Headphone set up advice needed
May 15, 2015 at 4:13 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 9

jono2323

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By way of background, I have a room set up with surround speakers, tv and a new turntable, but my receiver (Onkyo Tx-NR626) is located on floor of house below (in fairly difficult place to access).  I really want to use some quality headphones with my turntable.  I am getting good advice from these forums on which headphones I should try out.  (So far, Sennheiser HD/650 sound most interesting).  
 
For me to use headphones, I could connect them by running a headphone extension cord down through my wall to connect to Receiver on the floor below and could install jack plate in the wall of my room near my turntable.  However, if I do this, my others speakers will automatically mute whenever the headphone cord is plugged into the headphone jack (on the receiver).  This would not be ideal for obvious reasons (i.e. I would have to go to floor below and either plug or unplug headphone jack frequently).
 
I am looking for other solutions.  As part of this question, I am wondering if any solution might include adding a separate pre-amp near my turntable - upstairs- (that might have a headphone jack on it).  Is this over-kill?  Would such a pre-amp sound better than the pre-amp built into my Onkyo?  Are there other more elegant or easier solutions to my problem here?
 
Looking forward to your ideas.
 
May 15, 2015 at 6:24 PM Post #2 of 9

KG Jag

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The headphone sections of all Onkyo modern A/V receivers I have tried (and I own one) are not very good.  They are certainly not up to properly driving the HD 600/650.  You should consider getting a proper headphone amp if you are serious about this matter.  However distance between your components will remain as a problem.
 
May 16, 2015 at 1:19 AM Post #3 of 9

cel4145

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Your Onkyo has a Zone 2 line out. Check your manual to make sure it works with your phono input and how the Zone 2 works. If so, you could certainly run RCA interconnects to a headphone amp from that Zone 2. You'll want to look into what quality of cable you need for the distance you want to run in some home theater setup forum website.
 
May 19, 2015 at 7:19 PM Post #4 of 9

bgentry

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Your Onkyo does have a Zone 2 line level (RCA) output that you could use to connect to a headphone amplifier if you wanted to.  You'd need to have Zone 2 turned on and selected to the correct (phono) input.  Then you can use the volume knob on the headphone amp to control headphone volume.
 
You've got a rather unusual setup with your receiver on a different floor and you'll have to run cables for the Zone 2 output to the headphone amp.  Because of this and the very small signal level coming out of your turntable, I'm going to suggest the following as an alternative:
 
Use an outboard phono preamp and Y off of it's outputs.  One side of the Y going down stairs to your receiver.  The other side of the Y going to your headphone amp.  That way the receiver is out of the picture completely in terms of headphone listening.  Bonus:  The level going to your receiver from the phono preamp will now be MUCH higher and therefore more immune to noise.  You'll need to run the output of the phono preamp into a different input on the receiver as the phono input is designed for the teeny tiny signal that comes directly out of the turntable itself.
 
That's what I'd do.  Good luck to you.
 
Brian.
 
May 19, 2015 at 8:26 PM Post #5 of 9

jono2323

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What is I follow your second plan to correct for the long distance between my phono and receiver but use a preamp that has has a headphone jack built in, like a Bellari VP130 Tube Phono Preamp?
 
May 19, 2015 at 8:55 PM Post #6 of 9

bgentry

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^ I was actually thinking of adding two new devices:  A phono preamp *and* a headphone amplifier.  Something like this:
 
Turntable ---> Phono Preamp ----- Y cables ----|
                                                                          ------> long cable to input on receiver
                                                                          -------> short cable  ----->  Headphone Amplifier
 
So the phono preamp will feed both your receiver and your new headphone amplifier.
 
I hope that helps.
 
Brian.              
 
May 19, 2015 at 11:19 PM Post #8 of 9

bgentry

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I only suggested the separate pieces because I'm not aware of integrated phono preamps and headphone amps together.  I just did a search for the one you mention and read some reviews on Amazon that were pretty mixed.  A lot of talk about humming in the output and the amp not being able to drive high impedance headphones.  But I know nothing about the product myself.
 
Good luck to you.
 
Brian.
 
May 19, 2015 at 11:38 PM Post #9 of 9

cel4145

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I only suggested the separate pieces because I'm not aware of integrated phono preamps and headphone amps together.  I just did a search for the one you mention and read some reviews on Amazon that were pretty mixed.  A lot of talk about humming in the output and the amp not being able to drive high impedance headphones.  But I know nothing about the product myself.


+1

Probably best to get a separate headphone amp. :)
 

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