headphone amp vs. preamp outputs
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jeong

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Is is possible to use the preouts on a quality preamp instead of having to use a headphone amplifier to drive your headphones. If not, why not, what differences exist that make the headphone amp so special?
 
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bifcake

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Quote:

Originally posted by jeong
Is is possible to use the preouts on a quality preamp instead of having to use a headphone amplifier to drive your headphones. If not, why not, what differences exist that make the headphone amp so special?



There are two problems with using pre-outs for headphones without using a headphone amp:

1. What are you going to plug your headphones into? The phones come with a mini or 1/4" plug, whereas the pre-outs will have separate RCA or XLR outputs.


2. The Pre-Outs do not amplify the signal, so you still need some sort of an amp, whether it's internal headphone amp or external one.

The dedicated headphone amps really let the sound bloom. They sport volume controls as well. Most pre-amps are built with speakers in mind and headphones are an afterthought at best. Quality dedicated components make a substantial difference in the sound quality.
 
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kelly

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Quote:

Originally posted by jeong
Is is possible to use the preouts on a quality preamp instead of having to use a headphone amplifier to drive your headphones. If not, why not, what differences exist that make the headphone amp so special?


Some preamps do have very good headphone jacks. The Melos SHA-1/Melos Gold/Maestro is highly revered on Head-Fi as being one such killer preamp with a great headphone section. The Sugden Headmaster is another well regarded one. And from what I'm told, the Portal Panache is another one to look at.

Most preamps, unfortunately, don't fall into this category. For most of them, the headphone section is simply a tacked on afterthough with a cheap opamp and a couple of low grade resistors. Even the cheapest headphone amps sound better than these.
 
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RickG

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The NAD C 160 preamp also has a very fine sounding headphone out.

(BTW, shouldn't this thread be in the "Amps & Source Components" forum?)
 
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