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Headphone amp for use with a computer??

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
I'm still researching to figure out what headphones I'm gong to be getting. Right now the Sennheiser HD590 is at the top of my list. As you can see by my number of posts, I am very much a noob, and don't really have a clue as to what I am doing.

I will be using my headphones on my computer - gaming (FPSs,) listening to music (blues, rock, classical, world music, jazz for the most part.) I am planning to use the headphone jack in my Audigy2 soundcard or my Klipsch ProMedia speakers, neither of which are ideal from what I have read on Head-Fi. But, will they do until I can afford a dedicated headphone amplifier? (In other words, will either of my current sources drive the Senn HD590 headphones, or do I have to get an amp??)

I can't afford much more thatn $100 for an amp ; are there any that are worth buying for such a low price? (And yes, I am a bit embarassed to ask this on a site where some people have paid thousands of dollars for their audio equipment - but please don't laugh too hard. )

Edit - any comment on this amp? http://www.audiocubes.com/product_in...roducts_id=143
post #2 of 30
fixup supermini

I use this with the sennheiser hd580's connected to a turtle beach santa cruz. Works great, and very likely the best amp you'll get for $100.
post #3 of 30
OakIris, your Audigy will probably be okay driving the 590's by itself.

And don't be embarrassed at all to ask about low cost amps. I use an amp that cost me under $50 to build. It is driving my Beyerdynamic DT770's (250 ohm) and I am very happy with the results. If you already have the tools (soldering iron, etc.) you can build your own basic amp for very cheap. If not, keep a lookout in the Gear For Sale/Trade forum for amps that people have built or had built for them that they don't want anymore.

But you probably don't need an amp immediately. An amp will improve the sound but I would wait until after you get your headphones to decide on one.
post #4 of 30
Oakiris,

You dont have to buy an amp for the HD 590, some people here are even driving their HD 580 from their Audigy with satisfactory sound improvement from what ever they had before. Better save up your money for a better source and then consider an amp since the HD 590 is not very hard to drive. I personnaly think that a good PCDP is a better source than most soundcards.
post #5 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
OakIris, your Audigy will probably be okay driving the 590's by itself
Quote:
OakIris, your Audigy will probably be okay driving the 590's by itself.
Thanks, muzikk and donovansmith. Great to know - I can save my pennies until I can afford to buy a decent amp, should I decide to do so.

donovansmith - Another Coloradan! I do have a soldering iron and lots of other tools, but my soldering skills are a bit minimal to say the least - soldering fan wires for my computer case fans (to attach them to a fan controller) is about it. I am intrigued about building my own amp - especially after seeing this thing of beauty: http://www4.head-fi.org/forums/showt...=picture+frame
but I think I need to learn more about it before I attempt such a thing.

Thanks to the link to the supermini, vrao81. Do you like this better than the meta42?
post #6 of 30
I have the HD590, I got them because they are much easier to drive them the HD 580. You really don't need an amp with them. Currently I dont have an amp.

I plug my headphones either directly to my Archos Jukebox Studio 20 MP3 player, my Panisonic portable cd player, my stereo reciever, or even my computer. And my computer dosn't even have a real sound card, it's a cheap sound/modem combo card. Intigrated pieace of ****.

With all of those the HD 590s sound fine. I'm sure an amp will improve the headphones and I'm planning on getting a META42 myself, but to be honest. It dosn't need it. I figure that eventually I'll buy another pair of headphones or when I get a better source, an amp will come in handy for me. As good as the 590's sound, I'm some what sceptical on how much of an improvment you'll really even get, but I'm sure there is some. Just can't comprehend how much of one.

I'm sure you'll be happy with the 590's. I thought it was a good buy for $170. Look around for good deals though.
post #7 of 30
Thread Starter 
I am going to buy the HD590s and consider getting a headphone amp at some point in the future. Someday I may even upgrade my very old Kenwood component system. (I think I bought it in the early '80's - still going strong except for the CD-Player, which I replaced with a Sony DVD player.)
post #8 of 30
Thread Starter 
O.K., I'm back, hopelessly hooked! I ordered the HD590s and the Equinox cables last night. Now, even though they don't need them, I'm again looking for a headphone amp to use with the HD590 headphones, just to get the best sound possible.

And, to really show my ignorance, how do you hook up the amp to your compter? Does a cable come with them to hook into the soundcard (headphone connection? line in/out connection??) and then to the amp? Or do you have to buy cables?

Please continue to help a noob, out of the kindness of your hearts. (Weren't we all in the same boat at some point?)
post #9 of 30
Hook the appropriate type of cable from your soundcard line out to the input on your amp. I believe most amps have either 1/8" headphone inputs or stereo RCA jack inputs, so you would need either a 1/8" stereo to 1/8" stereo cable or a 1/8" stereo to stereo RCA jacks. I don't know if many amps come with any cables at all. My guess is that you will have to purchase the cable.
post #10 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info, donovansmith. Boy, this obsession just gets more and more expensive, doesn't it?

Where's the best place to get these cables?

Of course, I still need to find an appropriate headphone amp....
post #11 of 30
You need to hope your soundcard has 2 RCA jacks, one red one white. If it doesn't have that kind of analog output (don't use the headphone out for this it defeats your purpose in getting an outboard amp anyway), I would say you are wasting money on an amp. Also, the amp is not going to come with RCAs so you will need to purchase. Best bet is go to Radio Shack and get a pair of their Gold RCA interconnects.

Mark
post #12 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
You need to hope your soundcard has 2 RCA jacks, one red one white. If it doesn't have that kind of analog output (don't use the headphone out for this it defeats your purpose in getting an outboard amp anyway), I would say you are wasting money on an amp.
Well, this is disappointing. The Audigy2 doesn't have any sort of RCA jack. It has a digital out jack, 3 line out jacks (for speakers), a microphone jack and a line in jack. What consumer computer sound cards actually have RCA jacks? I've read about people using an amp with their Turtle Beach cards, which are surely no fancier than the Creative cards.....

I was hoping for a different resolution, but, I guess if this is so - no RCA jacks, no amp - I'll certainly save some money!
post #13 of 30
Possibly the Hercules Game Theatre XP (GTXP) it has at least 6 rcas if i remember correctly
post #14 of 30
Quote:
I was hoping for a different resolution, but, I guess if this is so - no RCA jacks, no amp - I'll certainly save some money!
Just use a mini to RCA cable. Headroom sells a Kimber cable that a lot of people like. You don't need RCA jacks on your sound card.
post #15 of 30
I think markl is trying to say that your sound card must have a line output to consider using a headphone amp with it. Most sound cards do have a line out, and it's a 3.5mm mini jack. So you could purchase either a mini-mini cable to connect your amp, or a mini-RCA cable.
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