easy to drive vs hard to drive headphones
Nov 30, 2008 at 9:25 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7

misterDX

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i think i have a kinda stupid question:

should a easy to drive headphone improve with amping from a portable amp in the same magnitude as with a hard to drive headphone amping from a home amp? Or in other words, should driving a RS1 with a portable amp gives the same realm of SQ as a k701 would from a bigger more powerful home amp?
 
Nov 30, 2008 at 9:46 PM Post #3 of 7

1Time

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Quote:

Originally Posted by misterDX /img/forum/go_quote.gif
i think i have a kinda stupid question:

should a easy to drive headphone improve with amping from a portable amp in the same magnitude as with a hard to drive headphone amping from a home amp? Or in other words, should driving a RS1 with a portable amp gives the same realm of SQ as a k701 would from a bigger more powerful home amp?



Too general, not enough specifics. What amps? You're asking for a comparison and there are too many variables to determine one way or the other, one of which is preference. Some may prefer the RS1 + amp while others may prefer the K701 + amp.

Are you considering the RS1 and K701? If so, do you want to know what amps to buy for them that would make them comparable in SQ? And if so, I suggest also posting and reading in the amp forum.
 
Nov 30, 2008 at 10:13 PM Post #4 of 7

smashing

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Hmmm... if you are asking about driving the headphone in the pure driving sense, then both portable and home-amp with external power source would definitely have enough voltage to drive any headphone.

However, since no two amps are the same, and no two headphones are the same, many people tend to associate "not sounding good" as "not able to drive". So, if you are asking if a full-sized headphone will sound just as good as a home-amp, then no one in the world could answer that for you.
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Nov 30, 2008 at 10:58 PM Post #5 of 7

Uncle Erik

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I find that the RS-1 is easily driven by my iPod or laptop. It's not as good as driving them with tubes, but it's good enough for travel or portable use. I didn't find any benefit to driving them with a portable amp. Same with the IEMs. They sound fine without a portable amp.

The K-701 sounded lousy from a portable amp. So did the Senns and most of my other cans.

I don't see any point to portable amps. I don't need a portable for Grados and they're not good with anything else. Why buy one?
 
Dec 1, 2008 at 9:10 PM Post #7 of 7

Eagle_Driver

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Duggeh /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Who says the RS-1 is easier to drive than the K701?


Actually, "easier to drive" is a very bad term for a headphone which has relatively high sensitivity (not to be confused with efficiency). The K701 is actually much harder to drive than the RS-1 (which itself is of moderately high sensitivity) due to the K701's very low sensitivity (in dB per mV, not dB per mW). But all headphones are "hard to drive" in different ways: Some are more than loud enough from weak sources, but don't sound as good as they should unless fed even more power (or voltage swing); others simply require a lot of power (voltage swing) just to even sound loud enough. The K701 falls in the "more power/voltage swing needed just for adequate loudness" category, while the RS-1 falls in the "ample loudness with portables, but better performance with bigger sources/amps" category.

And the best truly portable amps (yes, even those using multiple 9V batteries, such as the RSA SR-71(A) and the Headroom Micro) are not quite as good as the better-performing full-sized home headphone amps or most large transportable desktop-sized battery-powered amps (such as the RSA XP-7 and the Headroom Portable Desktop): The small circuits within the truly portable amps limit the current and/or voltage output capability. In addition, the small-sized batteries that the truly portable amps rely on simply cannot handle both high voltage and high current at the same time. As such, the truly portable headphone amps are especially far from ideal for low-impedance, low-sensitivity headphones such as the AKG K701. (The Sennheiser HD 6## series, well, are rather forgiving of even mediocre sources due to their high impedance and medium sensitivity although craptastic source recordings will still sound craptastic on the HD 6##'s.)
 

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