Amp for 4 speakers & 1 headphone
Jun 13, 2002 at 10:27 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11

nulheim

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I'm searching an amp wich I can hear music in my headphone, and in 4 speakers I'm going to buy, and I need some suggestions, because I'm an absolut newbie
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- I have only 200-300$ to buy it.

- The amp should be of a known name, because here in Spain I cannot access to the amps I've seen in this forum (Corda...). It must be Sony, Pioneer, Denon, and so...

- It's not necessary it has a Dolby Digital processor. Well, if my Zoltrix Nightingale can sound in four speakers without Dolby, I'm sure that there will be amps that can do too
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I have not interested in watch DVD movies: only hear music in a surround environment.

And if you can suggest me a model of speakers too, all the better
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Thanks.
 
Jun 14, 2002 at 1:47 AM Post #2 of 11

markjia

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Four speakers? I don't know of any amps that take 4 channels (at least not at the consumer level). But still, I don't like the idea of using your sound card's 4 channel output. Sound cards like yours provide poor output (especially the analog part). Not to mention that if it is creating 4 channel output from a stereo source, than most likely a lot or distortion will be introduced.

What is your currect setup? if you already have decent headphones, you might want to get a better source first. Or, you could get a headphone amp (depending on your headphones). The headphone output from most amps are not very good (though probably better than your sound card). To give more specific advice, I need to know the details of your system.

If you really want a surround speaker system now, consider getting one capable of Dobly Pro-Logic II. This format will create a 5.1 surround sound from 2 channel input, and does better signal processing than your sound card. Again, I don't suggest using surround sound systems with 2 channel music. You might like it now, but with a better setup, you should start to notice the distortion, and start to hate it (like I did). If you decide not to change your sound card, I would suggest you get the digital in/out daughter card (assuming you have not already). Then, export the sound from the computer into the new receiver via coaxial digital output. This way, you can use the DAC in the receiver instead of the crappier one in the sound card. this would also minimize the electromagnetic interference in the computer. I would think this would provide a very significant benefit.

As for some specific models, you might want to look into Denon's entry level a/v receiver. Or if you can afford it, consider Marantz's. Note that using Pro Logic II requried 5.1 speakers. But honestly, no one uses 4 channel surround sound anymore (not including cheap computer speakers).
 
Jun 14, 2002 at 3:57 AM Post #3 of 11

kelly

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nulheim

The problem is that in $300 receivers, the headphone output is a very low priority. Only a tiny amount of the money goes to making the headphone jack work.

I don't know what receivers go for over in Spain. In the US, a lot of people really like the Sony ES, Marantz, Denon and Onyo receivers. All of their models have surround sound but none have particularly good headphone outputs. Maybe Yamaha is your best bet? Some people here have said SOME Yamaha model receivers have acceptable headphone outputs.

When you read about the Corda HA-1 and other "amps", these are dedicated headphone amplifiers. They don't power speakers at all much less surround sound and many of them don't provide any component switching or anything else. These are the products the people on this forum are experts on.
 
Jun 14, 2002 at 4:45 AM Post #5 of 11

Clay

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If you need a 4 channel amp and/or 4 channel amp with speakers all with a headphone jack, here are some ideas.

*** edit: markjia is correct ubid does not ship internationally. this will give you an idea of what you can get for <$300.

Ubid.com has low prices on receivers yet high price on shipping. Here is one idea: Onkyo TXDS595 500W ~$229
http://www.ubid.com/actn/opn/getpage...tionId=7442202 Yet calculate shipping charges before bidding, these guys are a rip off on shipping.

***edit: markjia is correct that this is lo fi, yet for a budget or PC based system it works fine.

Hifi.com offers inexpensive systems. this is the lowest priced one I could find for you with a headphone jack. http://www.hifi.com/store/category.c...&item=k1pk659e

***edit - markjia is correct ubid does not ship internatilonally and you would need a preamp for this hifi amp.

For just a 4 channel amp, Parasound HCA-855 125 X 5 Watts (4 Ohms) multi Channel Amplifier is ~$289 on ubid. shipping could be $100 http://www.ubid.com/actn/opn/getpage...tionId=7442142


I have a DTT 2500 set up on my PC. It has 4/5 channel stereo, dolby digital and 5 speakers plus a sub woofer. Only good for a small room. I got it for $299 with a free DVD player a few years ago. no headphone jack. I have a Onkyo 484 5 channel amp for my TV and DVD and when I do not want to turn on all my tube equipment. It works fine and I bought a refurbished one cheap.
eBay is also a pretty good place to find low prices on equipment.

Let me know what you have now, immediate needs and future plans and I can reccomend some other ideas. I am still new to headphones and headphone amps, yet have been into audio/video/PCs for a long time.
 
Jun 14, 2002 at 5:29 AM Post #6 of 11

markjia

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I did some looking around, and found that Pro-Logic II receivers (at least the denon receivers, and probably the onkyo, marantz, sony es, etc) can provide do Pro-Logic II processing into 2, 3, 4, 5, or 5.1 speakers. So if you can't afford 5.1 speakers now, you could gradually add them over time.

Quote:

Originally posted by Clay
Here is one idea: Onkyo TXDS595 500W ~$229
http://www.ubid.com/actn/opn/getpage...tionId=7442202 Yet calculate shipping charges before bidding, these guys are a rip off on shipping.

Hifi.com offers inexpensive systems. this is the lowest priced one I could find for you with a headphone jack. http://www.hifi.com/store/category.c...&item=k1pk659e

For just a 4 channel amp, Parasound HCA-855 125 X 5 Watts (4 Ohms) multi Channel Amplifier is ~$289 on ubid. shipping could be $100 http://www.ubid.com/actn/opn/getpage...tionId=7442142


I don't mean to be condescending, but I think I should comment on these suggestions.

I believe the Onkyo TXDS595 is actually an old model (at least it's not listed on their website as current) and is refurbished, but I guess depending on what price the auction ends, it could be a good deal. The replacement for this model (SR600) is around $500, the model below it is the new SR500, which sells for $300.

The Cambridge generally makes some descent speakers, but this SoundWorks package uses a JVC reciever, which is not as good. It also uses those tiny speakers, which never perform very well. But I guess if you are looking for a cheap deal, this could be it.

Parasound makes some really good amps, except I doubt you can get this one for under $350. But the bigger problem is that it is only an amp, meaning that it does not have any sort of signal processing, or more importanly, prequires a pre-amp. You can't directly feed inputs from a source like a computer into the amp. You need to put a pre-amp in btw, or else it will sound horrible, and might damage the speakers. Plus, you would have no volume control. You would also need some good speakers (several thousand dollars total) to actally benefit from this amp. The amp itself is pretty good, but I would think it is beyond your price range.

Oh, and by the way, last I heard, uBid will not sell outside the US.
 
Jun 14, 2002 at 7:52 AM Post #7 of 11

nulheim

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markjia:
My soundcard is a Zoltrix Nightingale Pro, with Optical and coaxial out, so to send the signal to the receiver is a good idea
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Thank you por warning me about the four speakers. I suppose that i have to go to the 5.1
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I have a CD player: Denon CDM-440, with digital coaxial out. Although it is not an audiophile unit, for me it's all right.

Clay:
My inmediate needs is a receiver/amp that can use with:
- Senn 497
- Denon DCM-440
- 5.1 speakers that I have to buy (aprox. 200$)

I know tha the Senn 497 doesn't require amplification, but in the future (1 or 2 years) I want to upgrade to others headphones (maybe the HD-600, some difficult to drive).

In the future maybe I can buy a dedicated amp for my future headphones, but I don't sure if the amps that I see in this forum (like the Corda) can deliver to Europe.


Kelly:
I'm not an audiophile, and I don't want to spend 1000$ in an amp that I don't take advantage of

If I see a model of 400-500 that fullfils my needs, I'll wait to get the money. But the limit is there
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Jun 14, 2002 at 8:04 AM Post #8 of 11

markjia

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Your denon will probably provide digital output significantly superior to your computer. And if you have two digital sources, you might want to make sure the receiver can handle two inputs. I think most have both a fibre optical and coaxial jack, but whether they can be used simultaniously, i'm not sure.

I wouldn't worry about headphone output for someting like a senn 497. And if you do move upto the HD600s, then I doesn't really matter what reciever you use, none will do it justice.

If i remember correctly, the Corda is actually made by a german company. so shipping to you shouldn't be a problem...might actually be easier than to north america.
 
Jun 14, 2002 at 8:18 AM Post #9 of 11

markjia

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Oh, and if you want 5.1 speakers, you should spend more than $200. it's not worth getting a $300 receiver for a bunch of crap speakers. I think to get 5 speakers and a subwoofer, you need to spend $500 to get decent quality. I'd suggest getting 2 or 4 speakers to start with, and add more over time. As I've said earlier, Pro Logic II will work in any of these configurations. You might be able to get them for less if you by them used. Personally, I prefer to buy used speakers. I find speakers are more durable than something like an amp (so there is less of a concern about longevity), and you get more bang for you buck with used equipment.

Most people will tell you that the speakers are more important than the amp. If you really can't afford to spend the money on good speakers (or not willing to gradually add more), I'd say go with a cheaper Pro Logic II or even Pro Logic speaker package. It's really a waste of money to get a good receiver but crappy speakers.

Either that, or focus on headphones...for $500, you can get a set of HD580s plus a Headroom Little amp. This would give you sound better than an $2000 speaker setup.
 
Jun 14, 2002 at 8:19 AM Post #10 of 11

nulheim

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Your denon will probably provide digital output significantly superior to your computer

mmmm, a digital output it's digital. I mean, 1 and 0. With no DAC involved, the digital out of my soundcard is equal to any other digital out. Am I wrong?
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I wouldn't worry about headphone output for someting like a senn 497. And if you do move upto the HD600s, then I doesn't really matter what reciever you use, none will do it justice.

The other solution is: I buy now the receiver and the speakers. And when I can buy the HD-600, I wait and buy a Corda too
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Jun 14, 2002 at 8:36 AM Post #11 of 11

markjia

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Quote:

Originally posted by nulheim
Your denon will probably provide digital output significantly superior to your computer

mmmm, a digital output it's digital. I mean, 1 and 0. With no DAC involved, the digital out of my soundcard is equal to any other digital out. Am I wrong?
confused.gif


While differences in analog output is more significant, digital is not just digital, especially when concerning sound cards. I'm not terribly familliar with your sound card, but I believe it is like most of the other consumer level sound cards out there, and will resample the sound. You see, consumer sound cards generally output their digital signal at 96KHz, even if the sound was not encoded at that sample rate, which included CDs and the vast majority of popular MP3s (which are at 44.1 KHz). As a result, the sound card will upsample the sound so that it is 96KHz, as a result, distortion and various artifacts will be produced. There are also other differences btw digital sources, but they are not as significant. If you want a real audiophile grade sound card, you should get something like the Audiophile 2496. It doesn't resample the sound, and can output at various rates. But I assume you are using the computer for MP3s, and given your price range, it really isn't worth it...just use the Denon for CDs.

Quote:

I wouldn't worry about headphone output for someting like a senn 497. And if you do move upto the HD600s, then I doesn't really matter what reciever you use, none will do it justice.

The other solution is: I buy now the receiver and the speakers. And when I can buy the HD-600, I wait and buy a Corda too
wink.gif


That's actually what I meant.
 

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