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Significance of a headphone amplifier

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

After copious amounts of research, I decided on the AKG 702 65th Anniversery Edition (if any other decent choices around $360 exist, please let me know), but it seems everybody recommends a headphone amplifier for these pair of headphones. From what I gathered, headphone amplifiers deliver power to the headphones and minimize distortion and increase volume if the headphones require a certain amount of power. However, I currently own a Creative Aurvana Live! and a Xonar DGX and I can barely handle any volume above 5 (on Windows) as my eardrums will blow if I do not lower the volume. If I listen to my headphones at such a low volume, would buying a headphone amplifier improve my experience (for a the AKG K702 "Annie")?

post #2 of 18

You need to turn the amplifier all the way down and then maximise your volume in windows. The volume in windows is a digital volume and should be maxed out. Think of the amp as a volume knob I guess?

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

Even then, I can barely stand above 50 with the headphone amp turned all the way down. So should I just skip the amp if I can barely handle the digital volume you mentioned maxed out?

post #4 of 18
Well what is the impedance of your amp and headphones
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by invrlose View Post

You need to turn the amplifier all the way down and then maximise your volume in windows. The volume in windows is a digital volume and should be maxed out. Think of the amp as a volume knob I guess?


I don't think that's how you properly use an amp...

 

If you max out the volume in your device, you'll experience clipping. The amp is supposed to be powerful enough so you can avoid that and use a lower volume on your device.

post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsujigiri View Post


I don't think that's how you properly use an amp...

If you max out the volume in your device, you'll experience clipping. The amp is supposed to be powerful enough so you can avoid that and use a lower volume on your device.

Pretty sure I was told that any digital volumes such as windows volume needs to be up all the way or else you experience clipping.
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsujigiri View Post


I don't think that's how you properly use an amp...

 

If you max out the volume in your device, you'll experience clipping. The amp is supposed to be powerful enough so you can avoid that and use a lower volume on your device.

 

I don't think that's correct. He was right. All the Windows volume control can do is lower the volume of a source. Since this volume control is digital, it can't amplify anything. Setting it at 100% just means you're outputting the source audio's native volume. You won't experience any clipping because there's no amplification taking place.


Edited by Tman5293 - 5/29/13 at 11:39pm
post #8 of 18

So the audio control in a computer is different from those used in digital audio players?

post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsujigiri View Post

So the audio control in a computer is different from those used in digital audio players?

 

Yes, if you are talking about something like an iPod. They have built in amplifiers (which aren't very good) and if you turn the volume up too high you will experience clipping.

post #10 of 18

You are always supposed to max out the "volume" of all the digital elements in your system. This is to ensure bit-perfect performance.

 

So if you are using Audirvana/iTunes on a PC/Mac, and connected it to something like a Fiio E10, then max it out on the iTunes and it will line out from E10. Control the volume of the power amp and not the one on computer for best quality.

post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoom25 View Post

You are always supposed to max out the "volume" of all the digital elements in your system. This is to ensure bit-perfect performance.

 

So if you are using Audirvana/iTunes on a PC/Mac, and connected it to something like a Fiio E10, then max it out on the iTunes and it will line out from E10. Control the volume of the power amp and not the one on computer for best quality.

 

Yep, that just about sums it up. 

post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsujigiri View Post

So the audio control in a computer is different from those used in digital audio players?

Not exactly. There are two different kinds of clipping. One which results from excessive amplification, and one which results from cutting off part of the digital signal. When you reduce your computer's volume (or ipod, etc) you can cause digital clipping if you turn the volume down below the level of the loudest part of the song. But if you turn up too high, you can overdrive the amp. So, you have to balance between the two. If the amp can handle it, it's best to set the volume to max; if it can't, then it's best to set it at the highest it can go without causing amplifier distortion.

post #13 of 18

It sounds like OP is very sensitive to loud sounds?

post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsh View Post

It sounds like OP is very sensitive to loud sounds?

 

Maybe. Bitperfect or not, if he thinks Windows level 5 is too loud, that's a bit too low. Unless he's plugged into a 2v fixed lineout on the soundcard? (Which is why he's been using the Windows volume control)

 

Then again if that's the CAL, we'd hear from him again after he tried on the K702.

post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies

 

I could definitely adjust to full volume in Windows on my current headphones unamped, but should I upgrade if this volume at 0 amping is all I can handle (and if so, what would the benefit of getting a Schitt Magni or Essence STX)

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