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How do you go about using your headphone amp with multiple devices?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

So I just purchased a Little Dot MKIII, which I've had my eye on for years.  I've had Beyerdynamic DT 880 Premium 250 ohm headphones for a while now and have wanted to get a decent amp to go with it for a while, and this was my choice.  It came in the mail yesterday (bigger than I thought it would be) and while I know I will benefit from it, I guess I'm trying to figure out HOW to benefit from it most.

 

I have a turntable going to a phono pre amp, and then into an Onkyo receiver.  I also have my PC hooked up to the receiver via HDMI.   It seems that I'm in a bit of a jam in regards to it being a challenge to hook up the headphone amp in a way that I'm able to use whichever source I want at any time I want.  Does anyone have any suggestions?  I think the PC is probably what I would use it with the majority of the time, but I guess like anyone, I like options.   I'm toying with the idea of buying an X-Fi Titanium HD sound card and using the rca line outs on that to go straight to the headphone amp, but obviously that doesn't solve the problem of using the turntable.

 

Getting the feeling that I may just have to make a choice and go with it because my options seem a little slim.  Last night I tried running the headphone jack of the Onkyo NR809 to the rca inputs of the amp and just trying that, but 1) There was a buzz in the headphones, and 2) I suspect that it's probably not optimal to run from the headphone jack of a receiver into the rca's of a headphone amp. 


Edited by mva5580 - 1/15/14 at 8:44am
post #2 of 18

Can you use the onkyo receiver as a preamp?.. just take one of its RCA line-outs directly into the little dot?  That way you can switch between multiple sources and pipe the audio into your headphone setup.

 

Side note... it would also be a good way for you to compare the "unamped" sound straight out of the Onkyo against the little dot.  FWIW... some receivers have very good sounding headphone outputs.


Edited by kramer5150 - 1/15/14 at 9:10am
post #3 of 18
Use the RCA outs of the Onkyo, definitely not the headphone jack in the front.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 

Unfortunately it doesn't have any RCA outs that would work in that capacity.  It has Zone 2 RCA outs, but it will only output analog sourced audio, not digital.   I know that this receiver has pre outs, but the front l/r pre outs are already being used to go to an amp for those 2 speakers.

 

I'm thinking I may just buy an external USB sound card that has RCA outs and run those straight to the headphone amp.


Edited by mva5580 - 1/15/14 at 9:25am
post #5 of 18

Here's one idea. Connect the pre outs of the Onkyo to the Little Dot, and connect the pre outs of the Little Dot to the speaker amp. The Little Dot will automatically use its pre outs if no headphones are plugged in, and now you also have tubes for your speakers. 

post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 

Well that does sound like it would work, I guess my only question would be am I going to mess up anything by going that route?  I'm not going to damage the headphone amp, speaker amp, or the speakers themselves with that connection, correct?

post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mva5580 View Post
 

Unfortunately it doesn't have any RCA outs that would work in that capacity.  It has Zone 2 RCA outs, but it will only output analog sourced audio, not digital.   I know that this receiver has pre outs, but the front l/r pre outs are already being used to go to an amp for those 2 speakers.

 

I'm thinking I may just buy an external USB sound card that has RCA outs and run those straight to the headphone amp.

Does it have a send/receive set of outputs?... tape loop I think is the common term.  I think you can take the send line out to the Little dot.

 

Older receivers sometimes had 2-3 loops for multiple recording devices.

post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mva5580 View Post
 

Well that does sound like it would work, I guess my only question would be am I going to mess up anything by going that route?  I'm not going to damage the headphone amp, speaker amp, or the speakers themselves with that connection, correct?


No, the Little Dot is a fully functional preamp. It has preamp outs on the back. I've used it as a preamp for a speaker amplifier before as well (though the speaker amp was connected to headphones). The only minor problem is that you will have redundant volume knobs (Onkyo and Little Dot), so you'll want to fiddle around and see which combination of volume sounds the best.

 

I suppose that if you had the both the Onkyo and Little Dot volume turned up at once, it could be way too loud on your speakers. That's the only possible issue I can imagine. 

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 

Great, thanks! I will give that a shot a little bit later tonight, it does definitely sound like it will though.  Frustrated that I didn't think of that myself, but I truly appreciate the guidance.

post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mva5580 View Post
 

Unfortunately it doesn't have any RCA outs that would work in that capacity.  It has Zone 2 RCA outs, but it will only output analog sourced audio, not digital.   I know that this receiver has pre outs, but the front l/r pre outs are already being used to go to an amp for those 2 speakers.

 

Hey I missed this...

 

Another alternative is to use a "Y" adapter and split the L/R pre-outs into two.  Send one side to the speaker amp, send the other side to the LDIII.  Don't worry about signal degradation or anything like that.  This would take the LD out of your speaker signal chain and side-step the volume matching issue.

 

post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 

That looks like a solid choice too....where did you get that one from? I see other adapters on amazon, etc but I really like that one you have pictured.

 

Never mind I found it, Radio Shack.  Out of stock.


Edited by mva5580 - 1/15/14 at 2:00pm
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mva5580 View Post
 

So I just purchased a Little Dot MKIII, which I've had my eye on for years.  I've had Beyerdynamic DT 880 Premium 250 ohm headphones for a while now and have wanted to get a decent amp to go with it for a while, and this was my choice.  It came in the mail yesterday (bigger than I thought it would be) and while I know I will benefit from it, I guess I'm trying to figure out HOW to benefit from it most.

 

I have a turntable going to a phono pre amp, and then into an Onkyo receiver.  I also have my PC hooked up to the receiver via HDMI.   It seems that I'm in a bit of a jam in regards to it being a challenge to hook up the headphone amp in a way that I'm able to use whichever source I want at any time I want.  Does anyone have any suggestions?  I think the PC is probably what I would use it with the majority of the time, but I guess like anyone, I like options.   I'm toying with the idea of buying an X-Fi Titanium HD sound card and using the rca line outs on that to go straight to the headphone amp, but obviously that doesn't solve the problem of using the turntable.

 

Getting the feeling that I may just have to make a choice and go with it because my options seem a little slim.  Last night I tried running the headphone jack of the Onkyo NR809 to the rca inputs of the amp and just trying that, but 1) There was a buzz in the headphones, and 2) I suspect that it's probably not optimal to run from the headphone jack of a receiver into the rca's of a headphone amp. 

Might need to get an analog audio switch box, with multiable inputs and one output to go to the MKIII.

Also might consider getting something with a decent DAC chip for the PC.

(Xonar DX or D1 sound card, used, $60).

post #13 of 18

Just Amazon search for "RCA Y adapter".  Theres dozens of different types.  You need SMDF... single M dual F RCA type.

post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
I've tried the splitter, and the issue is that it doesn't turn off the main speakers.....it just outputs to both at the same time. Turn the volume up on one, it goes up on both.

I also don't seem to get any sound at all from the other suggested method.
post #15 of 18

Ugh... so much for that.

 

Is there any way to turn off your speaker amp?

 

What Onkyo model # is it ?  Might be time to open www search by model #.

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