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Is it worth getting an amp for my headphones?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I have been wondering lately if I should get an amp for my Shure SRH 840's

Here is a link to the headphones - http://www.shure.com/americas/products/earphones-headphones/headphones/srh840-professional-monitoring-headphones

 

I really appreciate a warm and colourful sound. I would appreciate something with a little more bass than what I currently have.

I bought these studio monitors as a compromise. At the time, I couldn't afford audiophile level headphones with the sound that I wanted, so I bought a high quality pair of neutral sounding studio monitors. 

 

I am now looking to step up my headphone audio, but I don't have the money for a new pair of headphones. My only concern with buying a headphone amp is that my headphones might bottleneck the amp. Is it worth getting a $200 amp for a $250 pair of headphones?

 

If so, then could you recommend me one? Again, I like a warm, colourful sound. As for my bass, I need it to be tight, clean, and fast. I have a $200 budget.

 

If I wasn't being clear with anything, then please feel free to ask and I would be happy to clarify. Thanks!

post #2 of 18


NuForce Icon Mobile is $100 and it does have a bit of a "forward" presentation.  Though, there is debate whether or not this "amp" does anything at all beside boosting the signal.  I listened to a pair of Shure e2cs through this amp and I can say that it did make the Shures more "active" and "involved."  I know most of the amps that I have listened to have been fairly transparent other than tube amps, and those aren't portable.  Hopefully someone else will chime in with a better recommendation.  

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

Ok well honestly I don't have much of a problem with a desktop amp. The reason I am initially going for a portable amp is because of price. I am really on a budget. $200 is stretching it.

If it is really true that most portable amps are transparent and don't offer much to the actual sound, then what would be the point of getting one? I have no need for making my headphones louder, nor, I'm sure, does anybody else but the most serious of headbanger. That brings us back to my original question.. is it worth me getting an amp for my headphones?

post #4 of 18

I think you misinterpret transparent, it means the lack of coloration rather than uselessness  A good headphone amp draws power (from a battery or wall outlet) and gives juice to a headphone that isn't getting enough. But I don't know much about the SRH840 so I can't really say what kind of amps will make a difference, if on a budget why not try a simple cmoy? 

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hmm, I just googled it and the cmoy sounds extremely interesting! It might be a summer project that I take on, thanks for the suggestion!

Now, this cmoy sounds like a cheap project just for fun, and I honestly don't think it would improve my headphone listening experience to any dramatic extent.

I would still like to know, which headphone amp (portable or non portable) would be right for me?

Also, I know what transparent means, its just that to me, an amp is as good as useless if it fails to add any sort of colour to my music. 

post #6 of 18

I actually rather like cmoys, on certain headphones it's a good way of getting some soundstage and refinement for cheap. If you just want some color, why not EQ? 

post #7 of 18

If you want some "color" in your amp for under $200 there is only one option that I am aware of personally.  I think the PA2V2 is probably one of the safer bets too (at $60-70) and has great synergy with headphones such as Grados.  Personally, that is all that I have experience with.  You can look at some of the tube/SS hybrids but a lot of those are more dependent on tube types and I don't want to give you wrong or misleading information because I'm not too savvy with tubes -- unless we are talking about guitar amps.  :)

post #8 of 18

Where would one buy this amp? I'm interested if it's really under 100 dollars. I'm using Audio Technica ath m50s. Would they work well?

post #9 of 18

I think that you can still buy them directly from Gary (the builder) on eBay, if not you can get them directly from Gary Ali at http://www.electric-avenues.com/.

 

I'm not sure how they work with the ATH-M50 headphones, but the consensus is that they work well with most lower ohm headphones (which would include the ATH-M50.)

 

Maybe you can search a bit to see if the synergy between them is good, or someone else may chime in.  Being that both the amp and headphones are so popular I am pretty sure you will find something.  

post #10 of 18

Okay thanks! I've bid on one and hopefully it'll come up cheaper than expected! Anyway, this is a scrub question, but if I am plugging the headphone into the amp, then what do I plug into my ipod to listen to the music? I had never heard of amps being used before a couple days ago so excuse my novice-ness.

post #11 of 18

You can either get an LOD (Line Out Dock) which connects to your iPod "sync" terminal into the line-in of your amp or you can get a 3.5mm to 3.5mm headphone cable.

 

Hope this helps.

post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noyan View Post

Okay thanks! I've bid on one and hopefully it'll come up cheaper than expected! Anyway, this is a scrub question, but if I am plugging the headphone into the amp, then what do I plug into my ipod to listen to the music? I had never heard of amps being used before a couple days ago so excuse my novice-ness.


Beaglepower summed it up.  LODs for iPod aren't too expensive and really make a difference since you'll be bypassing the iPod's internal headphone amp for something of better quality.  Should sound nice!  Hope you don't get the upgrade-bug too quickly.  :)

post #13 of 18

I have the 840s and don't feel that they warrant an amp. I find them very very easy to drive; even easier than my grado 80. If you want to tinker, then spend the $30 on parts and make yourself a cmoy.

post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Armaegis View Post

I have the 840s and don't feel that they warrant an amp. I find them very very easy to drive; even easier than my grado 80. If you want to tinker, then spend the $30 on parts and make yourself a cmoy.


They're warm and they may not need an amp, but it would be foolish to think that an amplifier wouldn't/couldn't help out.  

I tend to believe that amplifiers are as important as headphones/speakers when it comes to sound.  You can get transparent amps for more power if you enjoy your headphones' sound, or you can completely change the sound signature of your headphones/speakers if you find that they're lacking.     


Edited by jbarbier - 6/29/10 at 7:23pm
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by beaglepower View Post

You can either get an LOD (Line Out Dock) which connects to your iPod "sync" terminal into the line-in of your amp or you can get a 3.5mm to 3.5mm headphone cable.

 

Hope this helps.

When I purchased my Gary amp PA 2v2 it came with a cable about 12in long to go from headphone out to amp.  But like others have said, you will want to purchase an LOD to bypass the built in amp.  This means that you are controlling the volume via the amp, and saving the battery life of IPOD.  As a matter of fact I have put my volume max control on IPOD to about 2 so It does not drive very loud.  :-) if at all.  Good luck with your purchase and let the forum know what you get and how you like it.

 

B
 

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