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Hello Everyone!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

My name is Brandon and I'm new to the forum. In fact, I'm 19 and new to just about everything!

 

I never really much liked the music I grew up with and, like most people my age, whatever I heard was coming from iPods and MP3 players, mostly. Recently, my uncle got me into listening to his music on a killer "old time" stereo system (like, from the 90's) and I got completely hooked!

 

Since then I have been trying to learn about how stereos work and want to put together something for my room. I would mostly be listening to headphones for now but want to plan for the future when I get my own place. I was hoping that maybe you guys here could give me a sort of "Stereo 101" intro. Here's what I (think) I know:

 

The source takes the information from the media. If it is digital, it has to go to a DAC to convert it to analog. This signal goes to a preamp to step up the signal enough to go to a power amplifier. The power amp increases the signal power so that it can move the speakers to create sound waves we can hear. Is this about right?

 

Here's what I don't get: when you are using a preamp and a power amp and headphones, the headphones plug into the preamp. How does the signal from the power amp get back to the preamp and the headphones?

 

Thanks, Brandon

post #2 of 7
Quote:
Here's what I don't get: when you are using a preamp and a power amp and headphones, the headphones plug into the preamp. How does the signal from the power amp get back to the preamp and the headphones?

Most headphones don't need much power to work.

Hence, the output of the preamp is enough to drive them.

This also means that your amp is not being used.

 

 

If you plan on continuing your headphone experience, there are 3 roads to take.

 

1/ Stick with what you've got and be ignorantly blissful of what you're missing. Your wallet will be grateful.

 

2/ Go straight to the Stax SR009 and top amp to run them, Also get a top line DAC, and sorry 'bout your wallet.

 

3/ Take time to enjoy the journey by continually upgrading your rig as you climb up to headphone heaven. And sorry 'bout your wallet.

 

Under no circumstances have anything to do with Beats or Bose headphones, or you will languish in a loquacious and lugubrious limbo.

This will definitely either stunt your musical appreciation for life or take decades to retrain your senses as to what real music sounds like.

 

 

BE WARNED - Your future and your wallet depend on where you go from here.

post #3 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by wink View Post

Most headphones don't need much power to work.

Hence, the output of the preamp is enough to drive them.

This also means that your amp is not being used.

 

 

If you plan on continuing your headphone experience, there are 3 roads to take.

 

1/ Stick with what you've got and be ignorantly blissful of what you're missing. Your wallet will be grateful.

 

2/ Go straight to the Stax SR009 and top amp to run them, Also get a top line DAC, and sorry 'bout your wallet.

 

3/ Take time to enjoy the journey by continually upgrading your rig as you climb up to headphone heaven. And sorry 'bout your wallet.

 

Under no circumstances have anything to do with Beats or Bose headphones, or you will languish in a loquacious and lugubrious limbo.

This will definitely either stunt your musical appreciation for life or take decades to retrain your senses as to what real music sounds like.

 

 

BE WARNED - Your future and your wallet depend on where you go from here.

Never have there been wiser words than that spoken by this old man. LOL.

 

If you're talking about headphones, there's no need for that much power :p Well, the k1000 and the he-6 are the exceptions But you pretty much have your stuff straight. files via something like foobar2000 -> dac -> amp -> phones. 

post #4 of 7

Yeah, pretty much what has already been said above. I think wink got it exactly right. I'll add that there are different ways that people go about the headphone hobby. Some folks search endlessly for The One, moving up the ladder and discarding every headphone n-1 (where n is the most recent purchase) along the way. Others amass a small stable of different models that have different strengths and/or different usage scenarios (e.g. portable vs stationary rig, open vs closed) and rotate between them depending on what they're listening to and/or what application they need at the moment. Still others are wholesale collectors and may have dozens or even hundreds of headphones, amps, etc.

 

If you involve yourself in this madness smile.gif, you'll eventually work out where you stand going forward. For now, I'll give you the customary greeting for new members around here: Welcome to Head-Fi, and sorry about your wallet.

post #5 of 7
Tell us what your Uncle's "old time" system actually consisted of. My bet is that if you hooked your ipod to the power amp driving his speakers, it would sound pretty darn good. To anyone used to ipod buds, any good amp and good speakers, properly set-up in a room, will sound *great*.

My advice is to browse the big threads in the equipment forums and pick a real pair of headphones in a price range you are comfortable with that can be driven well by an unamped ipod, or by a low-cost headphone amp like a Fiio. Let's assume you can spend a total of $50-$100. I will bet that if you listen to that for a month, then go back to ipod buds, you will be astounded that you could EVER have listened to those little white dollops of crap. Then go back and listen to your uncle's system. It might still sound better, or might not - but it will still sound *different*. That's when you will know why we say "sorry about your wallet" to noobs.

smily_headphones1.gif
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks to all for the welcomes and the wallet warnings! As far as the money goes, the idea "blood from a stone' comes to mind.

 

My uncle's system is all Linn stuff: Mimik>AV5103>LK100 x 2>Keilidhs. He is pretty old school and likes to use CDs but says that files in FLAC format are just as good, especially with a good DAC.

 

Thanks for the info, also; I was a bit confused about the pre/power amplification part when it comes to headphones. So now I think I understand that I can use either the internal HP amp of a preamp, or an integrated amp, or a dedicated HP amp and a power amp does not come into the equation (right?).

 

At the moment I am looking at a Little Dot Mk. III amp. The price seems right and I think I'd like to experience tubes.

 

And no earbuds!

post #7 of 7
Quote:
Thanks for the info, also; I was a bit confused about the pre/power amplification part when it comes to headphones. So now I think I understand that I can use either the internal HP amp of a preamp, or an integrated amp, or a dedicated HP amp and a power amp does not come into the equation (right?).

Got it.

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