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post #31 of 347
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post
Even the HP jack on my Yamaha RX-V493 receiver sounds very good, perhaps not as "pure" as the dedicated amps but with a satisfying solidity and naturallness.
Can you elaborate more on what do you mean by "pure"? I have heard a few headphone amp but never with both my music and can. Do you mean more transparent? More "black" during silence?
post #32 of 347
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post
This is interesting. Why do you think it makes sense, I wonder? It's actually less convenient. I used integrated amps and receivers for years with all kinds of headphones and got great results; I've even argued on these forums in favour of integrateds vs. dedicated HP amps. Now I have a Cute Beyond and LD Mk V, both of which sound very nice but--dare I say it?--not better that the HP jack on my Sony JB940 minidisc deck even using Senn 650s. Now this would seem to fly in the face of all received wisdom, yet I must trust my ears, and so far they've told me that dedicated HP amps are not substantially, if at all, better that the HP jacks on some apparently proprietary equipment. Even the HP jack on my Yamaha RX-V493 receiver sounds very good, perhaps not as "pure" as the dedicated amps but with a satisfying solidity and naturallness. I could live with it if I had to.

So where does that leave us? It certainly questions the wisdom of $500+, perhaps even $300 dedicated amps. And let's get back to that convenience thing. Most people have to have an integrated or receiver anyway, if only as a switching device, so it's not like you're saving by buying a dedicated amp (and of course many people use speakers as well). So a dedicated amp is extra cost, an extra item to be housed and takes up a tape output. Hmmm...it's not looking good for dedicated amp camp. I'd like to hear arguments for the defence at this point.

Incidentally, the idea that most receivers and integrateds use op amps to power HP jacks is a myth. I can't speak for the latest HT receivers, but I've opened dozens of integrateds etc from the early 80s to the early 2000s and the vast majority simply access the speaker outputs using (typically) 330 ohm resistors. There are no 50c amps behind the HP jacks of good quality, name brand integrateds/receivers. (Or at least it's rare). What you hear is a stepped down version of what goes to the speakers. That's not the case of course with pre-amps, which MUST use an internal amp since there is no power amp.

One last point. Penchum, you mention dedicated amps as being built to be quiet. Ironically, I'm currently having a hum problem with my LD. In all the years I was using integrateds, I never had a hum/hiss/buzz problem--ever. I had almost forgotten what hum sounded like.
Heretic.

Hey! You headed for the lobby? I'm gonna need some popcorn here!

Tim
post #33 of 347
I use an NAD 3155 from the early 80s as a home headphone amp. It sounds great. It can drive my stats and all of my headphones that have a TRS plug, including an electret. If it can drive an electret from the headphone out without clipping, it's got plenty of guts to drive any headphone. I doubt that a lot of dedicated headphone amps can drive an electret. As for switching sources, it has 4 line ins and a phono stage. The only thing I don't like about it is the tone controls don't effect the headphone jack.
post #34 of 347
Quote:
Originally Posted by scompton View Post
I use an NAD 3155 from the early 80s as a home headphone amp. It sounds great. It can drive my stats and all of my headphones that have a TRS plug, including an electret. If it can drive an electret from the headphone out without clipping, it's got plenty of guts to drive any headphone. I doubt that a lot of dedicated headphone amps can drive an electret. As for switching sources, it has 4 line ins and a phono stage. The only thing I don't like about it is the tone controls don't effect the headphone jack.
I'm sure my vintage Harmon Kardon integrated could drive any headphone you might want to throw at it. It has oodles of headroom. And the tone controls, which are semi-parametric, very useful and totally by-passable, do effect the headphone jack. And it's up to specs. But those specs aren't up to the best modern SS gear. It's just a matter of whether or not I would hear the difference.

Tim
post #35 of 347
Most vintage amps use a series resistor to drop the output voltage in order to run headphones. This is not a good thing for sound quality and accuracy.

Most modern amps use a tiny opamp to drive the headphone amp, which is often 'thrown' in there and is an afterthought.

I don't know which is worse.
post #36 of 347
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunseeker888 View Post
Most vintage amps use a series resistor to drop the output voltage in order to run headphones. This is not a good thing for sound quality and accuracy.
I am no expert on this, so I'm not in a position to question you on this. But I wonder since there are tonnes of resistor in a signal path, how much would one more resistor right at the end of the chain affect sound quality and accuracy? Wouldn't components earlier in the signal chain have more effect on those aspects?
post #37 of 347
Totally different concept. In this scenario, the resistor is used to bring down the large power output needed for speakers, so that the headphones don't get overpowered. However, since the output stage is designed to best accommodate 4-8 ohm loads, the headphones are at a great mismatch, and the resistor serves to further muddle things up. A great deal of vintage amps have jacks designed to work best with very low-impedance cans, some are even 8 ohms, just like a speaker system. Basically there is no dampening of the driver going on, and distortion rises because of the impedance mismatch. Also, I don't know how damping factor plays into the world of headphones, but I would imagine it to be quite low in this type of setup.
post #38 of 347
So it is the impedance mismatch that is causing the distortion and not because of the presence of a resistor?

What if an adapter is designed in such away that the amplifier "sees" 8 ohms of impedance? It would be grossly inefficient where most power is dissipated as heat, would it in theory be beneficial for the faithfulness of the signal?
post #39 of 347
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunseeker888 View Post
Most vintage amps use a series resistor to drop the output voltage in order to run headphones. This is not a good thing for sound quality and accuracy.

Most modern amps use a tiny opamp to drive the headphone amp, which is often 'thrown' in there and is an afterthought.

I don't know which is worse.
Not sure what you mean by "modern". As stated in my post, which perhaps you didn't read, I've looked into dozens of budget to middle rank amps from the 80s to, say, 2002 and found they all use step-down resistors. It's only logical for manufacturers to want to save money on the HP output, and this way is cheaper than adding a separate HP amp. It also guarantees that HP users get more or less the same sound as speakers users--which of course brings us to the point of what and how much effect these resistors have on the sound. I keep reading that they're anathema for sound quality, yet what I hear often--not always--belies that. Maybe I've just been using particularly compatible headphones (mostly Senns, with one or two ATs thrown in), but I've had fine results from integrateds and receivers, and the best result of all from a Sony 940 minidisc deck (full size enthusiast's deck, not portable). There has also recently been a lot of talk about the HP output on the Marantz 5001 CD player being as good as many expensive HP amps, and I've read a number of posts on this forum (though never in the same thread) from people finding that their old discarded receiver sounds as good as their new HP amp and regretting that they ever bought the latter. Now I'm not suggesting all HP amps are a rip-off, or that every old integrated or receiver conceals a wonderful HP amp just waiting to be discovered. I'd just like a little more open-mindedness toward what we already have or could get relatively cheaply, before we rush out to buy a niche product at a high price that may or may not satisfy us.
post #40 of 347
Quote:
Originally Posted by tfarney View Post
Heretic.

Hey! You headed for the lobby? I'm gonna need some popcorn here!

Tim
I'm sure I'll be headed for the lobby as soon as the hard core HP amp enthusiasts get wind of my heresy. On every occasion when I've raised this issue in the past, I've ended up on my ear in the street outside.

Oh yes, to Navyblue, what I meant by not as pure was simply the sense of a bit of murkiness to the sound, as if the water in a pond had been slightly disturbed, though nothing that wouldn't disappear from awareness after five minutes of listening. The bass on the Yamaha amp is a little loose too, though that adds a needed and welcome warmth to some discs.
post #41 of 347
Quote:
Originally Posted by Penchum View Post
To me, it just makes sense to have a dedicated headphone amp. With the MKV, you have two selectable inputs, so you could listen to another source without turning on your main system. Having that flexibility is very nice indeed. The MKV is going to sound better than a standard headphone jack setup. It has much more power and was built to be quiet and very dynamic.

Do you think your source is lacking? I have no idea.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post
This is interesting. Why do you think it makes sense, I wonder? It's actually less convenient. I used integrated amps and receivers for years with all kinds of headphones and got great results; I've even argued on these forums in favour of integrateds vs. dedicated HP amps. Now I have a Cute Beyond and LD Mk V, both of which sound very nice but--dare I say it?--not better that the HP jack on my Sony JB940 minidisc deck even using Senn 650s. Now this would seem to fly in the face of all received wisdom, yet I must trust my ears, and so far they've told me that dedicated HP amps are not substantially, if at all, better that the HP jacks on some apparently proprietary equipment. Even the HP jack on my Yamaha RX-V493 receiver sounds very good, perhaps not as "pure" as the dedicated amps but with a satisfying solidity and naturallness. I could live with it if I had to.

So where does that leave us? It certainly questions the wisdom of $500+, perhaps even $300 dedicated amps. And let's get back to that convenience thing. Most people have to have an integrated or receiver anyway, if only as a switching device, so it's not like you're saving by buying a dedicated amp (and of course many people use speakers as well). So a dedicated amp is extra cost, an extra item to be housed and takes up a tape output. Hmmm...it's not looking good for dedicated amp camp. I'd like to hear arguments for the defence at this point.

Incidentally, the idea that most receivers and integrateds use op amps to power HP jacks is a myth. I can't speak for the latest HT receivers, but I've opened dozens of integrateds etc from the early 80s to the early 2000s and the vast majority simply access the speaker outputs using (typically) 330 ohm resistors. There are no 50c amps behind the HP jacks of good quality, name brand integrateds/receivers. (Or at least it's rare). What you hear is a stepped down version of what goes to the speakers. That's not the case of course with pre-amps, which MUST use an internal amp since there is no power amp.

One last point. Penchum, you mention dedicated amps as being built to be quiet. Ironically, I'm currently having a hum problem with my LD. In all the years I was using integrateds, I never had a hum/hiss/buzz problem--ever. I had almost forgotten what hum sounded like.
PP312,

I will not be drawn into your argument relating to name brand receiver/integrated amp headphone jacks vs. dedicated headphone amps. I have better things to do with my time (like listening to music). Since you have already lost this argument at HeadFi, you are just tossing into the fan.
post #42 of 347
If you go to Penchum's profile and note his gear list, you'll see that your logic directly threatens his psychic existence.

See COLLECTING: An Unruly Passion - Psychological Perspectives, by Werner Muensterberger.

You have to separate out those who are at Head-Fi for the music, from those who are here for the gear - for any kind of loose rationalization that will justify the purchase of yet another piece of equipment.

pp, you represent Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel's "isolated individual who ego has not delegated its reality testing function to the group" (Head-Fi, in this case) - to what she calls "the incense bearers of illusion." That's why Penchum cites that you cannot win that argument; that's what he hopes and prays, at least. He hopes to keep Head-Fi ideologically pure, even if that ideology is not strictly true and accurate and even if it costs people a lot of time, money, and frustration as they compare what they really are hearing with what the senior addicts here TELL them that they're hearing.

J. C-S. says, on p. 157 of THE EGO IDEAL, that (in this case, people here at Head-Fi are) "the child showing himself to the observer with his newly realized acquisitions" (headphone amps, in this case). Just look at all the posts with pictures! If you deny these gearhead children their pleasures - and remember, they now firmly run Head-Fi - they will squall. And you can see why.

Ideally, music lovers and not obsessed gear people would run this place. But that's an ideal world.

In the meantime, I can attest to your ears.

I spent last winter listening to the resistored-down headphone jack that comes standard on a Denon integrated and, yes, many receiver/integrated headphone outs are delicious. And lots of dedicated amps suck by comparison. But if that were accepted, how would people get to play with tubes and tube roll? How would they guiltily sneak yet one more piece of gear past the (if they happen to still be married) wife? Etc.

Dedicated amps are not a panacea.
post #43 of 347
Quote:
Originally Posted by Penchum View Post
PP312,

I will not be drawn into your argument relating to name brand receiver/integrated amp headphone jacks vs. dedicated headphone amps. I have better things to do with my time (like listening to music). Since you have already lost this argument at HeadFi, you are just tossing into the fan.
Really? When was that exactly? I must have missed it.

And how on earth could I lose the argument when there is no argument, when there is in fact merely a statement of opinions based on experience, and perhaps on certain happy synergistic congruences. I'm astonished that an obviously intelligent fellow like yourself should so casually dismiss a by-no-means unreasonable proposition with the possibly prophetic, but more likely optimistic, observation that I've "lost this argument".
post #44 of 347
Quote:
Originally Posted by greggf View Post
If you go to Penchum's profile and note his gear list, you'll see that your logic directly threatens his psychic existence.

See COLLECTING: An Unruly Passion - Psychological Perspectives, by Werner Muensterberger.

You have to separate out those who are at Head-Fi for the music, from those who are here for the gear - for any kind of loose rationalization that will justify the purchase of yet another piece of equipment.

pp, you represent Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel's "isolated individual who ego has not delegated its reality testing function to the group" (Head-Fi, in this case) - to what she calls "the incense bearers of illusion." That's why Penchum cites that you cannot win that argument; that's what he hopes and prays, at least. He hopes to keep Head-Fi ideologically pure, even if that ideology is not strictly true and accurate and even if it costs people a lot of time, money, and frustration as they compare what they really are hearing with what the senior addicts here TELL them that they're hearing.

J. C-S. says, on p. 157 of THE EGO IDEAL, that (in this case, people here at Head-Fi are) "the child showing himself to the observer with his newly realized acquisitions" (headphone amps, in this case). Just look at all the posts with pictures! If you deny these gearhead children their pleasures - and remember, they now firmly run Head-Fi - they will squall. And you can see why.

Ideally, music lovers and not obsessed gear people would run this place. But that's an ideal world.

In the meantime, I can attest to your ears.

I spent last winter listening to the resistored-down headphone jack that comes standard on a Denon integrated and, yes, many receiver/integrated headphone outs are delicious. And lots of dedicated amps suck by comparison. But if that were accepted, how would people get to play with tubes and tube roll? How would they guiltily sneak yet one more piece of gear past the (if they happen to still be married) wife? Etc.

Dedicated amps are not a panacea.
Thanks, greggf, for such an intelligent post. I'm pleased that I so well represent Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel's theory, whoever that lady may be. You're right, I don't generally get sucked into group enthusiasms; I tend to mistrust them and look for the flaw. It's a good way to get killed.

I've just had a look at Penchum's profile and I see what you mean; there's not much point, as they say, arguing religion with a priest. However, I'm not really interested in arguing, still less in "winning". Belief in the superiority of dedicated HP amps is fine by me--and hey, a lot of them probably are superior! I mean, I'm 61 years old and have been listening to headphones for 40 years; I guess I'm lucky I can still hear the doorbell, let alone the differences between a Yamaha and a Little Dot. But that's my point. Not everyone has Golden Ears, and I think a lot of people who come here just want a good sound, which, as you've discovered, an integrated can easily provide. There's simply too much advice along the lines of "No point buying a Senn 650 if you're not going to buy a good dedicated amp." The truth is, the 650 sounds quite fine out of any decent integrated/receiver, even if not quite as fine as out of a $1000 dedicated amp. And since most people have one of those already, there's a sensible saving and an avoidance of the dreaded upgrade trap. My call is for balanced advice, not the downfall of the dedicated amp industry or its adherents.

Hmm...I guess I do deserve to be killed.
post #45 of 347
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post
I'm sure I'll be headed for the lobby as soon as the hard core HP amp enthusiasts get wind of my heresy. On every occasion when I've raised this issue in the past, I've ended up on my ear in the street outside.

Oh yes, to Navyblue, what I meant by not as pure was simply the sense of a bit of murkiness to the sound, as if the water in a pond had been slightly disturbed, though nothing that wouldn't disappear from awareness after five minutes of listening. The bass on the Yamaha amp is a little loose too, though that adds a needed and welcome warmth to some discs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post
Really? When was that exactly? I must have missed it.

And how on earth could I lose the argument when there is no argument, when there is in fact merely a statement of opinions based on experience, and perhaps on certain happy synergistic congruences. I'm astonished that an obviously intelligent fellow like yourself should so casually dismiss a by-no-means unreasonable proposition with the possibly prophetic, but more likely optimistic, observation that I've "lost this argument".
Is this not what you meant? (see bold above)
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