Just ordered HD-600's, headphone noob

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  1. peterswe86
    Hello. I've never had nice headphones before, and have never used any equipment that requires an amp. I kinda bought these on a whim without doing much research because I thought I could just plug them in my phone and be good.

    I'm trying to use the HD-600's with my computer and my iPhone 6s. What portable amp with just the basics would be the best bang for my buck? I'd like to stay under $200. I've tried to do research but a lot of it is greek to me. I don't really know the technical aspects that are talked about in reviews and posts on this forum, and I'm not sure what will work specifically with the HD-600's. I think I will just have to rely on simple advice about what's "best".

    I'm also confused about the sound card on my computer and whether it needs an amp. I am using a Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 ATX LGA1151 Motherboard. The manual doesn't explain it well but there are two "power" settings on the soundcard - 2.5X and 6X. I have no idea what the ohms output is on these settings. All I know is the sound on my computer is very loud. I have to turn my volume down to about 10% or else it is too loud for both my current headphones and speakers, and I think this is on the 2.5X setting. Is there any way I could measure the output?

    Any other advice would be appreciated.
  2. cossix
    Loudness doesn't equate to quality sound, so a sound card playing music loud through any given headphone doesn't necessarily mean it's good.

    I use the FiiO A5 for portable use and I'd imagine it would be ok for the 600 too. I'm not sure how much it costs at the moment but I think it's around 200 bucks.

    The reason I always recommend FiiO for portable stuff is because their products have a very competitive price to performance ratio. They are generally worth their price without question.
  3. Dulalala
    It's probably referring to the gain.

    You'd need an oscilloscope but as far as I'm aware, there are some programs that can let you use your onboard as one so you could just do it with your computer.

    To be fair, most newer, high end motherboard have a pretty good DAC and amp inside of them.

    Fiio rates the A5 with a 14.96 Vpp (about 5 Vrms), which is plenty for the HD600. Just be a bit careful as if your not supplying the amp with a line level, you're obviously not going to get that rating.
    Cheffy likes this.
  4. peterswe86
    Sorry, what do you mean by line level?

    Are you sure the A5 is enough juice? I saw it recommended on one page 150ohms but the HD-600's are 300ohms.

    Also, would I need a different type of amp for my computer, or could I use the portable one?
  5. Dulalala
    Line level is a fixed output of around 2V.

    High impedance does not mean that a headphone is harder to drive, it simply means that a headphone needs more voltage than current. I’m not sure why everyone seems to have this misconception. What determines how hard a headphone is to drive is the sensitivity, not impedance.

    You could use this with your computer too if it has a line level output.

    Short answer, yes it has enough power.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
    Oscar-HiFi likes this.
  6. chimney189
    Dragonfly Red ftw!
  7. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    An amp gives you more power with less distortion. Whether you will crank it up loud enough to more easily discern the difference much less do so at low volume levels is something that can't be answered for you, considering the HD600 doesn't have any glaring specs issue that will make an amp absolutely necessary apart from not using a limited voltage output device like an iPod.

    That is not power. That's just gain. If you play racing games that's basically like the transmission settings, not the engine output power.

    The cost of the rig to measure the output would be around the same price of an amp but the average gain on these would be comparable to that anyway. You likely just don't listen loud enough, which means you don't need that much more power than the motherboard's output, even if upgrading to other gear could still get you less noise and distortion. Might as well save your money and just use it that way, and just mind the volume setting.
  8. peterswe86
    Well I finally took it out of the box and there is no way this thing is going to fit on my head! It looks like it's for a baby head. I don't even want to try it on because I think it will break.

    It also has this huge connector that obviously wont fit into my phone. I looked at pictures of the FiiO a5 and it doesnt look like this huge connector could even fit in that either. I am lost with this stuff but I'm wondering if I should just return it because of the size issue.
  9. Dulalala
    It's a 6.5mm connector. You'll need a 6.5mm female to 3.5mm male adapter.

    It probably won't break but the strong clamping force might be a bit uncomfortable.
  10. peterswe86
    Ok, thanks.

    If it breaks when I try to put it on my head, would a 2 year warranty cover that sort of thing? Sorry for the basic questions.
  11. RockaRolla
    I believed HD600 ships with a 3.5mm cable with a 3.5-6.3 adapter included, unplug the 6.3 adapter from the cable if you wanna use it for 3.5mm input
  12. peterswe86
    Ok thank you! That was simple.

    I tried them on and you were right, they did not break. I hope the clamping force reduces with wearing them a lot.

    I'm on the cusp of buying a FiiO A5 but I still don't understand what this means >.<
    If I'm using my phone, how do I make it so it has a 2V output? Or how do I guarantee that for my PC? Additionally, what would be the next "step up" from the FiiO A5 if I was looking to spend a little more money?
    Thanks for your help.

    Edit: I forgot to ask, do I need a DAC also?
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
  13. Dulalala
    You can't guarantee a 2V output with your phone. Best thing to do is either max out or nearly max out the phone volume then plug it into the amp.

    For your computer, some motherboards/soundcards will have a line out, some won't. If yours doesn't just follow the same advice as above.

    You don't need one. I think it's better if you just get a DAC/Amp actually, simplifies things a lot. However, if you're on a budget you can always buy one later.
  14. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    That's a reality the rest of the world calls packing. You're supposed to pull the gimbals+cups to extend the metal arms under the headband. It's retracted into the plastic headband so they can pack it into a smaller case which means more will fit into a crate and more crates will fit into shipping containers. Looking at its packed form and deciding it was made for a baby's head would be like looking at a Navy aircraft parked like this...

    ...and claiming there's no way it can fly because a normal plane has wings like this...

    ...and completely obliterating the reality that the Navy aircraft only looks like that in the hangar deck and once on the flight deck (much less on the catapult and up in the air) looks like this...

    ...or asking a Marine what kind of idiots aim their tank rifles at their own transports when apart from the front-engine Israeli tank this is how you keep the overall length shorter in transit by having the rifle barrel over the longer part of the tank instead of sticking far out in front.

    I mean, even fictional stuff follows this packaging reality. Look at the Justice in the hangar bay on the satellite it was built in (its dedicated carrier isn't as large as this either)...

    ...and look at it in action with its high boost thruster pack and wings deployed.

    You're supposed to pull off the adapter for 6.3mm to get to the native 3.5mm plug.

    It kinda works like this.
    Oscar-HiFi likes this.
  15. peterswe86
    Thank you, I like the pictures. I am a visual learner so it helps. But even with the the metal arms retracted this thing is snug on a bug and still feels like its going to break sooner or later. I'll keep it and return it if it breaks. I hope it stretches out or something, if that is possible with metal and plastic. My head is about 8" so this is a problem with ball caps and helmets as well. The 6.3 mm to 3.5 mm was easy enough, just didn't know there was a converter on it.

    Do they make portable DAC/Amp combos or is the FiiO A5 best for portable? I have about $200 to spend on this and the FiiO A5 is only $130. From a quick search, it seems like most DAC/Amp combos are made for a non-mobile computer. What do I miss out on if I only use an amp like FiiO A5? At this stage I'm going to primarily listen to music on my phone, and I think my computer will be able to better drive the headphones due to the high gain.(?) (I just can't find much info on my motherboard's sound card. It seems like an afterthought to the people who made the board.)

    I ordered a FiiO A5 last night but it's not to late to cancel the order if there is something better.
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