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Why does the Marantz PM8004 beat all amps that I own???

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I have a complete Marantz 2 channel system. PM8004 Integrated Amp. CD6004 CD Player

I have purchased two headphone amps and two headphones in the last month. Just got into headphones..

Amps

Bellari HA540

JDS Labs O2 

 

Headphones

Beyerdynamic T1

Grado PS500

 

 

My Marantz integrated stereo amp produces a better sound than both my headphone amps. IMO. I was under the impression that integrated amps, etc would not drive Headphones to a level that would produce the best quality sound.. I find in interesting that my Marantz is better... Not complaining. Just interesting. FYI. The headphone Amps are used in my Emotiva two channel system in my living room. The Marantz is my bedroom system..

 

Any thoughts on this

post #2 of 17

Please describe in more detail, making sure to reference particular test tracks, what you hear as being "better".  It could be a number of things such as output impedance, output power, output current, as well as how you have each connected.

 

Do you have the DAC connected to each source during your test?  In other words are you using the CD6004 in each case?

 

Did you test them at high volumes?

 

Did you test to see each is silent with nothing playing both at low volume and high volumes?

 

It is also possible that the headphone output from the Marantz is just more fun sounding and more to your liking.  I would be quite surprised if the O2 did not sound dry to you because it is a pretty neutral sounding amp.

 

In the end are you not comparing a $999 piece of equipment to something much less in both the O2 and Bellari case?  Did you expect those to be better for less?

 

I fully expect the O2 and T1 combo to sound pretty close to the Maranzt and T1 combo.

 

As usual I see not specs for the headphone out on the Marantz so I have no way of comparing any objective measurements, but my guess is you are hearing a higher output impedance and higher output power from the Marantz which is going to sound "better" especially with the T1, but this just shows that a most amps sound very similar if not identical.  Why not try the Balanced Ultra Desktop Amp next time you have a chance and see if you do not hear some serious differences?

post #3 of 17

Many integrated amps have more than capable headphone amps inside, many have atrocious headphone amps inside too. Any manufacturer that can make a competent speaker amp can make a competent headphone amp too, its just whether that is a priority for them. 

post #4 of 17

Placebo. :D

 

It's bigger so it sounds better. 

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

I have not done any testing what so ever besides just listening to CD tracks. The headphone amps are connected from a line out on my Emotiva USP-1 pre amp. My Emotiva CD player is hood up to it. This is an all Emotiva system. I have not hooked the headphone amps up to the Marantz gear, as it didn't need it.

 

Maybe I shouldn't say better.. I should say sounds more full. Or with more headroom... Or maybe just more fun which wouldn't make it better, just better for my taste.

 

I am not complaining by the way. The Emotiva gear needed the Headphone AMP as it's headphone connection would not drive the Beyers's to any high volume.

post #6 of 17

I used to have a Rotel preamp and I thought I prefer its headphone output to my Ray Samuel amp. These things happen.

post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by ematthews View Post

I have not done any testing what so ever besides just listening to CD tracks. The headphone amps are connected from a line out on my Emotiva USP-1 pre amp. My Emotiva CD player is hood up to it. This is an all Emotiva system. I have not hooked the headphone amps up to the Marantz gear, as it didn't need it.

 

Maybe I shouldn't say better.. I should say sounds more full. Or with more headroom... Or maybe just more fun which wouldn't make it better, just better for my taste.

 

I am not complaining by the way. The Emotiva gear needed the Headphone AMP as it's headphone connection would not drive the Beyers's to any high volume.

 Try running the line out from your Marantz cd player to your headphone amps, maybe you have an impedance mismatch between your preamp and headphone amp. Or the Marantz may just have a nice headphone amp built in. The headphone out on my Panasonic DVD-A player actually sounded better than anything else I had until I got my Schiit Magni

post #8 of 17

My Marantz CD-63SE CD player has a great headphone output, too. I think they use their own "HDAM" module instead of some off-the-shelf op amp for their headphone outputs.

post #9 of 17

It's because amping is no rocket science and the Marantz pm8004 is a great unit. It will probably sound very similar to the O2, barring ofcourse some impedance mismatch that could cause some headphones, depending on input, to sound "fuller". It's actually lower fidelity, however it could be interpreted as pleasant.

post #10 of 17

It's a bit of a head-fi myth that you absolutely have to have a dedicated headphone amp, many don't realise they might have one of equal quality to most of whats available on the market inside the case of their integrated or preamp. I haven't done any close comparative listening, but the headphone amp in my Roksan Kandy KA1 Liii sounds to be a perfectly competent model, and capable of delivering a fair bit of power too.

post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone.

post #12 of 17

The biggest difference I have noticed when comparing amps is how the low end is controlled.  I did some extensive testing with the DAC side of the Grace Design m903, Ultra Desktop, and the stock DAC inside my TEAC player.  DAC wise they all sounded identical through my monitor speakers.  The differences were more with the amp side of things because the TEAC and Grace tend to be more neutral and have less bass control and extension than the Ultra Desktop Amp and BUDA.

 

Hearing this extended bass response may be limited to the cans.   Both the T1 and Grado PS500 roll off toward the low end making detecting the bass differences in amps a bit hard to detect.  I should say how the amp controls the drivers because it is not really like the amp is adding to the bass of the headphone it is more like the amp is allowing the headphone to reveal its low end if it has it.  This may be why you do not hear even bigger differences or did not report on the bass response for all of the amps.

post #13 of 17

Yeah, i have read your past threads about the Bellari..etc. It sounds to me that you got used to the sound signature of your Marantz OR you need to try more serious gear. 

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackwess View Post

Yeah, i have read your past threads about the Bellari..etc. It sounds to me that you got used to the sound signature of your Marantz OR you need to try more serious gear. 

 

You mean it's not possible that the Marantz simply sounds better?

 

Incidentally, OP, all this talk about speaker amps having a good or bad headphone jack is probably irrelevent. Most simply take a line from the speaker output through a small resistor network, so the headphone output will be as good or bad as the speaker output. There's nothing mystical about amp design, HP or speaker. The only thing that might cause a good speaker amp to sound worse than a good HP amp is an impedance mismatch, and they're much more rare (in terms of being audible) than is commonly supposed. There's certainly nothing strange about your Marantz sounding better than a dedicated HP amp; in fact from my experience I'd expect it.

post #15 of 17

Yup. I also experienced this same phenomenon when I got the Onkyo A-5VL. I think it beats both the Lehmann Black Cube Linear and the Lake People G100 which are both more expensive than the stereo Onkyo amp. This with the hd650.

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