Help me find a low cost amp for this idea
Mar 30, 2006 at 1:00 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

Strife

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The idea is to connect a "Y" mini splitter to the soundcard output, connect both the speakers and cans (Sennheiser HD595) and be able to switch seamlessly between one and the other without having to constantly unplug and plug cables in the back of the computer. The amp basically would be used to "turn off" the cans while listening to the speakers and viceversa.

So, in a nutshell, I'm looking for a cheap, not necessary portable amp, preferably fed by AC power (i.e. no batteries)

So far I have considered the PA2V2 ($60, drawback: needs batteries) and the Little Dot Micro+ ($69 including shipping, doesn't need the battery?)
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 1:17 AM Post #2 of 13

Teerawit

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What kind are speakers are you going to use?
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 5:01 AM Post #5 of 13

Uncle Erik

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What about the Sonic Impact T amp? It's about $30. [EDIT: I just saw some at $25.99] I don't have one, but I know many who are ecstatic about them. I believe it was designed to drive computer speakers, but will also drive headphones nicely.

I don't believe it has a headphone jack, but building a switchbox with a jack into a small enclosure would be a snap.

Take a look at the T-Amp, it might be perfect for you.
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 5:03 AM Post #6 of 13

Teerawit

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I think the Klipsch iFi has its own amp.
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 5:12 AM Post #7 of 13

atx

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Here is another option for you:

http://www.ramseyelectronics.com/cgi...ction&key=SHA2

I bought the SHA1 a few years ago and I really like the opamp (LM386). It sounds clean, clear, neutral, and drives my HD580 effortlessly, but unfortunately the amp had a fairly intrusive level of hiss/hum.

They seem to have improved the SHA2 a lot so the hiss/hum may be gone, but I'm really talking out of my butt. They have a 10 day money back policy.

The amp has treble/bass/balance controls, which is something that you won't find with others in this price range. It runs off 9V or use a power supply.
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 5:29 AM Post #8 of 13

shimage

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So are you looking for an amp to amplify, or is it just a glorified switch? I don't see how you could possibly justify spending $60+ for something to switch outputs ... I mean, even a separate/new sound card would be cheaper (many come with dedicated headphone outs nowadays). As someone mentioned, a switch box is absolutely brainless to throw together (tougher if you don't have a soldering iron, though ... ). Plus the Y-splitters at RadioShack sound horrible. I don't understand why, but they seriously do.
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 6:12 AM Post #9 of 13

Teerawit

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Not just a switch....he needs an amp for his headphones to use with his soundcard's lineout.
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 9:58 AM Post #10 of 13

Strife

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Quote:

Originally Posted by shimage
So are you looking for an amp to amplify, or is it just a glorified switch? I don't see how you could possibly justify spending $60+ for something to switch outputs ... I mean, even a separate/new sound card would be cheaper (many come with dedicated headphone outs nowadays). As someone mentioned, a switch box is absolutely brainless to throw together (tougher if you don't have a soldering iron, though ... ). Plus the Y-splitters at RadioShack sound horrible. I don't understand why, but they seriously do.


Yes, I guess I'm looking for a glorified switch
biggrin.gif
I don't want to use a separate sound card, and the card I'm getting is the X-Fi Music which doesn't come with headphone outs (I know the Revo 5.1 has them, but seems like the X-Fi is better overall). Are these Y-splitters bad?:

http://catalog.belkin.com/IWCatProdu...duct_Id=172340
http://catalog.belkin.com/IWCatProdu...duct_Id=202385

Anyway, I'll probably consider the switch box idea, provided it doesn't degrade the sound signal.

Edit: to Teerawit: actually the original reason to get the amp was to use it as a switch, but on second thought, as 'shimage' pointed out, it might be an overkill solution for my application.

To Uncle Erik: the speakers have their own amp, so I'm looking for a headphones amp, maybe I should illustrate the idea:

............................................. mini stereo interconnect -> Amp -> HD595
X-Fi -> Front Out -> Y-Splitter <
............................................. mini stereo interconnect -> Klipsch iFi

An alternative I was considering:

............... Headphone Out -> HD595
Revo 5.1 <
............... Front Out -> mini stereo interconnect -> Klipsch iFi

I was leaning towards the simpler Revo 5.1 solution before, but after reading some threads about the X-Fi being much better than the Revo 5.1, I changed my mind. Maybe I will end up choosing the Revo and skip the amp idea altogether, who knows.
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 4:32 PM Post #12 of 13

tomb

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I like Ramsey, but the Ramsey headphone amps are not "high fidelity". They are not up to the standard of a typical Walkman CD or radio.

Any Y-splitter will work, and the Belkin you picture really has no extra benefit over a typical Radio Shack version, except perhaps longevity with better materials.

If you want to leave the headphones plugged-in, but don't want music going through them when you play the speakers and vice-versa, then you need a switch or another card. I agree with the others that a second card is probably better. That way, the "switching" would happen through your PC's OS when you picked one output over another in the Control Panel's Sound and Audio Settings.

A cheap solution might be to combine your Y-splitter with an extension cable. Then if you've positioned the splitter jacks within reach, you may be able to unplug one or the other manually. I agree with your strategy to a certain extent - plugging and unplugging at the card is treacherous. You will probably snap the connector off the expansion card in no time - or worse.
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 7:34 PM Post #13 of 13

shimage

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I can't imagine a switch box degrading the sound any more than a Y-splitter (only difference is the switch), but some people don't like to have mechanical switches in the signal path. I wouldn't expect any Y-splitter to do anything to the sound, but the one I have is unbelievably bad. Could be because it was sitting underneath the toaster oven for a week or so (something which I had forgotten about).
 

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