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Are headphone amps pointless... - Page 2

post #16 of 158
My old Harmon Kardon integrated amp didn't do much for my headphones, so I bought headphone amps for them and I have never looked back. Sound quality has certainly improved by a lot.
post #17 of 158

When do circles become vicious?

Clean, well amplified current makes it easier to discern the quality of your other components. If you're not listening to a high quality amp, it's harder to pinpoint whether it's the source, amp or phones that compromises the music. Once you upgrade your source and amp to the high standards demanded here, it’s much easier to identify the flaws in your phones. This in turn makes it easier to justify spending more money on better phones which will inevitably have their own special quirks that you’ll discover soon enough because your new amp will make it easier for you to hear them too. You could ignore all this and simply sit back and enjoy the music but since you’re already here, this really isn’t an option.
post #18 of 158
Originally Posted by Orcin View Post
There are people who own one or the other and will argue their side.

There are people who have only heard one or the other, like what they hear, and therefore argue their side.

There are people who have heard a bad integrated amp and a good headphone amp, and are therefore unfavorably biased. Maybe there are a few going the other way on this point, but I doubt it.

Now finally, you get to the few people who have heard multiple good integrated amps/receivers (and by good, I mean with dedicated headphone sections that are more than afterthoughts) AND who have heard multiple good headphone amps, both using comparable quality sources. This tiny minority of people can give you an educated opinion. Ah... but it is also biased, because it is based on their ears, tastes, preferences and not yours.

A really good amp only amplifies the signal and passes it along. So in theory, all good amps are up to the task equally. However, as with many things in life, compromises (cost, design, heat, wear and tear, tinnitus) get in the way and foul things up. So both are "physically up to the task" but headphone amps typically do a better job simply because, per dollar invested, they are designed for the specific purpose and make fewer compromises along the way.
Great post Nate. Well said!
post #19 of 158
Originally Posted by krmathis View Post
Yeah, they are just pointless!
Which is why most of us own one. Just because we have too much money and need to spend our savings one something which makes no sense at all...
At last, an honest man!
post #20 of 158
Yeah amps are definately pointless, thats why it would take you years to read every thread on amps in this forum and people spend $1000's of dollars on amp after amp and waste time even building them.
post #21 of 158
The advantage with headphone amps is that it gives oppurtunity for different sonic characteristics without buying the entire reciever.

Ideally, you want to experiment with different kinds amps like at a headphone meet for example. Ideally you want the reciever to have your ideal sound for your speakers. This does not mean that it will have the ideal headphone output.

A great headphone amp like an upscale tube amp will have a better seperation of sound than your average reciever headphone jack. This is something that most average people are not aware of.

If somehow, you love the headphone output of your reciever, that's great. Do not go any further and stick to your reciever. But I think that if you do end up experimenting with dedicated headphone amps, most likely you will find a headphone amp that will be better and more refined than your reciever.

That being said, I love my headphone jack of my Marantz reciever but I know there are headphone amps out there that take the sound even further.

Going further is what head-fi is about!

Remember that brotha!

post #22 of 158
Originally Posted by CrazyRay View Post
I own a 1979 Kenwood KA-907 Integrated Amp.
This unit cost well over $1,000.00 IN 1979!
This unit has a killer headphone section.

This unit features strict dual mono construction with 2 transformers. 180 + 180 watts into 4 Ohms, 150 + 150 watts into 8 Ohms. 2 Phono inputs, 2 tape loops + aux and tuner connections. The preamplifier can be separated from the power amplifier. 2 pair of speakers can be driven.


It drives all of my headphones wonderfully!

Fantastic post! This should just shame audio engineers for not progressing the art of sound further than it is. I am sure your Kenwood can take on many high-end integrated's of today.
post #23 of 158
Originally Posted by CrazyRay View Post
I own a 1979 Kenwood KA-907 Integrated Amp.
This unit cost well over $1,000.00 IN 1979!
This unit has a killer headphone section!...
That amp looks incredible! Wow. Must have been a specialty item back then. It must sound fantastic given the nearly 30 years of burn-in.

Your post also makes me really sad. Sad because the mass market stuff today is as crappy as the mass market stuff in 1979, and to buy something really nice today, you still have to spend $1,000 in 1979 dollars.
post #24 of 158
Man, I have my little dot next to my chair by the chimney. My stereo equipment is too big for that. Is not pointless to me.
post #25 of 158
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post
At last, an honest man!
...as always.
post #26 of 158
This really makes me think. Maybe headphones are pointless too. I've noticed I can hear stuff even without my headphones.
post #27 of 158
the same scenario happened to me a year back. i diposed my entire audio research and sonus faber system. i am currenty hearing well on my phones and amps. more discreet listening and of course portability.

Originally Posted by breakfastchef View Post
If it sounds good to you, there is no reason to go with a dedicated headphone amp. If you ever have the chance to listen to a headphon amp, and it betters the sound of your home amp, thn you might want to consider the investment. I sold off all of my stereo equipment a year or so ago, so my only listening system is a headphone amp-based setup.
Originally Posted by epaludo View Post
I've tried some receivers and old amps headphone outputs, but honestly, the headphones amps sounds way better for me ...
post #28 of 158
Thread Starter 
Some terrific replies, thanks very much. I'm currently using my D5000s with a Denon CX3 amp, and the sound is certainly what I like. But I've now got a Woo Audio 2 on the way. I know my headphones very well but this will actually be my first dedicated headphone amp.
post #29 of 158
My Edition 9's sound as good through my ROTEL RA-05 intergrated amp as they do my Yamamoto. Believe it or not. I have no preference exept my Rotel has a 'slight' hiss when no music is playing, but for the price who cares?
post #30 of 158
Thread Starter 
That's interesting. I must say I love the sound coming through the CX3s headphone output, but I can't help but wonder whether I'm just being naive as a result of never having used a dedicated headphone amp with any of my cans.
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