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Fiio E17, Gain setting and 250 Ohm Headphones (Beyer 880 Pros)

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hey all. Long time viewer of this forum, first time poster here (be gentle!)


My apologies if this has been answered elsewhere. I have spend a good hour on this forum looking for this answer, but seem not to have found it.


I have a Fiio E17. And I have recenlty bought the (very nice) beyer BT 880 Pros 250Ohm


My question is this:


I am a music producer by trade. I have bought these cans as a reference pair alongside my near fields speakers. They are known as one of the "flattest" headphones out there. They sound great powered by my desktop amps (a Denon PMA-255UK and a Yamaha all in One "Natural Sound" Unit)


Now - to the Fiio.


I noticed that, on the standard +6DB gain setting, my mixes lacked a certain "something". They did not sparkle and kick like they did at the studio. I then referenced some other music from artists in a similar genre (some Laura Marling and Mumford and Sons, should you care!) and they too lacked. Whereas, more "hard" mastered music such as the new Frank Turner and well, any modern dance/pop sounded fine...


So, I tried the +12db setting. Now MY mixes and both Laura/Mumford sound ace. Full of life! The dance music becomes almost "too" pushed - but then, such is its want!


So my question is:


Is +12db the "correct" setting for this headphone (DT 880 Pro 250OHm)


Basically, I want to hear the music "uncoloured". Flat. As it is. For my purposes of checking for the market. I want them to be driven "correctly" - not anemic or "boosted". 



The closest I go to and answer on Google is this 


via http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/blogs/rjm/858-headphone-amplifier-gain.html


16 ohms______9 dB 3x
32 ohms______12 dB 4x
65 ohms______15 dB 6x
120 ohms_____18 dB 8x
300 ohms_____22 dB 12x


Looking at this 1db is fine (and then some)


There is a lot of talk about impedance matching online, but none (I have found) about gain settings. 


Some people say that GAIN is purely for providing enough power. Both +6db and +12db give me plenty of volume (turning it down a good few notches for the latter, naturally!)


OTHERS say that gain changes the sound. 


SO.... 6 or 12 for my purposes???


Thanks so much in advance



In return I can offer opinions on the DT 880s once i get to know them. Early signs are Gooooood!


and of course my OTHER Headphones:


Audio Technica ATH AD900

Shure SE530

Shure SE115

Bose On ear

BEYER DT150 and DT100 (for tracking, naturally)


James x

post #2 of 4

Whatever setting sounds best to you is the correct setting, in this case it's 12.

post #3 of 4
I'm also still looking for a convincing opinion regarding gain setting, for 'correct' and 'uncoloured' sound. Have you tried both 6 and 12 db gain settings of your Fiio amp with the Beyer DT150? Maybe worth experimenting as it is also a Beyer with 250 ohm - may provide some clue.

(I'm using a Beyer DT150 with FiiO E11: while low gain works fine, I expect high gain provide something more. I've read somewhere, that high gain usually have more dynamic and punchier sound)
post #4 of 4

For the complete answer you should find the sensitivity spec for those phones.

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