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Proper amp etiquette?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I've been reading conflicting reports regarding proper headphone amp usage and am hoping you guys could help clears a couple of things up:

 

a) I saw some people comment that you should always first turn the amp on and only then hook your headphones up to it, because the "pop" generated during the amp's start up can damage the cans. Is that true or false?

 

b) My amp is hooked to a desktop PC. Should I keep the volume level on Windows maxed and just use the amp's knob to adjust the volume? Or always keep it lower than it is on the amp?

 

Thanks.

post #2 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by buemba View Post
 

I've been reading conflicting reports regarding proper headphone amp usage and am hoping you guys could help clears a couple of things up:

 

a) I saw some people comment that you should always first turn the amp on and only then hook your headphones up to it, because the "pop" generated during the amp's start up can damage the cans. Is that true or false?

 

b) My amp is hooked to a desktop PC. Should I keep the volume level on Windows maxed and just use the amp's knob to adjust the volume? Or always keep it lower than it is on the amp?

 

Thanks.

1. It depends on your amp. Some amps(many in fact) have protective relay, which protects the headphones. Try listening to your amp as it is starting up. If it pops loudly, I recommend that you plug in your headphones after it is fully started. If the pop is quite(or moderate) or non existent, you can keep your headphones plugged in all time.

 

2. Yes. Keep your source(your PC in this case) to max all time. But if it starts distorting or cracking, it is ok to turn down the volume on your PC a little. But I recommend keeping it at high levels. This allows less distortion.

 

Hope this cleared things up. This isn't like a controversy of a myth. It's just science. 

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks!

post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by kimvictor View Post

2. Yes. Keep your source(your PC in this case) to max all time. But if it starts distorting or cracking, it is ok to turn down the volume on your PC a little. But I recommend keeping it at high levels. This allows less distortion.
I got plenty of distortion when I maxed the sound in Windows (I'm currently using a Schiit Magni), so I actually have my Windows volume around 50%. This is probably because I'm using the sound card that was already in my computer, which has some amplification ability already.
post #5 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by superjawes View Post


I got plenty of distortion when I maxed the sound in Windows (I'm currently using a Schiit Magni), so I actually have my Windows volume around 50%. This is probably because I'm using the sound card that was already in my computer, which has some amplification ability already.

I would recommend that you get an DAC. Technically, you are double amping, which amplifies distortion.

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