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Why not use a home stereo integrated amp in lieu of a headphone amp? Pic added.

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 

Got some new HD 600s and, when connected to the HM 801, they could use some help.  The HM really does not seem up to the task of powering the Senns.  So, I've been considering the purchase of a headphone amp but, I'm also tempted to buy a small inegrated amp from NAD C 316BEE instead.  It seems like the NAD would be a more versatile solution.

 

Am I missing anything?

 

Thanks,

 

Bill

post #2 of 37
It really depends on the amp. Some integrated amps use cheap crappy op amps to drive headphones, and so are not very good in that regard. Some actually derive the headphone out from the same amp that drives the speakers, and they can be quite good. So it's something of a crapshoot.

I have no idea how that NAD does it.
post #3 of 37
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your reply Skylab.  I don't know how NAD does it either but, I had NAD products in the past and they were truly excellent.  The fact NAD thought to put an input jack for  IPod and such on the front of the unit tells me they've thought about how this amp will be used.

 

I hope it makes sense because I ordered it today.  This will go in my home office and I may add some small speakers and maybe a CD player at some point.  I am optimistic this will be a winner.

 

P.S. Chicago is my home too - Southside, in the city.

post #4 of 37
I agree NAD makes nice products. Please return to this thread once you have the amp and let us know the results!
post #5 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post

It really depends on the amp. Some integrated amps use cheap crappy op amps to drive headphones, and so are not very good in that regard. Some actually derive the headphone out from the same amp that drives the speakers, and they can be quite good. So it's something of a crapshoot.

I have no idea how that NAD does it.



Not much of a crapshoot. It was established on this forum long ago, thanks to someone writing to the manufacturers, that virtually all of them take a signal from the main amp through resistors. This means that the amp's performance with headphones will be identical to its performance with speakers, especially with high impedance phones like the 600 which are virtually invulnerable to impedance matching problems.

 

There are a few exceptions, especially in the high end. Cambridge's more expensive amps use their own design head amp--I have no idea why, as their budget A340SE, using a gainclone main stage, has a very good headphone out. Obviously all pre-amps etc have a separate head amp. Otherwise if you buy a typical NAD or Marantz or Rotel or Yamaha amp you'll be getting essentially the same signal as goes to the speakers, resistor reduced.  

post #6 of 37

Only one comment:

 

Go NAD, GO

 

Sorry--couldn't resist

post #7 of 37

FYI - The Portal Audio Panache "... headphone output does not differ from the main output path except for the addition of a simple protection device"

http://www.portalaudio.com/headphone_use.html

post #8 of 37

I've owned many, many amps in the past. Both tube and solid state. Other than my stax amp, I don't own a fullsize headphone. I have a vintage fisher tube integrated and love it. There are some really nice integrated amps out there with outstanding headphone outs. In fact the much loved leben, that's talked about so much on here, isn't a headphone amp either. It's also a tube integrated with a headphone out. I think Skylab has it rated as his best sounding "headphone" amp. There are quite a few who uses integrated/receivers for headphone amps. I'm not saying don't buy a dedicated headphone amp. I'm just saying you have options. But like Skylab said, they all are not going to have excellent headphone outs. So I would only look at brands that's been proven to have good headphone outs. I have three home theater receivers. Only two of them have the headphone out coming from the speaker out(one sounds excellent the other only sounds decent at best). So be careful when deciding. Even if the headphone out is directly coupled to the speaker out, that still doesn't mean it's going to give you the results you'll looking for.

post #9 of 37

It definitely depends on the  stereo amp. There is a huge difference between my Icon HD and my Pioneer stereo, and the difference is tremendously in the favor of the Icon headphone amplifier. Some stereo amps are good, and some are bad. Same goes for the discrete headphone amplifiers, too, but I think you're more likely to get a good headphone sound from an appropriately priced headphone amp than from a do-it-all stereo unit. 

post #10 of 37

My headphones sound great plugged into my Yamaha RX-V1800.  No need for me to spend money on a dedicated headphone amp. 

post #11 of 37
Thread Starter 

Well, the NAD C316BEE arrived today and as I type this I am listening to the Dave Grusin/Lee Ritenour album - Harlequin .... one of by favorite Brazilian jazz albums.  All I can say is the sound quality is stunning.  Simply beautiful!

 

The source is the HM 801 with Flac Lossless files.  The headphones are HD 600s.

 

Before buying the NAD, I tried the HD 600s with the HM 801 alone and it was not adequate to the task of powering the headphones (The diminutive Cowon D2+ was more than adequate however.  Go figure.).

 

I have the NAD and 801 set with the tone defeated and the base is very strong.

 

Other than the FiiO E7, I don't have another amp with which to compare.  The E7, even with volume set to 60 sould not drive the HD 600s very well.  Hence the decision to buy the NAD.  This unit is set up in my man cave (home office).  At some point, I may add a CD player and some modest floor speakers.  We'll see.  Right now, I am thrilled with the current setup.

 

For those interested, I got NAD at Crutchfields for $349.  Free shipping.

post #12 of 37

Willie, its a shame you couldnt spring for the 375BEE if you like bass impact - several reviewers have likened it to someone replacing their speakers with subwoofers :)

post #13 of 37

Make your 600s a speaker plug and try them on the speaker amp.

post #14 of 37

FWIW, I just ordered one each of 1/4" and 1/8" female to stereo RCA cables.  I'm going to cut off the RCA ends and use them as speaker leads to hook up to my Dayton DTA-1, to see what it's capable of with headphones.

 

It's a +/- 6 V amp capable of (of course) gobs of current - it puts out about 10 W at 4 ohms and 6 W at 8 ohms.  Obviously at +/- 6 V it's voltage limited, but that shouldn't ever be a problem - I don't think, anyway.  In fact, it'll certainly prevent me from running my headphones into current clipping.

post #15 of 37
Thread Starter 

estreeter, I'm sure the 575BEE is an excellent amp but quite a bit more costly than the 316BEE.  I'm really quite happy with the 316BEE, given my purpose was to use it primarily as a headphone amp.  When my home stereo/theater receiver bites the dust, I will look into a more expensive, capable unit.

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