Please explain how an amp changes the listening experience
Oct 20, 2008 at 4:01 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11

subi115

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Hey, this is my first post, sorry if i did something wrong since i'm new to the forum and audiophile world. I recently got some beyerdynamic dt880s which arrived a few hours ago and i have a g-lite amp on the way (i hear it may take awhile.) The only other headphones i have to compare against are the Bose triports (i know everyone hates them). Anyway, listening to the 880s and the triports plugged straight into my macbook (the volume has to be hugh for the 880s but they get plenty loud), it's clear that the 880s are better (insert flowery/technical language) but not by a huge amount. Some stuff sounds similar, but, for instance jazz sounds way better.
I'm wondering how the two (880s & bose triports) will compare once my amp arrives. Will the beyerdynamics "come to life" and completely outshine the triports in every way, or just get a little better than they already are. I simply cannot wait a couple months to find out so i'd love it if someone would tell me how they are going to improve because as of now they are the best things i've ever heard sans amp.
Thanks for reading my lengthy/stupid question.

also, the whole impidence thing seems to me to amount to "high or low ohms everything gets better with a good amp, but highers ohms get even better" is this right?
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 5:03 PM Post #2 of 11

Tridacnid

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YMMV, but I think amps are pretty important to the sound. If it's a transparent amp, then what you're looking at is pretty much driving the 'phones closer to their potential. If it is not a "transparent" amp, then your looking at something that will sculpt the sound just a little. For instance, tube amps are generally better at mids than SS amps, unless you have TONS of money to spend. High impedance headphones need more power, and you may not be feeding them enough voltage. I'm not sure how high the impedance on Beyer 880's are, but it sounds like it's up there if you have to crank your soundcard way up.

Also, you may want to look into a better source, as the soundcard path is generally looked upon as mediocre compared to off-board DACs.
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 5:18 PM Post #3 of 11

cwell2112

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Also keep in mind that descriptions etc. in the audiophile world tend to be exaggerated to a certain degree. So, while the Beyers are certainly far better than the Triports, and will definitely sound better with the amp, you may not find it to be the earth-shattering leap in sound quality you might expect, especially considering you're new to the hobby. That being said, as you delve deeper into the hobby and become better at recognizing the subtleties of headphones and amps that aren't immediately obvious to the layman, you'll begin to appreciate your Beyers and amp over your Triports by an increasing amount.

Have fun!
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 6:12 PM Post #4 of 11

1UP

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Think like when listening to speakers with underpowered or ill-suited amplication - the basic sound signature of the drivers will still be there, but the magic and musicality seldom will be.

The lights are on but nobody's home.
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 7:38 PM Post #5 of 11

HeatFan12

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Quote:

Originally Posted by 1UP /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Think like when listening to speakers with underpowered or ill-suited amplication - the basic sound signature of the drivers will still be there, but the magic and musicality seldom will be.

The lights are on but nobody's home.



Very well said...

The DT880s need an amp. 250ohm phones need an amp regardless. Without one, you will hear music, however, if you want to really hear and feel the music and see what they are made of, an amp is necessary.

BTW- DT880s love tubes...

Good luck
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 8:08 PM Post #7 of 11

Golden Monkey

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Tridacnid /img/forum/go_quote.gif
High impedance headphones need more power, and you may not be feeding them enough [current?].


Voltage...tubes kick ass at that as well.
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 8:22 PM Post #9 of 11

928GTS

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I think a lot of it is educating yourself on figuring where the differences you're hearing are coming from. You'll soon be able to figure out what frequency range sounds better and what has changed. It'll come in time,you just need to let yourself learn how to break down the music and analyze each part. Naturally,don't let it get to your head so be sure to enjoy the music as well and let it move you and trigger emotion within you.

You'll notice with a good amp that is supplying your headphones with adequate current that the music seems to "breathe" more and seems to have more life and vibrance to it as well. Not only will frequencies become more controlled but everything will seem a lot more dynamic and quicker. This is because your amp will be much more apt to handle transient changes in the music more easily and thus the music will seem far less sluggish and dull.
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 8:32 PM Post #10 of 11

sunseeker888

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From experience, the most important aspect of using a dedicated amp is simply to provide adequate power for said can. Sure, some like tubes or FETs to color the sound to their liking. Same with speakers. However, if the speaker is not properly amped, its true potential will never be heard. In this case, you're probably better off buying a cheaper headphone/speaker.

Too often I see people's systems set up this way. They have great speakers but a wimpy little amp. Clipping is your enemy.

With cans, if you're hearing any kind of clipping from the source or amp (disregarding music production noise) its time to buy a suitable system with which to drive your headphones.
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 9:38 PM Post #11 of 11

subi115

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Thanks for the great response guys! I guess i'll just have to twiddle my thumbs until the Gilmore Lite shows up. I'll post again when that happens. So the amp keeps the power steadier so the music is more lively and tighter and what not...interesting tough to describe but i think i get it.
 

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