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Advice connecting headphone amp to main integrated amp

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I will be adding a Schiit Valhalla headphone amp to my 2-channel music system and I'm wondering about the connection to my main amp. My source is a Mac mini connected via USB to a Schiit Bifrost DAC. From the DAC I connect to a NAD C356BEE integrated amp. From the pre-outs on the amp I connect to the line-in on my SVS sub to take advantage of the high pass filter (80 Hz) in the sub amp. This system works great except when I plug my Sennheiser HD 600 headphones into the NAD amp. Because the signal to my sub is still active, I hear (and feel) the sub operating with headphones on. I can't turn the sub off when listening to headphones because it is carrying the main signal through the high pass filter. Would connecting the Valhalla to the tape-out on my amp send a full signal to the headphone amp and bypass processing by the NAD amp and the associated high pass filtering of the SVS sub?

post #2 of 12

Sell off the Schiit Bifrost DAC and buy an Audio-GD NFB-15.32 external DAC amp, $255+shipping

Comes with a headphone output and a separate line-out, which you can connect to your NAD.

http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB1532/NFB15.32EN.htm

 

Or spend a few more dollars and get the NFB-11.32, $340+shipping

http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB1132/NFB11.32EN.htm

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

Sell off the Schiit Bifrost DAC and buy an Audio-GD NFB-15.32 external DAC amp, $255+shipping

Comes with a headphone output and a separate line-out, which you can connect to your NAD.

http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB1532/NFB15.32EN.htm

 

Or spend a few more dollars and get the NFB-11.32, $340+shipping

http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB1132/NFB11.32EN.htm

Thanks for your reply, but I'll go without a headphone amp before I sell the Bifrost. It sounds so much better than the previous DAC I had in my system...and the one before that!

post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by danr43 View Post
 

Thanks for your reply, but I'll go without a headphone amp before I sell the Bifrost. It sounds so much better than the previous DAC I had in my system...and the one before that!

Instead of the Valhalla, get the Asgard 2 or Lyr amp, as they come with a separate line-out, which you could connect to the NAD.

post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by danr43 View Post
 

Thanks for your reply, but I'll go without a headphone amp before I sell the Bifrost. It sounds so much better than the previous DAC I had in my system...and the one before that!

 

 

Are you on the BiFrost Uber upgraded version? It seems to be a significant improvement (mine is on order).

 

see http://www.head-fi.org/t/661444/schiit-bifrost-uber-analog-upgrade

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dc-k View Post
 

 

 

Are you on the BiFrost Uber upgraded version? It seems to be a significant improvement (mine is on order).

 

see http://www.head-fi.org/t/661444/schiit-bifrost-uber-analog-upgrade


Yes, I have the upgraded version. Just purchased it a month ago. I really like the way it sounds.

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

Instead of the Valhalla, get the Asgard 2 or Lyr amp, as they come with a separate line-out, which you could connect to the NAD.


I'm still trying to figure this out...what connections would I make to the NAD with the line-out on the headphone amp?

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by danr43 View Post
 


I'm still trying to figure this out...what connections would I make to the NAD with the line-out on the headphone amp?

The Asgard 2/Lyr come with an analog input (RCA, which would be connected to the DAC)

and with the Asgard/Lyr there is also a line-output (RCA) which would provide an analog audio signal to the NAD.

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by danr43 View Post

I will be adding a Schiit Valhalla headphone amp to my 2-channel music system and I'm wondering about the connection to my main amp. My source is a Mac mini connected via USB to a Schiit Bifrost DAC. From the DAC I connect to a NAD C356BEE integrated amp. From the pre-outs on the amp I connect to the line-in on my SVS sub to take advantage of the high pass filter (80 Hz) in the sub amp. This system works great except when I plug my Sennheiser HD 600 headphones into the NAD amp. Because the signal to my sub is still active, I hear (and feel) the sub operating with headphones on. I can't turn the sub off when listening to headphones because it is carrying the main signal through the high pass filter. Would connecting the Valhalla to the tape-out on my amp send a full signal to the headphone amp and bypass processing by the NAD amp and the associated high pass filtering of the SVS sub?

If you're taking the Pre 2 out from the NAD to the line in on the SVS, and then the High Pass Out from the SVS back to the Main In on the NAD, then the output from the speakers (which is what the headphone output is driven from) is going to have the sub's high pass filter applied.

The only way around that that I can see would be to forget about the high pass and use the full range Line Out on the SVS and hope that the sub still integrates well enough with your main speakers. If your main speakers are ported types, you can try stuffing the ports to raise their low frequency cutoff a bit to try and achieve better integration.

Yes, you could also connect the Valhalla to the Tape 2 output and just turn the volume on the NAD all the way down when listening through the Valhalla.

se
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Eddy View Post


If you're taking the Pre 2 out from the NAD to the line in on the SVS, and then the High Pass Out from the SVS back to the Main In on the NAD, then the output from the speakers (which is what the headphone output is driven from) is going to have the sub's high pass filter applied.

The only way around that that I can see would be to forget about the high pass and use the full range Line Out on the SVS and hope that the sub still integrates well enough with your main speakers. If your main speakers are ported types, you can try stuffing the ports to raise their low frequency cutoff a bit to try and achieve better integration.

Yes, you could also connect the Valhalla to the Tape 2 output and just turn the volume on the NAD all the way down when listening through the Valhalla.

se


se,

 

Thanks for clarifying my situation. I wish I could find an integrated amp like my NAD that has the option to set the sub crossover. Buying an AVR just seems like overkill for my music-only 2-channel set-up.

 

Wouldn't the tape 2 output on the NAD include the high pass filtered signal or would it pass a full signal to the headphone amp?

post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by danr43 View Post


se,

Thanks for clarifying my situation. I wish I could find an integrated amp like my NAD that has the option to set the sub crossover. Buying an AVR just seems like overkill for my music-only 2-channel set-up.

Well, when you're dealing with built-in, fixed frequency, fixed slope filters, you're not really getting an optimized solution to begin with. Try the suggestions I gave above and chances are you're not going to end up with a hugely different result than you have now.

Quote:
Wouldn't the tape 2 output on the NAD include the high pass filtered signal or would it pass a full signal to the headphone amp?

The NAD should route the selected input directly to the tape out, bypassing the preamp and hence the sub's high pass filter.

se
post #12 of 12

If you are trying to find a solution so that you don't need to get a separate headphone amp, try splitting the signal from your dac to amp to two separate inputs with a RCA splitter.  I am assuming your amp will have individual settings for each input. 

 

If you simply want to share a single dac with your headphone amp and integrated amp, I think it's best to split the signal at the source.  This way, you will have a cleaner signal going into the headphone amp. This means using a rca splitter at the dac's output.

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