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post #1516 of 2619
Hi everyone, I'm going to be getting my first turntable soon, and am planning on listening to it through my headphone (before I accumulate enough money for nice speakers), my question is what exactly do I need in between the turntable itself and the headphones? Would just a preamp (something cheap like http://www.amazon.com/Behringer-PP400-Ultra-Compact-Phono-Preamp/dp/B000H2BC4E/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1374560559&sr=8-2&keywords=Preamp) with a cable adapter ( http://www.amazon.com/C2G-Cables-40424-Stereo-YCable/dp/B001B8QUS6/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1374560741&sr=8-8&keywords=3.5+to+RCA) be enough, or do I need something else?
post #1517 of 2619
The preamp will only bring the audio signal to line level, you will need another headphone amp to attenuate the signal to your headphones.

One good economical way is to get a used vintage stereo amp with a phono input and headphone output. One advantage is they're usually cheap. It will take some space though as the footprint is usually the same as the turntable itself.
post #1518 of 2619
I see. And should any headphone amp work for this? Even something like fiio e6?
post #1519 of 2619
Quote:
Originally Posted by penmarker View Post

The preamp will only bring the audio signal to line level, you will need another headphone amp to attenuate the signal to your headphones.

One good economical way is to get a used vintage stereo amp with a phono input and headphone output. One advantage is they're usually cheap. It will take some space though as the footprint is usually the same as the turntable itself.

Phono preamp will amplify and equalize the signal from the cartridge - usually producing about 1 V  RMS or so at its output.

 

Headphone amp will have a bit of voltage amplification, say to approx 3 V RMS ( VERY loud with most HPs ), along with much increased current and lower output impedance. It will not usually attenuate the signal - if required, volume control goes after phono preamp/before headphone amp.

 

Stereo amps do have phono inputs and hedphone output. BUT - only a handful well into high end amps did have a headphone amp proper and not merely resistor in series from the power amp for speakers. That resistor brings the level and noise down, but unfortunately raises the output impedance, to the value of the resistor in series with the headphone - several hundred ohms usually, making frequency response of even otherwise non problematic headphones suspect. Damping factor becomes in most cases ( save 600 ohm cans ) negative.

 

So, although a stereo amp/receiver might be used to drive HPs, a normal "headamp" should be preferred, if the amp/receiver is not of that zoot rare dedicated headphone amp on board type.

post #1520 of 2619
Thread Starter 
That may be electrically true, but in practice, a vintage integrated amp or receiver may still be by far the best way to go without spending a ton of cash, if you want both a phono stage and headphone out capability.

There is also a Bellari that is a phono preamp with headphone amp:

http://www.needledoctor.com/Bellari-VP130-Tube-Phono-Preamp

I owned one for a while, pretty decent little product.
post #1521 of 2619
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post

That may be electrically true, but in practice, a vintage integrated amp or receiver may still be by far the best way to go without spending a ton of cash, if you want both a phono stage and headphone out capability.

There is also a Bellari that is a phono preamp with headphone amp:

http://www.needledoctor.com/Bellari-VP130-Tube-Phono-Preamp

I owned one for a while, pretty decent little product.

Thank you for that.  I've been considering going from NAD PP2i to VP130.  Not being a DIY guy, I could only roll some tubes I have.  Worth it?

post #1522 of 2619
Quote:
Originally Posted by Googolplex147 View Post

I see. And should any headphone amp work for this? Even something like fiio e6?

Yea it should work, but I'd advise you to invest into something better. Not saying the FiiO E6 is bad per se, you should probably get a desktop amp to go with it, maybe a nice FiiO E9.

 

What headphones are you using and your budget BTW?

Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post

Phono preamp will amplify and equalize the signal from the cartridge - usually producing about 1 V  RMS or so at its output.

 

Headphone amp will have a bit of voltage amplification, say to approx 3 V RMS ( VERY loud with most HPs ), along with much increased current and lower output impedance. It will not usually attenuate the signal - if required, volume control goes after phono preamp/before headphone amp.

 

Stereo amps do have phono inputs and hedphone output. BUT - only a handful well into high end amps did have a headphone amp proper and not merely resistor in series from the power amp for speakers. That resistor brings the level and noise down, but unfortunately raises the output impedance, to the value of the resistor in series with the headphone - several hundred ohms usually, making frequency response of even otherwise non problematic headphones suspect. Damping factor becomes in most cases ( save 600 ohm cans ) negative.

 

So, although a stereo amp/receiver might be used to drive HPs, a normal "headamp" should be preferred, if the amp/receiver is not of that zoot rare dedicated headphone amp on board type.

Nicely said, but I'm afraid the technical info is too much to be digested in one sitting.

 

@Skylab - I've heard good things from that model but some people are complaining that the RIAA correction isn't working in their units from the new batch. Also looking at the price, the gentleman hasn't provided his budget yet.

post #1523 of 2619
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbophead View Post

Thank you for that.  I've been considering going from NAD PP2i to VP130.  Not being a DIY guy, I could only roll some tubes I have.  Worth it?

I've never heard the NAD, so not sure how much of an upgrade it is.
post #1524 of 2619
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post

That may be electrically true, but in practice, a vintage integrated amp or receiver may still be by far the best way to go without spending a ton of cash, if you want both a phono stage and headphone out capability.

There is also a Bellari that is a phono preamp with headphone amp:

http://www.needledoctor.com/Bellari-VP130-Tube-Phono-Preamp

I owned one for a while, pretty decent little product.

True. To a degree, depending on actual combination.

 

The difference between HPs connected to HP output  ( = trough series resistor) and directly to speaker terminals can be shocking. In most cases, speaker outputs will noise too much in headphones, and you have to be CAREFUL with volume - seeing off HPs with speaker power amp is a piece of cake. 

 

One vintage power amp that is quiet as a tomb even in headphones is Technics SE 9060. You can plug HPs in its speaker outputs, and open its volume controls to the max - silence. Connect a CD player ( turn the amp off ) without switching it on, turn the amp on - nothing. Switch on the CD player without playing music through it - MUCH more noise. It is that quiet. But it is gaining in price all the time...Also highly recommended for high efficiency horn speakers, where practically anything else emits constant hiss.

 

That Bellari seems to be the way to go with new unit without spending too much when phono in and HP out are needed. Never saw or heard it, but it was a second recommendation in a day or two.

post #1525 of 2619
Quote:
Originally Posted by penmarker View Post

Yea it should work, but I'd advise you to invest into something better. Not saying the FiiO E6 is bad per se, you should probably get a desktop amp to go with it, maybe a nice FiiO E9.

What headphones are you using and your budget BTW?

My budget for the amp is under $40. And at this point I'm considering getting cheap speakers (~$100/pair) instead and use those for now. Any good ones exist? My headphones are ATH M50 and a pair of se215's, and I was planning on using both. Is there an amp that has multiple outputs for RCA and speaker wire?
post #1526 of 2619
Quote:
Originally Posted by Googolplex147 View Post


My budget for the amp is under $40. And at this point I'm considering getting cheap speakers (~$100/pair) instead and use those for now. Any good ones exist? My headphones are ATH M50 and a pair of se215's, and I was planning on using both. Is there an amp that has multiple outputs for RCA and speaker wire?

Under $40 is very little. If you can solder, Jan Meier should still have a few of his portable headphone amp kits. It is a VERY good hp amp, only getting the correct potentiometer is difficult.

 

Other than that, try ebay, craiglist, thrift shops, etc. If you are lucky, you can score well - but you will have to keep the eyes peeled. People report scoring most unbelievable prices for gear that is under normal conditions way more expensive - but it requires quite some knowledge, as you usually have to react very fast. Models? Impossible to say - if something regularly costs used say 500 $, it can not be recommended here  in this case. If you find it in good condition say in thrift store at $ 50 - are you going to take a pass ????

 

An amp sporting RCAs as speaker outputs is not something to be taken seriously - but I may be proven wrong. I do not know of any model sporting both RCAs and speaker wire terminals.

post #1527 of 2619

Thanks for the advice. I went with the TC-760. At $80 delivered I couldn't pass it up. I just wish the website didn't look like a highschool project. :) I guess that's how they keep their prices so low. 

Now on to the desktop rig.

post #1528 of 2619
Quote:
Originally Posted by Googolplex147 View Post


My budget for the amp is under $40. And at this point I'm considering getting cheap speakers (~$100/pair) instead and use those for now. Any good ones exist? My headphones are ATH M50 and a pair of se215's, and I was planning on using both. Is there an amp that has multiple outputs for RCA and speaker wire?

I think I can suggest something for you with 'satisfactory' audio quality.

 

For speakers get yourself the Dayton Audio B652, http://www.amazon.com/Dayton-Audio-B652-Bookshelf-Speaker/dp/B002RMPHMU

 

Amp get yourself the Topping TP-30 DAC/Amp http://www.amazon.com/Topping-TP30-Digital-Amplifier-USB-DAC/dp/B005D7SKWK/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1374678129&sr=1-1&keywords=TP-30+Class+T+Digital+Amplifier

 

Phono preamp get the TCC TC-750 http://www.amazon.com/TC-750-BLACK-Audiophile-Phono-Preamplifier/dp/B000A36LQ4/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1374678201&sr=1-1&keywords=tcc+tc+750

 

Everything should just about $200. The amp can has both USB and RCA connector inputs so you can use it with your computer and turntable, but it only has speaker out and no RCA out. I can get the Topping TP-40 amp cheaper where I'm from but you can try lurking around for better deals, maybe ebay for used ones.

post #1529 of 2619
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post

I second that. Heard Pro-Ject Tube Box many times and it never did sound bad at all. I recently added TC750 to my system and if TC760 does not compromise MM performance too much in order to add MC capability, at that price it is a steal. Diminutive size, nice for in the field phono cliincs ( one does not have to haul full size preamp or receiver to a friend who would like to hear an old TT and decide to get it ressurected or not, but has no phono input), but nothing to brag about cosmetically.

IMO, if funds are fixed, better to get higher quality cart/stylus than phono preamp. Those TCs are nice enough to get one started, TC750 is a very quiet unit ( wall wart PSU , not prone to hum pickup from the in built reansformer ) and if you get hum or noise, it is your table/arm/wiring, not the preamp. TC750s weak spot is bass response below ? Hz ( I should measure it, I know ... ), but other than that it is good enough. Whatever RIAA deviation it has, it is likely to be far below that of the cartridges likely to be used with it.

I've tried the Pro-Ject Phono Tube Box SE II, a very fine sounding piece of equipment. Highly recommended! I would have bought one but decided to spend twice as much on a Moon phono pre amp.
post #1530 of 2619
Quote:
Originally Posted by penmarker View Post

I think I can suggest something for you with 'satisfactory' audio quality.

For speakers get yourself the Dayton Audio B652, http://www.amazon.com/Dayton-Audio-B652-Bookshelf-Speaker/dp/B002RMPHMU


Amp get yourself the Topping TP-30 DAC/Amp http://www.amazon.com/Topping-TP30-Digital-Amplifier-USB-DAC/dp/B005D7SKWK/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1374678129&sr=1-1&keywords=TP-30+Class+T+Digital+Amplifier


Phono preamp get the TCC TC-750 http://www.amazon.com/TC-750-BLACK-Audiophile-Phono-Preamplifier/dp/B000A36LQ4/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1374678201&sr=1-1&keywords=tcc+tc+750


Everything should just about $200. The amp can has both USB and RCA connector inputs so you can use it with your computer and turntable, but it only has speaker out and no RCA out. I can get the Topping TP-40 amp cheaper where I'm from but you can try lurking around for better deals, maybe ebay for used ones.
Thanks, that looks great! Although the amp is a bit pricey, I like that it also has a headphone jack so I'd just need that one for both speakers and headphones.
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