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AKG K701/K702/Q701, Senn HD598/600/650, Beyer DT880 driven from NAD integrated amp

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi All,

 

I'm new here, looking to buy a pair of good headphones, considering primarily the ones listed above. There's lots of discussion out there comparing these and discussing which ones need a headphone amp more than others and how they compare with or without amping. I'm planning on plugging in to the headphone jack of my NAD C 356BEE integrated amp. There's not much out there about driving headphones from an integrated vs. a headphone amp, and what I have found is conflicting. Does anyone have experience with these headphones from this amp or similar integrated amp (or even how this amp compares to headphone amp with other headphones)? I'm looking for actual experience more than speculation, but informed opinion is ok.

 

I listen mostly to a mix of classical, jazz, and rock. I want something pretty neutral, prefer slightly warm over bright or harsh, but I want to hear the details. Not looking for excess bass, but I don't want it to be weak either. I understand the AKGs require a long burn-in before they stop sounding harsh and lacking bass, that's ok with me.

 

Really appreciate if anyone has any info or guidance on this.

 

Thanks,

Glenn

post #2 of 11

Heya,

 

High impedance headphones work best from integrated/speaker/AVR's due to generally having higher output impedance (greater than 1 ohm basically, usually in the range of 6~10ohm sometimes). You'd have to consult NAD paperwork or talk to them directly about what the output impedance of the headphone jack is. This is naturally not the same at all as saying what it can power. Completely separate from that.

 

Based on what you've described and what you're going to use, I would focus on the HD600, DT880 250ohm, and HE-300.

 

Very best,

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks, MalVeauX. The manual for my NAD says the headphone output impedance is 220 ohms, which I guess would qualify as high. I don't fully understand the relationship between output impedance and headphone impedance, although I think a higher impedance headphone needs a higher impedance output, right? I think I read somewhere a recommendation that the ratio between output and headphone should be greater than 10, but that would mean requiring a 2200 ohm headphone and I don't think there is such a thing.

 

What's your reason for focusing on the HD600, DT880 250ohm, and HE-300? I am leaning towards the HD600 at the moment - yesterday I was reading great things about the AKGs, today what I've read has been less positive about them than the HD600. I did try to listen to a few of these at a store, but it was so crowded and noisy that I couldn't tell anything.

post #4 of 11

That's rather odd. I have a NAD C326BEE and the headphone impedance is given as 68 ohms. I wonder why NAD would vary it so much between current models.

 

In any case you don't need to worry much. My DT880 250 ohms works fine out of the headphone jack. In fact I've owned dozen of amps, receivers etc over the years and tried them with literally dozens of headphones and never had more of a problem than slightly loose bass, which is about the worst an impedance mismatch is likely to cause you. Get whatever phone you like; it will sound fine out of the NAD, in fact probably better than most of the equivalently priced dedicated HP amps. Personally I'm extremely impressed with the DT880 so would recommend that, but you may prefer something else. Just concentrate on getting the phone you like and put the amp out of your mind.

post #5 of 11

The Q701 isn't bass light if you are willing to give it a chance and get used to it's sound. They certainly are not harsh. They are bright, but they are still smooth. 

 

Another option if you have time and patience to play around would be to grab a cheap Fostex T50rp and modify it to sound exactly how you want. They are easy to mess with and there are plenty of tutorials on how to mod them. They can be made to sound pretty much however you'd like. Anywhere from slightly bass heavy and dark, to bass light and bright. 


Edited by jasonb - 3/7/13 at 6:06pm
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi pp312, that is odd. I looked at the manual online for the NAD C375BEE and C316BEE and they also show 68 ohms for the headphone impedance, just like your C326BEE. Makes me wonder if the 356 manual is just wrong. I may write to NAD to ask. Not that I really understand completely what difference it would make, but I'm curious now.
 

post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by gruhl28 View Post

Hi All,

 

I'm new here, looking to buy a pair of good headphones, considering primarily the ones listed above. There's lots of discussion out there comparing these and discussing which ones need a headphone amp more than others and how they compare with or without amping. I'm planning on plugging in to the headphone jack of my NAD C 356BEE integrated amp. There's not much out there about driving headphones from an integrated vs. a headphone amp, and what I have found is conflicting. Does anyone have experience with these headphones from this amp or similar integrated amp (or even how this amp compares to headphone amp with other headphones)? I'm looking for actual experience more than speculation, but informed opinion is ok.

 

I listen mostly to a mix of classical, jazz, and rock. I want something pretty neutral, prefer slightly warm over bright or harsh, but I want to hear the details. Not looking for excess bass, but I don't want it to be weak either. I understand the AKGs require a long burn-in before they stop sounding harsh and lacking bass, that's ok with me.

 

Really appreciate if anyone has any info or guidance on this.

 

Thanks,

Glenn

I personally found the 880's to be a bit harsh in the top end (guess maybe the upper mids?). I can see why people like them a lot, as they are definitely pretty lively, but I found them pretty fatiguing for the session when I tried them. 

 

I actually just got a HD600 in a couple of days ago, and so far I'm quite liking it. The previous headphones I've owned have all been pretty bright in their sound signatures, while the Sennheiser is a completely different beast. If you want a warmer sounder, definitely give them a try. They have the thicker mids that I like a lot, and the bass is much more defined than my other headphones, without drowning out the rest of the spectrum.

 

The only real issue I'm having with them is in the treble section, since cymbals didn't seem to have as much decay as I'm used to. That may just be because I'm used to brighter headphones, though. Definitely not a serious issue.

 

I haven't tried the Q701 myself, but I've been very interested in it. I hear the soundstage is crazy on those cans.

post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheChillburger View Post

I personally found the 880's to be a bit harsh in the top end (guess maybe the upper mids?). I can see why people like them a lot, as they are definitely pretty lively, but I found them pretty fatiguing for the session when I tried them. 

 

I actually just got a HD600 in a couple of days ago, and so far I'm quite liking it.

 

This is where it's so hard to get any kind of consensus, and thus any usable advice. I've tried a number of HD600s and have the same complaint about them as you have about the DT880: harsh upper mids, lower treble. In fact that's what I like about the DT880, the very smooth treble without any sign of harshness, at least once that 5-8k peak is levelled off slightly. But even flat I find the treble of very good quality; I can happily listen to most CDs without concern over the treble peak.

 

How to reconcile these differences? You can't; irreconcilable differences occur in every thread.

 

(So that we're talking about the same thing, my DT880 is a 250 ohm Pro. I can't speak for the 32 ohm or 600 ohm Premium models, which will sound different not only because of the impedance but because of the clamping force. We could in reality be talking about two different sounds).  

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

I guess different amping could explain some of the difference

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi pp312,

 

I contacted NAD, and the ohm rating in the 356 manual is a misprint, it is the same 68 ohms as your 326.
 

post #11 of 11

There you go then. I hope you abused NAD and told them to wake up to themselves. (Nah, just kidding).


Edited by pp312 - 3/17/13 at 3:04pm
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