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It's highly unlikely for an amp to damage headphones at low volumes, right?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I recently had a bit of a scare where the right channel of my headphone made this horrible noise for a brief second while playing music on my magni/modi. It wasn't super loud and certainly wouldn't hurt anyone's hearing. But I don't know if it damaged my headphones or amp. I was thinking maybe it was either the DAC connection cutting out, or maybe just the earcup moving around.

Worst case scenario I'm going to have toasted headphones. 

So anyways, what's the possibility of an amp like this damaging equipment with relatively low impedance(if the volume dial is well below hearing damage levels)?

post #2 of 15

Damage is highly unlikely in that scenario. 

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

Ok jaddie. Thanks. Ya I don't think they're damaged although I thought I was hearing some weird noises on certain tracks. Maybe I was just going crazy or something :P.

Anyways, when powering on and off the amp I'm supposed to unplug the headphones until I hear that *click* right?

post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflezz View Post

Ok jaddie. Thanks. Ya I don't think they're damaged although I thought I was hearing some weird noises on certain tracks. Maybe I was just going crazy or something :P.

Anyways, when powering on and off the amp I'm supposed to unplug the headphones until I hear that *click* right?

No idea.  Depends on your amp, though a properly designed amp won't require you to unplug headphones when turning power on or off.  If you get a turn on/off transient, that is a dead give-away of shoddy power management design. 

post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaddie View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflezz View Post

Ok jaddie. Thanks. Ya I don't think they're damaged although I thought I was hearing some weird noises on certain tracks. Maybe I was just going crazy or something :P.

Anyways, when powering on and off the amp I'm supposed to unplug the headphones until I hear that *click* right?

No idea.  Depends on your amp, though a properly designed amp won't require you to unplug headphones when turning power on or off.  If you get a turn on/off transient, that is a dead give-away of shoddy power management design. 

Wrong. A lot of amp makers leave the thing out(don't know the name of it, but its the thing that makes it so you don't have to unplug your headphone before turning the amp on or off) because they believe it makes the amp sound worse, thus making the headphone sound worse.

post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfetan44 View Post

Wrong. A lot of amp makers leave the thing out(don't know the name of it, but its the thing that makes it so you don't have to unplug your headphone before turning the amp on or off) because they believe it makes the amp sound worse, thus making the headphone sound worse.

Well...it seems you might not actually know what "the thing" is, right?  It's not a "thing", but rather a method of turning power on and off that results in no transients at the output.  It's circuit design, and not in the audio path, it has no effect on sound quality.  It's power switching, and could be as simple as using the right kind of switch, and as complex as using a more complex power supply design.    

 

It's economic.  Simple circuits use less parts.  Less parts mean lower cost.  Products are built at a retail to cost ratio of between 3 and 5 to 1, even higher for some products.  That means if a part costs $1, you have to charge $5 more for the product.  Add three $1 parts and you've raised the retail price $15.   Engineering for manufacturing is a study in finding how few parts that can be used without making a stupid product.  Stupid is relative and subjective, so there are lots of clumsy circuits made and sold.    

 

Bad power switching transients are the result of design choices, usually economic.  Anyone saying they are a sonic issue is probably dodging the issue or in their own reality.

post #7 of 15
Well, theres a reason that they don't use it, obviously. Unless they would have geniuses like you to help them out.
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfetan44 View Post

Well, theres a reason that they don't use it, obviously. Unless they would have geniuses like you to help them out.

Thanks, but no real genius here.  It's just a cost decision, though I still think not addressing the issue is not a good decision.

post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaddie View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfetan44 View Post

Well, theres a reason that they don't use it, obviously. Unless they would have geniuses like you to help them out.

Thanks, but no real genius here.  It's just a cost decision, though I still think not addressing the issue is not a good decision.

The genius part was sarcasm.

post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfetan44 View Post

The genius part was sarcasm.

I suspected as much but was giving you the benefit of the doubt on the off chance you were being kind.  If you have other knowledge to share, please share it, and we can all learn something from you.  

post #11 of 15

The "thing" being referred to is called a muting relay which protects your phones from the power transients on power up and power down.  This is built into the Magni.

 

Quote from Schiit:

"Magni has a relay mute for delayed startup and fast shut-down. You can leave your headphones plugged in all the time."

 

Link:

http://schiit.com/schiit-faq/about-magni/

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by haejuk View Post

The "thing" being referred to is called a muting relay which protects your phones from the power transients on power up and power down.  This is built into the Magni.

Quote from Schiit:
"Magni has a relay mute for delayed startup and fast shut-down. You can leave your headphones plugged in all the time."

Link:
http://schiit.com/schiit-faq/about-magni/

Yes that's one way to do it, simple, if not cheap, and should have no impact on SQ. The other approach is to finesse the power supply design to start and stop gracefully, harder to do but cheaper to make.
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaddie View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfetan44 View Post

The genius part was sarcasm.
I suspected as much but was giving you the benefit of the doubt on the off chance you were being kind.  If you have other knowledge to share, please share it, and we can all learn something from you.  
Ok, I do believe that you are right(I really do). But there has to be a reason amp companys do not do what you are suggesting.
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfetan44 View Post


Ok, I do believe that you are right(I really do). But there has to be a reason amp companys do not do what you are suggesting.

As I said, there is a reason: money.  To maximize product sales the price has to meet or exceed perceived value, and meet the need for a particular product within a particular price range.  You can sell a whole lot more inexpensive amps than expensive ones, and one way to maximize profit is to sell a lot of units with a modest margin, sort of the McDonald's method.  To keep the end price down you have to eliminate items that increase cost without a matching increase in value.  Not to say eliminating on/off transients in the output isn't an increase in value, but clearly some have chosen to eliminate the components and keep the price lower, or margin higher.  

 

It's always about money.  Sadly.

 

The OP never mentioned the specific amp, unless I missed it.  That might be nice to know.  There are amps in the $150 + range that have this problem solved.

post #15 of 15

Worst case scenario is the amp running DC through a channel. You can melt a driver that way, even at low volume. If the headphone still sound fine though, there's probably nothing to worry about. 

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