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Just picked up a new pair of Beyerdynamic DT880's and have some questions

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

 So I just bought the DT880's with 250ohm impedance and haven't gotten an amp or dac yet. I heard that there is a possibility of damaging them from under driving them. I'm using them on my computer right now and I can get them louder than I even need. Is there more to driving headphones than just the volume? Also any recommendations for amps and dac's? Preferably on the less costly side too.

post #2 of 12

Try Fiio E17 or Audioengine D1

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Any idea if there can be any damage from not running an amp?

post #4 of 12

You can't damage them from "under-driving" them.

 

What's your PC running - onboard (integrated) sound, or add-on card?  Model?

 

And assuming you actually want an amp/dac combo - what is your budget?

 

Also - do you use these with a portable device at all - or just the PC?

post #5 of 12

Oh - and Logan - this post might help explain if and why you'd need an amp ........

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NotJeffBuckley View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by pedxing
In m opinion, headphone amps are over rated. Usually they provide better performance at a subtle level. They usually provide the most benefit while used with a portable audio device which has limited output power.
This is a great view of it.

To put it technically, you need a headphone amplifier when your source's output is either too low voltage or too low current (or both). Most portable players output less than 20mw per channel at a voltage swing of sometimes under 1 volt! That's not enough to drive most headphones to an acceptable volume; high impedance headphones need more voltage to reach excursion but will sound okay, just very quiet, while low impedance headphones will likely drain the current output capacitors (if it doesn't use a push/pull system) resulting in extremely poor bass reproduction.

A headphone amplifier brings a line-level signal (or, in this case, any weak signal) up to appropriate voltage and current figures.

So, you need it with portable players and weak sources. It will help you less with, say, an M-Audio Revolution 5.1's op-amp powered headphone out (as I recall, roughly 50mw/channel at ~3.3v) than it will with an iPod (which manages a voltage swing of under 1.7v from its lithium battery). Very dynamic music (and very loud music) on high impedance headphones requires high voltage; I'd recommend a headphone amplifier of at least 9V for 250ohm+ impedance headphones. All music on low impedance headphones requires high output current in order to accurately reproduce bass frequencies, which most capable amplifiers are able to provide (but not all). The PA2V2 is one of the few high current/low voltage designs, and is well matched to low impedance (120ohm or less) cans. Your receiver may or may not adequately power the headphones; some receivers have very nice headphone amplification circuitry, while some are total afterthoughts with high output impedance, poor SNR, poor THD figures, and generally inferior characteristics. If it offends your ears, you ought to get a headphone amp; if not, save money.

This is somewhat simplified, of course; if you need more depth, I'll try to further explain, but this answers your question.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply. I'm running the sabertooth z77 without an additional sound card(http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/SABERTOOTH_Z77/#specifications). Do you think this motherboard can drive my headphones properly? Budget wise I don't really want to spend more than 100$ for either amp or dac. Also these will only be used on my pc.

post #7 of 12

Love the way their specs (Asus) are full of marketing speak - with very little actual output specifications.  Without going too deeply into it - if the mobo is giving you enough volume, and the bass is not getting loose or flabby, it's probably driving them pretty well.

 

If you're getting noise off the motherboard, and want an offboard budget solution - take a look at the Fiio E10 (http://www.head-fi.org/t/575084/impression-fiio-e10)

 

If you wanted to save a bit more, and get an entry level desktop solution, I'd consider the Audio-gd NFB-12.1 (it's what I currently use).

 

Look for reviews on both - you'll find plenty on Head-Fi.

 

Hope this helps.

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoganL77 View Post

Thanks for the reply. I'm running the sabertooth z77 without an additional sound card(http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/SABERTOOTH_Z77/#specifications). Do you think this motherboard can drive my headphones properly? Budget wise I don't really want to spend more than 100$ for either amp or dac. Also these will only be used on my pc.

Do you watch movies or game much with your computer? or is audio just for music?

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoganL77 View Post

I heard that there is a possibility of damaging them from under driving them. I'm using them on my computer right now and I can get them louder than I even need. Is there more to driving headphones than just the volume? Also any recommendations for amps and dac's? Preferably on the less costly side too.

 

No, headphones aren't damaged by having too little power. If you can "get them louder than [you] even need", you aren't under-driving them, and you don't need an amplifier.

post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by HamilcarBarca View Post

 

No, headphones aren't damaged by having too little power. If you can "get them louder than [you] even need", you aren't under-driving them, and you don't need an amplifier.

 

Not strictly true.  Belive it or not, I can actually get my DT880 600ohm to a louder than comfortable listening volume straight out of my iPhone (it's at max though), and also from my netbook.  But it isn't driven properly using the iPhone or netbook - even if the volume is OK.  The bass is weak and loose by comparison.  Although the volume is loud enough - the transducer is not being moved fully - and the SQ suffers accordingly.  Add an amp - different story.

 

Note - I'm not saying an amp is necessarily needed for the OPs 250ohm.  I'm just saying that just because you can get loud enough, you may not necessarily be driving high impedence cans to their potential.  Although I'd imagine from his motherboard, his 250ohm 'should be' OK.

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

Ya I'm going to look into getting myself a solid amp. Thanks for the help. Also purpleangel I'll be using these for quite a bit of gaming as well as music

post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoganL77 View Post

Ya I'm going to look into getting myself a solid amp. Thanks for the help. Also purpleangel I'll be using these for quite a bit of gaming as well as music

If your gaming then you should get a sound card.

Asus Xonar DX or D1 sound card, good sound card(s,) and decent DAC, but need to be used with an external headphone amplifier.

Muse tube amp. Amazon $50

Bravo V2 tube amp. Amazon $64

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