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Using full sized integrated amp - Page 5

post #61 of 347
Quote:
Originally Posted by Headdie View Post
Which brands of integrated/receivers are known to be/offer good headphone amps? I often read that HK and Marantz do... Any other?

Also, can I expect a better headphone amp from an audiophile receiver than from an entry level receiver?

Finally, would you expect more/less from a stereo receiver than from a 7.1 receiver at twice the price?

I just wonder if it would be better for me to drop 300-500$ more on a new receiver, than purchase a separate head amp...
These are actually the sorts of questions I've been advocating be debated on these forums for years. I don't mean all the time, but like...just one sticky thread maybe? For those not into OMG super-duper dedicateds. Those who just want something that will give them decent sound out of both their heaphones and speakers.

There have been a few posts about vintage gear having good HP outputs but much less about contemporary stuff, especially the 90s and later stereo integrateds/receivers that can be got cheap on Ebay. There are millions of them out there gathering dust in cupboards. Who knows what aural delights lie behind their little gold and silver HP jacks?
post #62 of 347
Quote:
Originally Posted by scompton View Post
Anything with a headphone jack has some type of headphone amp. If by CDP, you mean portable CD player, I doubt that they have good enough headphone amps to power most high end headphones well, especially running off of batteries.
I actually meant a full size CDP. I've never owned a portable and know nothing about them.
post #63 of 347
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post
There have been a few posts about vintage gear having good HP outputs but much less about contemporary stuff, especially the 90s and later stereo integrateds/receivers that can be got cheap on Ebay. There are millions of them out there gathering dust in cupboards. Who knows what aural delights lie behind their little gold and silver HP jacks?
Their owners do, or they should. I don't imagine my experience is much different than anyone else's: I had no idea my HD580s weren't being driven properly until I came here and was told so. And I had no idea that the HP jacks in my Yamaha cdp and my digital Panny receiver were POS either. When I discovered my error, I dug my old Harman Kardon out and plugged in. It has plenty of voltage to drive the Senns. What did I get for it? Well, it sounds different, of course -- warmer, smoother, purely subjective -- but a clear step up? A bit more bass control, a bit more upper midrange clarity. Nice; not dramatic. I will try some headphone amps soon, both tube and SS. I don't expect to hear a dramatic step up there either. I expect that the drama is in the cans; that components make incremental, and mostly subjective changes. But how do you know what aural delights lurk in the headphone jacks of your amps, receivers and cdps? You plug in and listen. To the music. Not to those who have an unscratchable upgrade itch, who keep climbing the ladder of diminishing returns, imagining huge profits at every rung. Listen.

Tim
post #64 of 347
Well said, tfarney. The head those phones are strapped to is obviously still capable of very rational thought.
post #65 of 347
I agree that this is a worthwhile topic, and worthy of a centralized thread. More examples are certainly welcome.

It would be particularly helpful/interesting to know how the headphone jacks on these models are configured exactly. Are they direct offshoots of the speaker signal, or a completely different circuit path? Resistors or op-amps?

I'm not a techie, but is there a relatively easy way to measure output impedance, and/or output voltage?

These are good to know when talking about a jack's effectiveness.
post #66 of 347
I changed amps out in my office system again this evening, just for the heck of it. This changes the amp driving my Senn HD580s from a vintage HK integrated that's headphone section is driven by the mains, stepped down through a resistor, to a very modern full digital Panasonic receiver (SA XR-55). I know, because I wrote to Panasonic support and finally got an answer, that the headphone jack in the Panny is powered by an op amp. I don't know if the headphone section benefits from the all-digital signal chain in front of that op amp, but I do know that it sounds good -- a bit brighter than the HK. A little faster and tighter. There is no muddying of the mids or boominess in the bass. And there is loads of headroom Driving my Senns is not a problem. No veil. Would a dedicated headphone amp be better? I'm sure some would, but I can't imagine that anyone would listen to this in a blind test and conclude that the Senns were not being driven well.

Tim
post #67 of 347
Last time I used my Rotel, I noticed the snare drum was clearer on one recording! and bass was also tighter! I didn't do much more experimenting, I wanted to listen to music. My headphone amp perhaps has a bit more air in the sound if anything. I should add the ROTEL RA-05 is a brand new amp. The Rotel having slightly less 'air' could be the fact that it just could be the Rotel 'sound', not because it is lower quality than the headphone amp, and the Rotel may excel in other areas compared to my headphone amp. I'll check it out more eventually. Speaking of opamps used in intergrated amps, my TALISMAN headphone amp is dual mono and has no opamps at all. I like to know i have a dedicated ss headphone amp, but to have a brand new intergrated ss amp that is cheaper than my headphone amp and sounds very close (not better OR worse) makes me happy also. I'll do some proper testing tonight and report back.
post #68 of 347
I have a Cute Beyond with AD823 (one of the brighter op amps, for those not following the op amp debates). I've just bought a Marantz PM6010OSE amp off Ebay, and it was interesting to compare the two. Like braddo I found no qualitative difference, merely a difference of balance. Like most integrated HP outlets the Marantz has a looser upper bass, giving the impression of a fuller sound and less treble, but otherwise the sound quality is identical. Subjectively this means some CDs will sound better on the Cute, some on the Marantz depending on their balance. I could live with either, but I suspect the Marantz will prove the easier listen in the long run. I could detect nothing "better" about the Cute (which I happened to prefer to the Little Dot Mk V with Senn 650s), and I suspect both amps would equally emulate a live performance depending on the hall where it took place and one's seating position. I've no doubt the Marantz would please 98% of listeners provided they were not told that anything other than a dedicated amp is crap.
post #69 of 347
For what it's worth I read that Cambridge Audio have great headphone outs. I remember reading that somewhere after I bought my ROTEL, and I remember thinking I should have went with Cambridge instead because most of my listening would be with phones. This was back before I knew headphone amps existed, I'm still very new to this. If I did not see headphone amps on the 'net, I wouldn't know any better and be quite happy. To tell you the truth I was a bit dissapointed when i first heard my headphone amp, I expected a lot more compared to what I was using which was the ROTEL. But then again the only peice of equipment I own that had an immediate WOW factor was my W5000's.
post #70 of 347
Well, this is not good news. I've been listening to the Panasonic receiver with it's digital/op amp/however that works, headphone section for a couple of days. This is its second round in rotation, by the way. I think I'll end up taking it out and putting the old Harman Kardon integrated back in again, for the same reason I did that the last time: I don't hear what I would expect from "improperly driven" Senns. There is no lack of bass control or speed in the transients. There seems to be plenty of detail. It is very clean and fast. But it is also lean. I think I just like the sound of the old Harman Kardon, which is very warm and smooth and somehow manages to be that way without lopping off any detaii...

This might blow my plan about building a very neutral system and swapping phones to change presentation. It's not that the HK is better in any objective way. It's just that I enjoy listening to it more. This concerns me a bit. I think that listening to tubes, something I plan on doing very soon, might open a huge can of troublesome worms for me...

I'm going to give it a few more days and let my ears adjust a bit, then try the HK again. Then when the tube amp gets here (a Glow I'm trying out), I'll listen to the 3 of them. If my desk can bear the weight. I'll tell you one thing; if this old HK holds up as well in comparison to the modern tube and SS headphone amps I have coming through here on trial, I'm going to be looking for a backup.

Tim
post #71 of 347
Quote:
Originally Posted by tfarney View Post
Well, this is not good news. I've been listening to the Panasonic receiver with it's digital/op amp/however that works, headphone section for a couple of days...I don't hear what I would expect from "improperly driven" Senns.
Tim,

The headphone jack's on today's receivers are usually op-amp based, and in a different signal path from the speaker amp section. I'm guessing the Panny is like this.

I am a big fan of digital amps, having had great results with a JVC digital-amp receiver (no longer owned, unfortunately) & speakers, as well as AKG K1000's. However, its headphone jack was worthless.

What I would be interested in knowing (and hearing) is how the Senn's perform when connected directly to the Panny's speaker-outs. This usually works pretty well with "standard" amps, sometimes requiring some resisitive or transformer-based attenuation in between.

The big question how the Panny's digital amp would handle the load in terms of FR shifts. The results may be different for low-impedance (<100 ohm) cans vs. the higher-impedance Senns, as well.
post #72 of 347
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpelg View Post
Tim,

The headphone jack's on today's receivers are usually op-amp based, and in a different signal path from the speaker amp section. I'm guessing the Panny is like this.

I am a big fan of digital amps, having had great results with a JVC digital-amp receiver (no longer owned, unfortunately) & speakers, as well as AKG K1000's. However, its headphone jack was worthless.

What I would be interested in knowing (and hearing) is how the Senn's perform when connected directly to the Panny's speaker-outs. This usually works pretty well with "standard" amps, sometimes requiring some resisitive or transformer-based attenuation in between.

The big question how the Panny's digital amp would handle the load in terms of FR shifts. The results may be different for low-impedance (<100 ohm) cans vs. the higher-impedance Senns, as well.
The Panny's headphone section is op-amp based. I asked their support folks. Still, it doesn't suffer from the same ills as one would expect from underpowering the Senns. I just think I like the sound of the HK better. Yeah, I'd be curious about how the Panny's speaker terminals would drive the Senns as well. Maybe one of these days I'll get some DIY instructions and give it a go. I know that this Panny got a ton of attention on the AVS forum, including some folks who claimed it was driving Vandersteens and Maggies without breaking a sweat. As difficult as those speakers can be to drive, it might actually do fine with the Senns.

Tim
post #73 of 347
Quote:
Originally Posted by tfarney View Post
Yeah, I'd be curious about how the Panny's speaker terminals would drive the Senns as well. Maybe one of these days I'll get some DIY instructions and give it a go.
Tim
I'd also be curious to know if someone has tried to drive headphones with the speaker out of a new T-AMP? This new generation of amplifiers seems to be very hot, but I can't find one with a headphone jack...
post #74 of 347
For the T amp, I read that you can't connect the ground of both channel together, so your headphone's ground has to be for both channels in order to use it with the T amp (with the resistor of course). However I don;t own the T amp so take what I said with a grain of salt.
post #75 of 347
Connecting headphones to a T amp's speaker terminals doesn't work, at list for the Sonic Impact T amps. I'm not sure about others. There have been a couple of threads with links to DIY sites that talk about what's going on when you do it. It has something to do with some type of filtering that requires separate grounds.

I have an electret that had both the headphone and the adapter modified with a TRS jack/plug. It sounds horrible with my Sonic Impact Super T. It's hard to describe what's happening besides a severe channel imbalance, it just sounds strange. It's fine connected to my NAD amp at home. The Super T has no other problems driving stats or electrets, just the one modified with a common ground.
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