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This Schiit is Bananas! $99 Schiit Magni Amp and $99 Modi DAC - Page 88

post #1306 of 1366
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

There is some benefit for using high impedance (Ohm) headphones in Professional studios.

Also A/V receivers headphone outputs can have an output impedance of around 50-Ohm to 150-Ohm (roughly).

So 250-Ohm, 300-Ohm or 600-Ohm headphone would work better plugged straight into a A/V receiver, over a 35-Ohm headphone. 

I'm just missing the point. There's no advantage? Clearer audio? Anything? I miss what the point is in higher ohm headphones that require amps vs lower ohm headphones that do not? 

Is it just something that has to be paired together to get a unique experience?

post #1307 of 1366
Quote:
Originally Posted by themunce View Post
 

I'm just missing the point. There's no advantage? Clearer audio? Anything? I miss what the point is in higher ohm headphones that require amps vs lower ohm headphones that do not? 

Is it just something that has to be paired together to get a unique experience?

 

Is there a real advantage to high impedance headphones, no.

You just want to use headphones what work well with the source.

Portable audio (mp3 players, smart phones) are great for low impedance (10-Ohm to 50-Ohm) headphones (& IEMs)

(modern portable audio usually have headphone outputs with very low impedance)

Motherboards (mid to lower range) are fine with headphones in the 32-Ohm to 60-Ohm range (maybe 80-Ohms)

Modern mid to high end sound cards (with built in headphone amplifier) can work with headphones in the 32-Ohm to 600-Ohm range.

Starting at around $100, you can get an external headphone amplifier as good (if not better) as any built into a sound card.

A $100 external headphone amplifier can have an output impedance of less then 1-Ohm, so they can work with headphones from 10-Ohms to 600-Ohms.

Technically with 35-Ohm headphones, you would want to plug then into a source (head amp) with an output impedance of around 3.5-Ohms or less).

post #1308 of 1366
Quote:
Originally Posted by themunce View Post
 

I'm just missing the point. There's no advantage? Clearer audio? Anything? I miss what the point is in higher ohm headphones that require amps vs lower ohm headphones that do not?

Is it just something that has to be paired together to get a unique experience?

Here is a review by Tyll Hertsens using different versions of the Beyerdynamic DT880:

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/comparison-beyerdynamic-dt-880-32-ohm-dt-880-250-ohm-and-dt-880-600-ohm-headphones

 

This may help you understand better. Graphs and tests are provided as well.

 

He sums it up by saying:

 

"So, what has all this got to do with Beyerdynamic DT 880 headphones? Simply this: For any given headphone amplifier or source, you want to use the highest impedance DT 880 that will still allow you to reach your desired listening level on the source you are using. Higher impedance headphones will give you a higher damping factor for a given amplifier. Using a lower impedance headphone than necessary means that your damping factor will be lower, and the resulting sound will be less “tight.” "

 

"Listenng Tests
I performed two series of listening tests: one from a HeadRoom Balanced Max headphone amp, and one from an iTouch. In the listening tests on the Max (less than 2 ohm output impedance), I heard the 32 ohm version as somewhat more tizzy sounding in the highs than the the 250 ohm; and the 600 ohm version as only sightly more controlled over the 250 ohm version. All were fairly similar sounding other than that. "

 

Impedances for headphones are much like loudspeakers. Higher impedances will be easier for the amp to drive. IE generally a 16ohm speaker will be easier for an amp to drive than a 4 ohm speaker. It's the same with headphones. However it will take more voltage to drive the high impedance to the desired listening level. This is one reason why OTL tube amps are favored for 600 ohm phones (and 16 ohm speakers), as they give plenty of voltage into that load and drive them quite easily. Generally.

 

So, unless you will be using (and commiting to) an OTL tube amp, stick with the lower inpedance for best results with solid state amps/devices.

 

Mind you, I am not by any means an engineer. But this is what I understand.

 

This may or may not help you.

post #1309 of 1366
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBal View Post

...

Impedances for headphones are much like loudspeakers. Higher impedances will be easier for the amp to drive. IE generally a 16ohm speaker will be easier for an amp to drive than a 4 ohm speaker. It's the same with headphones. However it will take more voltage to drive the high impedance to the desired listening level. This is one reason why OTL tube amps are favored for 600 ohm phones (and 16 ohm speakers), as they give plenty of voltage into that load and drive them quite easily. Generally.

 

 

Um, no. Greater impedance in a headphone means it's harder to drive, not easier to drive.

 

So a 300 ohm headphone, is harder to drive than a 32 ohm headphone.

 

But back to the original question: is there an advantage to higher impedance headphones?

 

Answer: Yes, if you can hear it. Otherwise, no. You need to find out for yourself if you can hear the difference. If you can, then IMO it's worth the cost.

 

No one can determine for you if some piece of gear, some setup, some cans, etc are better than others. Everyone's ears are different. The source of most arguments on this website stem from people attempting to justify why something they hear, is better than something else another person hears. That is so totally subjective as to be almost meaningless. So take everything you read here with a great big grain of salt. Your Mileage WILL Vary.

 

That being said... Example, from my own setups... I have two setups I listen to nearly every day. One contains a 63 ohm Sony headphone, the other a 250 ohm Beyerdynamic headphone. Without question, my Beyerdynamic DT 770 - 250 ohm headphones are much nicer to listen to, than my Sony cans. Much better overall response, deeper bass, cleaner highs, more separation, more definition, etc etc. They're also driven by a Schiit Modi+Magni stack. The setup driving the Sony is mostly cheaper, because it sits on my desk at work, and I don't want to lose a bunch of money if some moron decides to walk off with my gear.

 

If you think a 32 ohm headphone sounds great, then quit now. Save your money and spend it on something else, like taking your lady out to dinner.


Edited by UmustBKidn - 5/29/14 at 5:29am
post #1310 of 1366
Quote:
Originally Posted by themunce View Post

I'm just missing the point. There's no advantage? Clearer audio? Anything? I miss what the point is in higher ohm headphones that require amps vs lower ohm headphones that do not? 
Is it just something that has to be paired together to get a unique experience?
Headphone impedance is a consquence of the driver design. Higher impedance generally means that the runs of copper inside the headphone are smaller, but there will be more turns so that the driver still generates the desired magnetic field (which moves your disphragm around making sound).

Step 1 is really choosing a headphone that sounds good to you. Step 2 is choosing an amplifier that pairs well with it. If a 32 Ohm model sounds best to you, you won't want to pair it with a high impedance tube amplifier* because of electrical properties that are better explained by other articles.

[*And yes, an amplifier's output impedance is also a consequence of the design. The impedance itself doesn't really tell you anything about the sound quality.]
post #1311 of 1366
Quote:
Originally Posted by UmustBKidn View Post
 

 

Um, no. Greater impedance in a headphone means it's harder to drive, not easier to drive.

 

So a 300 ohm headphone, is harder to drive than a 32 ohm headphone.

 

 

 Like I said. I'm no engineer. I must have based that thought off of this article:

 

http://www.stereophile.com/content/grado-sr60i-headphones-exploding-myth-about-headphones

 

Where the author starts off with:

 

"Headphones are just little loudspeakers—and everyone knows that a loudspeaker with a higher impedance means an easier load for the amplifier. Why, then, do people always assume that lower-impedance headphones are easier for portable players to drive? Because they're wrong, that's why."

 

Sorry for any confusion and thread derail.

post #1312 of 1366
Quote:
Originally Posted by UmustBKidn View Post

Um, no. Greater impedance in a headphone means it's harder to drive, not easier to drive.

So a 300 ohm headphone, is harder to drive than a 32 ohm headphone.
Efficiency actually tells you how hard a headphone is to drive. Low efficiency means you need more power input for the same power output from a more efficient model.

Impedance really tells you what kind of power you need for your headphones. A 300 Ohm headphone wants more voltage and less current (and the impedance will resist the current anyway). A 32 Ohm headphone will draw more current due to less resistance, but the voltage will be lower. If you have an ideal amplifier (one that looks like an ideal voltage source), the total power (number of Watts) deliverd to each headphone model will be the same (assuming the same efficiency, too). The only thing that changes is the ratio of voltage to current.

Now, I think your response to JohnBal really comes down to John using the wrong terminology. He didn't so much mean that a higher impedance driver is easier to drive, but that the driver will pair better with the amp. This is because amplifiers are not ideal sources. The output impedance is indicative of this. The pairing isn't about efficiency, but electrical dampening effects. It does also change how power is delivered. Output impedance is part of a model. We can simplify the internals of the amp to get a good idea of how it will work by reducing it down to an ideal voltage source in series with a resistor, and the value of that resistor is the output impedance. The headphones complete the circuit, allowing current to flow out of the voltage source, through the output resistor (output impedance), and through the input resistor (headphone impedance).

Two important points. 1) This circuit acts as a voltage divider. You want a relatively low output impedance on the amp so that most of the voltage from the source makes it into the headphones. Otherwise you're limiting how much power can get from the source to the driver. 2) The total impedance will resist the current. This also limits the power draw by limiting the current. The example I always point to is the max power of Schiit's Valhalla, since they show max power for 50, 300, and 600 Ohm headphones.

This is by no means a complete explanation. I've basically ignored the frequency response of these things, and headphones/speakers, being reactive devices, will have impedances that vary with frequency. But I hope it helps at least a little.

This got a little long winded, but it all comes down to this: Efficiency determines how easy it is to drive a pair of speakers or headphones. Impedance determines what kind of power you need (higher voltage or higher current).
post #1313 of 1366

right now my set up is:

 

PC onboard --> optical cable --> Yamaha A/V receiver --> 250 ohm beyerdynamic DT 990

 

i've read that getting a modi DAC and using it with my a/v reciever as an amp will improve my sound quality?   Is it because the DAC will be decoding the sound as opposed to my onboard PC?

 

can someone comment on how this modi + a/v receiver amp combo would compare to the modi stack when considering my 250 ohm headphones? 


Edited by deverd1905 - 5/29/14 at 3:55pm
post #1314 of 1366

Right now my set-up is: 

 

onboard audio from PC -> optical SPDIF output -> Yamaha vx473 a/v receiver -> beyerdynamic dt 990 250 ohms

 

my question is are there any technical or significant advantages to running the schiit modi DAC and using the a/v receiver as an amp? 

 

something like: onboard audio from PC -> optical SPDIF output -> schiit modi -> analog -> Yamaha vx473 -> dt 990 headphones?

 

are there any technical or significant advantages to running the schiit stack and removing the a/v receiver form the equation entirely?

post #1315 of 1366
Quote:
Originally Posted by deverd1905 View Post
 

Right now my set-up is: 

 

onboard audio from PC -> optical SPDIF output -> Yamaha vx473 a/v receiver -> beyerdynamic dt 990 250 ohms

 

my question is are there any technical or significant advantages to running the schiit modi DAC and using the a/v receiver as an amp? 

 

something like: onboard audio from PC -> optical SPDIF output -> schiit modi -> analog -> Yamaha vx473 -> dt 990 headphones?

 

are there any technical or significant advantages to running the schiit stack and removing the a/v receiver form the equation entirely?

If you get a Magni/modi stack, you wouldn't need the AV receiver. Optical sends the digital signal out to something, in this case being your Yamaha receiver, where it is converted into analog to be played by your headphones. The modi would take it's place, converting the digital signal to analog and sending it to the magni, with the Magni as the amp, giving power to the headphones.

post #1316 of 1366
Quote:
Originally Posted by themunce View Post
 

If you get a Magni/modi stack, you wouldn't need the AV receiver. Optical sends the digital signal out to something, in this case being your Yamaha receiver, where it is converted into analog to be played by your headphones. The modi would take it's place, converting the digital signal to analog and sending it to the magni, with the Magni as the amp, giving power to the headphones.

but can you comment on the advantages/disadvantages?

 

it seems to me the modi would have a better DAC then whatever my yamaha receiver has,  so that would be an advantage. but couldn't i just use the receiver as an amp instead of the magni? im not sure what advantages using the magni as an amp instead of the receiver would provide

post #1317 of 1366
Quote:
Originally Posted by deverd1905 View Post
 

Right now my set-up is: 

on-board audio from PC -> optical SPDIF output -> Yamaha vx473 a/v receiver -> beyerdynamic dt 990 250 ohms

my question is are there any technical or significant advantages to running the schiit modi DAC and using the a/v receiver as an amp? 

something like: onboard audio from PC -> optical SPDIF output -> schiit modi -> analog -> Yamaha vx473 -> dt 990 headphones?

are there any technical or significant advantages to running the schiit stack and removing the a/v receiver form the equation entirely?

 

If your PC's on-board audio comes with DDL (Dolby Digital live) or DTS-Connect, then it can send up to 6-channels of compressed 24-bit/48K digital audio thru the S/PDIF optical connection.

The Yamaha's Silent Cinema feature "should" work with the 6-channels to create headphone surround sound.

If your on-board audio does not come with compression (DDL or DTS), then you can only send 2-channel of PCM (uncompressed) 24-bit/96k (or 192K?) of digital audio (no headphone surround sound.

The Schiit Modi will only pass 2-channels of PCM audio.

 

If you got a Asus Xonar DX sound card (used $60), which comes with a nice CS4398 DAC chip and DDL.

It will give you two options for sending audio to the Yamaha.

With the DX's DDL and using the optical connection, it can send up to 6-channels to the Yamaha.

 

Or have the Xonar DX use it's own Dolby Headphone surround sound processing to send virtual headphone surround sound to the Yamaha.

Both the DX's optical and analog outputs can send Dolby Headphone to the Yamaha (as Dolby Headphone only need 2-channels)

Use which ever connection works and sounds better to you.

 

If all you really care about is 2-channel audio quality, then the Modi will work fine for you.

If you get the Modi optical, you can still use the features of your motherboard's built in audio sound card.

Just keep using the Yamaha to power the headphones.

 

 

Or maybe replace your current Yamaha with a refurb Yamaha RX-A710 for $329.99, better speaker amplifiers then your current Yamaha.

http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/yamrxa710bl/yamaha-rx-a710-aventage-series-home-theater-receiver/1.html


Edited by PurpleAngel - 5/29/14 at 5:32pm
post #1318 of 1366

thanks for your reply

post #1319 of 1366
Quote:
Originally Posted by superjawes View Post


Efficiency actually tells you how hard a headphone is to drive. Low efficiency means you need more power input for the same power output from a more efficient model.

Impedance really tells you what kind of power you need for your headphones. A 300 Ohm headphone wants more voltage and less current (and the impedance will resist the current anyway). A 32 Ohm headphone will draw more current due to less resistance, but the voltage will be lower. If you have an ideal amplifier (one that looks like an ideal voltage source), the total power (number of Watts) deliverd to each headphone model will be the same (assuming the same efficiency, too). The only thing that changes is the ratio of voltage to current.

Now, I think your response to JohnBal really comes down to John using the wrong terminology. He didn't so much mean that a higher impedance driver is easier to drive, but that the driver will pair better with the amp. This is because amplifiers are not ideal sources. The output impedance is indicative of this. The pairing isn't about efficiency, but electrical dampening effects. It does also change how power is delivered. Output impedance is part of a model. We can simplify the internals of the amp to get a good idea of how it will work by reducing it down to an ideal voltage source in series with a resistor, and the value of that resistor is the output impedance. The headphones complete the circuit, allowing current to flow out of the voltage source, through the output resistor (output impedance), and through the input resistor (headphone impedance).

Two important points. 1) This circuit acts as a voltage divider. You want a relatively low output impedance on the amp so that most of the voltage from the source makes it into the headphones. Otherwise you're limiting how much power can get from the source to the driver. 2) The total impedance will resist the current. This also limits the power draw by limiting the current. The example I always point to is the max power of Schiit's Valhalla, since they show max power for 50, 300, and 600 Ohm headphones.

This is by no means a complete explanation. I've basically ignored the frequency response of these things, and headphones/speakers, being reactive devices, will have impedances that vary with frequency. But I hope it helps at least a little.

This got a little long winded, but it all comes down to this: Efficiency determines how easy it is to drive a pair of speakers or headphones. Impedance determines what kind of power you need (higher voltage or higher current).

 

Well, yes and no. You're confusing the issue. What you're referring to is generally quoted as how much sound is produced per watt (or milliwatt), at a given frequency, as measured by a sound pressure level meter, a set distance from the drivers. This value does not necessarily correlate with impedance. In other words, they are two different specifications.

 

As an example, let's look at the three different impedances offered by Beyerdynamic, for their DT 770 model:

 

Beyerdynamic DT770 / 250 ohm: 96 db @ 1mW / 500 Hz.

Beyerdynamic DT770 / 80 ohms: 96 db @ 1mW / 500 Hz

Beyerdynamic DT770 / 32 ohms: 96 db @ 1mW / 500 Hz

 

You will note that the manufacturer of this headphone lists the sensitivity as exactly the same, for three different impedances. So the sound level produced by each of these cans is exactly the same, given a 1mW input at 500 Hz. Using your terminology, they are equally efficient. Of course, they don't specify what sort of amplifier they used to achieve that result. They also ignored the effect of frequency (though I give them props for including the frequency used in this measurement).

 

Using the points in your discussion, if you drive any of these headphones with an amplifier that is capable of providing the necessary voltage and current, then theoretically you ought to get the same sort of result. Without resorting to a lengthy explanation on ohms law and calculating impedance using imaginary numbers, let's just postulate that you get the same result, if and only if your amplifier can indeed match the right voltage and current to the load presented to it. I assert that the load for each of those headphones is different, notwithstanding their equal efficiency ratings. Each requires a different voltage and current to achieve the same power, and thus the same sound level output. But those are two different things.

 

So back to the original question: is there any advantage to higher impedance headphones? Let me modify my previous answer thusly:

 

If you can hear the difference, AND if you have an amplifier that can produce the necessary voltage and current needed, then higher impedance headphones are better.

 

If you can't hear the difference, AND/OR you do not have an amplifier that can produce the necessary voltage and current needed, then skip the higher impedance cans. Go with what you can drive with an ipod alone, and leave the arguments to people who write long messages late at night on mysterious internet forums... :tongue_smile:

post #1320 of 1366
Quote:
Originally Posted by UmustBKidn View Post
 

 

Well, yes and no. You're confusing the issue. What you're referring to is generally quoted as how much sound is produced per watt (or milliwatt), at a given frequency, as measured by a sound pressure level meter, a set distance from the drivers. This value does not necessarily correlate with impedance. In other words, they are two different specifications.

 

As an example, let's look at the three different impedances offered by Beyerdynamic, for their DT 770 model:

 

Beyerdynamic DT770 / 250 ohm: 96 db @ 1mW / 500 Hz.

Beyerdynamic DT770 / 80 ohms: 96 db @ 1mW / 500 Hz

Beyerdynamic DT770 / 32 ohms: 96 db @ 1mW / 500 Hz

 

You will note that the manufacturer of this headphone lists the sensitivity as exactly the same, for three different impedances. So the sound level produced by each of these cans is exactly the same, given a 1mW input at 500 Hz. Using your terminology, they are equally efficient. Of course, they don't specify what sort of amplifier they used to achieve that result. They also ignored the effect of frequency (though I give them props for including the frequency used in this measurement).

 

Using the points in your discussion, if you drive any of these headphones with an amplifier that is capable of providing the necessary voltage and current, then theoretically you ought to get the same sort of result. Without resorting to a lengthy explanation on ohms law and calculating impedance using imaginary numbers, let's just postulate that you get the same result, if and only if your amplifier can indeed match the right voltage and current to the load presented to it. I assert that the load for each of those headphones is different, notwithstanding their equal efficiency ratings. Each requires a different voltage and current to achieve the same power, and thus the same sound level output. But those are two different things.

 

So back to the original question: is there any advantage to higher impedance headphones? Let me modify my previous answer thusly:

 

If you can hear the difference, AND if you have an amplifier that can produce the necessary voltage and current needed, then higher impedance headphones are better.

 

If you can't hear the difference, AND/OR you do not have an amplifier that can produce the necessary voltage and current needed, then skip the higher impedance cans. Go with what you can drive with an ipod alone, and leave the arguments to people who write long messages late at night on mysterious internet forums... :tongue_smile:

But how does one become a person that writes long messages late at night on mysterious internet forums?...wait, I'm that guy.

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