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All In One Headphone/Amp/DAC?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Ok, just a thought.  This may have been implemented already but I read somewhere that it is best to keep a signal digital for as long as possible en route to the ear.  This got me wondering if it would be worth someone building a small amp and dac into the headphones themselves in order to preserve the signal as much as possible, running a powered usb from source?  Obviously no good for high impedance cans of course.  Anyone have any thoughts on this?

post #2 of 5

Some USB headsets they put the electronics on the headset side rather than on a little dongle closer to the USB jack.  Those would have the USB receiver chip, D/A, and amplifier in the headset unit, as well as the A/D path for the microphone of course.

 

I don't see why one would consider this an advantage though.  Somebody talking about keeping digital as long as possible is probably talking about transporting the data from one device to another, not the physical distance between the place where D/A takes place and the headphone drivers.  Analog links are all lossy (but for audio, one device line out to another device line in is really not a big deal at all), so you want to avoid them I guess, in theory.  

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

Some USB headsets they put the electronics on the headset side rather than on a little dongle closer to the USB jack.  Those would have the USB receiver chip, D/A, and amplifier in the headset unit, as well as the A/D path for the microphone of course.

 

I don't see why one would consider this an advantage though.  Somebody talking about keeping digital as long as possible is probably talking about transporting the data from one device to another, not the physical distance between the place where D/A takes place and the headphone drivers.  Analog links are all lossy (but for audio, one device line out to another device line in is really not a big deal at all), so you want to avoid them I guess, in theory.  



Interesting to hear that, thanks.  On another note I've been using my Fiio E7/9 as my amp together with my laptop.  For more versatility I've bought a decent used Denon cd player to hook up to the E9 using RCA phono. I'm guessing there won't be any significant loss in sound quality from this analog connection providing the cable is good quality?

post #4 of 5

Generally it should be next to zero loss (any difference way smaller than almost every other part of the signal chain), even with kinda cruddy cheap cables.

 

In the grand scheme of things, there's much greater differences between the L and R parts of your headphones, than a lot of things that a lot of audiophiles focus on.

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Well I got the Denon and hooked it up to the E9 and it sounds very good. I think this Denon DCD-F102 has a DAC used in their high end CD players.  Not sure how it compares to the E7/9 with the pc as I've not bothered to A/B it yet and to be honest I don't expect to find much difference anyway.  I will maybe try tomorrow with some tracks.

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