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Beyerdynamic DT880 (Choosing the right resistance)

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

 

Just a quick question regarding the DT880's and how much power they need (specifically for the 600 ohm version).

 

My current DAC is the Focusrite Saffire 6 USB which has the following specs on the headphone output:

 

 

Headphone Outputs

  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz +/- 0.1 dB
  • SNR (A-weighted): 103 dB
  • Dynamic Range: 103 dB
  • Maximum Output into 32R: +3 dBu (-1.4 dBV)
  • Power into 32R: 24 mW
  • Output Impedance: < 7 Ohms
  • Load Impedance: > 24 Ohms

I was curious to know whether the 600 ohm Beyerdynamic DT880's could be sufficiently powered by this DAC. In addition, for future reference, how would I go about figuring this out? I would love to know the math behind it!

 

Thanks,

Neotriple

post #2 of 32

Admittedly I am not familiar with that DAC.  But here are some pics I found.  So it draws its power from the USB?, or is there some alternate power input?  USB ports are something like 5V and ~500ma (IIRC).  A 5 volt potential hardly seems like a sufficient +V / -V swing for a 600ohm headphone, unless of course they're using some sort of SMT package to step that up, while not loosing too much current reserve too.

 

I would venture to guess the 32 ohm model would be your best bet, and the way they list the output specs looks like its intended for low impedance loads.

 

 

 


Edited by kramer5150 - 1/27/13 at 9:00pm
post #3 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post

Admittedly I am not familiar with that DAC.  But here are some pics I found.  So it draws its power from the USB?, or is there some alternate power input?  USB ports are something like 5V and ~500ma (IIRC).  A 5 volt potential hardly seems like a sufficient +V / -V swing for a 600ohm headphone, unless of course they're using some sort of SMT package to step that up, while not loosing too much current reserve too.

 

I would venture to guess the 32 ohm model would be your best bet, and the way they list the output specs looks like its intended for low impedance loads.

 

 

 

I'd atleast go for the 250 ohm, no 600 nor 32. 32 are known to be of much less quality then the likes of the 250 and 600.

post #4 of 32

I wouldn't go 32 Ohm. 32 Ohm sounds very congested and bunched up compared to 250 Ohm and 600 Ohm.

 

Between 600 and 250, 600 Ohm sounds fuller, more even, with smoother treble and weightier, more textured bass. 250 Ohm sounds more edgy and less "refined".

 

That may sound like 600 Ohm is the version to get, but... unfortunately, it isn't. 600 Ohm requires a lot of amping power to get to listenable volumes. Even the Burson HA-160D has a hard time driving 600 Ohm. It takes even more to get bass to sound right with the 600 Ohm. On the other hand, 250 Ohm is relatively easy to drive. Any amp around $100 will be able to push 250 Ohm to reasonable volume, and more.

 

Between 250 and 600, I'd pick 250 any day... unless I know I have in my hands an amp that can take on 600 Ohm.

post #5 of 32

But wouldn't an under driven 250-600 ohm headphone sound equally bad when driven by an amp as anemic as this one (at a glance) appears to be?  24 mW at 32 ohms already seems like its barely sufficient, factor in that solid state amp wattage usually/generally drops a little with increased impedance load.

 

**EDIT** google search turned up this thread on another forum, with others complaining about "weak" output from higher impedance loads.

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/low-end-theory/686661-focusrite-saffire-6-low-headphone-output-akg-240s.html

 

Google search #2:

http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=87297

 

 

Pretty clear my suspicions are correct.  OP you definitely do not want to be using a high impedance headphone with this DAC, its just not designed for that.  Low impedance + high sensitivity are the kinds of cans you should be looking for,  Grado, Denon, MDR-V6, HD280...etc or the 32 ohm version DT880, but not the 250/600.  Unless of course you plan on getting an amp in the future and plugging into the front panel jack is just a temporary solution.


Edited by kramer5150 - 1/28/13 at 1:01pm
post #6 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neotriple View Post

Hey guys,

 

Just a quick question regarding the DT880's and how much power they need (specifically for the 600 ohm version).

 

My current DAC is the Focusrite Saffire 6 USB which has the following specs on the headphone output:

 

 

Headphone Outputs

  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz +/- 0.1 dB
  • SNR (A-weighted): 103 dB
  • Dynamic Range: 103 dB
  • Maximum Output into 32R: +3 dBu (-1.4 dBV)
  • Power into 32R: 24 mW
  • Output Impedance: < 7 Ohms
  • Load Impedance: > 24 Ohms

I was curious to know whether the 600 ohm Beyerdynamic DT880's could be sufficiently powered by this DAC. In addition, for future reference, how would I go about figuring this out? I would love to know the math behind it!

 

Thanks,

Neotriple

 

Heya,

 

You need to use headphones with very low impedance with this dac/amp unit. It has very poor output and is not meant for exotic headphones and/or higher impedance loads. They're not listing their true power output based on voltage or anything, but a big hint is that they're mentioning low impedance numbers and a big hint is the "24mW" value which is very low (but normal for a lot of devices, but not going to be good for higher impedance headphones or headphones with low sensitivity).

 

If you really want the DT880, the 32ohm is the one to go with here. It's vastly over-stated the difference between the 32ohm and the other higher impedance versions; the differences have to do with how the resistance load relates to the amplifier's voltage, current and phase.

 

Ideally, I would suggest you get a different unit though.

 

Very best,

post #7 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post

But wouldn't an under driven 250-600 ohm headphone sound equally bad when driven by an amp as anemic as this one (at a glance) appears to be?  24 mW at 32 ohms already seems like its barely sufficient, factor in that solid state amp wattage usually/generally drops a little with increased impedance load.

 

**EDIT** google search turned up this thread on another forum, with others complaining about "weak" output from higher impedance loads.

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/low-end-theory/686661-focusrite-saffire-6-low-headphone-output-akg-240s.html

 

Google search #2:

http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=87297

 

 

Pretty clear my suspicions are correct.  OP you definitely do not want to be using a high impedance headphone with this DAC, its just not designed for that.  Low impedance + high sensitivity are the kinds of cans you should be looking for,  Grado, Denon, MDR-V6, HD280...etc or the 32 ohm version DT880, but not the 250/600.  Unless of course you plan on getting an amp in the future and plugging into the front panel jack is just a temporary solution.

 

I have a pair of MDR-V6's, but they really aren't very good for what I'm using them for (electronic music production/mixing). I do have monitors, but unfortunately my room in college isn't ideal for something my monitors would thrive in, thus forcing me to get some headphones to mix with. THe HD-280's seemed really REALLY heavy on the bass and seemed to muddle out anything else. 

 

The other options I had were the:

 

AKG Q701's

Senheisser HD650

and the HIfiman HE-400 (which were a little bit more than I wanted to spend)

 

In addition, I *could* look at some IEM's.

 

I'm thinking the DT880 is a bad choice; the 32 ohm seems to not be up to par with the other versions, and if I'm spending this much money, I might as well get something worth my money. Another option would possibly be another DAC with monitor outputs. If anybody has any suggestions down that path, I'd be more than willing to listen.

post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neotriple View Post

I'm thinking the DT880 is a bad choice; the 32 ohm seems to not be up to par with the other versions, and if I'm spending this much money, I might as well get something worth my money. Another option would possibly be another DAC with monitor outputs. If anybody has any suggestions down that path, I'd be more than willing to listen.

 

Heya,

 

The DT880 is a fine choice. It's again, over-stated, the differences. Unless you're into the last 1%, in which case you'd probably be seeking a $5k setup instead, it's not going to be a difference that you would really need to worry about. It's an excellent headphone. But if you're still worried, then by all means, keep looking.

 

I would absolutely look towards a new DAC/AMP setup; something with a lot more room to expand into more headphone options.

 

Even a simple $50~60 Fiio E10 would be a big change for you in terms of what headphones you could get into. The E10 with a Beyer DT880 PRO 250ohm would be a fantastic start.

 

Very best,

post #9 of 32
I had the DT880 pro 250 ohm and I could power it with my phone just fine and sounded just fine to me.
post #10 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

 

Heya,

 

The DT880 is a fine choice. It's again, over-stated, the differences. Unless you're into the last 1%, in which case you'd probably be seeking a $5k setup instead, it's not going to be a difference that you would really need to worry about. It's an excellent headphone. But if you're still worried, then by all means, keep looking.

 

I would absolutely look towards a new DAC/AMP setup; something with a lot more room to expand into more headphone options.

 

Even a simple $50~60 Fiio E10 would be a big change for you in terms of what headphones you could get into. The E10 with a Beyer DT880 PRO 250ohm would be a fantastic start.

 

Very best,

Looking at the E10 right now; my only worry is that I wouldn't be able to plug in my stereo monitors (Yamaha HSM80's) to them. I'd have to go back to my Focusrite. 

post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neotriple View Post

Looking at the E10 right now; my only worry is that I wouldn't be able to plug in my stereo monitors (Yamaha HSM80's) to them. I'd have to go back to my Focusrite. 

 

Heya,

 

The E10 has a 3.5mm female line-out, that you can output to another device or to a stereo or whatever else that has inputs for speakers if you wanted to.

 

Very best,

post #12 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

 

Heya,

 

The E10 has a 3.5mm female line-out, that you can output to another device or to a stereo or whatever else that has inputs for speakers if you wanted to.

 

Very best,

Would I lose any sort of signal as the monitors do run via 1/4" jacks. I'm mostly afraid of the monitors not getting quite the signal they would be getting from my current DAC.

post #13 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neotriple View Post

Would I lose any sort of signal as the monitors do run via 1/4" jacks. I'm mostly afraid of the monitors not getting quite the signal they would be getting from my current DAC.

 

What monitors are you using?

 

Very best,

post #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neotriple View Post

Would I lose any sort of signal as the monitors do run via 1/4" jacks. I'm mostly afraid of the monitors not getting quite the signal they would be getting from my current DAC.

If you mean signal loss from a 1/8 -1/4 adapter, no there will not be appreciable signal loss if the adapter is decently well made.

post #15 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill-P View Post

Between 600 and 250, 600 Ohm sounds fuller, more even, with smoother treble and weightier, more textured bass. 250 Ohm sounds more edgy and less "refined".

 

 

I presume you've compared them extensively on the same equipment?

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