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[Question] Why don't people separate pre-amp with headphone amplifiers?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

From what I know, in speaker systems the separation between the power amp and the pre-amp is strongly advocated, as it further separates the initial signal and the final amplification, forming a cascade of amplification, giving a cleaner sound signal with lower noise and interference and sometimes it's used to increase voltage gain. (Please correct me if I'm wrong)

 

However, in headphone systems, people usually feed the signal directly from the source to the final amplification. I don't see many pre-amps accompanying a Lyr or a WA5, for example... Why is that? Is there technical reasons? I would appreciate any answers, thank you!

post #2 of 5

All digital. The DAC is the source and the preamp. Your transports feed the DAC, be it a CD player or a universal player through SPDIF and your PC/laptop feeds your DAC through USB or SPDIF. The only analog source would be a turntable through a phono preamp but the majority here only have digital sources.

post #3 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuwhere View Post

All digital.

 

Not really. There are a lot of headamps without digital circuits. This is similar to an integrated amplifier when talking about speakers.

 

@OP: I think it's a good question, but don't really have an answer. It might be that the power needed to drive headphones isn't that great, so interference is relatively low. Audio-GD Phoenix had a two-box design with power supply and "control center" in a separate box, but not like a typical pre/power configuration:

 

 

post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmylee1997 View Post

From what I know, in speaker systems the separation between the power amp and the pre-amp is strongly advocated, as it further separates the initial signal and the final amplification, forming a cascade of amplification, giving a cleaner sound signal with lower noise and interference and sometimes it's used to increase voltage gain. (Please correct me if I'm wrong)

 

However, in headphone systems, people usually feed the signal directly from the source to the final amplification. I don't see many pre-amps accompanying a Lyr or a WA5, for example... Why is that? Is there technical reasons? I would appreciate any answers, thank you!

I dont know squat about speaker amplification to comment on your first question... I'll leave that for others.

 

As to your second question regarding headphone systems, I think manufacturers combine headphone out and preamp line out into the same chassis / circuit / product because the overall wattage output requirements are not all that dissimilar.  So its straight forward to convert a line out to a headphone out (or vise versa) within the same circuit board.  Its therefore an easy way to diversify your product.  Manufacturers can sell a product that taps into two distinct market segments. 

 

I am looking to make an amp upgrade in the near future.  I am 33/33/33 split between tube, solid state and hybrid at the moment.  But one of the features weighing in on my decision is a tube amp with a line output so I can feed that to my PPA (solid state amp) with a tube saturated line input.


Edited by kramer5150 - 1/21/13 at 10:43am
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post

 

As to your second question regarding headphone systems, I think manufacturers combine headphone out and preamp line out into the same chassis / circuit / product because the overall wattage output requirements are not all that dissimilar.  So its straight forward to convert a line out to a headphone out (or vise versa) within the same circuit board.  Its therefore an easy way to diversify your product.  Manufacturers can sell a product that taps into two distinct market segments. 

 

I am looking to make an amp upgrade in the near future.  I am 33/33/33 split between tube, solid state and hybrid at the moment.  But one of the features weighing in on my decision is a tube amp with a line output so I can feed that to my PPA (solid state amp) with a tube saturated line input.

It makes sense to have just a single chasis for small gain amplifications. Interference may be lesser than speaker systems, too.

 

For your upgrade, IMO, tube amps are much more fun to live with than SS. First, tube rolling is just so much fun... I didn't believe in the vast difference that tubes make that everybody claims at first. When my stock tubes failed, I bought replacement tubes with good reviews, and it feels like an atheist finds out life after death. Secondly, they glow in the dark, so why not? I haven't used a hybrid amp, so I can't comment on that.

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