integrating headphone into high end rig?
Nov 22, 2008 at 4:18 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2


100+ Head-Fier
Apr 7, 2006
I'm wondering if anyone here has any tips on integrating a headphone set up into an existing high end separates system? I've been struggling with this on and off for several months, since giving up my integrated amp, and it's proven surprisingly difficult.

I'd like to listen to both my CD player (Levinson 390S) and my turntable (Rega P25), so that means I need a preamp. My headphone amp (Headroom Blockhead) and stereo amp (Ayre V-5) are both balanced designs, so I need a preamp with two balanced outputs. My Aesthetix Calypso fits that bill.

Here's where the trouble starts -- when my Ayre goes into "standby" or is turned all the way off, it apparent shorts its inputs to ground, which gives my preamp fits as it tries to drive my headphone amp (because the two sets of balanced outputs are wired in parallel). So now I'm in the market for a new stereo amp that doesn't short its inputs.

Anyone have a favorite solution to the "one preamp, two systems" problem? The only preamp I've seen that has *switched* balanced outputs is the McIntosh C2200. And it's a real challenge figuring out how amps behave when they are switched off.

Users who are viewing this thread