Originally Posted by Gary in MD
I guess I needed to put smiley faces in my post to indicate that I wasn't really serious about wanting that much power to run headphones. But if an amp is well designed, sounds good, and is low cost, should we be scared off by the excess power, particularly if it can be attenuated with little loss of fidelity?
Would one of these ICE amps work better than a lower-power amp of a different design? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on the design of the amps, and of the headphones... right?
Again, I'm not recommending any of these amps, since I've never heard them. I'm simply curious as to how the latest ICE technology sounds compared to other approaches.
My gripe with it is the silliness of using amps with too much gain and high noise floors that are unsuitable for headphone usage, then juryrigging a solution by chopping down the output.
Originally Posted by ALRAINBOW
Gary. Class D. Amps have a perticular sound to them. They are not a wire with a gain. I wouldn't use those for headphones unless you know you like that kind of house sound.
Originally Posted by brunk
I haven't met a Class D amp i have liked...yet. The Ncore amps are the only ones that pique my interest, but is still way overkill for even the HE-6 IMO.
Don't let that stop you guys though, if it sounds good then who cares what any of us say.
I'm actually a fan of class D amps, and in my (not extensive, but not limited either) experience they've meshed better with my HE-6 than typical A or A/B amps.
I am also a big fan of having actual desk space.
Originally Posted by zilch0md
So why should anyone buy an over-powered speaker amp for use with headphones - especially if you have to attenuate the output? Because the amp itself might bring something to the table that you're not able to get from any other amp you've heard.
This is more a gripe I have with where the HE-6 sits in terms of amping requirements. It's not really suitable for headphone amps, and not really suitable for speaker amps... but it just happens that speaker amps cope better and so there are more options to explore. More power generally equates to improved perceived sound quality, and placebo lets us overlook all the other deficiencies.
But I've prattled about this before, so I don't feel like repeating myself.
Originally Posted by potterma
School me on this. What are you referring to about the amp's "ideal/optimal range"? Load (impedance) you are driving? Sensitivity of the drivers?
Well just speaking in generalities, amps have various "sweet spots" (best THD/noise/whatever specs) in their operating range, be it voltage or current delivery or load impedance. A headphone load is not going to come close to any of those. Doing some trickery with L-pads might work (a three-resistor network might get you closest) but that's not a true solution and you're wasting energy as heat (but if you're a class A proponent, then you don't really care about that anyways). At least planars don't have to worry about damping factor as much. Using resistors to adhoc output impedance sorta works, but isn't a proper solution either.