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Integrated amp tape loop to headphone amp?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Currently I have a DAC connected to a NAD 326Bee amplifier.... At the moment I just use the headphone jack on the NAD....

 

If I wanted to get a headphone amplifier could I just connect via RCA cable through the NAD 326Bee tape loop?

 

Would there be any quality loss this way or any complications?

 

I could then just select tape loop on the NAD amplifier front panel, switch on the headphone amp and use it for headphones or switch back to the NAD cd input for the main speakers?

 

So effectively I would be using the DAC > RCA cable > NAD amp > Tape loop > headphone amp and then just selecting through the buttons on the front of the NAD amp?

 

If there is no quality loss or complications this would save a lot of money because the only other way I can see is either an RCA splitter which does not seem like a good idea or getting a balanced amp and using the DAC's balanced outputs to balanced headphone amp which would be expensive.


Edited by nicholars - 1/21/13 at 7:59pm
post #2 of 17

that should work fine.  Better to do that than split things with a Y adapter.

 

**EDIT** this is bad advice... sorry, see my self rebuttal below.


Edited by kramer5150 - 1/25/13 at 11:40am
post #3 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholars View Post

Currently I have a DAC connected to a NAD 326Bee amplifier.... At the moment I just use the headphone jack on the NAD....

If I wanted to get a headphone amplifier could I just connect via RCA cable through the NAD 326Bee tape loop?

Would there be any quality loss this way or any complications?

I could then just select tape loop on the NAD amplifier front panel, switch on the headphone amp and use it for headphones or switch back to the NAD cd input for the main speakers?

So effectively I would be using the DAC > RCA cable > NAD amp > Tape loop > headphone amp and then just selecting through the buttons on the front of the NAD amp?

If there is no quality loss or complications this would save a lot of money because the only other way I can see is either an RCA splitter which does not seem like a good idea or getting a balanced amp and using the DAC's balanced outputs to balanced headphone amp which would be expensive.

What source(s) feeds the DAC?

What is the make and model of the DAC?

Make and model of headphones?

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 

Not sure what relevance that has but anyway...

 

Xonar D2 Sp/dif

 

CA Dacmagic (will probably replace this soon)

 

Headphones = HD650 / Hifiman HE400 / Denon D2000

post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholars View Post

Not sure what relevance that has but anyway...

 

Xonar D2 Sp/dif

 

CA Dacmagic (will probably replace this soon)

 

Headphones = HD650 / Hifiman HE400 / Denon D2000


Dog's name

Favorite color

Inny or outy

Name

Rank

Serial Number

 

KP

post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholars View Post

Not sure what relevance that has but anyway...

Xonar D2 Sp/dif

CA Dacmagic (will probably replace this soon)

Headphones = HD650 / Hifiman HE400 / Denon D2000

Should have no problem hooking an external headphone amplifier up to the RCA outputs on the back of the NAD.

So, I'm assuming the DacMagic provides better audio quality over connection the Xonar D2 directly (analog) to the NAD?

 

As your NAD's headphone output has a 68-Ohm impedance, I going to guess your 25-Ohm AH- D2000 should improve connected to an external headphone amplifier,

with a headphone output impedance of 4-Ohms or less (Schiit Magni and O2)

 

I'm guessing your 300-Ohm HD650 would sound close to the same, plugged into the NAD or external head amp. (depending on how much your willing to spend on the external head amp).

 

I've heard the HE-400 are not as negatively affected by high impedance headphone out jacks.

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

The xonar D2 does not have RCA out unfortunately so I cannot test that. Except maybe 3.5mm (which the D2 does have) > dual RCA but I am not sure that is a good idea?

 

Would 3.5mm (on the Xonar D2) > 3.5mm - Dual RCA cable > NAD 326Bee be likely to work? Or would it be likely to degrade sound quality?

 

I might give it a try if I can find a 3.5mm > dual RCA cable...


Edited by nicholars - 1/21/13 at 11:28pm
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholars View Post

The Xonar D2 does not have RCA out unfortunately so I cannot test that. Except maybe 3.5mm (which the D2 does have) > dual RCA but I am not sure that is a good idea?

 

Would 3.5mm (on the Xonar D2) > 3.5mm - Dual RCA cable > NAD 326Bee be likely to work? Or would it be likely to degrade sound quality?

 

I might give it a try if I can find a 3.5mm > dual RCA cable...

The Xonar D2's 3.5mm Line-out/headphone jack can easily send an analog audio signal (3.5mm to RCA) to the NAD's RCA input.

I guess you will have to use your ears to find out which DAC feature (Xonar D2 vs. DacMagic) sounds better.

Here is a low costing "Premium" 3.5mm to RCA cable.

http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10218#1021815.

 

You could also leave the DacMagic hooked up (S/PDIF) between the D2 and the NAD

and connect an external headphone amplifier straight to the Xonar D2's line-out/headphone jack.

 

Have you tried play audio files with Foobar2000?

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

If I swapped the Xonar D2 for a Xonar STX could I use the S/pdif to connect to a dac then use the RCA connections to a headphone amplifier?

 

I guess this would be better quality than using a 3.5mm > Dual RCA?

 

I tried the TV from the headphone jack 3.5mm > dual RCA compared to the Optical S/pdif > Dacmagic....

 

TBH the difference is smaller than I expected.... The sound signature is almost identical but the Dacmagic seems to just be a better sound with more detail and less fuzzy sounding....

 

This does then make me think... if I bought a Xonar STX... Would it even be worth buying another headphone amp? I would then have the NAD headphone jack and also the headphone amp on the STX to choose from....

 

I guess it is something I can only tell by trying because some will probably say it will sound the same and some will say there is a big difference...


Edited by nicholars - 1/22/13 at 11:16am
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholars View Post

If I swapped the Xonar D2 for a Xonar STX could I use the S/pdif to connect to a dac then use the RCA connections to a headphone amplifier?

I guess this would be better quality than using a 3.5mm > Dual RCA?

I tried the TV from the headphone jack 3.5mm > dual RCA compared to the Optical S/pdif > Dacmagic....

TBH the difference is smaller than I expected.... The sound signature is almost identical but the Dacmagic seems to just be a better sound with more detail and less fuzzy sounding....

This does then make me think... if I bought a Xonar STX... Would it even be worth buying another headphone amp? I would then have the NAD headphone jack and also the headphone amp on the STX to choose from....

I guess it is something I can only tell by trying because some will probably say it will sound the same and some will say there is a big difference...

You could switch from the D2 to the STX and hook up S/PDIF to DACMagic and RCA to external head amp.

and for another $40, up can swap the STX's 3 op-amps (operational amplifiers), get the AD797BR or THS4032 op-amps.

The one slight problem with using the Essence STX headphone jack is it's headphone output impedance is 10-Ohm,

which is a little high, for use with the 25-Ohm AH-D2000, might cause the AH-D2000 to have a bloated and less detailed bass.

post #11 of 17

What you're suggesting would work, but consider that your putting all the NAD pre-amp stage electronics in the signal line between your source and your HP amp. If you don't want to go Y adapters (which I don't agree would be a worse option, signal degradation wise), get a simple passive source switch to switch the output of the DAC between your NAD and HP amp.  Sound quality, that would be your best bet.

post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesDaddy View Post

What you're suggesting would work, but consider that your putting all the NAD pre-amp stage electronics in the signal line between your source and your HP amp. If you don't want to go Y adapters (which I don't agree would be a worse option, signal degradation wise), get a simple passive source switch to switch the output of the DAC between your NAD and HP amp.  Sound quality, that would be your best bet.

WTH was I thinking!!!

 

 

Sorry OP I completely brain farted on my reply above.  I was thinking about a solution for you thats more based on convenience than anything based on sonics.  Blues is correct.  You should keep your signal as pure to the source as possible.  Adding active components to an analog signal chain is never an ideal solution... and it should be avoided in a digital bit-stream too.

 

re-thinking it now, I think you'd be better off with a "Y" adapter and branch the signal straight out of your source into the headphone amp.  Thats what I do, only I split it between 2 amps.

 


Edited by kramer5150 - 1/25/13 at 11:43am
post #13 of 17

I hope you don't mind me posting in this thread but I have a similar question.

 

When I connect my Little Dot IV to my Marantz PM7200 integrated, the connection works, but I can't use either the Marantz's or the Little Dot's volume control. I can use my computer's volume control but to me that's not quite adequate.

 

The way I hook it up is I connect the tape outs of the Marantz to the Little Dot's input with an RCA cable.

 

Here is the manual to the Marantz: http://audio.manualsonline.com/manuals/mfg/marantz/pm7200.html

 

Would anyone know why I can't use the volume control on the Little Dot when it's hooked up like this?

 

The Marantz is connected to my Xonar Essence sound card with an RCA cable. The Essence is the DAC unit.


Edited by Nirvana Woman - 1/25/13 at 12:24pm
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nirvana Woman View Post

I hope you don't mind me posting in this thread but I have a similar question.

 

When I connect my Little Dot IV to my Marantz PM7200 integrated, the connection works, but I can't use either the Marantz's or the Little Dot's volume control. I can use my computer's volume control but to me that's not quite adequate.

 

The way I hook it up is I connect the tape outs of the Marantz to the Little Dot's input with an RCA cable.

 

Here is the manual to the Marantz: http://audio.manualsonline.com/manuals/mfg/marantz/pm7200.html

 

Would anyone know why I can't use the volume control on the Little Dot when it's hooked up like this?

 

The Marantz is connected to my Xonar Essence sound card with an RCA cable. The Essence is the DAC unit.

Have you ever though about just hooking the LD IV straight to the Essence's analog RCA line-out?

(which essence is it?)

Or is your audio source also connected straight to the Marantz?

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Have you ever though about just hooking the LD IV straight to the Essence's analog RCA line-out?

(which essence is it?)

Or is your audio source also connected straight to the Marantz?


Essence STX

 

Yes, the Marantz is connected to the Essence through the analog RCA line-out. I can hook up the Little Dot the same way (xonar's analogue lineout->rca cable->little dot) and then I do get volume control but then I can't hook up the Marantz anymore.

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