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Does a vintage receiver cut it as a headphone amplifier? - Page 2

post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickrobotron View Post
I did a big shoot out with all my stereo receivers. I preferred the Pioneer SX-850 and then the NAD C 740. The Marantz just sucked. I was disappointed. I have more money in the rebuild of this amplifier and I think it looks awesome. It's definitely not going to be used for this application.

I'd love to try a nice headphone amp with these. What do you guys think of the Little Dot tube amps for the K601?

I would say just to save your money,

I doubt you will find a headphone amplifier that really improves the sound of your AKGs, over the current receivers.


 

 

 

post #17 of 28

I know this is an old thread, but I'd rather not start a new one.

I have already posted about using my Nakamichi TA-2A receiver with headphones. I am unable to kind good specs however, and I don't know how high the output impedance is on the headphone jack. It does say that its rated power is 117 mW at 40 ohms though.

 

I have used it with a low impedance headphone, Shure SRH 940 and high impedance like the HD 580 and Beyer DT 880. They sound great, but would it be worth it for me to get one of those speaker out to headphone taps which convert speaker output to a headphone jack? I just don't want to damage my headphones if the output impedance is too high for them.

post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickrobotron View Post
 

I did a big shoot out with all my stereo receivers. I preferred the Pioneer SX-850 and then the NAD C 740. The Marantz just sucked. I was disappointed. I have more money in the rebuild of this amplifier and I think it looks awesome. It's definitely not going to be used for this application.

 

I'd love to try a nice headphone amp with these. What do you guys think of the Little Dot tube amps for the K601?


The Pioneer SX-1050 headphone socket is even more enjoyable. I still have regrets to this day after parting with one in 1986. Rekindling my memory with a SX-1050 a few years ago only reinforced that long held regret.

post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by achelgeson View Post
 

I know this is an old thread, but I'd rather not start a new one.

I have already posted about using my Nakamichi TA-2A receiver with headphones. I am unable to kind good specs however, and I don't know how high the output impedance is on the headphone jack. It does say that its rated power is 117 mW at 40 ohms though.

 

I have used it with a low impedance headphone, Shure SRH 940 and high impedance like the HD 580 and Beyer DT 880. They sound great, but would it be worth it for me to get one of those speaker out to headphone taps which convert speaker output to a headphone jack? I just don't want to damage my headphones if the output impedance is too high for them.

 

If it sounds great, stay with it and be better off for it.

 

Also, those vintage receivers drive the headphones off the main circuit through some resisters (new receivers may have a separate chip-based amp for headphones).  The sound won't be drastically different out of the headphone jack vs. speaker terminals.  You will risk, however, blowing your headphones with speaker power.  And 117 mW is plenty of juice to crank headphones to ear shattering levels.

post #20 of 28

 I have recently picked up a recapped and serviced concept 16.5 monster vintage receiver to use  exclusively as a headphone amp to drive my audeze LCD 2 V2 phones. At present I am still evaluating its performance as a headphone amp. But one thing I feel that I should mention is that the Concept receiver is not even breaking the least bit of a sweat in that capacity. It hardly even gets warm just barely when driving my LCD 2s. This monster is not easy to move around though and is a hell  of a strain on my back when I have to set it up for headphone use. It is also rather large as well . You have to give these monster vintage receivers ample space for proper cooling.

  I think I will at some point of time in the future explore the possibility of having at least some of the caps upgraded with possibly some film caps where they might matter the most. But I may first try upgrading the fuses with some premium audiophile fuses. This sucker uses two 7 amp fuses for the power  output !!!!!! I would have liked to use some HIFI TUNING SUPREME fuses but unfortunately they do not make any in that value. I did see that isoclean fuses do come in that value . I have no experience with the ISOCLEAN fuses but I think I will give them a try and see what results I get. I have read they do make a difference. I have upgraded the fuse in just about all of my components with hifi tuning supreme fuses and have never been disappointed with the results.

   I will pass on any observations when I get around to trying them.

  Well time for some more listening.


Edited by buson160man - 7/17/14 at 12:53am
post #21 of 28

 I very recently bought a recapped concept 16.5 receiver to use as a headphone amp after reading all the blogs about how good these  old receivers sound when driving headphones.

I initially bought to use with my lcd2 v2 phones. But today I tried the concept with my akg 701 phones. Wow do the 701s sound great with this monster. I initially had some skepticism about my purchase but after hearing it with my 701s any of that skepticism have been silenced. I have to add that I have been time after time astounded by the akg 701 headphone. I know most people would not agree and think that I was talking out of my hat but for overall performance I would have to rate my akg 701 over my lcd2 v2 as the superior performer . I am not kidding I feel that while the lcd2 can sound very pleasing I feel that it just does not have that quality that really makes you stand up and notice things about recordings. Even with this monster it just seems to be somewhat laid back sounding. Being laid back is definitely not something you would not say about the akg 701. I know that a lot of people find the 701s to be a bit too analytical for their taste but when driven properly they are nothing short of a exemplary sounding headphones. The lcd2 is also not exactly the best headphone out there for sound stage presentation. The 701 really destroys the lcd 2 when it comes to sound stage presentation and really it is not even close.

   I know that some dedicated headphone amps can be very good if not excellent some of these old vintage receivers are no slouches in their own regard. I know of at least one my concept 16.5 that can hold more their own against some excellent dedicated headphone amps.


Edited by buson160man - 7/24/14 at 10:32pm
post #22 of 28

You should see if this holds up for you in blind listening testing. Have a friend with a decent quality headphone amp conduct the testing. The volumes could be matched and then you could be randomly presented with listening through the two amps for a set number of trials. If you can reliably pick one that sounds better to your ear then you have a winner. I am not sure how it will go, my brother has just thinned out his collection of vintage gear, but he has a few Pioneer SX series integrated amps left as well as a sick looking Onkyo integrated and I think a nice Kenwood power and pre-amp combo. I may have to do some listening at his place soon.

post #23 of 28

I'd say you'd be pleasantly surprised with your amps if you got a can opener from vinyl flat. I use mine with my NAD 3020 and it's wonderful.

 

EDIT: Review from stereophile: http://www.stereophile.com/content/entry-level-31


Edited by Sir Tmotts III - 7/23/14 at 9:57am
post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic Defender View Post
 

You should see if this holds up for you in blind listening testing. Have a friend with a decent quality headphone amp conduct the testing. The volumes could be matched and then you could be randomly presented with listening through the two amps for a set number of trials. If you can reliably pick one that sounds better to your ear then you have a winner. I am not sure how it will go, my brother has just thinned out his collection of vintage gear, but he has a few Pioneer SX series integrated amps left as well as a sick looking Onkyo integrated and I think a nice Kenwood power and pre-amp combo. I may have to do some listening at his place soon.


I have some decent dedicated headphone amps so I am not making blind statements. The concept is really in quite a few ways way better than the ones I have . I heard a collection of cavalli amps at a meet last year and I was not impressed by any of them. I played my concept today for an extended listening period so far after six hours it is simply amazing sounding. Previously I have listened for only a couple of hours before I turned the receiver off. It sounds way better than any of those cavalli amps I heard at the meet last year .

  Today I have a new found admiration for my concept 16.5 . I find that the concept given an appropriate warm up period is probably  one of the best headphone amplifiers that I have heard .
  The amp plays with an authority that none of the dedicated headphone amps that I have heard possess . There is also a understated sense of musicality that I am hearing that I have never heard from my akg 701s before . Things just sound so musically right in a way that I have never heard from any headphone amp .

   I now know why some people say that the concept 16.5 was one of the best sounding receivers ever made . It is hard to believe this monster was made thirty five years ago.


Edited by buson160man - 7/24/14 at 10:28pm
post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by buson160man View Post
 


I have some decent dedicated headphone amps so I am not making blind statements. The concept is really in quite a few ways way better than the ones I have . I heard a collection of cavalli amps at a meet last year and I was not impressed by any of them. I played my concept today for an extended listening period so far after six hours it is simply amazing sounding. Previously I have listened for only a couple of hours before I turned the receiver off. It sounds way better than any of those cavalli amps I heard at the meet last year .

  Today I have a new found admiration for my concept 16.5 . I find that the concept given an appropriate warm up period is probably  one of the best headphone amplifiers that I have heard .
  The amp plays with an authority that none of the dedicated headphone amps that I have heard possess . There is also a understated sense of musicality that I am hearing that I have never heard from my akg 701s before . Things just sound so musically right in a way that I have never heard from any headphone amp .

   I now know why some people say that the concept 16.5 was one of the best sounding receivers ever made . It is hard to believe this monster was made thirty five years ago.


Wow, glad to hear that. I guess you would have to chalk this up to sound signature preference as the Cavalli line up is highly regarded not simply because they look good and are expensive, but for many headphone enthusiasts they sound wonderful. I am actually going to make some speaker taps for my HE 560 to run it from my NAD M3 which should be a wonderful amp for headphones (sadly it has no headphone circuitry at all). Anyway, I suspect for some they would hear your Concept and still prefer the Cavalli amps, but for sure some would prefer the Concept. Very subjective hobby for sure.

post #26 of 28

There's a reason my vintage thread have over 13,000 posts, almost 900 pages, and nearly a million views.:D

post #27 of 28

 Well I have been very enamored of the concept 16.5s sound now that it is pretty much broken in after listening for tons of hours these past few weeks . I have a new name for my prized headphone amp I now refer to my concept 16.5 as the beast . And boy does it ever live up to that name .The power that this receiver produces is just plain astounding with my akg 701 headphones . I have never heard the kind of solidity that this receiver produces with the 701s . And I have heard my 701s with tons of different dedicated headphone amps some really esoteric ones too and none and I mean none of them can hold a candle to the sound that is coming from the beast .None of them came even close to the solidity that this receiver produces .

post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by buson160man View Post
 

 

  The amp plays with an authority that none of the dedicated headphone amps that I have heard possess . There is also a understated sense of musicality that I am hearing that I have never heard from my akg 701s before . Things just sound so musically right in a way that I have never heard from any headphone amp .

  

 

 

Yes!! Most people get caught up in buying all these new fancy desktop headphone amps that cost $100s or $1000s of dollars, yet don't realize how bloody powerful the headphone output on a hi-fi receiver is.

 

You said it best with " The amp plays with an authority that none of the dedicated headphone amps that I have heard possess. "; I could not have said it better myself. As much as I would love some of the higher end desktop units, they all pale in comparison in terms of not only 'pure power', but how musical (analogue) they sound.

 

My HD598 are pretty similar to your AKG701 in terms of their open back design as well as their frequency response. Plugged in to my Audioengine D1, which has a rated output of 200mA @ 10 Ohms, the HD598 sound pretty darn fantastic. But both the high and low ends of the spectrum are, well, dry; Bass is tight and controlled but lacks a little weight, treble is smooth and non-fatiguing but lacks a little sparkle. Simply using the D1 as nothing more than a DAC, and hooking it up via RCA to my Yamaha receiver who's phones output is rated at 400mA @ 487 Ohms, and WOW! Bass and sub-bass get the weight it needs (it actually blows my Momentums out of the water) and treble is still smooth yet sparkly. Over all, the HD598 sound A LOT more musical. One can not listen to a band such as Freezepop without having large quantity of bass and sub-bass. Last night, I listened to their whole discography (remixes and all) and was not disappointed. I could literally feel the sub-bass shake the grills when gently placing a finger on each cup.

 

Likewise, by simply using the D1 again as a DAC, switching up to my Pioneer receiver and hitting 'Super Bass', my Beyerdynamic T70s get a dramatic boost in bass quantity while maintaining their phenomenal quality; They actually are on-par in quantity to my DT770 250 Pros.

 

All in all, don't be afraid to try out your Hi-fi receiver. I can guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised. Have some fun and go shopping at pawn shops or browse Kijiji. You could find something great for next to no money. Keep in mind though, for best results make sure the headphone jack is actually powered off the main amp, and not use a sub-par 'headphone amp' chip. If you are not sure, look inside and if you see a headphone board with a transformer, resisters, and very large capacitors, you are golden. 

 

:beerchug: 


Edited by Bansaku - 9/19/14 at 6:11pm
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