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Solid state amp that pairs well with high impedance headphones?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Sort of like the opposite to Violectric V200 (which puts out more power at low impedances and less power at high impedances, thus pairing well with low impedance headphones), is there any solid state headphone amp that puts out a lot more power into high impedances but drops off remarkably in power output with low impedances, thus favoring high impedance headphones?

 

The SPL Auditor/Phonitor are the only ones I've heard of so far... are there any others?

post #2 of 12

 

Hi there, 

This subject seems to confuse a lot of folks, here's my explanation.....

 

A solid state amp that works with high impedance headphones is a solid state amp that can put out a fair amount of voltage.

There is no real technical reason why a solid state amp should favour high impedance phones over low impedance phones other than the fact that it may not be able to supply enough current for low impedance phones or it has a very high output impedance.

If you have a solid state amp that can put out enugh current, enough voltage and has a low enough output impedance (i.e. less tha 5 ohms)then it should be able to work with just about any headphone regardless of headphone impedance unless you are using a super power hungry headphone.

 

There is NO MAGICAL IMPEDANCE MATCHING when it comes to low and high impedance headphones and amps.

Generally speaking you are looking for a desktop solid state amp, usually something with a fairly large power supply.

I have a Matrix M Stage, it has no problem driving my:

  62 ohm AKG Q701  

  600 ohm Beyer DT880

  2,000 ohm Sennheiser HD 424

 

Try reading this article, it may help:

http://www.head-fi.org/a/headphone-impedance

 

I hope this helps?

Chris

post #3 of 12
Prior to taking the plunge on the Schiit Lyr, I was close to getting the Audio-GD C-2.2 which puts oout 200mw at 600ohms. That is a LOT of power.
post #4 of 12

The Concerto (the Classic replaced it) is well liked with the T1.

 

post #5 of 12

I just ordered the Asgard because many people have stated it has good synergy with with 300 ohm Senns and the 600 ohm Beyers.  If you give me a few weeks, I can report back how well the Asgard pairs with my cans.  I have the Beyer DT990 600 ohm in my stable and the Senn HD600 should be arriving around the same time as the Asgard.

post #6 of 12

Thanks for this, Chris. Now here's a dumb question. Is it possible to use an amp like this with a software program of some sort that would give a graphic equalizer interface to adjust sound if needed. I am playing the sound back from WAV files.
 

post #7 of 12
My headroom balanced puts out over 11W into 32ohm and 0.6W into 600ohm. That is sufficient for any headphone.
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by CAfromCA View Post

Thanks for this, Chris. Now here's a dumb question. Is it possible to use an amp like this with a software program of some sort that would give a graphic equalizer interface to adjust sound if needed. I am playing the sound back from WAV files.
 

 

Hi,

I just noticed this, sorry for the late reply.

There are quite a few programs out there that allow you to digitally equalize your music with software.

You are better off doing a search in the "Source" section of Head Fi, you should find quite a few threads on Software Equalization.

I don't EQ a lot, but when I do, normally I use the EQ in iTunes for my iTunes downloads. 

I'm not saying it is good, but it is free, if you use iTunes!

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by cactus_farmer View Post

Sort of like the opposite to Violectric V200 (which puts out more power at low impedances and less power at high impedances, thus pairing well with low impedance headphones), is there any solid state headphone amp that puts out a lot more power into high impedances but drops off remarkably in power output with low impedances, thus favoring high impedance headphones?

 

The SPL Auditor/Phonitor are the only ones I've heard of so far... are there any others?

 

The only problem is, power doesn't work that way. Your amp is a power source, and will supply whatever the headphone demands at a particular Vrms.

And frankly, even if you do manage to limit the power, chances are your headphones will sound worse.

post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by cactus_farmer View Post

Sort of like the opposite to Violectric V200 (which puts out more power at low impedances and less power at high impedances, thus pairing well with low impedance headphones), is there any solid state headphone amp that puts out a lot more power into high impedances but drops off remarkably in power output with low impedances, thus favoring high impedance headphones?

 

The SPL Auditor/Phonitor are the only ones I've heard of so far... are there any others?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

 

The only problem is, power doesn't work that way. Your amp is a power source, and will supply whatever the headphone demands at a particular Vrms.

And frankly, even if you do manage to limit the power, chances are your headphones will sound worse.

 

Or, more accurately, a headphone amp is a voltage source.

The current supplied by the voltage source is a function of the impedance of the load (headphones).

An ideal (or perfect) voltage source would have zero output impedance.

The higher the output impedance of the headphone amp, the poorer (or more imperfect) the voltage source.

 

Basically, any solid state headphone amp will output more power into a low impedance than it will into a high impedance.

I wouldn't worry about it, that is a just a characteristc of the amp.

Transformer coupled vacuum tube headphone amps often use the transformer to match the load impedance (i.e. improve power delivery into the load).

post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

 

 

Or, more accurately, a headphone amp is a voltage source.

The current supplied by the voltage source is a function of the impedance of the load (headphones).

An ideal (or perfect) voltage source would have zero output impedance.

The higher the output impedance of the headphone amp, the poorer (or more imperfect) the voltage source.

 

Basically, any solid state headphone amp will output more power into a low impedance than it will into a high impedance.

I wouldn't worry about it, that is a just a characteristc of the amp.

Transformer coupled vacuum tube headphone amps often use the transformer to match the load impedance (i.e. improve power delivery into the load).

Thanks for the clarification!

post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

Thanks for the clarification!

No problem, glad I could help!
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