Headphone amps
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minya

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Hello,

I'm curious about various entry-level headphone amps. Currently all I own is a Grado SR-80, but I plan to (someday... when I find the money) expand my collection. However, it seems if I go any higher than the SR-80s (and some say they require them) a headphone amp is needed. I'm not looking to break the bank (and I'm not a freakish audiophile - none of the music I listen to was recorded via analog means, and 95% of it is recorded directly to a computer, so I'm not too worried about things like "sound stage" and such), so I had a few ones in mind:
  1. The HeadRoom amps. The basic one, for only $120, appeals to my wallet. Is paying $200 for a "total" one worth it?
  2. The Porta Corda. Seems like it would have a very trustworthy crosstalk filter (but again, I honestly doubt I need this at all - I've never experienced the "bubble-head" feeling, and most of the music I listen to is recorded with prior stereo separation, with occasional intentional distortion of the stereo effect, so I don't think I'd use this).
  3. A CMoy amp (this seems like the best solution - starting with one of these and then later, if needed, upgrading to a mid-level amp from HeadRoom or something.). Only problem here is finding someone to buy it from - I'm a complete nitwit when it comes to electronics (soldering a modchip onto my Playstation 3 years ago is the extent of my DIY skill set), so I'd need to buy it from someone else. Especially since I don't need a crosstalk filter this seems like it would be the best way to go, so: if I ever want to buy one (I'm not in the market for an amp now, this is just a "for future reference" type of thing), is posting a "want to buy" ad in the marketplace forum a reasonable way of finding someone who would build me an amp?

I also wanted to know what sort of a setup is commonly used with a headphone amp? Currently, to play CDs, I play them through my computer (w/ an Audigy soundcard) line-outed to a Technics SA-EX140 (junk, but it accomplishes its job as a computer amp/amp for my turntable), with my current pair of computer headphones (MDR-V600. Anyone want to buy a pair?) hooked up to it (soon to be SR-80s). If I were to use a headphone amp, would I place it between the headphones and the receiver? Or could I simply bypass the receiver altogether, and go line-out -> amp -> headphone?

That's about all I can think of right now. Any information is greatly appreciated.

- Chris
 
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Jeff Guidry

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Quote:

Originally posted by minya
Hello,

I'm curious about various entry-level headphone amps. Currently all I own is a Grado SR-80, but I plan to (someday... when I find the money) expand my collection. However, it seems if I go any higher than the SR-80s (and some say they require them) a headphone amp is needed. I'm not looking to break the bank (and I'm not a freakish audiophile - none of the music I listen to was recorded via analog means, and 95% of it is recorded directly to a computer, so I'm not too worried about things like "sound stage" and such), so I had a few ones in mind:
  1. The HeadRoom amps. The basic one, for only $120, appeals to my wallet. Is paying $200 for a "total" one worth it?
  2. The Porta Corda. Seems like it would have a very trustworthy crosstalk filter (but again, I honestly doubt I need this at all - I've never experienced the "bubble-head" feeling, and most of the music I listen to is recorded with prior stereo separation, with occasional intentional distortion of the stereo effect, so I don't think I'd use this).
  1. The Porta Corda is a very serious portable amp, and is well worth your budget, even without using the crossfeed.
  2. A CMoy amp (this seems like the best solution - starting with one of these and then later, if needed, upgrading to a mid-level amp from HeadRoom or something.). Only problem here is finding someone to buy it from - I'm a complete nitwit when it comes to electronics (soldering a modchip onto my Playstation 3 years ago is the extent of my DIY skill set), so I'd need to buy it from someone else. Especially since I don't need a crosstalk filter this seems like it would be the best way to go, so: if I ever want to buy one (I'm not in the market for an amp now, this is just a "for future reference" type of thing), is posting a "want to buy" ad in the marketplace forum a reasonable way of finding someone who would build me an amp?

[/b]JMT is the usual source on this forum for CMoy amps, you can PM him and discuss your needs when you are ready. Also, you can ask if someone has one to sell, though since the CMoy's are such well regarded amps, this won't happen often. A brand new CMoy built by a DIY amp builder is certainly your most cost effective solution, and will give you as much fidelity as you need for a soundcard source. Other amps will not give you much additional sonic benefit unless you upgrade your source.

I also wanted to know what sort of a setup is commonly used with a headphone amp? Currently, to play CDs, I play them through my computer (w/ an Audigy soundcard) line-outed to a Technics SA-EX140 (junk, but it accomplishes its job as a computer amp/amp for my turntable), with my current pair of computer headphones (MDR-V600. Anyone want to buy a pair?) hooked up to it (soon to be SR-80s). If I were to use a headphone amp, would I place it between the headphones and the receiver? Or could I simply bypass the receiver altogether, and go line-out -> amp -> headphone?


line out - amp - headphone would yield the best sonic results for your headphones.

That's about all I can think of right now. Any information is greatly appreciated.

- Chris


 
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LTUCCI1924

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HI: I have a cmoy 2 9 volt amp and it really don't need to be upgraded for what i use in it. The cmoy is strong and very clean sounding and I got it very cheep used. Try the for sale section here at head-fi and if possible get the 2 9 volt amp and I don't think you will need to upgrade it. There is also the meta amp that seems to be a great amp that is not to expensive. JMT seems to be very tied up at this time but e-mail him and see. The air heads I would keep away from for what they cost. And yes headphones out of amp to source.
 
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Sol_Zhen

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"soldering a modchip onto my Playstation 3 years ago is the extent of my DIY skill set"

You had a PS3? Where did you get a Playstation 3?
Kidding...

"and I'm not a freakish audiophile"

'cause this place is full of 'em.
Heh.

Anyhoo... I'm in the same boat as you as I own a pair of SR-80s and I've been thinking about dabbling in headphone amps for a little while. Getting a portable MD player really pushed me over the edge and I finally decided to get one.

This forum has loads of knowledgeable folk hanging around, so they should be able to answer all your tech questions.

I commissioned one of the good members here to build a CHA 47 headphone amp for me (JMT is his user-name and he is very helpful). You may be able to do the same, but keep in mind that the guys who build them do it as a hobby and make no guarantees for time and they typically have waiting lists.

Cheers...


P.S:
I may be new, but I think I've memorized the official greeting over here:
Welcome to head-fi, sorry about your wallet.

Did I get that right?
 
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nanahachi

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i too am in need of entry level portable amp, with no clue as to the differences btwn cmoy, cha47, meta42, etc...i created a thread in the amp forum as an attempt to get ppl to pool their knowledge re: portable amps, FAQ or "for dummies" style educational thread, but has so far been ignored. so ill chime in here.

sol_zhen

i need to finish rereading your thread in the amp forum on this same subject, but i'm in the same situation as both of you, more or less. sol zhen, why'd you end up choosing a cha47? any input you have would surely help me along in trying to decide myself.


it was mentioned that a meta amp would be the best, so ill probably inquire into that, but i still have no idea what the differences btwn these amps are.

as for what my listening situation is:
ill use the portable both at work with my Beyer DT231s and computer, as well as with my Sony D-EJ525 and EX70/Eggos when im on the go.
At home I have Grado 125s, but is my Marantz PM-17 integrated amp powerful enough to power these headphones on their own?

thanks you guys, for starting these threads and getting people to share their knowledge with us newbies.
 
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post-180357
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Duncan

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Quote:

Originally posted by nanahachi
i too am in need of entry level portable amp, with no clue as to the differences btwn cmoy, cha47, meta42, etc...i created a thread in the amp forum as an attempt to get ppl to pool their knowledge re: portable amps, FAQ or "for dummies" style educational thread, but has so far been ignored. so ill chime in here.


Not quite ignored nanahachi...

I'm obviously one of the mods in the amps forum, and i've been a bit tied up recently, but... I have seen your post, and brought it back to the top of the forum...

Hopefully of help
 
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