Originally Posted by Mshenay
I do have a question for you actually, since you'd be a great person to ask this!
What exactly is Power as expressed in mW... I guess I should look up what watts refers to, although I ask this because I have headphones that can take up to 2000mW. If I using something like the Lyr which can drive 4watts into a 50 ohm load, what does that mean. I doubt the Lyr will drive 4watts into my w1000x [and blow them up] but what prevents the Lry from driving all of it's power into my or any headphone?
You do realize that Jason adds $50 bucks to the price of new gear every time we ask a question?
Power = Voltage times Current
Power in watts, voltage in, well, volts, and current in amps.
One mW is one thousandth of a watt.
So 2000 mW = 2 watts.
It gets a little more complex when you start trying to figure out impedance. I'm probably not qualified to explain Ohm's Law, since my degree is in computer science If you want to learn lots, look up Ohm's Law then Electrical Impedance on Wikipedia. But basically, when you read that a component like an amplifier is rated to drive x watts into y load, that is giving you an idea of a relative maximum rating of the output capability of the amp. The wattage that any amplifier will drive into a load (your headphones) varies with the load. Unless the circuit is doing some really fancy magic, the higher the load, the lower the wattage (e.g. power).
Water pumps are rated in a similar way. Imagine you're trying to empty a pool, and you drop a pump connected to a hose into the pool. When the pool is full, the flow rate of water out of the hose is high, because there isn't much resistance to pumping the water (e.g. the load). So at first, the pool level drops quickly, and lots of water comes out of that hose. But as the level of the pool drops, you'll notice the flow of water slows down. Why? Well, look at how high the pump has to lift the water to get it out of the pool (this is called the "head"). The higher the lift needed, the more the water slows down. The higher the impedance of the headphones, the lower the rated wattage will be.
(I know this isn't a perfect analogy and some electrical engineer will correct me, but it's the best comparison I could think up).
As for your Lyr, nothing is really preventing it from blowing out low impedance headphones. There is actually a disclaimer on their website saying they won't be responsible if you blow out your headphones: "We will not be responsible if you blow up your headphones with it!" So yeah, I would not be the one to test the theory that you can make the magic smoke come out of your cans by cranking up the Lyr into the wrong load. My bet would be that Schiit Lyr would indeed smoke those low impedance cans.
(In my pool pump analogy, what makes the pump keep from blowing out the hose? Well, if the hose material is too thin, it will rupture it at full pressure - but there we get into my imperfect analogy again...)