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Bass boost and crossfeed? Necessary?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Since I can't set up a "full-size" system right now, I've turned to headphones as an alternative for great audio. I've had a pair of Sennheiser HD580s for a while, I've got some very good DACs, and now I'm looking for a big bang-for-the-buck amplifier.


Meanwhile, I have some questions about bass boost and crossfeed. These are new to me entering the world of head fi. I've read about it, I get it. How important are these things? How necessary? I've certainly not had issue with bass performance from my Sennheisers or the Grados I've used. Imaging and soundstage. Yeah. I can get this one more easily. Listening to binaural recordings (which are especially prevalent, particularly with the music I like to listen to most) through headphones, yeah, wow, the spacial information is amazing. Simply amazing. More conventional recordings can kinda work okay. In a great two channel system, soundstage and imaging can also be highly compellingly palpable. It's important to an extraordinary musical experience for me. What do folks have to say about this?




- SJ

Edited by tvr2500m - 3/7/14 at 11:13am
post #2 of 6

The only amplifier with crosfeed processing I've auditioned is the Meridian Prime.

I was quite keen to listen to this amplifier as I am quite speaker biased and was looking for something capable of bringing the headphone experience closer to what I'm used to. On paper the Meridian sounded like a nice fix.


All in all I was very pleased with the performance of the Meridian.

The HD650 I took to the audition sounded quite a lot better and cleaner through it compared to what I have at home (Heed Canamp fed by an Ayre QB-9 DAC, technically superior to the Meridian).


However, the main reason I wanted to listen to it (crossfeed function) turned out to be an underwhelming experience. 

Although fun for a while (out of curiosity perhaps), I actually preferred the Meridian with zero crossfeed. It simply didn't do it for me.

Now, I dunno how representative Meridian's implementation is to crossfeed in general, if I brought the wrong headphones for it, or it's just personal bias.

But from my point of view, I can't see crossfeed as a necessity by any means. It's just an option.

Some would like like it and some won't.

But from my standpoint I don't think it even makes for a good criteria in selecting a headphone amplifier.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply. Sounds like you're further along on that journey from two-channel to headphones. So, I'm checking it off for now that I'm not worrying about bass boost or crossfeed.

post #4 of 6

I have an older Headroom amp with crossfeed and I found it to be pretty underwhelming. It worked well for early stereo recordings that had everything panned hard left and right,but other than that it was pretty useless. The filtering involved in the crossfeed  messes with the frequency response of the headphones. With just the pure crossfeed and no high pass filter the sound of the amp was significantly softened. The high pass filter helped the with the softening of the sound, but at a cost of a more etched high end.


There is a VST plugin called Tone Boosters Isone that works fairly well as both a crossfeed and a speaker simulation. You can try it for free with all the features enabled, but the settings cannot be saved. I found it to work very well, but just like the Headroom crossfeed, it does mess with the frequency response of the headphones. You can use an equalizer to try to counter act the changes in frequency response, but I found it to be very difficult to find the right setting and gave up.

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks. Another no vote, it looks like.

post #6 of 6

I use the ifi ican, and the 3d setting is always on. For me, crossfeed is a must with headphone as im used to speaekrs.

It really help imo

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