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Stereo Amplifier as headphone amplifier? Does it work?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi folks

 

so I've seen a lot of stereo amplifiers with headphone out, and just wondering how effective are these headphone out ports on them?

Some stereo amplifiers aren't that expensive when bought used, but is the headphone amplifier component any good, if the headphone out even works as an amplifier?

 

I look at some of the old ones and I must admit that they look damn good. Classic, vintage, and it makes me want to get one, but if I have no use for them, then I doubt that I actually want one. 

 

Thanks

post #2 of 8

I'm pretty sure a high-end dedicated headphone amp will always sound better than a high-end AV receiver with a headphone jack. But that's not to say the headphone amps on receiver are no good.

 

If you have a good receiver with a respectable name (Yamaha, Pioneer, Onkyo, etc.) the headphone amp will sound just fine. Whether or not the headphone amp on a receiver is a strong-point of that receiver is a different story. Look at the specs and do some research.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua277456 View Post
 

I'm pretty sure a high-end dedicated headphone amp will always sound better than a high-end AV receiver with a headphone jack. But that's not to say the headphone amps on receiver are no good.

 

If you have a good receiver with a respectable name (Yamaha, Pioneer, Onkyo, etc.) the headphone amp will sound just fine. Whether or not the headphone amp on a receiver is a strong-point of that receiver is a different story. Look at the specs and do some research.

I'm not sure if I heard correctly, but some people say that stereo amplifiers are better than dedicated headphone amps. I'm not sure if I did hear correctly though.

I'm pretty sure that I remember reading that these are the best way to power the hardest to drive headphones such as the HD800 and also the HE-6.

Anyone confirm?

post #4 of 8

That can't be right.

 

While there may be uber-expensive receivers that may properly drive something like an HD800, it's better to have a dedicated headphone amp. You get higher SNR and lower THD. With a receiver, you have so much potential for EMI from other components.

 

A dedicated headphone amp is designed to do ONE thing. Drive headphones. A receiver is designed to do several different things. The manufacturer is not go to go "all-out" on the headphone amp on a receiver because that's not the primary purpose of a receiver. The primary purpose of a dedicated headphone amp is to drive the headphones, so that's all that's important and that's all the manufacturers and engineers are going to worry about.

 

By that logic alone I'm going to stand by my initial statement that it is better to have a dedicated headphone amp than to just use the phone jack on a receiver.

post #5 of 8
Many of the older stereo amps, with no video capabilities, have the headphone jack on the same circuit as the speaker amp, just with some resistors inline to bring the voltage down to an appropriate headphone level.
You may have heard of people wiring the harder to drive headphones to the speaker outputs, to get more power than the headphone jack.

If you don't already have a stereo amp to try, and you don't have speakers that you'd want to power anyway, might as well go for a dedicated headphone amp. Much smaller, lighter, simpler. But the quality receivers certainly sound good with headphones.
post #6 of 8

Some company's actually put a bit of effort into making the headphone out a quality output and other just throw it in as an afterthought. The good ones I know of off hand are NAD and Marantz. I have an Onkyo and all I can say about the headphone output is, it works. My Little Dot Mk 1+ is about ten times better.

post #7 of 8

Yeah, that's what I meant. Some companies may put a little more work into the integrated headphone amp on a receiver, but it's still better to a have a dedicated headphone amp.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the response. Case closed
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