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How much is the difference between driving something and driving it properly?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I was PMing someone about the HD800 and I said that my Headstage could drive it up extremely loud without the need to turn up the gain setting. But I replied with something about them not driving the headphones "properly". What does that mean? 

 

What kind of amp do I need to drive it properly and how much does it matter? How much of the headphones SQ am I missing out on with a weak portable amp (5%, 10%, 20%, 40%?). When I tried the amp out, it did not create any distortion at my usual listening level and everything sounded fantastic. No artifacts or any other perceivable issues. 

I know people have like 1k+ amps and all but lets make a fair comparison and tell me how much better would a $300 "real amp" be without any exaggerations. 

post #2 of 8

Volume.

Clarity if and only if you are using a higher quality amplifier than your previous one,. 

Occasionally, slight changes to bass response based on damping factor. (Don't worry about this for full-sized headphones like the HD800)

Slight frequency response changes if output impedance is high.

 

In a nutshell, if it has no distortion and is loud enough, you're probably fine. 

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thats cool but the impression I got from my discussion is that a portable amp isn't even remotely comparable to a full desktop amp like say the Darkvoice 336 or the LD MKV. Just wondering if the difference is really night and day or am I missing a relatively small last percentile of the headphones sound quality. Sound to me like you are saying its the last 5-10%. 

post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by DNZGamer View Post

Thats cool but the impression I got from my discussion is that a portable amp isn't even remotely comparable to a full desktop amp like say the Darkvoice 336 or the LD MKV. Just wondering if the difference is really night and day or am I missing a relatively small last percentile of the headphones sound quality. Sound to me like you are saying its the last 5-10%. 

Think of it this way -- if the HD800 pulls ~2-3V of power to run at ear-hurting levels, does it know that the amp is capable of putting out 20V of power? Does it care that the amp is capable of putting out 20V of power and then suddenly decide to sound more clear with a wider sound stage because it could hypothetically pull more power? Not at all. As long as the power source is capable, doesn't waver, and doesn't sound unusually poor, you're fine. I'd honestly say it's not even the last 5-10%. It's closer to the last 1%. 


Edited by SanjiWatsuki - 5/13/12 at 4:08am
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SanjiWatsuki View Post

Think of it this way -- if the HD800 pulls ~2-3V of power to run at ear-hurting levels, does it know that the amp is capable of putting out 20V of power? Does it care that the amp is capable of putting out 20V of power and then suddenly decide to sound more clear with a wider sound stage because it could hypothetically pull more power? Not at all. As long as the power source is capable, doesn't waver, and doesn't sound unusually poor, you're fine. I'd honestly say it's not even the last 5-10%. It's closer to the last 1%. 

 

E.e? Well... you just saved me a lot of money biggrin.gif 

But is it really just about power? Tube rolling seems to suggest there is other factors with many people saying that simply changing tubes in the amps will make noticeable differences. What makes the MAD Ear+ the ultimate Grado RS1 amp compared to any other amp? Or is this all just hype? 

 

Anyways, I will probably follow your suggestion in the end. I've read major differences between certain portable amps and my own blind testing proved that I could not distinguish between them consistently. Probably don't know what to look for but ignorance can be bliss :)


Edited by DNZGamer - 5/13/12 at 4:25am
post #6 of 8

popcorn.gif

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by SanjiWatsuki View Post

Think of it this way -- if the HD800 pulls ~2-3V of power to run at ear-hurting levels, does it know that the amp is capable of putting out 20V of power? Does it care that the amp is capable of putting out 20V of power and then suddenly decide to sound more clear with a wider sound stage because it could hypothetically pull more power? Not at all. As long as the power source is capable, doesn't waver, and doesn't sound unusually poor, you're fine. I'd honestly say it's not even the last 5-10%. It's closer to the last 1%. 

 

V =/= power

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Already got a very good explanation by PM. Topic answered :)

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