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Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro amping query

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone!! I recently bought the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro (250 ohm) and I'm more than happy with its performance. Now, in the next few days I will start my own home audio system, which will contain a vintage technics turntable, a Kenwood Ka 1500 vintage stereo amp and speakers (I don't know which yet). The question is: ¿will the Kenwood amp be able to drive the DT 880? I'm kinda new to mid-fi and hi-fi so I don't know if a vintage stereo amp (from the seventies) can drive a modern headphone with an impedance of 250 ohm.
 
Here's the specs of the Kenwood Ka 1500:
 
 
Power output: 30 watts per channel into 8 ohms
 
Frequency response: 20Hz to 30kHz
 
Total harmonic distortion: 0.1%
 
Damping factor: 30
 
Input sensitivity: 2.5mV (MM), 160mV (line)
 
Signal to noise ratio: 70dB (MM), 90dB (line)
 
Output: 160mV (line), 30mV (DIN)
 
Speaker load impedance: 4 to 16 ohms
 
Dimensions: 380 x 140 x 265mm
 
Weight: 7.2kg
 
Year: 1977
 
 
Thanks for the help!
post #2 of 21

The Kenwood will drive the DT880; the question is how well it will suit its characteristics. You say you're more than satisfied with the Beyer's performance, so what are you using now?

 

 

(1977. Yikes, that's an old amp. Are you really set on a vintage amp?)

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 

I'm using the fiio E11. I don't know what you mean by how well it suits its characteristics.

 

And yes, I've heard that most vintage amps are incredible sounding and besides its a really good bargain ($150). I want a good amp that can make justice to analog (my option for a new amp would be the Marantz 5004, but it's a bit expensive at $420), besides vintage amps were designed to be used with turntables.

 

Thanks for your help.

 

(Could you explain how you determined that the Kenwood can drive the Beyer? I'm interested in knowing all that technical stuff.)

post #4 of 21

Nothing technical about it. The Beyer is 250 ohms, which is a mid-range load pretty much designed to be driven by anything. I have the Pro so I know it's a quite efficient model. When I mentioned characteristics I meant that the DT880 can sound overly bright with the wrong amp; you certainly don't need a bright amp. At least your Kenwood will have tone controls, so we're off to a good start there.

 

I'm not sure who told you that most vintage amps are incredible sounding. I've been in hi-fi since 1967 so I'm well acquainted with many of those amps and I can assure you there were some absolute shockers back then--which is the reason NAD did so well with the original 3020 amp, which changed the face of solid state budget amps (Google it). Even currently respected names like Rotel made horrible amps back then, something most people have forgotten. I have no idea what your amp sounds like but those specs are not terribly impressive, and to be honest if you haven't already committed to this amp I wouldn't--you'd be far happier in the long run with the Marantz, which unusually for a modern amp has a phono input. 

 

Sorry if that's not what you wanted to hear but it's my best advice. Even if the Kenwood sounds marvelous it's unlikely to be reliable in the long run, nor particularly serviceable. I would also question your apparent bias toward analogue (English spelling) as there's nothing inherently superior about it. I buried my turntable in the back garden soon after the advent of CD and haven't looked back. I don't know what your musical taste is but I think you'd be far better to either buy a decent CD player (Marantz again?) or think about quality downloads from iTunes etc. Much less hassle.

 

Here endeth the lesson.

post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice, I'll see if I can manage to buy the Marantz, but if I can't, at least I would try the Kenwood with the Beyers first. I'm from south america, and this means that only a handful of people are into hi-fi. Therefore, it's difficult to find decent equipment.

 

The thing about analog music (vinyl): I've heard CDs many times at my home and I thought they are great sounding, but in the last couple of years I discovered a record store near my place and the owner (good man) let my try his turntable (technics) with some LP that I've heard before on CD. IMO the difference was quite big in terms of sound quality (it's much more clear and detailed). Over the years I've noticed that CD's frequency range goes from 20hz to 44100hz (theoretically) wen it actually goes up to 20000hz. This means that every other frequency (lower or higher than that range) can't be played by the CD, and if the recording originally contained such frequencies, it will distort the sound (I've heard it infinit times on CDs). Although we cannot hear those frequencies, the ear can "feel" them, it's like you always can tell if there's sound playing even though is higher or lower than our hearing range (not too much higher or lower of course haha). Vinyl can reproduce frequencies up to 60000hz aprox I think, so it mean that there will be very little distortion. Apart from all that, vinyl sounds warmer that CDs (the bass is much tighter on vinyl) and I prefer a warm type of sound rather than overly bright.

 

Another topic regarding this is the famous "Loudness War" in which CDs are being mastered with higher volumes than the original mixes and that causes distortion. Also, they compress the frequency range in great measure. So what I mean is that probably CDs have a greater potential than vinyl in terms of sound quality, but so far it's been done in the wrong way (maybe not because of CDs themselves, but because of the recording industry). Another thing that bothers me is that many times, when an album is remastered, the original mix pressed in vinyl is not used, therefore it changes aspects of the music that were fine just the way they were.

 

My plans for home audio equipment include some nice CD player because I still have hundreds of CDs. I love their sound, but I prefer vinyl more.

 

Thanks for your help indeed.

 

(I do use lossless files on my iPod Classic and PC and I consider them to be very practical)


Edited by kingcrimson69 - 1/31/13 at 7:52pm
post #6 of 21

I can't comment on the quality of most CDs today as I listen exclusively to classical/orchestral music, which tends to be recorded quite well (or at least, without distortion). I know those into rock/pop often complain about over-modulation leading to distortion, so your complaint about modern CDs probably has some substance. However, I still maintain CDs have inherently lower distortion and certainly vastly greater potential than anologue. Don't worry about frequency response; it sounds like you're repeating something you've read about the limitations of Redbook (cds). In reality good recordings on CD are capable of an astonishly low distortion and great fidelity. LPs are an outmoded medium plagued with various inherent problems like tracking distortion, inner groove distortion, pre-echo, post-echo...the list goes on (and that's without mentioning surface noise). They are a medium for those who want to fiddle as opposed to those who want to just listen to music.

 

Of course, if you to simply go for quality downloads for your main system as well as your ipod the problem of LPs v. CDs would go away. You could just use a media player, as I do.

 

On the subject of the Kenwood/Marantz issue, I appreciate that you have a budget, we all do, but so often I've stuck to my budget, bought something I really didn't like and ended up re-selling it and getting what I wanted in the first place, at overall greater cost. That's when you really blow your budget. You soon forget the few dollars extra you had to spend, but if you have to live with something you don't like...

 

Incidentally you've made a good choice with the DT880. You'll be hard put to find speakers as good.

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 

Fortunately I'm fond of certain genres that are capable of making the DT 880 Pro shine: Progressive Rock, Psychodelia, Vintage Electronic Music (Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, etc.), Jazz, Jazz-Fusion, Soul, Funk, Blues, Ambient, Acid Techno, Drill n Bass, Experimental Electronic, IDM, and of course classical, unfortunately I spend little time listening to that compared to all other things (but my love for Beethoven, Bach, Strauss will never perish haha).

post #8 of 21
I suspect CD's may have better performance only if you can afford a state of the art kilobuck system. At under $1000 I think a decent turntable setup is better. At least that is my experience.

Joshua
post #9 of 21

Well, I think that's sheer nonsense, but hey, we're all entitled..etc.


Edited by pp312 - 2/1/13 at 10:23pm
post #10 of 21
It may Also be an issue of how things are mastered on different mediums too. Certain things have sounded alot more dynamic on records vs CD's to me. Sort of like the difference between tube amps and solid state. I certainly don't believe records are outdated technology, but they are more fiddly. I'm not a fan of mp3's at all. I use them due to my tight budget but that's the only reason. Audio today is like fast food, people care more about quantity and convenience and are ever more satisfied with mediocrity. I prefer a gourmet meal that takes hours to fix and lots of practice to get it right. The resulting meal is alot more satisfying and potentially much better.
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post

The Kenwood will drive the DT880; the question is how well it will suit its characteristics. You say you're more than satisfied with the Beyer's performance, so what are you using now?

 

 

(1977. Yikes, that's an old amp. Are you really set on a vintage amp?)

 

Most headphones back then where 600 Ohm if I recall correctly.

 

A TOTL line amp, in spec and serviced, will not really sound much different than a TOTL amp from today. 

 

Many vintage receivers, like Marantz, feature a "warmer" sound signature. I guess many amps are tuned to the manufacturers "house/signature" sound.

 

I have a complete stereo setup, incl. speakers from the end of seventies. It sounds very, very nice. In the photo the tuner and pre have been replaced by the Technics Pro Series from 77.

 

Technics Pro Series 1977: RS-1506 // 2x SE-9060 // SU-9070 // SH-9010 // SH-9020 // ST-9030 // M85 // SL-BL3 with AT into SB-6000

 

Amps:

 

 

0.006% (20Hz - 20kHz, effective output-3dB, and half power) 
0.0015% (1kHz, effective output-3dB, and half power)
Output bandwidth 5Hz - 50kHz
Frequency characteristic 0Hz-100kHz+0 -1 dB 
20Hz-20kHz+0 -0.05 dB
SN ratio (IHF-A) 120dB
mono 20Hz - 20kHz : 200W 8 Ohms
 
 

Don't hate on old gear. It can be a lot of fun! And the headphone output on it sound very clean and powerful, totally uncolored and drives my 880 600 into eardrum shattering levels.

 

 

 


Edited by ev13wt - 2/2/13 at 7:38pm
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ev13wt View Post

 

Most headphones back then where 600 Ohm if I recall correctly.

 

A TOTL line amp, in spec and serviced, will not really sound much different than a TOTL amp from today. 

 

Many vintage receivers, like Marantz, feature a "warmer" sound signature. I guess many amps are tuned to the manufacturers "house/signature" sound.

 

I have a complete stereo setup, incl. speakers from the end of seventies. It sounds very, very nice. In the photo the tuner and pre have been replaced by the Technics Pro Series from 77.

 

Technics Pro Series 1977: RS-1506 // 2x SE-9060 // SU-9070 // SH-9010 // SH-9020 // ST-9030 // M85 // SL-BL3 with AT into SB-6000

 

Amps:

 

 

0.006% (20Hz - 20kHz, effective output-3dB, and half power) 
0.0015% (1kHz, effective output-3dB, and half power)
Output bandwidth 5Hz - 50kHz
Frequency characteristic 0Hz-100kHz+0 -1 dB 
20Hz-20kHz+0 -0.05 dB
SN ratio (IHF-A) 120dB
mono 20Hz - 20kHz : 200W 8 Ohms
 
 

Don't hate on old gear. It can be a lot of fun! And the headphone output on it sound very clean and powerful, totally uncolored and drives my 880 600 into eardrum shattering levels.

 

 

 

 

Thanks all of you. At last I bought a vintage JVC QL-A5 direct drive, with strobe, full tonearm assembly (anti-skating too), pitch control, quartz button and it can be used manually or with a "reject" button. I'm still trying to find a decent amp, because I'm looking for something with 70 watts per channel. So far so good!

post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ev13wt View Post
 

Don't hate on old gear. It can be a lot of fun! And the headphone output on it sound very clean and powerful, totally uncolored and drives my 880 600 into eardrum shattering levels.

 

 

It's not a question of hating on old gear, but of recognising that not everything from years ago was wonderful. I've owned a hell of a lot of stuff from that period so I know what sounded good. Luxman sounded good, but was generally expensive (I had an L100 amp, which cost then about $1200). Some Marantz sounded good, but some didn't. Rotel sounded lousy until they decided to go the NAD route. If your technics sounds good then fine, but it has good specs, whereas the Kenwood the OP cited has pretty lousy specs. Also with vintage gear there's the question of maintenance. Not much good getting something cheap if you have to replace half the transistors, and of course if the transformer goes you're up that well known creek. I'm just not sure that for someone just getting into hi fi vintage is the way to go.    

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 

As I don't live in the USA nor Europe, it's difficult for me to find decent hi-fi components. So far, my JVC QL-A5 turntable is great (the technics I've ordered were in very bad shape). But yes, I've decided not to buy the Kenwood. A friend of mine is looking for some vintage amps that could be decent (marantz for example).

 

I would love to go to a store and find the Marantz PM 5004 just sitting there, waiting to be bought, but unfortunately in Argentina that doesn't happen. The only way is to order it via Amazon, but my country has severe restrictions regarding foreign products, and the price could go much higher than $420. Of course, I would love to start my home audio using new components, but the only way to do that here is to start with vintage gear, and then when I have the money I could order them.


Edited by kingcrimson69 - 2/3/13 at 6:25am
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post

 

It's not a question of hating on old gear, but of recognising that not everything from years ago was wonderful. I've owned a hell of a lot of stuff from that period so I know what sounded good. Luxman sounded good, but was generally expensive (I had an L100 amp, which cost then about $1200). Some Marantz sounded good, but some didn't. Rotel sounded lousy until they decided to go the NAD route. If your technics sounds good then fine, but it has good specs, whereas the Kenwood the OP cited has pretty lousy specs. Also with vintage gear there's the question of maintenance. Not much good getting something cheap if you have to replace half the transistors, and of course if the transformer goes you're up that well known creek. I'm just not sure that for someone just getting into hi fi vintage is the way to go.    

 

Fully agreed. On Technics from the beginning of the 80's and up, only some of top gear was really good. Sadly, Technics (like others) went the way of cheap components and plastic. So a lot of older Technics gear is really only mid-fi.

 

Some select components are very nice. The A1/A2 combo and A3-MK2 come to mind quickly.

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