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Tips on how to choose a suitable amplifier for your beloved headphone

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

By one way or another, we have been acknowledged that many users are haunted with one question: which FiiO amplifier would go perfectly with one certain headphone or earplug.

 

Generally speaking, we should take the timbre and the power into consideration when speaking of the match of amplifier with headphone. As is known to us all, the match of timbre is kind of complicated. For those who possess headphone in somewhat “cold sound”, all he needs is a “warm sound” amplifier to balance it out. Due to the subjectivity of timbre, it can’t be quantized or described with specific numeral data which then results in” Each one thinks in his way.”Therefore, here we may mainly focus on the explanation on the matching from the aspect of the power.

 

First of all, we should have a clear definition here. In term of the sound reduction merely, different people would have different expectations of the sound according to different using environment, personalized listening curve and individualized loved music type.  Therefore, we need to do a simple classification regarding the headphone sound.

 

A. Standard sound pressure (95dB): Under normal application environment, we define the sound pressure of the headphone as standard level when enjoying popular music. Considering the theoretic dynamic range of CD being 96dB, whereas the minimum sound pressure that human ear can hear out of 1 KHz is 0 dB, then the dynamic range for the maximum sound pressure of 95dB is 95dB as well. As a result, we define the maximum sound pressure of 95dB as the basic needs of enjoying common music.

 

B. Favorable sound pressure (105dB): As a matter of fact, 95dB sound pressure is far from satisfactory in enjoying high quality music. Normally speaking, in terms of the live show of symphonic music, rock concert and other sort of high dynamic music forms, the maximum sound pressure can reach 105dB. Therefore, we define 105dB sound pressure as favorable sound pressure.

 

C. Excellent sound pressure (120dB): 105dB sound pressure, is it enough? In reality, the sound of the nature is far above 105dB, like the sound of the thunderstorm, the sound felt towards a plane flying nearby whose maximum sound would hit above 120dB. Also, the record of SACD format music can reach 120dB as well. That’s why we regard 120dB as excellent sound pressure.

 

With the help of this quantized sound pressure levels, we can calculate how much power it needs to boost one specific headphone according to the theoretical computational formula.

 

The procedure and formula of the calculation are as follows:

1. Usually, each headphone would be given with one sensitivity data which is tested under the environment of below 1mW power.

2. Based on the required sound pressure, work out the corresponding power (P for short).

Assuming the maximum required sound pressure as B, and A as the rated sensitivity of the headphone, then the computational formula would be P=10^ ((B-A)/10).

3. In line with the power requirements, figure out the required maximum voltage and current.

 

The reason why we should calculate the maximum voltage and current is because P=I(current)*U(voltage).

As to the fixed output power of one certain amplifier, it may thanks to the high output voltage or because of the high output current.

 

Take the Beyerdynamic DT990 for example, while in different headphone impedance with one version at 32Ohm and one at 250Ohm, in order to get 120dB sound pressure, they both require for 251.19mW power due to the same sensitivity. However, the required maximum current of the 32Ohm version is 88.60mA which is far above the 31.70mA of the version with 250Ohm.

 

To the contrary, the demanded amplitude peak in boosting the voltage of the DT990 with 250Omh impedance would be 22.41V which is far above the 8.02V of the version with 32Ohm. This tells us that power rate is not the only thing we should consider. To a headphone with low impedance, high current and low voltage is what it requires, while high voltage and low current would be the target of headphone at high impedance. That’s why we need to work out the corresponding output voltage and current in order to select suitable amplifier.

 

One more thing we need to be aware of is that the impedance and the sensitivity of the headphone is not a fixed figure which might vary with the headphone input signal’s response. Generally speaking, the maximum impedance of the headphone is higher than the rated one, which even can be 3 folds higher. So does the minimum impedance and the rated one. Thus, the data result from the formula should be regarded as a merely reference.

 

To sum up, in accordance with corresponding power and high dynamic peak voltage required by 120dB sound pressure and the current demanded by high dynamic, the chosen amplifier would basically meet some kind of high level of sound effect. If take the power storage into consideration, we can also get it doubled or tripled based on the related power of 120dB.

 

You can feel free to visit our official website at www.fiio.net to get the related information about the maximum output power, peak voltage of high dynamic and the current of high dynamic in terms of all the amplifiers and amplifiers with decode function. You are warmly welcome to select the suitable amplifier to your own headphone based on the listed information.

 

Based on this formula, we have worked out the power, voltage and current for some popular headphones.

In order to get the best sound effect, you can refer to the power required by 120dB sound pressure and peak voltage required by high dynamic.

post #2 of 7
Thread Starter 
     Brand Model Impedance Sensitivity Power required by  Power required by  Power required by  Peak voltage required  Current required 
95dB sound pressure 105dB sound pressure 120dB sound pressure by high dynamic by high dynamic
    Omh dB/mW mW mW mW Vp-p mA
Koss A250 60 98 0.5 5.01 158.49 8.72 51.4
Koss PP 60 101 0.25 2.51 79.43 6.17 36.39
Koss KSC35 60 101 0.25 2.51 79.43 6.17 36.39
Audio-technica ATH-A1000 40 103 0.16 1.58 50.12 4 35.4
Audio-technica ATH-A700 64 102 0.2 2 63.1 5.68 31.4
Audio-technica ATH-A900 40 101 0.25 2.51 79.43 5.04 44.56
Audio-technica ATH-AD700 32 98 0.5 5.01 158.49 6.37 70.38
Audio-technica ATH-A2000X 42 101 0.25 2.51 79.43 5.17 43.49
Audio-technica ATH-CM7 16 100 0.32 3.16 100 3.58 79.06
Audio-technica ATH-EM7 32 109 0.04 0.4 12.59 1.79 19.83
Audio-technica ATH-EW9 29 105 0.1 1 31.62 2.71 33.02
Audio-technica ATH-L3000 48 104 0.13 1.26 39.81 3.91 28.8
Audio-technica ATH-W100 48 100 0.32 3.16 100 6.2 45.64
Audio-technica ATH-W1000 40 101 0.25 2.51 79.43 5.04 44.56
Audio-technica ATH-ON300 32 102 0.2 2 63.1 4.02 44.4
Audio-technica CK100   113 0.02 0.16 5.01 0 #DIV/0!
Beyerdynamic DT231 32 96 0.79 7.94 251.19 8.02 88.6
Beyerdynamic DTX501p 32 104 0.13 1.26 39.81 3.19 35.27
Beyerdynamic DT860 32 97 0.63 6.31 199.53 7.15 78.96
Beyerdynamic DT880 250 96 0.79 7.94 251.19 22.41 31.7
Beyerdynamic DT990 32 96 0.79 7.94 251.19 8.02 88.6
Beyerdynamic DT990 250 96 0.79 7.94 251.19 22.41 31.7
Beyerdynamic DTX800 32 105 0.1 1 31.62 2.84 31.44
Beyerdynamic DTX900 32 108 0.05 0.5 15.85 2.01 22.25
Beyerdynamic DT1350 80 109 0.04 0.4 12.59 2.84 12.54
Beyerdynamic T1 600 102 0.2 2 63.1 17.4 10.25
Beyerdynamic T70 250 104 0.13 1.26 39.81 8.92 12.62
Beyerdynamic MMX100 12 102 0.2 2 63.1 2.46 72.51
SHURE E2C 16 105 0.1 1 31.62 2.01 44.46
SHURE E3C 26 115 0.01 0.1 3.16 0.81 11.03
SHURE E4C 29 109 0.04 0.4 12.59 1.71 20.84
SHURE E5C 110 122 0 0.02 0.63 0.75 2.39
SHURE SE530 36 119 0 0.04 1.26 0.6 5.91
SHURE SE535 36 119 0 0.04 1.26 0.6 5.91
SHURE SE215 20 107 0.06 0.63 19.95 1.79 31.59
SHURE SE215 20 107 0.06 0.63 19.95 1.79 31.59
SHURE SE315 27 116 0.01 0.08 2.51 0.74 9.65
SHURE SRH940 42 100 0.32 3.16 100 5.8 48.8
SHURE SRH840 44 102 0.2 2 63.1 4.71 37.87
SHURE SRH44 44 105 0.1 1 31.62 3.34 26.81
SHURE SRH240 38 105 0.1 1 31.62 3.1 28.85
SHURE SRH750DJ 32 106 0.08 0.79 25.12 2.54 28.02
SHURE SRH1840 65 96 0.79 7.94 251.19 11.43 62.16
SHURE SRH1440 37 101 0.25 2.51 79.43 4.85 46.33
SHURE SE115 16 105 0.1 1 31.62 2.01 44.46
SONY MDR-E888LP 16 108 0.05 0.5 15.85 1.42 31.47
SONY MDR-EX1000 32 108 0.05 0.5 15.85 2.01 22.25
SONY MDR-EX600 32 107 0.06 0.63 19.95 2.26 24.97
SONY MDR-EX310SL 16 105 0.1 1 31.62 2.01 44.46
SONY MDR-EX210B 16 104 0.13 1.26 39.81 2.26 49.88
SONY R10 40 100 0.32 3.16 100 5.66 50
SONY XBA-10 24 102 0.2 2 63.1 3.48 51.27
SONY XBA-20 48 102 0.2 2 63.1 4.92 36.26
SONY XBA-30 48 102 0.2 2 63.1 4.92 36.26
SONY XBA-40 16 102 0.2 2 63.1 2.84 62.8
SONY MDR-1R 24 105 0.1 1 31.62 2.46 36.3
SONY MDR-XB200 24 100 0.32 3.16 100 4.38 64.55
SONY MDR-XB30EX 16 105 0.1 1 31.62 2.01 44.46
SONY MDR-XB900 24 106 0.08 0.79 25.12 2.2 32.35
SONY MDR-XB90EX 16 106 0.08 0.79 25.12 1.79 39.62
SONY MDR-XB60EX 16 105 0.1 1 31.62 2.01 44.46
SONY MDR-XB600 40 104 0.13 1.26 39.81 3.57 31.55
SONY MDR-XB1000 24 106 0.08 0.79 25.12 2.2 32.35
SONY MDR-XB41EX 16 105 0.1 1 31.62 2.01 44.46
SONY MDR-XB21EX 16 103 0.16 1.58 50.12 2.53 55.97
ER4P ER4P 37 102 0.2 2 63.1 4.32 41.3
ER4P ER4B 100 108 0.05 0.5 15.85 3.56 12.59
ER4P ER6 48 108 0.05 0.5 15.85 2.47 18.17
ER4P ER6i 16 108 0.05 0.5 15.85 1.42 31.47
Sennheiser HD200 64 106 0.08 0.79 25.12 3.59 19.81
Sennheiser HD201 24 108 0.05 0.5 15.85 1.74 25.7
Sennheiser HD202 32 115 0.01 0.1 3.16 0.9 9.94
Sennheiser HD212pro 32 112 0.02 0.2 6.31 1.27 14.04
Sennheiser HD215 32 109 0.04 0.4 12.59 1.79 19.83
Sennheiser HD25SP 85 109 0.04 0.4 12.59 2.93 12.17
Sennheiser HD270 64 106 0.08 0.79 25.12 3.59 19.81
Sennheiser HD280pro 64 113 0.02 0.16 5.01 1.6 8.85
Sennheiser HD437 32 115 0.01 0.1 3.16 0.9 9.94
Sennheiser HD457 32 114 0.01 0.13 3.98 1.01 11.15
Sennheiser HD465 32 110 0.03 0.32 10 1.6 17.68
Sennheiser HD477 32 109 0.04 0.4 12.59 1.79 19.83
Sennheiser HD485 32 110 0.03 0.32 10 1.6 17.68
Sennheiser HD497 32 112 0.02 0.2 6.31 1.27 14.04
Sennheiser HD500 32 105 0.1 1 31.62 2.84 31.44
Sennheiser HD515 50 105 0.1 1 31.62 3.56 25.15
Sennheiser HD555 50 112 0.02 0.2 6.31 1.59 11.23
Sennheiser HD570 64 102 0.2 2 63.1 5.68 31.4
Sennheiser HD580 300 97 0.63 6.31 199.53 21.88 25.79
Sennheiser HD590 120 103 0.16 1.58 50.12 6.94 20.44
Sennheiser HD595 120 112 0.02 0.2 6.31 2.46 7.25
Sennheiser HD598 50 112 0.02 0.2 6.31 1.59 11.23
Sennheiser HD600 300 97 0.63 6.31 199.53 21.88 25.79
Sennheiser HD650 300 98 0.5 5.01 158.49 19.5 22.98
Sennheiser HD700 150 105 0.1 1 31.62 6.16 14.52
Sennheiser HD800 300 102 0.2 2 63.1 12.3 14.5
Sennheiser MX500 32 125 0 0.01 0.32 0.28 3.14
Sennheiser MX550 16 123 0 0.02 0.5 0.25 5.6
Sennheiser PX100 32 114 0.01 0.13 3.98 1.01 11.15
Sennheiser PX200 32 100 0.32 3.16 100 5.06 55.9
Sennheiser MX375 32 122 0 0.02 0.63 0.4 4.44
Sennheiser MX760 32 114 0.01 0.13 3.98 1.01 11.15
Sennheiser MX880 16 120 0 0.03 1 0.36 7.91
Sennheiser MX980 16 120 0 0.03 1 0.36 7.91
Sennheiser MX985 16 120 0 0.03 1 0.36 7.91
Sennheiser MOMENTUM 18 110 0.03 0.32 10 1.2 23.57
Sennheiser IE8 16 125 0 0.01 0.32 0.2 4.45
Sennheiser IE80 16 125 0 0.01 0.32 0.2 4.45
Sennheiser IE800 16 125 0 0.01 0.32 0.2 4.45
Sennheiser IE6 16 115 0.01 0.1 3.16 0.64 14.06
Sennheiser IE60 16 115 0.01 0.1 3.16 0.64 14.06
Sennheiser CX980 32 115 0.01 0.1 3.16 0.9 9.94
AKG K1000 120 74 125.89 1258.93 39810.72 195.47 575.98
AKG K141 55 101 0.25 2.51 79.43 5.91 38
AKG K141S 55 101 0.25 2.51 79.43 5.91 38
AKG K171 55 94 1.26 12.59 398.11 13.23 85.08
AKG K240df 600 88 5.01 50.12 1584.89 87.21 51.4
AKG k240M 55 91 2.51 25.12 794.33 18.69 120.18
AKG k240S 55 91 2.51 25.12 794.33 18.69 120.18
AKG k24P 32 125 0 0.01 0.32 0.28 3.14
AKG k26P 32 125 0 0.01 0.32 0.28 3.14
AKG K271S 55 91 2.51 25.12 794.33 18.69 120.18
AKG K301 55 102 0.2 2 63.1 5.27 33.87
AKG K301XTRA 55 102 0.2 2 63.1 5.27 33.87
AKG K401 120 94 1.26 12.59 398.11 19.55 57.6
AKG K401 120 94 1.26 12.59 398.11 19.55 57.6
AKG K420 32 125 0 0.01 0.32 0.28 3.14
AKG K450 32 126 0 0.01 0.25 0.25 2.8
AKG Q460 32 125 0 0.01 0.32 0.28 3.14
AKG Q350 16 121 0 0.03 0.79 0.32 7.05
AKG K374 28 120 0 0.03 1 0.47 5.98
AKG K55 32 114 0.01 0.13 3.98 1.01 11.15
AKG K501 120 94 1.26 12.59 398.11 19.55 57.6
AKG K550 32 120 0 0.03 1 0.51 5.59
AKG K601 120 101 0.25 2.51 79.43 8.73 25.73
AKG K66 32 96 0.79 7.94 251.19 8.02 88.6
AKG K701 62 105 0.1 1 31.62 3.96 22.58
AKG K702 62 102 0.2 2 63.1 5.59 31.9
AKG Q701 62 105 0.1 1 31.62 3.96 22.58
AKG K71 19 100 0.32 3.16 100 3.9 72.55
AKG K3003 8 125 0 0.01 0.32 0.14 6.29
AILISI  M1 32 100 0.32 3.16 100 5.06 55.9
GARDO RS1 32 98 0.5 5.01 158.49 6.37 70.38
GARDO SR325 32 98 0.5 5.01 158.49 6.37 70.38
GARDO SR80 32 98 0.5 5.01 158.49 6.37 70.38
GARDO SR125 32 98 0.5 5.01 158.49 6.37 70.38
GARDO SR225 32 98 0.5 5.01 158.49 6.37 70.38
GARDO ps500 32 98 0.5 5.01 158.49 6.37 70.38
GARDO rs1i 96 98 0.5 5.01 158.49 11.03 40.63
GARDO GR8 120 118 0.01 0.05 1.58 1.23 3.63
Astrotec AS200HD 32 115 0.01 0.1 3.16 0.9 9.94
Astrotec ax7 32 108 0.05 0.5 15.85 2.01 22.25
Astrotec AM90 25 109 0.04 0.4 12.59 1.59 22.44
Logitech UE 900 30 101 0.25 2.51 79.43 4.37 51.46
Logitech TF10 32 117 0.01 0.06 2 0.71 7.9
Logitech TF15 32 117 0.01 0.06 2 0.71 7.9
Edifier H180 32 100 0.32 3.16 100 5.06 55.9
Edifier K550 32 91 2.51 25.12 794.33 14.26 157.55
Philips Fidelio X1 30 100 0.32 3.16 100 4.9 57.74
DENON AH-D1100 32 101 0.25 2.51 79.43 4.51 49.82
DENON AH-D7000 25 108 0.05 0.5 15.85 1.78 25.18
DENON AH-D7100 24 110 0.03 0.32 10 1.39 20.41
STAX stax SR009  145 100 0.32 3.16 100 10.77 26.26
Westone UM1 24 114 0.01 0.13 3.98 0.87 12.88
Westone UM2 27 119 0 0.04 1.26 0.52 6.83
Westone UM3 27 119 0 0.04 1.26 0.52 6.83
Westone W1 27 122 0 0.02 0.63 0.37 4.83
Westone W2 33 117 0.01 0.06 2 0.73 7.78
Westone W3 30 107 0.06 0.63 19.95 2.19 25.79
Westone W4R 31 118 0.01 0.05 1.58 0.63 7.15
Klipsch  X10 50 110 0.03 0.32 10 2 14.14
JVC HA-FX700 16 104 0.13 1.26 39.81 2.26 49.88
JVC HA-S500 32 106 0.08 0.79 25.12 2.54 28.02
ECCI PR200MKII 16 105 0.1 1 31.62 2.01 44.46
CREATIVE Aurvana In-Ear2 42 110 0.03 0.32 10 1.83 15.43
CREATIVE Aurvana In-Ear3  28 112 0.02 0.2 6.31 1.19 15.01
post #3 of 7

That chart will make matching amps a whole lot easier. Thanks!

post #4 of 7

Interesting chart

 

 

btw... Grado spell check

post #5 of 7

OK I have read through one time and my mind is not getting what I need.  I will have to read it a couple more times I think but thanks for the info. 


Edited by Caffinefreedave - 3/28/13 at 9:16pm
post #6 of 7

Thanks for this i am sure it will help alot of us. 

post #7 of 7

I believe there is something really, really wrong with this chart.

 

Are you telling me I need 22 VOLTS to run DT990 250Ohm at 120dB? Or 195 Volts to run AKG K1000 at this level?

This is so much far from being true I'm actually surprised.

 

According to calculations I've done here, DT990 don't need 22 Volts, but actually 7.9V. Thats much, much less. And this is actually what I would expect. Because if they really needed that much, I would barely hear anything from the Fiio X5, which puts out something like 3.1 Volt MAX.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/a/headphone-power-calculator-spreadsheet

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