Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Amp for ATH-M50
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Amp for ATH-M50

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hey guys (let's face it, there's about two females on this forum),

I've been reading through the website for a while and I finally decided to order the popular ATH-M50 as my first decent quality headphones. I'll be driving them through the M-Audio Audiophile 2496 sound card (it has no built-in amp). Will I be needing an amp to get decent sound quality or enjoyable volume from this card?


Thanks in advance.
Edited by JohnF30 - 7/15/13 at 8:23am
post #2 of 9

Does the M-Audio 2496 even have a headphone jack?

Looks like the M-audio comes with a good DAC chip.

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
It doesn't have a headphone jack, no. I'll have to use RCA to jack. Is this bad?
post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnF30 View Post

It doesn't have a headphone jack, no. I'll have to use RCA to jack. Is this bad?


Yes this is bad. The RCA outs aren't designed to push current through headphones. Headphones will look more like a short circuit to the sound card outputs so you would risk damaging the card.

 

You will need an amp:

RCA -> amp -> headphones

 

Cheers!

post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnF30 View Post

It doesn't have a headphone jack, no. I'll have to use RCA to jack. Is this bad?

You might consider selling off the 2496 and getting an Asus xonar DG sound card, $30 and there is a $10 mail in rebate.

The DAC chip is not as good as the 2496, but the DG headphone amplifier should do a fair bit better job of properly driving headphones.

 

As the Xonar DG is so cheap, maybe you could spend a little more on a headphone that are little better then the ATH-M50s.

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
I think I might go for a USB interface instead because I'd like the extra portability



Quote:
Originally Posted by ab initio View Post


Yes this is bad. The RCA outs aren't designed to push current through headphones. Headphones will look more like a short circuit to the sound card outputs so you would risk damaging the card.

You will need an amp:
RCA -> amp -> headphones

Cheers!


I had no idea. Thanks for the tip. Glad I heard that before I tried plugging the cans on RCA.
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnF30 View Post

I think I might go for a USB interface instead because I'd like the extra portability
I had no idea. Thanks for the tip. Glad I heard that before I tried plugging the cans on RCA.

I believe the RCA outputs and line-out (3.5mm) jack function the same and people do plug headphones into the line-out jacks all the time and not have headphones short circuit.

But I still think getting something designed to power headphones (like a USB/DAC/amp) is a better choice.

post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

I believe the RCA outputs and line-out (3.5mm) jack function the same and people do plug headphones into the line-out jacks all the time and not have headphones short circuit.

No, they do not function the same. It's not the headphones that short circuit, it's the line out that is shorting.

 

The RCA outs are line level outputs. They will have large output impedance and they are designed to drive a high impedance load, namely the inputs of a line level input. These are expecting to see something with an impedance on the order of kOhms where as headphones typically have an impedance a thousand time smaller. Specifically, the M50 has an impedance that is 38 ohms which is a heck of a lot smaller than the 10000 ohms typical of line level inputs.

 

Do not drive headphones from a line level output. Even if it doesn't fry your card right away, it won't sound the way it should because of large output impedance in the output (tends to make the bass very very thin), and because it will draw more current from the output than it was designed for, which will shorten it's lifespan.

 

To sum up:

- Headphones need current and power that line level devices are not designed to provide.

- Most headphones have impedances that are hundreds or even thousands of times smaller than what the output was designed to see---effectively shorting the output.

- The line level outputs have high output impedance that results in poor sound quality

 

Don't connect headphones to a line out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

But I still think getting something designed to power headphones (like a USB/DAC/amp) is a better choice.

 This is solid advice! Connect them to an output designed to drive them! L3000.gif

 

Cheers!

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
thanks for the free lesson! Surprised I've never heard this before.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphone Amps (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Amp for ATH-M50