Noob of all Noob headphone amp question:
Mar 22, 2006 at 6:02 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 12

A.Thorsen

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Courtesy of Meier Audio's headphone amplifier page:

Quote:

Sure, you don't need a headphone amplifier to listen to your headphones. Just plug them in the headphone jack of a CD-player or integrated amplifier and you will be able to enjoy your music. Unfortunately though the headphone outputs on most devices are merely low priority afterthoughts and are made using the cheapest components. They sound accordingly.
And even the sound quality of portable players, that are specifically designed to drive headphones, is far from optimal as their driving capacities are strongly restricted by the low supply voltage of the batteries.
Therefore, if you like to hear your phones in their full glory, it's almost inevitable that you buy a decent designated headphone amplifier.


I agree with this 100 percent and I'm sure it's correct.

Here's my question:

See the bolded item? While I'm almost positive that I'm going to fall within that boundry with my otherwise excellent AV Receiver...how can I be sure short of physically disassembling the receiver?
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I currently use the Harman Kardon AVR 635, which has Dolby Headphone capability.

My source is the Onkyo DVSP1000 universal player.



My only concern on any of this is if I buy a headphone amp and it ends up being redundant or no appreciable differences or improvements.

I suspect that probably wouldn't be the case, but I like to be sure of things as much possible BEFORE going into it.

How do I cover all bases to be sure of what I'm doing before the money goes out towards more hardware?
wink.gif



Make sense?
 
Mar 22, 2006 at 6:07 PM Post #2 of 12

sgrossklass

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Quote:

Originally Posted by A.Thorsen
See the bolded item? While I'm almost positive that I'm going to fall within that boundry with my otherwise excellent AV Receiver...how can I be sure short of physically disassembling the receiver?
wink.gif



Take a look into the service manual.
 
Mar 22, 2006 at 6:15 PM Post #3 of 12

jrosenth

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How much difference an amp makes to a set up depends upon the phones, amp and source etc. and is even then a matter of opinion.

I know that receiver and found that an amp (rega, grado, even a superdual) with different phones (grados, Senns, ath) made huge differences. The headphone jack is not as bad as some receivers but was completely outclassed by any of those basic amps - IMHO.

Hope that helps in your decision.
 
Mar 22, 2006 at 6:55 PM Post #4 of 12

A.Thorsen

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jrosenth
How much difference an amp makes to a set up depends upon the phones, amp and source etc. and is even then a matter of opinion.


Of course.

Quote:


I know that receiver and found that an amp (rega, grado, even a superdual) with different phones (grados, Senns, ath) made huge differences. The headphone jack is not as bad as some receivers but was completely outclassed by any of those basic amps - IMHO.

Hope that helps in your decision.



It definitely tells me something right away.

And it doesn't surprise me.


Again, I'm certainly not surprised, nor would I be, if my receiver falls into that same category.

It's a great receiver for a grand or less, but I'm sure some obvious expenses were spared, not the least of which would be the headphone capability.

Headphones usually are not given that high of priority on most of these things.

I suspect that I would have to own a reciever that costs WAY more than what this does to NOT see the headphone capabilities "short changed/cheapskated" as it were.

Quote:

Originally Posted by sgrossklass
Take a look into the service manual.


The instruction manual that comes with the unit does not give me the kind of information that the "service manual" would. I'll see what I can do to track that down.

I'm kind of playing devil's advocate here against myself in this thread.
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Mar 22, 2006 at 8:08 PM Post #5 of 12

Beauregard

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Quote:

Originally Posted by A.Thorsen
... How do I cover all bases to be sure of what I'm doing before the money goes out towards more hardware?
wink.gif



Simplest answer is to buy your amp from a source that offers a money-back trial period.
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Mar 22, 2006 at 8:46 PM Post #6 of 12

A.Thorsen

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Beauregard
Simplest answer is to buy your amp from a source that offers a money-back trial period.
wink.gif



I know that's always in my back pocket but I hate to take advantage of anyone like that unless there's an actual problem with the merchandise in question.

Thankfully, you're right. It's not like I'm completely S.O.L. if I buy something with no recourse whatsoever.
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Mar 23, 2006 at 7:25 AM Post #7 of 12

gimmieshelter31

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Personally,I would look to attend a meet near your town.(where are you?) or post a request to see if someone here lives nearby and can arrange a demonstration for you.

Otherwise , your only real alternative is to buy and try. One other thing- you could email TTVJ about auditioning something in your home ,then you are only out the shipping costs. I cannot speak for him but I have read in previous threads that he may have amps for home auditions.

Finally, if you do get an amp listen with it exclusively before going back to the headphone jack on the receiver.The difference in sound will be drastic or subtle but will be there. Often people cannot tell when they first get an amp and switch back and forth without growing accustom to an amp.
 
Mar 23, 2006 at 2:46 PM Post #8 of 12

A.Thorsen

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Quote:

Originally Posted by gimmieshelter31
Personally,I would look to attend a meet near your town.(where are you?)


Near Dayton, OH.


Quote:

...or post a request to see if someone here lives nearby and can arrange a demonstration for you.


That's an idea...


Quote:


Otherwise , your only real alternative is to buy and try. One other thing- you could email TTVJ about auditioning something in your home ,then you are only out the shipping costs. I cannot speak for him but I have read in previous threads that he may have amps for home auditions.

Finally, if you do get an amp listen with it exclusively before going back to the headphone jack on the receiver.The difference in sound will be drastic or subtle but will be there. Often people cannot tell when they first get an amp and switch back and forth without growing accustom to an amp.


Good tips!

Here's a question based off an earlier suggestion: People talk about service manuals and I know these are different from the owner's manuals that everyone gets with whatever they buy.

How does one usually go about getting access to one of these service manuals?
 
Mar 23, 2006 at 8:05 PM Post #9 of 12

Beauregard

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Quote:

Originally Posted by A.Thorsen
I know that's always in my back pocket but I hate to take advantage of anyone like that unless there's an actual problem with the merchandise in question.

Thankfully, you're right. It's not like I'm completely S.O.L. if I buy something with no recourse whatsoever.
smily_headphones1.gif



I admire your attitude - but I think you're dead wrong about what manufacturers and vendors intend with their money-back offers. Given the huge role of personal preference in the audio biz, I take it as a given that the trial period is meant to be for auditioning equipment - to decide if you like it and it's worth the money - and not simply as a guarantee that there will be no hassle in returning a defective product. That's why the "no questions asked" angle is stressed; they want people to try their products and not be inhibited by the notion that a return is a big deal. They ain't gonna sell stuff if they can't get it in the consumer's hands in the first place!
icon10.gif


As a matter of fact, I think it's entirely legitimate for folks who've narrowed their choice to two competitive items to try both simultaneously. A while back, a Head-Fier did just that with amps from Ray Samuel and HeadRoom; he was upfront with both outfits about what he was doing and both were supportive of his approach as the best way to get the amp that he was happiest with.

Sooo... rid thyself of guilt... relax... order an amp or two and keep what you think is worth your hard-earned cash.
580smile.gif


Best,
Beau
 
Mar 23, 2006 at 8:16 PM Post #10 of 12

A.Thorsen

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Beauregard
I admire your attitude - but I think you're dead wrong about what manufacturers and vendors intend with their money-back offers. Given the huge role of personal preference in the audio biz, I take it as a given that the trial period is meant to be for auditioning equipment - to decide if you like it and it's worth the money - and not simply as a guarantee that there will be no hassle in returning a defective product. That's why the "no questions asked" angle is stressed; they want people to try their products and not be inhibited by the notion that a return is a big deal. They ain't gonna sell stuff if they can't get it in the consumer's hands in the first place!
icon10.gif


As a matter of fact, I think it's entirely legitimate for folks who've narrowed their choice to two competitive items to try both simultaneously. A while back, a Head-Fier did just that with amps from Ray Samuel and HeadRoom; he was upfront with both outfits about what he was doing and both were supportive of his approach as the best way to get the amp that he was happiest with.

Sooo... rid thyself of guilt... relax... order an amp or two and keep what you think is worth your hard-earned cash.
580smile.gif


Best,
Beau




Thou hast made a series of very good and true points.

There's only one catch: I only have a finite amount of funds to be able to demo x amount of hardware at any given time.
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I think I can boil it down to two or three finalists and try work from there.

You've definitely made me feel more confident about doing it.
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Mar 26, 2006 at 2:10 AM Post #12 of 12

A.Thorsen

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sacd lover


You need to venture down to Singlepower East and check out the GS-1 and the Singlepowers.
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We'll be in touch.
wink.gif


This is from a thread in the headphone section and I suspect it will quickly disappear. Obviously, you'll see that my question is more appropriate for this area of the forum anyways.:


Quote:

Originally Posted by Beauregard
At least as important as technical knowledge is the ability for a newbie to acquire perspective on the conflicting and confusing opinions you'll find here and in other hi-end audio forums.

I strongly recommend that anyone new to this stuff read the chapters at the end of the superb piece by saint.panda that's linked to here. It's a marvelous review of closed headphones but, relevant to this discussion, I think the general comments about cables, etc. and how to evaluate audio opinion are absolutely spot on and should be required reading for everyone who arrives at Head-Fi.

Good luck!
Beau



So true! EVERYONE read that thing NOW!
smily_headphones1.gif




Quote:


AKG 701 specs:


Efficiency 105 dB/V

Frequency range 10 Hz to 39.8 kHz

Rated impedance 62 ohms

Max. input power 200 mW Cable bi-wiring,



From that great PDF Beau linked us to:
Quote:

As a general rule, phones with a high impedance (above 100 ohms) are in more neeed of an amp whereas low impedenace amps SOMETIMES require an amp.

"Sometimes: because most of the cheap consumer level Sony ear buds have low impedance (usually 32 ohms.)

On the ohter hand, higher end phones with low impedance usually indicate a high current need whereas headphones with high impedance require a higher voltange swing.


The second link: http://www.rane.com/note100.html


Quote:

Think about these sensitivity definitions a moment: headphone sensitivity is rated using 1/1000 of a watt; loudspeaker sensitivity is rated using 1 watt. So a quick rule-of-thumb is that you are going to need about 1/1000 as much power to drive your headphones as to drive your loudspeakers since both of their sensitivity ratings are similar (around 90-110 dB-SPL). For example, if your hi-fi amp is rated at 65 watts, then you would need only 65 mW to drive comparable headphones. (Actually you need less than 65 mW since most people don't listen to their loudspeakers at 1 meter.) And this is exactly what you find in hi-fi receivers. Their headphone jacks typically provide only 10-20 mW of output Power.




I'm already virtually certain that a headphone amp is in my future shortly after I finally get my 701's.

But, even at that, I'd like a real life application/lesson here, please.

Using the 701's stats, help me do a quick walk through with those specs in context of this advice. In other words: Help me with a real life application.
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