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Do I need an amp?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I have the sennheiser HD558, I was wondering if I need an amp. My current source is a Lenovo Y510p laptop, and I'm wondering if I can buy an amp for under $40. What is the primary point of an amp in the first place? Just wondering if I need one, and if it's worth spending more money to get a better one.
post #2 of 23

the 558s are 50ohm so yes an amp would give you a little improvement.  Maybe get a Cmoy bb? That was my first amp and I loved it.  

 

What's it do?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headphone_amplifier

post #3 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DerpMaster View Post

I have the Sennheiser HD558, I was wondering if I need an amp. My current source is a Lenovo Y510p laptop, and I'm wondering if I can buy an amp for under $40. What is the primary point of an amp in the first place? Just wondering if I need one, and if it's worth spending more money to get a better one.

I would say to get a Fiio E10 USB-DAC-Amp, $62-$75.

post #4 of 23

I had a Sennheiser RS 170 (slightly lower than HD 518) wireless. People said an amp makes no difference.

 

I tried without an amp and it sucked bad.

 

I tried a Fiio E11 and the sound improved, but it still wasn't enjoyable.

 

I tried my Asus STX and the headphones were finally worth listening to. Still there was a veil and it wasn't perfect, but the sound was much better.

 

I tried a Lehmann BCL at the Senn showroom, sounded awesome, didn't buy it though.

 

Then I got a Bravo Ocean which took sound to the next level compared to Asus STX.

 

And Project Ember was a step up from even the Bravo, now comparable to the BCL amp.

 

So, in my experience, with even a simple headphone like Senn wireless RS series, the amp makes a huge difference. And these are 32 ohm headphones.

 

I haven't used HD 558 but I have used HD 518 and HD 598 and yes the amp does play an important role.

 

Thank You

 

Aakshey

post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by techboy View Post
 

I had a Sennheiser RS 170 (slightly lower than HD 518) wireless. People said an amp makes no difference.

 

I tried without an amp and it sucked bad.

 

I tried a Fiio E11 and the sound improved, but it still wasn't enjoyable.

 

I tried my Asus STX and the headphones were finally worth listening to. Still there was a veil and it wasn't perfect, but the sound was much better.

 

I tried a Lehmann BCL at the Senn showroom, sounded awesome, didn't buy it though.

 

Then I got a Bravo Ocean which took sound to the next level compared to Asus STX.

 

And Project Ember was a step up from even the Bravo, now comparable to the BCL amp.

 

So, in my experience, with even a simple headphone like Senn wireless RS series, the amp makes a huge difference. And these are 32 ohm headphones.

 

I haven't used HD 558 but I have used HD 518 and HD 598 and yes the amp does play an important role.

 

Thank You

 

Aakshey

 

Wait what? please tell me how you use a wireless headphone with an amp?

post #6 of 23

Just like you do it with a regular headphone.

 

Stop over thinking and the answer is simple.

 

Connect the transmitter to the headphone amplifier like you would connect it in a usual scenario.

post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by techboy View Post
 

Just like you do it with a regular headphone.

 

Stop over thinking and the answer is simple.

 

Connect the transmitter to the headphone amplifier like you would connect it in a usual scenario.

 

It won't give you the benefits of amping anything though.  The actual amplifier for the wireless headphones is in the head-set, not the transmitter.  And yes I do know what I'm talking about - we have an older RS 140 at home.

 

Placebo's a beeeatch - huh?

post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DerpMaster View Post

I have the sennheiser HD558, I was wondering if I need an amp. My current source is a Lenovo Y510p laptop, and I'm wondering if I can buy an amp for under $40. What is the primary point of an amp in the first place? Just wondering if I need one, and if it's worth spending more money to get a better one.

 

Hi

 

If you look up the specs for the headphones, you'll see that although they are 50 ohm, they are also very sensitive (112dB SPL) - so amping isn't going to do a lot for them.  How is the sound out of your lap-top?  If it's loud enough, and reasonably clean (no static or noise) then you don't really need anything else.  If you're getting some noise out of the laptop (can happen - especially if the laptop has a cheap onboard sound chip) - then getting a cheap dac/amp combo may help.

 

As Purple suggested - for a transportable solution - the E10 is cheap and would do the job.  If you need something more portable - even the Fiio E07 would help.

 

But once again - actual amping isn't probably going to do a lot except give you extra volume - which (unless you have really weak onboard sound) you don't really need.

post #9 of 23

The difference is night and day. It isn't a minor placebo difference. It is night and day. That is why I said, stop over thinking. Buy a RS 170/180 and buy a headphone amp worth $300+ and try it for yourself. It worked for me and it should work for others. It makes as much difference as it does with the HD 598.

post #10 of 23

All you need to do is add the headphone amplifier to the chain. I don't know whether RS 140 has a transmitter to connect or not, but RS 170/180 have. You are talking theory through specs. I have experienced it several times, in several different situations. I haven't tried RS 140 though.

post #11 of 23
lol techboy.... Then you must have done some crazy electrical engineering on the headphones to bypass the on board dac since you're not sending wireless digital signals anymore. So you're basically Nikola Tesla and you've figured out wireless electricity and then some?  The difference you're hearing is nothing but differences in gain. 

 

EDIT:OP because this is probably your first quality headphone you will probably be blown away by the headphones with out any amp.  If you get bored with them after a while you can get an amp when you're ready to.


Edited by linglingjr - 9/26/13 at 11:56pm
post #12 of 23

Well you are wrong. That is the same as saying changing a DAC or whatever makes no difference either.

 

Because when the amp is first in the chain, the signal first goes from the PC to the amp and then to the transmitter and then to the headphone. So it has already been taken care of when it reaches you.

 

As I said, don't over think it. Buy it. Try it. If you don't like it then sell it. But it makes a difference. And you won't know unless you buy and try it.

post #13 of 23

Putting an amplifier before a wireless transmitter may change the sound of the headphones (for better or worse), but the change will not be due to the amplifier supplying any additional power to the transducers.

post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by techboy View Post
 

Well you are wrong. That is the same as saying changing a DAC or whatever makes no difference either.

 

Because when the amp is first in the chain, the signal first goes from the PC to the amp and then to the transmitter and then to the headphone. So it has already been taken care of when it reaches you.

 

As I said, don't over think it. Buy it. Try it. If you don't like it then sell it. But it makes a difference. And you won't know unless you buy and try it.

 

O.o

post #15 of 23
Techboy
The purpose of an amplifier is to supply either more current or more voltage to the transducers. Please explain to me exactly how you can transmit that extra current or voltage wirelessly?

Simple answer - you can't. So what you thought you heard was placebo plain and simple.

And it's no use trying to debate the point either. Unfortunately in this case you are clearly incorrect.
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