Originally Posted by nothing4me
Hear me out. I've tried over 15 pairs of headphones, but I never have once used an amp on a single one because I'm under the impression that they simply increase the volume. My sources (Samsung Infuse with Wolfson Chip, iPhone 4, and my laptop) are all loud enough for me... so why is everyone buying and recommending amps? I don't get it.
Right now I have two headphones, HD600 and HD650 and I'm just comparing them and the topic just came up in my head. I've read what people have said here
but would like to know some more. In addition, if anyone has any experience in not amping/amping differences, I'd like to know about it please.
I think part of this is a lack of terms being explained clearly enough. First off, you are using an amplifier, there is one built into every device you have mentioned there (the laptop may just be a line driver opamp, and not really suited to driving headphones/speakers, but the mobiles absolutely have some sort of amp built into them (it may be opamp based)).
But generally speaking, dedicated headphone amplifiers are frivolous unless you hear obvious flaws, like clipping or other distortion, or the device can't get loud enough with the cans you have (this excludes exotics like electrostatic headphones that require specialized drivers, of course). There's a lot of claims to the contrary, but by and large the majority of dynamic headphones do not need and will not noticeably benefit from throwing more money into a nice little box sitting on the shelf.
Regarding the HD 600 and 650 specifically - those are actually fairly reactive, and really will change with different amplifiers. They're one of the few headphones where you can notice (and measure) some pretty consistent and dramatic differences between different drivers. This is the result of how their Z interacts with Zsource of whatever amplifier they're hooked into, which will change FR. Most headphones are much more stable, and don't change nearly as much.
As the saying goes, if you like what you're hearing, then it's good, and leave well enough goes.
Originally Posted by machoboy
It's not just volume, it's clarity of volume. A better power source will make clarity and tightness more consistent across all volume ranges (assuming those ranges never surpass the capacity of the speaker).
You're ultimately listening to extremely rapid vibrations, and you're ultimately using some sort of amp. The ones in your integrated laptop soundcard and iphone are just quite minimal, like a small child shakily managing to lift up a heavy weight and occasionally lagging behind the count of his personal trainer.
A good amp is more like a professional power lifter coming and doing smooth precise effortless repetitions with that heavy weight. It won't necessarily change the sound signature of a speaker, it will just make it sound like the speaker is fully powered and the frequency sensitivity will be more consistent across all volume levels.
Not looking to stir a fight, but what does even mean?Edited by obobskivich - 8/26/12 at 10:25am