Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › How to Setup a Long Run between Source and Headphones
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

How to Setup a Long Run between Source and Headphones

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I am researching headphones and amps and wondering what the best way it is to setup the connection between the audio system and the headphones.

 

My audio system is about 15 feet from my listening chair.  My preamp has both analog and digital outputs.  I can think of several different conneciton options:

 

1) Place headphone amp by audio system and run a long headphone cable to listening chair.  Connection from preamp to headphone amp with an analog line level cable.

 

2) Same as #1, but connection between preamp and headphone amp via digital cable (assumes headphone amp has build in DAC).

 

3) Place headphone amp by listening chair and run long line level cable from preamp to headphone amp.

 

4) Same as #3, but connection between preamp and headphone amp via digital cable (assumes headphone amp has build in DAC).

 

 

Which connection would give this best sound?

 

Another question is should the volume level be controlled by the preamp or the headphone amp?

 

Thanks in advance.

post #2 of 11

Are your speakers your main rig? And is your source connected to the preamp via digital? Because if you run a digital cable to a DAC-Amp near your chair, you won't use the DAC in the preamp, and that might sound drastically different. This however ensures no loss to the signal.

 

Or you can just put your headphone and amp near the other gear, and just buy a floor-level chair. If you're in the US, IKEA has those chairs. I had one before but not from IKEA, just saw they had them in a catalog. They're basically a rocking chair without legs and armrests, and light enough to push or lift to a spot behind your listening chair if you're using the speakers. Although the reason why I stuffed mine in storage was the lack of armrests.

 

 

 

post #3 of 11

I seriously doubt that 15 feet is going to matter much, regardless of whatever way you decide to set up.

post #4 of 11

A 15 feet headphone cable is no problem. The signal is quite strong and not sensitive to intereference from outside. Seems to me to be the most practical solution.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

Are your speakers your main rig? And is your source connected to the preamp via digital? Because if you run a digital cable to a DAC-Amp near your chair, you won't use the DAC in the preamp, and that might sound drastically different. This however ensures no loss to the signal.

 

Or you can just put your headphone and amp near the other gear, and just buy a floor-level chair. If you're in the US, IKEA has those chairs. I had one before but not from IKEA, just saw they had them in a catalog. They're basically a rocking chair without legs and armrests, and light enough to push or lift to a spot behind your listening chair if you're using the speakers. Although the reason why I stuffed mine in storage was the lack of armrests.

 

 

 

 

The speakers are my main listening source; I am adding headphones to the system as an alternative source.

The digital sources are connected to the preamp via a digital connection.  The preamp is a Tact 2.2XP room correction unit with build in DACS.  As you mentioned, I can run a digital cable directly from the source component to the headphone DAC, but the Tact preamp also has a digital output (as I mentioned in the original post), so I can run it from the preamp to the headphone DAC.

 

I don't have any room for a chair by the rig, and I love my listening chair (I also want to be able to watch movies from my listening chair while using the headphones).

 

So the questions remains about the possible choices.  One person I spoke to strongly recommended running long line-level analog cables over digital, since he thought that there could be loss of signal using a long digital cable.  I already have a 15 foot optical cable, so it would be convenient to use that, but don't want to if there is loss of signal.

 

 

 

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kees View Post

A 15 feet headphone cable is no problem. The signal is quite strong and not sensitive to intereference from outside. Seems to me to be the most practical solution.


If I do that, can I control the volume with the signal (either analog or digital) going into the headphone amp and leave the volume of the headphone amp at a fixed level?  Most of the dedicated headphone amps I've seen don't have remote control capability, and would really like to control volume from my listening chair.  If it is better to control volume via the headphone amp and not the source feeding it, then I would prefer to have the headphone amp near the listening chair so that I can adjust volume.

post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by gridlock View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kees View Post

A 15 feet headphone cable is no problem. The signal is quite strong and not sensitive to intereference from outside. Seems to me to be the most practical solution.


If I do that, can I control the volume with the signal (either analog or digital) going into the headphone amp and leave the volume of the headphone amp at a fixed level?  Most of the dedicated headphone amps I've seen don't have remote control capability, and would really like to control volume from my listening chair.  If it is better to control volume via the headphone amp and not the source feeding it, then I would prefer to have the headphone amp near the listening chair so that I can adjust volume.


Most headphone amps with DAC only have USB input. USB cables don't like to be longer than 15 feet. An optical digital connection would be ideal, but I don't know of any headphone DAC/amps that have an optical input.

 

The professional solution to this situation would be a DAC with balanced analog output to a headphone amp with balanced line-in. A 15 feet balanced interconnect would perform just fine, whereas a 15 feet RCA/coax interconnect could be troublesome.

post #8 of 11

Oh, and long digital coax connections are also not advised (1m is optimum, longer than 5m not guarantied). 

post #9 of 11

I think the HLLY, Little Dot and Matrix DAC+Headamps have optical inputs. I'd rather go for this if you can afford them, otherwise, if your power amp has a headphone amp and remote-controlled volume that's the cheapest solution. (Although few power amps do, and most of them from the 70's; and now some integrated amps don't either.) 

 

Consider also that when you posted 15ft, is that the bare distance from the chair to the equipment rack? Because if that's the case your cable's actual length will be about 20ft+, since it will go out the back of the CDP or preamp on the rack, down to the floor, crawl to your listening chair, and finally up the table where the amp or DAC-amp is. Unless you're willing to have a clothesline in the middle of the listening room beyersmile.png

post #10 of 11

I'd put the headphone amp with all the rest of your gear and run a cable to your chair.

 

Regarding remote control:

Id bet your preamp has a remote....

Wire the headphone amps off of the preamp outs, same as the speakers. Set the volume control on the headphone amp such that when at normal listening level on your speakers you are at normal levels on your headphones. This makes switching over mucho easy. You do have 2 volume controls in the signal path, which is not totally kosher, but imagine how many there are on a mixing board.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

 Because if that's the case your cable's actual length will be about 20ft+, since it will go out the back of the CDP or preamp on the rack, down to the floor, crawl to your listening chair, and finally up the table where the amp or DAC-amp is. 

 

 

Any amp that cant drive at least 20ft of headphone cable is a pathetic joke on your wallet. If your amp is having audible issues with a cable of this length I cant advise selling such an inadequate piece of gear but would recommend that you buy a different one.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikongod View Post

I'd put the headphone amp with all the rest of your gear and run a cable to your chair.

 

Regarding remote control:

Id bet your preamp has a remote....

Wire the headphone amps off of the preamp outs, same as the speakers. Set the volume control on the headphone amp such that when at normal listening level on your speakers you are at normal levels on your headphones. This makes switching over mucho easy. You do have 2 volume controls in the signal path, which is not totally kosher, but imagine how many there are on a mixing board.

 

Thanks, this is exactly what I decided based on all the feedback; I'll keep the volume of the headphone amp fixed and control it with the preamp.
 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphone Amps (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › How to Setup a Long Run between Source and Headphones