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Does a good stereo receiver count as a "headphone amp"?

post #1 of 88
Thread Starter 
Is the headphone jack in my receiver is powerful enough to be considered an "amp"? I have a Marantz SR7002 receiver with a Dolby headphone jack.

I may be moving from my house to an apartment later this year and want to get some good cans to use at home so that I can still enjoy movies at proper volume levels but without disturbing the neighbors! A lot of headphones listed in the sticky thread in this forum seem to need (or benefit greatly from) an amp, but I wasn't sure if my receiver qualified as an amp or not. If not, I'll shoot for a lower impedance pair I guess.

Thanks!
post #2 of 88
Should be, my PM7001Ki has a more than reasonable headphone output and the SR7002 is by no means a budget amp. My amp has a little higher noise floor than a Graham Slee Solo, but that one costs just as much. Biggest problem with my Marantz is that at low listening levels the right and left channels are not in balance.
post #3 of 88
I own 2 Marantz cd players and 1 amp, all of them have a pretty good headphones out.
No problems with channel in-balance.
post #4 of 88
I am sure that your receiver will be more than up to the task of driving most headphones for watching movies.
post #5 of 88
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. Now to decide which cans are the best for movies! (maybe something like the HD650)
post #6 of 88
hd650 is a wonderful movie headphone, comfortable and nicely laid back.
post #7 of 88
Yes. I have a hand-me-down Sony receiver (hey you can't beat free!) and it's worked great with everything I've tried on it, from Grados to HD600 to K702. I believe with an amplifier you get more in terms of a cleaner signal, and perhaps different/better tonality. (example, my amp in comparison has slightly more treble and slightly less bass)

But I know someone will come in here saying a receiver will sound like garbage in comparison to an amp... and although I do think thats a laughable exaggeration, trust your own ears When I made the upgrade I was highly underwhelmed. Beware of "diminishing returns", when you get 1/20th the performance you paid for you'll understand.
post #8 of 88
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by paaj View Post
hd650 is a wonderful movie headphone, comfortable and nicely laid back.
I'm also looking at the Beyer DT990 & DT880 600ohm as they can be found for a good bit cheaper than the HD650 and seem to get pretty good recommendations for movies as well.
post #9 of 88
This is outrageous! A receiver will sound like garbage in comparison to an amp.

But seriously, even listening to music from my puny CORDA 3MOVE, connected to my MacBook by USB, sounds better than running my headphones directly from my Harman Kardon AVR.
post #10 of 88
yes it can. You'll also be surprised at old tape radios and how well they can drive high impedance headphones as well.
post #11 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bengt77 View Post
This is outrageous! A receiver will sound like garbage in comparison to an amp.
I wouldn't say garbage. My dad's Onkyo TX-SR507 doesn't sound half bad with K701's (for the short while i tested them anyways)
post #12 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninkul View Post
I wouldn't say garbage. My dad's Onkyo TX-SR507 doesn't sound half bad with K701's (for the short while i tested them anyways)
Ninkul, have you met sarcasm yet? Here, you two, have a beer.
post #13 of 88
It depends on the receiver but in most cases, the answer is no.

The purpose of a headphone amp is to properly power headphones, not simply provide an output that fits the jack. Many receiver headphone-outs are designed to provide a miniature version of the speaker output, one that will enable headphone use. These headphone-outs are usually meant to facilitate headphone use, not to optimize headphone sound. There's no secondary circuit that comes close to the fit of a proper headphone amp. It's more of a means to play headphones without setting them on fire. The impedence may not match. What's more, the attempt to write the sound smaller is less scalpel and a whole lot more butcher knife. The primary concern of the receiver manufacturer is to shrink 100 or more watts per channel to something less than 1 milliwatt per channel. Victory is declared when you have a safe miniature wattage, but accuracy and clarity, in drawing down, is less of a consideration. On many receivers, the headphone-output will produce anemic amplification, with significantly more distortion. Your headphones will not sound optimized, not unless the manufacturer cares enough to do it right. Most don't. Most off-the-shelf receivers are made to compete with other off-the-shelf receivers in a worldwide race to the bottom. It's about cost competitiveness in a Best Buy market.
post #14 of 88
again- think older receivers- when hard-to-drive was the norm. i have an old pioneer receiver that drives 600 ohm headphones better than any headphone amp i have heard
post #15 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bilavideo View Post
It depends on the receiver but in most cases, the answer is no.

The purpose of a headphone amp is to properly power headphones, not simply provide an output that fits the jack. Many receiver headphone-outs are designed to provide a miniature version of the speaker output, one that will enable headphone use. These headphone-outs are usually meant to facilitate headphone use, not to optimize headphone sound. There's no secondary circuit that comes close to the fit of a proper headphone amp. It's more of a means to play headphones without setting them on fire. The impedence may not match. What's more, the attempt to write the sound smaller is less scalpel and a whole lot more butcher knife. The primary concern of the receiver manufacturer is to shrink 100 or more watts per channel to something less than 1 milliwatt per channel. Victory is declared when you have a safe miniature wattage, but accuracy and clarity, in drawing down, is less of a consideration. On many receivers, the headphone-output will produce anemic amplification, with significantly more distortion. Your headphones will not sound optimized, not unless the manufacturer cares enough to do it right. Most don't. Most off-the-shelf receivers are made to compete with other off-the-shelf receivers in a worldwide race to the bottom. It's about cost competitiveness in a Best Buy market.
Sorry, but I think the above is for the most part crap...er, misleading. It might sound plausible, but bears no relation to reality, where most good brand integrateds and receivers (stereo, not HT) sound just fine with headphones, thank you, and a handful sound better than even quite expensive dedicated amps. I urge you to search out previous threads on this subject, where all that you've said has been covered (and discounted) ad infinitum.
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