Negative effect(s) of headphone amp
May 30, 2002 at 12:09 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11

WinterRain

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I have been hearing (reading) about how headphone amps take cans' performance up a notch. I would like to hear from folks who have negative views about or experience with headphone amps.

What I would get from you, helpful people of this forum, would help me decide if this stuff is worth acquiring.

It may be good mentioning that I am particularly interested in TAH4.5.

Again, thanks in advance.
 
May 30, 2002 at 2:19 AM Post #2 of 11

arnett

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WinterRain,

i see that you have the Koss TNT55 and Grado SR80.

don't know about the koss, but the grado doesn't really need an amp. an amp will help -- but not that much.

people have bad experiences with headphone amps when they buy one that has a tone they don't like -- or a tone that doesn't match well with their 'phones.

i suggest you decide what tone you're after, then search or ask a follow-up question.
smily_headphones1.gif
 
May 30, 2002 at 2:47 PM Post #4 of 11

Joe Bloggs

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Just about all solid state headphone amps (your TAH 4.5 included) can mate very well with low impedance headphones. It's the tube amps that usually have trouble with them. The headphone out from whatever device you use comes from a solid state headphone amp too--replacing it with a dedicated headphone amp of the same general design, but higher quality--like your TAH--will usually result in higher performance.

But then again, even a portable headphone amp is not all the convenient to use portably IMHO. I have enough trouble handling my pcdp's wires while walking around--and I can't imagine adding a headphone amp to boot
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I only use my Porta Corda at home or at least when I've settled down sitting somewhere... and it does offer a nice improvement in sound over various headphone outs.
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May 30, 2002 at 5:27 PM Post #5 of 11

DeanA

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Quote:

Originally posted by Joe Bloggs
But then again, even a portable headphone amp is not all the convenient to use portably IMHO. I have enough trouble handling my pcdp's wires while walking around--and I can't imagine adding a headphone amp to boot


I guess it depends on how you package your portable unit. With the TAH and Airbag, I have a package that is light and only 7.5 inches square. The only visable wire from the package is the once connected to the headphone.
 
May 30, 2002 at 5:33 PM Post #6 of 11

DeanA

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Quote:

Originally posted by Voyager
In my experience, phones with very low impedances (<32 Ohms) like the Sony 888s and F1 don't match well with many amps.


Well, in my experience, I've found even the KSC35 improves, if only slightly, when connected to a portable amp (TAH in my case). And the Grado line definitely benefits when using the amp.
 
May 30, 2002 at 5:46 PM Post #7 of 11

Oliver :)

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Troublesome about Headamps? The addiction you develop, that is troublesome...
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I only have a 4.5V TAH, but I just won't listen to anything without it anymore.
It has a very positive effect on the timing of the music.

I use it with my Etys 4S and iPod on the go, I use it with my Senn HD520II on my home rig, I even use it right now with my iBook and KOSS PortaPro.

I am not so very convinced off the crossfeed though, it works best with the big Sennheiser. With the Etys, the loss of high-end and somewhat inflated bass are just too evident.

Be very sure to consider the 9V TAH as well. I feel the sound to be much improved when I use the 4,5V TAH with a wallwart at IIRC 12V, and I always wonder whether I want some of that extra "punch" on the go, which the 9V should offer.

More trouble:
- you start to stock batterys like corn, wondering whether you prefer "universal" or "Maxi-Tech"... I just thought about an ammunition-belt...
- you start to wonder how so many albums can sell so well being produced that bad.
- you start to notice that your PortaPro has just TOO MUCH BASS! Unbearable!
- being used to Etys, you start to become sociophobic on the rare occasions where you just forgot to charge your iPod and have to listen to what the people on the bus are actually talking about...
- you start an unhealthy diet on coffee and nikotine so you can put aside enough for a better home source, SACD maybe, and then a Cosmic, and then...
smily_headphones1.gif


Portability:
Well, it's there, you have to turn it on, adjust the volume, and turn it off when you are finished. The TAH is very light and also rather small. I have it in an ugly CaseLogic MD-Case on my belt, along with the iPod. Looks a little dorkish depending on your wardrobe, but nobody laughs at a person with Etys looped over the ears and the black Ray-Bans on
cool.gif
 
May 30, 2002 at 11:06 PM Post #9 of 11

mlchang

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With the relatively low cost of the DIY amps there really is little that is negative about them. Even the TAH are relatively affordable.

However, if we have to dig...
1) It takes time to organize the wires properly when you're on the go. You've got one for the headphones, one from the PCDP to the amp, and then maybe one more for the remote...
2) Batteries cost a lot, the rechargables make up for this, but the initial investment can be a little annoying.
3) You REALLY can hear how badly some CDs are recorded and produced.
4) Like arnett said, it may not make the sound as you like it or it may not be the improvement you're looking for. It may not be worth investment to you. With Headroom you get 30 days to try everything out so it's not a big deal I guess.

Since you're in these forums here you're going to get mostly positive feedback, as this is a group that has found the cost of entry and extra hassle to be worth it. It may be difficult for anyone here to give a really bad experience since we are still all using our amps.

I'm pretty new here, but so far I've got a CHA47 from JMT and now I'm talking with tangent about getting one for home use...I've only noticed improvement and greater enjoyment of most of my CDs.

Actually there is one problem...I used to study with my headphones on all the time. Now with my headphone amp setup I can't help listening to the music which distracts me from studying
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.

Michael
 
Jun 2, 2002 at 3:28 PM Post #10 of 11

WinterRain

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Thanks a tons, folks, i really appreciate your replies.

To follow Arnett's suggestion, "you decide what tone you're after then ask a follow-up question"...

With my SR80, my ears are still wanting more bass. I have a Panasonic SL-SX500 PCDP, even with its XBS (extra bass) mode on I still ache for additional bass. You may ask, "then why didn't you get a pair o' cans that deliver more bass?". I tried both Senn HD495, HD570 and two or three Sony's, they just didn't quench my thirst for midband like the way SR80 does.

I was told that it is easier to boost the bass level than the midband. And that there's very limited things you can do with cans which originally don't render the midband properly. Now, being a novice that I am, I rely on you people to enlighten me.

What headphone amp would give my SR80 more bass without drowning its midband?
 
Jun 2, 2002 at 3:36 PM Post #11 of 11

arnett

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Quote:

Originally posted by WinterRain
What headphone amp would give my SR80 more bass without drowning its midband?


a total airhead or airhead with the crossfeed engaged.

or, for that matter, any headroom amp with the crossfeed engaged.
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