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What are the most power hungry high impedance headphones?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi. I'm constructing a headphone amplifier that's supposed to drive any pair of headphones, but I'm not sure of how powerful I actually need it to be. I'm currently getting about at least 1W output up to about 150Ohms which is enough to blow most headphone, but what about headphone with a higher impedance? Are there some really power hungry headphone with an impedance of up to 600Ohms? I don't want the amplifier to be the bottle neck regardless of what types of headphones that are plugged into it.

post #2 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plecto View Post
 

Hi. I'm constructing a headphone amplifier that's supposed to drive any pair of headphones, but I'm not sure of how powerful I actually need it to be. I'm currently getting about at least 1W output up to about 150Ohms which is enough to blow most headphone, but what about headphone with a higher impedance? Are there some really power hungry headphone with an impedance of up to 600Ohms? I don't want the amplifier to be the bottle neck regardless of what types of headphones that are plugged into it.

Well, there are no commonly used very insensitive high impedance headphones, so I suppose 1 watt at 150 ohm would drive just about all high impedance headphones out there except maybe a few vintage ones.

 

The problem would more be low impedance planars like the HE-6. We are talking 5 watts 50 ohm here..

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Lower impedance's isn't a problem, my amp can deliver close to 8W into 50Ohms. I'm glad to hear that there aren't many high impedance headphones that require the same kind of power :)

post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plecto View Post
 

Lower impedance's isn't a problem, my amp can deliver close to 8W into 50Ohms. I'm glad to hear that there aren't many high impedance headphones that require the same kind of power :)

Well, I suppose it could drive HE-6 and akg k1000 then :) 

 

Of course your amp can't drive electrostats, though.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

Electrostats? What type of headphones are those?

post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plecto View Post
 

Electrostats? What type of headphones are those?

 

http://www.kenrockwell.com/audio/stax/electrostatic.htm

post #7 of 12
Yeah, electrostats is a hole different type of headphone. If you ever want to do some DIY in headphones I'd recommend stats because they are fairly simple to make if you got the tools and they can sound as good as some of the best headphones around.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

I can't find what makes these so difficult to drive though. Do they have a very high impedance or are they just very inefficient?

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plecto View Post
 

I can't find what makes these so difficult to drive though. Do they have a very high impedance or are they just very inefficient?

You got it all wrong. Very, very high impedance, but that's not the issue. They work almost purely by voltage swing, we are talking about amps that should be able to deliver 400+ vrms to drive them properly.

 

They work from the electrostatic principle, like electric fields, not magnetic fields. So you charge up the diaphragm with enough voltage generating 200-1000 volts of static electric charge, then you sandwhich it between 2 plates (stators), through which you pass the electrical sound signals usually amplified with a gain of some 55-60dB.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

I see. So there are special types of high voltage amplifiers meant for these headsets?

post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plecto View Post
 

I see. So there are special types of high voltage amplifiers meant for these headsets?

Yes, I have myself been thinking about a solution involving an output transformer design tapping high voltage on the tube side for electrostats and having the headphone and/or speakers on the down-transformed side as you usually would do it, but I simply don't have anywhere near the knowledge to make something like that from scratch if it even makes sense in the first place.

 

There are also adaptors for electrostats, using transformers to amplify the signal from a speaker amp. One example is the woo wee, but Stax made many of those back in the days.


Edited by davidsh - 5/7/14 at 1:48pm
post #12 of 12

This thread might be useful for you.  Not sure how accurate the data is however.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/668238/headphones-sensitivity-impedance-required-v-i-p-amplifier-gain

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