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Question regarding low impedence headphones

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Watup dawgs? I'm looking for a desktop amp/ dac. I have a 50 ohms sennheiser HD 598. I'm a noob when it comes to the audiophile world and a couple days ago, I read an article by NwAvGuy regarding headphone amplifiers. From what I can understand, buying an amp such as the FiiO E9 (an output impendence of 10 ohms) is unfavorable for any headphones with lower than 80 ohms - the formula being, headphones requiring at least 8 times the output impendence of the source). 

 

So my question is, whether buying very expensive amps/ dacs such as the Schiit Asgard or Pico amps will not match well with my HD 598, which as you know has a lower-than-average 50 ohms. Is there a specific range of headphone amps/ dacs that I should be looking at, when looking for a source to combine with a low impedence headphone? Any advice is appreciated. 

post #2 of 10

Some people say 1:8 is a good impedance ratio. Others say 1:4 or 1:10.

 

It's also true that you don't want an amp with too much gain for low impedance 'phones. You'll essentially be amplifying noise and you'll have to keep the pot very low to compensate. If you've read Nwavguy's write-up you'll know that the O2 has a near 0 output impedance, so you could look into that. Personally, I'm waiting for the desktop version of the O2 to be available before I get it.

post #3 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by NimbleTurtle View Post

Watup dawgs? I'm looking for a desktop amp/ dac. I have a 50 ohms sennheiser HD 598. I'm a noob when it comes to the audiophile world and a couple days ago, I read an article by NwAvGuy regarding headphone amplifiers. From what I can understand, buying an amp such as the FiiO E9 (an output impendence of 10 ohms) is unfavorable for any headphones with lower than 80 ohms - the formula being, headphones requiring at least 8 times the output impendence of the source). 

 

So my question is, whether buying very expensive amps/ dacs such as the Schiit Asgard or Pico amps will not match well with my HD 598, which as you know has a lower-than-average 50 ohms. Is there a specific range of headphone amps/ dacs that I should be looking at, when looking for a source to combine with a low impedence headphone? Any advice is appreciated. 

Are you looking for a DAC/Amp for use with a computer?

Music? Movies? gaming?

 

The Fiio E9 should still do a fairly good job driving the HD598s

My Essence STX has the same impedance (10-Ohm) as the E9, my Senn HD558s (50-Ohm) sound just fine on it.

 

The Fiio E11 portable headphone amplifier ($65) is great for driving the Senn 50-ohm headphones

It comes with a low impedance

 

The Fiio E10, USB-DAC-Amp. ($80) has a low impedance.

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Are you looking for a DAC/Amp for use with a computer?

Music? Movies? gaming?

 

The Fiio E9 should still do a fairly good job driving the HD598s

My Essence STX has the same impedance (10-Ohm) as the E9, my Senn HD558s (50-Ohm) sound just fine on it.

 

The Fiio E11 portable headphone amplifier ($65) is great for driving the Senn 50-ohm headphones

It comes with a low impedance

 

The Fiio E10, USB-DAC-Amp. ($80) has a low impedance.

Yes I'm looking for a DAC/ Amp with a laptop, mainly for music. I have a mixamp for gaming and movies... it does a phenomenal job. 

 

I looked at the FiiO E10 but it seems to have annoying ports that make it easy for the plugs to fall out. Not my kind of thing. NwAvGuy seems to review the FiiO E7 favorably, with a lot of objective evidences to support it. I heard the FiiO E9 can somewhat color the sound - make the HP more warm and it seems a bit too strong for the HD 598. I'll look into the E11. For some reason, no one talks about the E11. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by OJNeg View Post

Some people say 1:8 is a good impedance ratio. Others say 1:4 or 1:10.

 

It's also true that you don't want an amp with too much gain for low impedance 'phones. You'll essentially be amplifying noise and you'll have to keep the pot very low to compensate. If you've read Nwavguy's write-up you'll know that the O2 has a near 0 output impedance, so you could look into that. Personally, I'm waiting for the desktop version of the O2 to be available before I get it.

Some people actually make their own O2 amps right? Yeah too high tech for me. And where can you buy them (if you can)? Oh and is the O2 compatible with headphones with any level of impedence? 

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by NimbleTurtle View Post

Yes I'm looking for a DAC/ Amp with a laptop, mainly for music. I have a mixamp for gaming and movies... it does a phenomenal job. 

 

I looked at the FiiO E10 but it seems to have annoying ports that make it easy for the plugs to fall out. Not my kind of thing. NwAvGuy seems to review the FiiO E7 favorably, with a lot of objective evidences to support it. I heard the FiiO E9 can somewhat color the sound - make the HP more warm and it seems a bit too strong for the HD 598. I'll look into the E11. For some reason, no one talks about the E11. 

 

Some people actually make their own O2 amps right? Yeah too high tech for me. And where can you buy them (if you can)? Oh and is the O2 compatible with headphones with any level of impedence? 

Fiio E11 is a slightly better headphone amplifier thn the E10.

But the E11 does not have a DAC, and usually PCs (& laptops) come with low cost DACs.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Fiio E11 is a slightly better headphone amplifier thn the E10.

But the E11 does not have a DAC, and usually PCs (& laptops) come with low cost DACs.

Yes I definitely want a DAC more than an amplifier at the moment, though I prefer to look for both. That means the FiiO E11 is not something I am likely to purchase. 

 

Are any of the higher priced DACs worth purchasing? I really want to get something good for the money. I don't want to waste large wastes of money on products that not only doesn't provide significant improvements in sound but also makes it worse in some cases. I'd purchase the O2 but it looks like it can only be manufactured by one's own hands. 

post #7 of 10

The O2 is available pre-built and ready to use from JDS Labs, Epiphany Acoustics, and others. You can also order it with the ODAC built in, although that combination costs more than the HD598, and may be an overkill. The E10 would work well other than the build quality issues.

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by NimbleTurtle View Post

Yes I definitely want a DAC more than an amplifier at the moment, though I prefer to look for both. That means the FiiO E11 is not something I am likely to purchase. 

 

Are any of the higher priced DACs worth purchasing? I really want to get something good for the money. I don't want to waste large wastes of money on products that not only doesn't provide significant improvements in sound but also makes it worse in some cases. I'd purchase the O2 but it looks like it can only be manufactured by one's own hands. 

DD (DAC Destroyer) USB-DAC, eBay, $50.

Fiio E11 Headphone amp. $65

Total $115

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post

The O2 is available pre-built and ready to use from JDS Labs, Epiphany Acoustics, and others. You can also order it with the ODAC built in, although that combination costs more than the HD598, and may be an overkill. The E10 would work well other than the build quality issues.

Damn that's expensive. So I'm guessing the O2 works well with headphones of any impedance range? And I just realized I always spelled 'impedance' with an e between the 'd' and the 'n'...

 

What do you guys think of the FiiO E17 as compared to the E10. I heard it's a noticeable step up in sound quality from the E10.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

DD (DAC Destroyer) USB-DAC, eBay, $50.

Fiio E11 Headphone amp. $65

Total $115

That's a pretty good suggestion. Thanks I'll look into it! 

post #10 of 10
Quote:

Originally Posted by NimbleTurtle View Post

Damn that's expensive. So I'm guessing the O2 works well with headphones of any impedance range? And I just realized I always spelled 'impedance' with an e between the 'd' and the 'n'...

What do you guys think of the FiiO E17 as compared to the E10. I heard it's a noticeable step up in sound quality from the E10.  

That's a pretty good suggestion. Thanks I'll look into it! 

For around $13, you can get two spare batteries (BL-5B) and a battery charger (110V) for the Fiio E11.

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