Over-driving my headphones ? (hd595)
post-6438789
Thread Starter
Post #1 of 5

extrabigmehdi

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 27, 2009
Messages
2,693
Reaction score
77
Joined
May 27, 2009
Posts
2,693
Likes
77
hi,
on my soundcard xonar stx,
there's three amp settings:
- normal gain (0db for <64 ohms)
- high gain (+12db for 64 to 300 ohms)
- extra high gain (+18 db for 300 to 600 ohms)

The impedance of my headphone (hd595) is 50 ohm,
however I believe the sound is improved when I choose a higher amp setting.
But when I do this, I'm warned of the risk of over-driving headphone.

I'm not sure of what exactly it imply, but when I choose a higher amp setting, I just decrease volume and sound seems fine.
I'm even tempted to use the "extra high gain" setting.
Do I risk to damage my headphones , with high amp setting (after re-adjusting volume) ?

If I'm not wrong the "normal gain" setting means in fact no amp ?
Afaik , you get better sound with hd595 when using an amp.

Thanks for any clarification
 
     Share This Post       
post-6438800
Post #2 of 5

Necrolic

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 10, 2007
Messages
1,238
Reaction score
13
Joined
Sep 10, 2007
Posts
1,238
Likes
13
Normal gain is just the lowest gain setting, you're still using the amp itself.

The sound improvement at a higher gain setting is most likely because of the increase in volume allowing you to hear more detail. And you shouldn't be able to over drive your headphones if they're at reasonable volume.
 
     Share This Post       
post-6438807
Post #3 of 5

dorkvader

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 1, 2010
Messages
181
Reaction score
11
Joined
Jan 1, 2010
Posts
181
Likes
11
I'm not too technical (Still getting there) But I'm pretty sure you can have an amp with a gain of 1 (no amplification). You'll probably have to talk to the IEM people about that. ('cause they don't really need more volume)

Also: If I read this right, provided you turn the volume down you should be okay. I mean, It's not really loud to you, so you're not going to hurt your headphones or ears that way. The only other thing I can think of you'd have to worry about is "DC Offset", Which is bad for your headphones, but provided I understand it right, it shouldn't be a problem. (DC offset is, apparently when you add a constant DC to your audio. If you imagine a sine wave, it should average to zero, but if you have DC offset, it won't. It'll be shifted up).

So you should be okay, but I'd wait for the more knowledgeable people here before a final decision.

B'sides, it's not like 64 ohms is that far from 50 ohms.
 
     Share This Post       
post-6438819
Post #4 of 5

David.M

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 18, 2009
Messages
801
Reaction score
24
Joined
Nov 18, 2009
Posts
801
Likes
24
reminds me of something my good friend Prickley_Peete use to say:

"The gain settings are a false tweak...set them as close to your headphones actual impedance rating and leave it there. "

There's nothing bad that could happen if you 'over-drive' them, but chances are there will be some sort of channel imbalance from the impedance mismatch, so just leave it at normal and be done with it.

that Xonar sound card should drive all headphones properly, but it does seems most people prefer to use it as a source--rather than an amp. Save up some money and get something like an inexpensive little dot amp in the near future.
 
     Share This Post       
post-6438862
Post #5 of 5

extrabigmehdi

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 27, 2009
Messages
2,693
Reaction score
77
Joined
May 27, 2009
Posts
2,693
Likes
77
thanks all.

@Necrolic
Quote:

The sound improvement at a higher gain setting is most likely because of the increase in volume allowing you to hear more detail.


I thought this might be the case , but my impression of improvement persist
with time, and after readjusting volume. Better bass, in particular. Placebo ? Anyway, I think I will stick to "high gain" setting.

@David.M

Quote:

but chances are there will be some sort of channel imbalance from the impedance mismatch,


I'm not sure what you mean, but if you mean an imbalance between left and right, I notice usually this immediately which is not the case here.

Quote:

Save up some money and get something like an inexpensive little dot amp in the near future.


I bought a xonar stx, just to not have to bother with a separate amplifier.
 
     Share This Post       

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top