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Running headphones from speaker amps?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Can someone please explain this to me? I know that is a bread/general question, but it's something I want to learn more about.

I have a series of (probably stupid) questions that will clear up a lot for me.

1. Can any headphone be ran from a speaker amp?

2. Is it difficult to mod headphones for this use, and is it reversable?

3. Do need to mod the speaker amp as well, and is it reversable?

4. Would you want to use very large speaker amps? (ie high wattage amps 200+ watts per channel)

5. Are there downsides to doing this?

Any/all help or comments would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks! smily_headphones1.gif
post #2 of 10
When you say "speaker amp", what do you really mean? Do you mean the headphone jack like what would be found on the front of a home theater receiver? Or do you mean connected to the speaker jacks typically found on the back of a home theater receiver? Can you provide a specific example of the brand & model of "speaker amp" you are referring to?

In general, you should not hook the headphones to the speaker jacks of an amplifier. Headphones need MUCH lower voltage levels than your typical 8 ohm speakers. Hooking your headphones to the speaker jacks will result in far too hot a signal being sent to the headphones. One of two things will happen: 1) It will be so loud that you will be completely unable to touch the volume control without blasting your eardrums; or 2) Your headphone drivers will be blown to smithereens and you will have ruined your headphones.

There are exceptions to the above - there are some specific types of headphones that can be driven by the amp's outputs - but this is NOT the norm. There are also ways to lower the voltage on the speaker amp outputs (by adding resistance) that will allow the speaker amp to be used.

My question would be: What the heck are you really trying to do, and why do you want to do it?
post #3 of 10
As far as I know only the Hifiman HE-6 can be run directly from speaker amplifiers. To do it you need a special cable that is terminated in spades or bananas or you can get the Hifiman speaker amp adaptor box. Heaps of info in the thread below.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/529873/amps-that-can-drive-the-hifiman-he-6-planar-headphones/2265#post_10082005
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input billybob_jcv.

I am talking about the speaker wire terminals on amplifers. Amplifiers meaning regular outboard amps for full size speakers. I have Emo amps in my main system.

I was asking more for curiosity than anything else. I was reading a thread where they were talking about running the Senn HD-800 off a speaker amp (without good luck/results), and I became curious as I had never heard of that for dynamic driver headphones before.

I am aware that doing this is a popular option for hard to drive ortho/planar headphones as well.

EDIT: Thanks for the link and info Josh05. I will read it over. smily_headphones1.gif
Edited by painted klown - 1/20/14 at 3:28pm
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh05 View Post

As far as I know only the Hifiman HE-6 can be run directly from speaker amplifiers. To do it you need a special cable that is terminated in spades or bananas or you can get the Hifiman speaker amp adaptor box. Heaps of info in the thread below.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/529873/amps-that-can-drive-the-hifiman-he-6-planar-headphones/2265#post_10082005

Wait till he sees the price tag on the HE-6's.

One can put cans on speaker taps if they know what they are doing. You can look up, L-PAD and T-PAD resistor networks, the L-PAD may be more appropriate here. You can also find ones with variable resistors (controls) although I've never used the variable type, I calculated the values and wired up my own. You can find stereo variable L-PADs on Amazon and elsewhere.

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

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

post #6 of 10
You would be MUCH better off running the headphones from your preamp to a dedicated headphone amp. Leave your speaker amp completely out of the equation.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
All of my current headphones can be driven from an ipod. I was asking more out of curiosity to be honest. For home use, I have an Emotiva DC-1 DAC/headamp. While the headamp isn't anything to write home to mom about, it does sound considrably better than my laptops sounds card, or my 5th gen ipod video. Especially with my Grado SR80i. YMMV

For a long while now, I have dreamed of getting the Senn HD-650, but after doing some more reading, I think I may like the hifiman HE-500 even more so. The problem is that he HE-500 is considerably more expensive than the HD-650, and the 650 almost pushes my buget to the limit as it is. tongue.gif
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by painted klown View Post

All of my current headphones can be driven from an ipod. I was asking more out of curiosity to be honest. For home use, I have an Emotiva DC-1 DAC/headamp. While the headamp isn't anything to write home to mom about, it does sound considrably better than my laptops sounds card, or my 5th gen ipod video. Especially with my Grado SR80i. YMMV

For a long while now, I have dreamed of getting the Senn HD-650, but after doing some more reading, I think I may like the hifiman HE-500 even more so. The problem is that he HE-500 is considerably more expensive than the HD-650, and the 650 almost pushes my buget to the limit as it is. tongue.gif

Take look at the HD600, it is very good and costs less than the HD650. I prefer it over the HD650's and did  careful in person comparison. I own both HD600 as well as HE-500's.

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StanD View Post

Take look at the HD600, it is very good and costs less than the HD650. I prefer it over the HD650's and did  careful in person comparison. I own both HD600 as well as HE-500's.

 

It seems there are quite a few people on here that do prefer the HD600 to the HD650. I also see that Inner fidelity had the 600 on the wall of fame, but retired the 650 because of it.

What I love about the 650 is the laid back treble it has. From my understanding, the 600 is not quite as laid back, but a bit more accurate overall due to this.

Is that correct?

How would you say these two phones compare?

I have not heard the 600, but have heard the 650 breify a few different times. I was blown away by it to be honest. I am just attracted to the HE-500 as I believe it will have deeper bass extension and more weight in the lower register.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by painted klown View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StanD View Post
 

Take look at the HD600, it is very good and costs less than the HD650. I prefer it over the HD650's and did  careful in person comparison. I own both HD600 as well as HE-500's.

 

It seems there are quite a few people on here that do prefer the HD600 to the HD650. I also see that Inner fidelity had the 600 on the wall of fame, but retired the 650 because of it.

What I love about the 650 is the laid back treble it has. From my understanding, the 600 is not quite as laid back, but a bit more accurate overall due to this.

Is that correct?

How would you say these two phones compare?

I have not heard the 600, but have heard the 650 breify a few different times. I was blown away by it to be honest. I am just attracted to the HE-500 as I believe it will have deeper bass extension and more weight in the lower register.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!

The HE-500 has treble more like the HD600 with an extra sparkle rather than the slightly muted treble of the HD650. I think the HD650 has an elevated bass and a slightly rolled down treble which is not for me as I perceive it as a downward FR slope. The HD600 is also a little more sensitive than the HD650 and thus is easier to amp. In any case the HD650 is no slouch and is a quality can.

So yes, your statement that the HD600 is a more accurate can is correct as per my ears. At one time I thought that I preferred a more laid back treble but after some careful listening through quality cans like the HD600 I quickly changed my mind.

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