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Adequate Amplification for HD595's?

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
Hi guys my last post was finding out whether to go with grado sr80's or hd595's. I've decided to go for HD595's as I can't stretch to the Grado SR225's and I feel anything less in the Grado range may sound a bit too bright for my liking. I prefer a warm, detailed sound and good mids. Good choice?!

My next question is do I need a dedicated headphone amp for the 595's?
I will be using the following setup. An AuzentechX-meridian soundcard, QED QNex 1 Interconnect, to a Yamaha AX-392 Stereo Amp 60wpc and then using the headphone out on that. This is supposidly a warm sounding amp as well but it gets a good review for a budget separate.

Should I use my stereo amp or direct out on the soundcard?

Also, if you think I need a dedicated headphone amp what is a good budget amp?

thanks
post #2 of 46
Thread Starter 
bump
post #3 of 46
The HD595 is an extremely easy headphone to drive. They work quite well unamped (even the 120 ohm version). The improvement with the amps I have tried so far was marginal at best (except for the Pint which added some much needed kick to the bass). I have heard that they go extremely well with tube amps, and I have one on the way now. More on that later.

They should sound good straight out of your soundcard, but an amp certainly wouldn't hurt things. You didn't say what your budget would be for an amp, but here is a good lineup of portable amps in a variety of price ranges.

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=216903
post #4 of 46
Mine only improved slightly when I replaced my Harman / Kardon HK3480 receiver with a LDII+. Both felt like there was something missing though. Slightly muffled, especially the mids (although that's in comparison to K-501).
post #5 of 46
Mine scaled up nicely for me from unamped -> Headroom TAH -> Meier Aria, actually showing more improvement than anything else I owned at the time (Grado 225 being only other one really worth noting) with amplification/source changes ... YMMV of course, and I had the 120 Ohm version which may have responded differently.

Ant
post #6 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by apostate View Post
Mine scaled up nicely for me from unamped -> Headroom TAH -> Meier Aria, actually showing more improvement than anything else I owned at the time (Grado 225 being only other one really worth noting) with amplification/source changes ... YMMV of course, and I had the 120 Ohm version which may have responded differently.

Ant
Mmmm yes, very good point, that's probably what did it. Mine were the 50 ohm version.
post #7 of 46
In my experience with the HD595s (50 ohm) they have scaled up nicely to my limited gear. I started off unamped out of the X-Fi. It sounded okay, sounded a little congested and the bass felt a little boomy and a bit all over the place. The first amp I got for it was the Little Dot Micro+, a cheap low end portable amplifier. This little amp really cleared the congestion that was apparent unamped. The sound became clearer and the details began to open up. Bass tightened up significantly but as a result it also reduced the amount of bass slightly.

Now with the Little Dot 2++ tube amp the sound has moved up another level again. The bass deficiency is now well and truly recitified. The bass is much improved while still being tight and controlled. The bass extension is quite good no. Soundstage seems slightly wider in width, and the highs are better buts till grainy at times.
post #8 of 46
Woah! What the hey!? What's the deal with 50 ohm or 120 ohm? Is the 120 ohm version from out of the past or something?

....I could use the search key but the kids'll be getting up soon and my fun will end.
post #9 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silentscope View Post
Hi guys my last post was finding out whether to go with grado sr80's or hd595's. I've decided to go for HD595's as I can't stretch to the Grado SR225's and I feel anything less in the Grado range may sound a bit too bright for my liking. I prefer a warm, detailed sound and good mids. Good choice?!

My next question is do I need a dedicated headphone amp for the 595's?
I will be using the following setup. An AuzentechX-meridian soundcard, QED QNex 1 Interconnect, to a Yamaha AX-392 Stereo Amp 60wpc and then using the headphone out on that. This is supposidly a warm sounding amp as well but it gets a good review for a budget separate.

Should I use my stereo amp or direct out on the soundcard?

Also, if you think I need a dedicated headphone amp what is a good budget amp?

thanks
I think that the amping capability of E-MU 0404USB would be a perfect match for 595. Also the DAC of the E-MU is pretty good.
post #10 of 46
All I can say is from a bit different point of view. I bought my 50 ohm 595's 8 months ago. Since that time I have played much with DIY low size headphone amps. It is natural that I was aiming with the sound signature towards the best match with 595's. So, the strongest influence an amp can have on 595's is building their soundstage. It might be of a very different kind depending on the amp. 595's sound their best with "diffuse field" kind of presentation because they do it really good and in a suggestive way. Second thing is bass, you can improve its speed, impact, punch and volume. The latter might be even more emphasized by putting resistors in series with each transducer. You can do it inside of the amp or as an additional adapter. For 50 ohms version I like 75 ohm resistors but recently I've been trying bypassing them and my ears quickly adjust to "standard" 595s' tonality. So, 595's deserve an amp with good current efficiency which means a simplest Cmoy is not enough. From a weak source they can play loud but the sound will be slow, dull, compressed and with poor resolution.
post #11 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by leng jai View Post
Now with the Little Dot 2++ tube amp the sound has moved up another level again. The bass deficiency is now well and truly recitified. The bass is much improved while still being tight and controlled. The bass extension is quite good no. Soundstage seems slightly wider in width, and the highs are better buts till grainy at times.
Now that's what I wanted to hear. I should have my LD2++ by the end of the week at the latest and expectations are high. For the record I have a 120 ohm HD595 with a 75 ohm resistor added. It should be just lovely.
post #12 of 46
From my calculations you need 180 ohms resistors for 120 ohm version of 595's however if you're happy with 75 ohms, that's OK.
post #13 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by majkel View Post
From my calculations you need 180 ohms resistors for 120 ohm version of 595's however if you're happy with 75 ohms, that's OK.
How does one go about calculating how much resistance can/should be added in series??
post #14 of 46
Quote:
How does one go about calculating how much resistance can/should be added in series??
I look at the HeadRoom impedance graphs, find the lowest and highest value (usually the peak in the bass range) of the impedance and make it deliver the same power to the transducers. The equation is then R = sqrt(Z_low*Z_high)
For 50 ohm version you have to recalculate Z_low and Z_high using the 50/120 ratio. Actually this is the starting point because the calculated value might be a bit out of your focus. After some experiments I came to 75 ohms which is 180 ohms when recalculated for 120 ohm version.
On the other hand, I'm learning to listen HD 595's without resistors and my ears are getting used to it quickly. Maybe because I placed really huge capacitors in my amp's power supply section in order to provide high current pulses when needed.
post #15 of 46
Congrats on the 595!
I love mine and they sound great both amped/unamped,
very easy to drive.
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