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HE-500, LCD2, D5000, DT770, SR80, on a speaker amp (Emotiva mini-X A-100) Project - Page 71

post #1051 of 3613
Thread Starter 

Heya,

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by M-13 View Post

interesting...

 

Well Denons had a pretty audible noise floor even on the Lyr, so I'm not surprised by that. I don't plan on using anything that efficient. I'm just surprised by all the hiss and noise from an HD800, which is 300 ohms with a sensitivity of 102db, which isn't all that efficient, certainly not more than an HD650. Oh well. I guess only one way to find out for sure. I guess I can always pick up another LCD-2 or perhaps I'll try a HE-6, since I have an amp that can somewhat drive them now.

 

BTW:

 

Does anyone know how much current the Mini-X is actually outputting at 38ohms? And 50ohm? and 300ohm?

 

Just curious if anyone knows how to crunch the numbers on that.

 

300ohm headphones with a high sensitivity (102db is very sensitive) means it's not that difficult to drive. It's quite easy. 300ohm isn't very much. The Emotiva has high gain, it's a speaker amp, so that's where the sensitivity will pick up, and you'll have noise and hiss. Plus, you're talking about the HD800 which has enhanced treble anyways, so you're looking at even more awareness of the noise/hiss from high gain and high sensitivity. If you want to tone that down, you need to get the resistance to 600ohm or higher even. My 600ohm headphones with bright treble are not exhibiting noise or hiss. But things of lower impedance seem to show it up, when sensitivity is high. I used Beyers for example at 600ohm. When I apply 500ohms to any headphone, the hiss/noise is gone even from super sensitive headphones (like Denons). I think that's the threshold point for my ears at least. They either have to be insensitive (some of the Orthos), or have high resistance to cut down on current. Lower impedance so far, only is hissless/noiseless when insensitive (see HE500, etc). All my high impedance headphones have worked just fine without hiss/noise. But they're all 500~600ohm. Everything lower than that has some hiss/noise when they are sensitive. For example, my balanced Grado has hiss/noise because it's both low impedance and sensitive, yet sounds fine, but I like it especially with 500ohms added because it cuts down on the grain/noise sound, from high gain.

 

Very rough estimations of output: at 38ohms, the Emotiva is pushing something like 8~10 watts. At 50ohms, something like 7~8 watts. 300ohms, probably 1~2 watts. 600ohm, around 600~700mW maybe. Again, very rough estimations.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nigeljames View Post

So what actually causes the hiss/noise when using a speaker amp with headphones?

 

Is it that the amp just has too much noise which becomes more obvious with headphones than with speakers.

Is it the typical high gain of the speaker amp magnifiing any noise in the system as a whole.

Or is it an impedance mismatch due to the amp driving much higher impedance loads than it is designed for.

Or is it another reason I have not even thought about or even a combination of the above.

 

I ask because I am also interested in a speaker/power amp for my headphones,especially but not specifically for the HE6's. I love the way they sound now out of my Master-6 so would not expect a 'cheap' amp to be better so I am looking for something a bit more adventurous and more expensive but I will also like to run other phones, especially LCD2's and very high impedance phones like HD800 and maybe T1's.

 

However I am concerned about noise levels & fine volume control. As anyone tried attenuators between pre and power amp?

 

The power amp I am looking at are rated @250 wpc into 8 ohms. I know people are going to say that it's total overkill, maybe even for the HE-6's, but if it sounds really good with no noise issues with a variety of phones then IMO it's no more overkill than $3000 - $4000 headphone amps.

I don't have any low impedance sensitive phones to worry about.

 

It's the set gain multiplier of the amplifier. For speaker amps, it's usually high, unlike headamps. Think of multipliers on the order of 20x or even 35x or more. Speakers are much less sensitive, and low impedance, so high gain is used.

 

I get very fine volume control via my pre-amp to my Emotiva for all my headphones, even the most sensitive ones. I don't think you need attenuators between the two. Especially not for the HE6, LCD2, or any 600ohm order headphone for that matter.

 

If you're looking at a 250wpc amplifier, I would say that you will need resistance some where in your chain, and a pre-amp will help loads on controlling the line level fed to the power amp. You're going to have problems with hiss/noise without enough resistance, or the right headphone with a very low sensitivity (HE6). An HD800 or T1 will sound noisy and hissy from that for sure. The LCD2 might be ok, but it will have very little volume control, because it's really not that hard to drive frankly. I wouldn't go 250wpc for headphones. I wouldn't venture beyond 50~80wpc really. There's literally no point, and you're just adding unnecessary need for resistors, pre-amp, etc, just to control it, and it will only work well on very few headphones, like the HE6.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Headphoner View Post

Has anyone compared the Emotiva mini and the Magni?

 

I've compared the Emotiva to a few entry amps at this point, like the O2 and Magni (which sound virtually the same). Just like with the Asgard and other limited roughly ~1 watt solid state amps, the Emotiva I found to be better in every aspect essentially. I do like the size of the Magni/O2 though. The O2 is ugly and I hate the front control/connections and required use of the 3.5mm jack. The Magni at least is more attractive. Both are good for $100. But I think you get way more value from the Emotiva at twice the price, and way, way more power. If you're thinking Ortho or super impedance headphones or things with really low sensitivity, then I wouldn't look to the Magni/O2. I'd look at a speaker amp. Magni/O2 is for a lower budget, and for headphones that simply won't benefit having serious amounts of current available.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Biscuitz View Post

I haven't, but I've kept up on this thread from day one, and MalVeauX has made it clear he prefers the Emotiva over both the Asgard and the Lyr. So if that's any indication, it's likely the Emotiva is in another league than the Magni.

 

It may not be technically better via sensitive instrument measurement, but to my (and others) very dull and imperfect hearing range, the Emotiva simply sounds better. But I don't subscribe to technical measurement; if you can't hear it, it's not there as far as I'm concerned when it comes to objectively looking at audio.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by haquocdung View Post

Hi MalVeauX,

 

Can you please direct me to your comment about this amp with LCD2.

And have you ever tried this with Sen HD800 by any chance?

 

Thank you.

 

Look here for my commentary on the LCD2 with the Emotiva (with pics) and comparison to HE500.

 

I've not used the HD800 with it. But just from experience with other headphones, I can highly anticipate that at it's impedance and sensitivity, it will be giving you noise/hiss. You'll want resistance for that. Bright treble headphones that are sensitive probably should steer clear of amplifiers with high gain values as they will nearly always appear noisy/hissy/grainy. The fix is a resistor. Otherwise, simply look to headamps with low gain values.

 

Very best,

post #1052 of 3613

I wonder how something like Audioengine N22 or Fiio A1 would work with planars.

post #1053 of 3613
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

 Lower impedance so far, only is hissless/noiseless when insensitive (see HE500, etc).

 

Hi MalVeauX,

 

I plan to buy the HE500, Emotova mini, and the JDS ODAC, all to be used from my laptop. I would connect the HE500 to the Emo without resistors.  From what I read in this thread, you would not expect to hear a noise floor from this setup.  Is this correct?

 

If I am unlucky and hear a noise floor, I gather you would recommend a resistor, around 500 ohms, to be put in series between the amp and phones.  But, instead of a resistor between the amp and phones, what if one uses an in line attenuator between the DAC and amp? Any thoughts?

post #1054 of 3613
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Headphoner View Post

Hi MalVeauX,

 

I plan to buy the HE500, Emotova mini, and the JDS ODAC, all to be used from my laptop. I would connect the HE500 to the Emo without resistors.  From what I read in this thread, you would not expect to hear a noise floor from this setup.  Is this correct?

 

If I am unlucky and hear a noise floor, I gather you would recommend a resistor, around 500 ohms, to be put in series between the amp and phones.  But, instead of a resistor between the amp and phones, what if one uses an in line attenuator between the DAC and amp? Any thoughts?

 

Heya,

 

Just as several of my posts regarding the HE500 with the Emotiva imply, I get no hiss/noisefloor with the HE500 + Emotiva. I do not use resistors with my HE500. The resistors came later and are used with low impedance and/or sensitive headphones, such as my Denons.

You shouldn't hear a noise floor just because you're unlucky. Several of us have HE500's and the Emotiva and do not have noise floors. If you do, it's most likely your recording or an artificially enhanced line-out signal from  your computer's playback software (which is easily correctable). There's no reason to put a resistor inline with the HE500. That defeats the purpose of even using the Emotiva for something like the HE500. You're wanting that unbridled current, not voltage.

 

An attenuator between the DAC & AMP is basically what a pre-amp is or can do. Great way to add a tube to the mix. But not needed for the HE500.

 

Very best,

post #1055 of 3613
Wouldn't an attenuator degrade the sound quality?
post #1056 of 3613
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsh View Post

Wouldn't an attenuator degrade the sound quality?

Yes and No.

post #1057 of 3613

I'm thinking about altered frequency response and damping factor.

post #1058 of 3613
Guys, I have a Rotel RA-02 integrated amplifier that's not being used anymore. It outputs 40 watts RMS per channel into 8 ohms, 10 watts less than the Emotiva mini-X A-100. Can anybody tell me how many watts it will output into the HE-500's 38 ohms, as I have no idea how to compute this? 
 
Thanks!
post #1059 of 3613

Around 8.5 watts. 

post #1060 of 3613
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsh View Post

Around 8.5 watts. 

 

 

Which should be plenty, but make sure it shares negative grounds before using banana plugs

post #1061 of 3613

Thanks a lot, guys, for the info and the advice.

post #1062 of 3613
Quote:
Originally Posted by M-13 View Post

 

 

Which should be plenty, but make sure it shares negative grounds before using banana plugs

 

Should not this be a problem only when connecting single ended terminated headphones?

post #1063 of 3613
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

If you're looking at a 250wpc amplifier, I would say that you will need resistance some where in your chain, and a pre-amp will help loads on controlling the line level fed to the power amp. You're going to have problems with hiss/noise without enough resistance, or the right headphone with a very low sensitivity (HE6). An HD800 or T1 will sound noisy and hissy from that for sure. The LCD2 might be ok, but it will have very little volume control, because it's really not that hard to drive frankly. I wouldn't go 250wpc for headphones. I wouldn't venture beyond 50~80wpc really. There's literally no point, and you're just adding unnecessary need for resistors, pre-amp, etc, just to control it, and it will only work well on very few headphones, like the HE6.

 

 

 

I agree a 250wpc amp is more than ideal and something in the 100 -150wpc would be better but the XPL1-L seems to tick all the other boxes, as long as SQ is up to the mark waiting for some reviews on that.

There is no point going for a 50 to 80 wpc amp in my case because I already have the Master-6 so they won't be giving me enough of a power increase as I want.

 

A number of people are using the XPA-200, which has the same gain as the XPA1-L, with no hiss. The XPA1-L should be have lower noise levels than the XPA-200 the only difference is the power output.

My system is already fully balanced and I can hear absolutely no hiss/noise at maximun volume with any headphone with no music playing including a very sensitive low impedance phone so I am assuming that noise levels in my system is already very low.

So I am hoping noise will not be an issue. I could get a similar lead with resitors to the one people are using from speaker outputs to 4 pin XLR but with higher resistance to compensate for the increased power levels. A lot of faffing about I know but if it works biggrin.gif

post #1064 of 3613
The HD800's deserve better than driving off a speaker amp tap. They are one of the few cans that bitch about amplification so choosing the right weapon out of the arsenal is a difficult one.
post #1065 of 3613

Also interested about the XPL1-L :)

The Mini-X is really marvelous with the HE-6.

I mean yeah, there is certainly room for improvement but it is absolutely great for the asking price and fits well next to my Audio GD DAC. 

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