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Essence STX + Grado SR80i (low impedance headphones in general)

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by aidenn, Jan 20, 2013.
  1. aidenn
    I have an Essence STX which has output impedance of ~10 ohms, I'm thinking about buying a pair of Grado SR80is, which are 32-ohm. Will they perform well or should I also buy a low impedance amp?
    I've been thinking about FiiO E5. If I buy it, can I just plug it in the STX's headphone out? I know they should go in the line out, but I already have speakers there and I'd rather go with headphone out. Are there any downsides to doing this?
    Thanks for reading and cheers.
  2. stv014
    The output impedance of your card would have some effect on the sound of the Grados, but it would be relatively minor (only noticeable if you switch to a low impedance source at matched levels and back very quickly), and they would still sound good. Some may actually prefer the slight (~0.6 dB) increase in bass.
    The E5 could actually degrade the sound more than the output impedance of the Xonar STX, but if you still decide to use it (of course, there are many better amplifiers to choose from), make sure that you set the headphone output of the card to low gain, and even then the E5 cannot handle the ~0.875 Vrms full scale output voltage without clipping, so you need ~2 dB less than maximum volume on the PC.
  3. aidenn
    Thank you very much. I suppose I'll just try it without the E5. And the reason I thought of E5 is that it's dirt cheap and I'm not looking for anything that amps better, I just thought that having lower impedance would give me more (due to the "1/8" rule) than is taken by having another device connected between the headphones and the card when using low-impedance cans.

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