my amps...

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I have a couple of headphone amps (see my signature below) and I just realized that I always reach my highest listening volume at around 9-10 o'clock on all of them. Two amps (GS-1 and Micro amp) have adjustable gain and I keep them at low, and the other two amps (Morgan Jones and M^3) do not have adjustable gain. The two amps without adjustable gain seem to be set to a medium to high gain as the volume at 9-10 o'clock on those two seems to be higher. All of these amps I'm referencing I am using with my Grado HF-1's and a Rega Planet 2000. I guess if I had higher impedance phones I would probably need to crank the volume knob more or set the adjustable amps to high gain. Am I achieving ideal channel balance on the Alps Blue Velvet pot (used in the 3 big amps) at the 9 o'clock position? I just want to make sure I'm not missing out on anything. Anyone else notice similarities such as this when using multiple amps?

Before anyone states this, I understand there are many factors involved such as knob position, personal volume preference, gain position, amp and headphone typt, etc....I just found it to be interesting, that's all.
-Steve
post #2 of 17
My melos never ever goes over 10 O'Clock either - way too deafening for me. Pinkie used to go to even 2 O'Clock when pushed tho, muahaha! My old cmoy used to crank to 2-3 O'Clock too before I couldn't stand it, and the SR-71 could get to noon - that was the normal gain version. My AE-1? I have no idea, it doesn't have a notch so I never know where it is on the dial, hehe.
post #3 of 17
My cmoy goes as little as possible, and is normally still a little too loud. Ipod line out is pretty damn loud.
-g
post #4 of 17
I usually listen to music between 9-10 position also, but for the K1000 I had to crank it all the way pass the 2 o'clock position to get decent volume
post #5 of 17

Get some HD 650s

These will take you well above 12 O'Clock!. Seriously, most volume pots sound best between 9 O'Clock and 1 O'Clock.
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Seriously, most volume pots sound best between 9 O'Clock and 1 O'Clock.
This is not true. Volume pots track better as clockwise rotation progresses. If your listening level is at 9 o'clock on the knob then the gain is set too high for your headphones, and your volume pot is not operating in the region of best tracking. Expensive pots may track well throughout their range.
post #7 of 17
I was going to post something about this, but I saw this thread, so I figured I would respond and ask away. I have a Channel Islands VHP-1 and VAC-1 and they sound fantastic. I'm still new to Hi-Fi and all I'm using right now is a laptop sound card and a Zen Micro which has fantastic sound honestly. I wanted to ask if headphones and sensitivity also factor into what setting you should set your amp to. I have the K701's (of course I'm planning on a better source soon) and I know they are pretty difficult to drive, but my question is, on the zen or laptop, should I have the device volume as high as it can go and then use the amp volume pot for my overall desired volume level? I have my zen at 23 out of 25 and my VHP-1 at like 1-ish and it isn't really loud, but it is fairly good. I could take it a little louder, but I just wanted to see if this was normal sounding.

Thanks guys for the help, I appreciate it. K 701's are amazing by the way.
post #8 of 17
Ideally, the source should output a high signal level to provide good signal to noise ratio on the way to the amp. The amp should have gain set for typical listening level between 12-3 o'clock on the knob. In the real world, sources have different output levels, headphones have different voltage requirements, and many people find it more convenient to only have to turn the volume knob a quarter turn to go from silent to typical listening level.

Moderation is the key. Extremes of gain or signal level may result in more noise.
post #9 of 17
So honestly, the zen output is just probably not too high, and if I had a dedicated CDP, I probably would not need to have the volume pot on the VHP-1 as high as it needs to be. It does have a gain setting, and I have read that the K701 is pretty power hungry, certainly needing the gain set to high. Does that about sum it up? Just get a better source. haha Just trying to make sure something isn't awry here.

Thanks again.
post #10 of 17
Of the three phones I normally use, the DT880 needs the most gain but normally that means between 10 and 11 o'clock. The Senn 580 is a little lower and the Grados are more like 9:00 on the Gilmore Lite. It is harder to tell on the PA2V2 because the knob is smaller and not in the same rotation position, but I'd say it is relatively about the same. This is for normal recordings. I read a post a while ago in which someone turns their G-Lite up to 2:00 or 3:00 or more and to me that would be deafening. Maybe he has a very low input source?
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by morsel
Ideally, the source should output a high signal level to provide good signal to noise ratio on the way to the amp. The amp should have gain set for typical listening level between 12-3 o'clock on the knob.
Is this even possible when using Grado's for headphones? How much lower gain would I need than "low gain" on my GS-1 and Micro amp? Maybe I'm just using a "loud" source? Even when I use my ipod with line out I get the same results with the Micro amp, 9 o'clock position with gain set to low. Maybe I just don't listen loud?
-Steve
post #12 of 17
With AE-1(low gain), UM2 and Karma i need to go between 10:00 and 12:00 to get the best sound
post #13 of 17
Grado's run about 9-11, Senns about 10-12 and K501's 11-2 on average with most amps.
post #14 of 17
HeadAmp Gilmore Lite was around 12:00 with the 650's and 880's, with the EC01 it was around 9ish, same with the Rockhopper Millet.
post #15 of 17
Ok so AKG 701's are that difficult to drive and I have low output sources. I don't think anything's wrong with the Channel Island's amp, as I know others who drive this particular headphone and other power hungry cans with this amp and it does not need to exceed the 12 o'clock position. Is that pretty accurate fellas?
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