Please help with this basic issue: Reason why manufacturers of HP amps recommend line out or level line out instead of headphone jack
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Darwin258

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I keep running across HP amp manufacturers who say whether it is a Sony Walkman Cd player or a full fledged receiver that it is better to use the line level out than the headphone jack in connecting to the HP amp. When my HP amp is plugged into HP jack there is the major advantage of gain from the receiver or pre-amp and need to not turn up my HP amp as high because have all that gain coming from receiver.
 
So really like using the HP jack.
 
However, if I run RCA lines out from Tape Out (how else get line level from a receiver or pre-amp) and avoiding the HP jack what is gained by avoiding the HP jack? Since inferior circuity is used for HP jack output (though its signal is stronger than the line level which stays level!) is this the reason?
 
I cannot hear a difference, I think. But it sure makes a difference in turning up the HP volume to get full strength and yes of course the high gain button has been activated on the HP amp.
 
I keep going around in circles on this so will be in love if can get a good answer.
 
Regards, A
 
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Pricklely Peete

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Line out is "line level" buffered output (passing through the line level signal from your source) to the better quality "preamp/power amp stages" built into your outboard head amp. If you take the signal from the source headphone out you are in essence amplifying the inferior quality head amp output of your source device (not what the outboard amp is expecting signal wise...hence "line level input"). It's called double amping which almost always ends up sounding way worse than using the proper line level output from that source into your brand new head amp. It is always better to bypass any inferior circuitry in your source in favor of the better quality outboard amp down the signal chain line.
 
I hope that made sense...
 
Peete.
 
 
 
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Darwin258

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Peete
 
Cannot thank you enough for your explanation. Your explanation is sheer poetry. And while it was over my head I found re-reading it that it began to penetrate. Best of all, you gave me the bottom line on why should by pass the HP jack. I will, however, miss the extra gain in using HP jack. Just have to make sure my outboard head amp has plenty of gain/head room.
 
I just have bad and aging ears in not being able to hear the diff between the HP jack and line out. But no more HP jack for me.
 
One other question if possible: have been looking at DACs and wondering how badly I need one since I stream online from Naxos Music Library at 126Kbps and sounds pretty good. They say that is "near CD quality." Any case, am looking at the power supply and DAC at Channel Island Audio but whose combined price without cables is $700. My pocket book does not think I have a $700 DAC problem. Is it possible to hear a $700 improvement over the otherwise decent equipment I have? Get a less expensive DAC?
 
Most grateful!
 
Art
 
 
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HiFlight

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Quote:
Peete
 
Cannot thank you enough for your explanation. Your explanation is sheer poetry. And while it was over my head I found re-reading it that it began to penetrate. Best of all, you gave me the bottom line on why should by pass the HP jack. I will, however, miss the extra gain in using HP jack. Just have to make sure my outboard head amp has plenty of gain/head room.
 
I just have bad and aging ears in not being able to hear the diff between the HP jack and line out. But no more HP jack for me.
 
One other question if possible: have been looking at DACs and wondering how badly I need one since I stream online from Naxos Music Library at 126Kbps and sounds pretty good. They say that is "near CD quality." Any case, am looking at the power supply and DAC at Channel Island Audio but whose combined price without cables is $700. My pocket book does not think I have a $700 DAC problem. Is it possible to hear a $700 improvement over the otherwise decent equipment I have? Get a less expensive DAC?
 
Most grateful!
 
Art
 

Art...
 
It is very doubtful that you will realize a significant improvement by upgrading to the Channel Island due to the low bitrate of the streaming music.   Regardless of the claim "near CD quality", a bitrate of 126kbps will always sound less than stellar, regardless of the DAC.   An inexpensive DAC  or DAC/Amp should still be an improvement over the average computer soundcard, even with the lower bitrate, but will not equal the SQ of higher bitrate or lossless music files.   The iBasso D6 Amp/DAC would be one of several similarly priced devices that would give you a lot of "bang for the buck" when streaming from Naxos and will scale very well with higher quality sources. 
 
 
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Darwin258

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Peete
 
Again, enormous gratitude for your generous sharing of technical knowledge. You have saved me hundreds. Will seriously look at  the iBasso.
 
 
With your help, now feel if am about to make it pass Go and collect $200 since this is the last bit of information I feel I need to complete my set up and calm down, to some extent.
 
I did not understand this passage: where you say an inexpensive DAC still "will not equal the SQ of higher bitrate or lossless music files." You mean lossless files will still be superior to what I can achieve with the inexpensive DAC and streaming Naxos even though will be better than computer soundcard?
 
I see in your equipment list you have the Schzero Anadante, but they are no longer available I gather after attempting to contact them today. Was also thinking seriously about the Schitt Asgard if you have an opinion on that. Will further try to run most of what you have listed.
 
Art
 
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Pricklely Peete

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Art,
 
Once you go down the path of trying to improve upon what is termed "entry level" audio even a consumer level SC used as a DAC leaves a lot to be desired. Not to be discouraged by that SC...the solution is simple and it includes the SC as an integral piece of the puzzle (as long as it capable of delivering a true bit perfect digital signal to your outboard dac). It has to do with using it (SC digital out,COAX is best) as a transport rather than a DAC leaving the critical digital to analog conversion duties to an outboard dedicated device. The iBasso does a darn good job for what it is but remember that it is just an entry level audio grade device. I like to make the distinction between audio gear and sound gear used with the typical PC/MAC. The two methods of reproducing music are miles apart in terms of end result.........you can spend a lot of money on 5.1/7.1 comp speakers systems that will sound OK for everyday use but will pale in comparison to say an entry level 2 channel DAC/AMP combo built for "audio grade" use (a system like the Little Dot MK III amp used in tandem with a decent DAC, fed by the SC used as transport into a decent set of headphones,like the HD650's, is roughly the same cost as the Klipsch 5.1 computer speaker system + decent SC).
 
MP3/low bit rate streaming files really mask what your system is truly capable of. Since HDD space is pretty cheap I would rethink your stance on using/buying lossy source material. At the very least you should focus on nothing less (resolution wise) than 16/44.1 red book (or CD quality). With FLAC and APE and a few other loss-less compression methods there is no reason to look at lossy files types since that info once stripped from the original source material it's gone for good and cannot be restored. Once you get used to full resolution files you'll wonder how you ever thought lesser bit rates were listenable. I'm not saying lossy cannot be good, it can but only at 320 bps...even then though my ears pick up the differences. It may be a PITA to obtain flac (or whatever format is loss-less) versions of your favorites but it's well worth the time, money and effort in the long run. Your ears and brain will thank you for it in the end.
 
Peete.
 
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Darwin258

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Peete
 
Total thanks. Understand what you said rather well for a non-techie. Off to follow your suggestions--but you sure are correct about the PITA component regarding access to lossless. And the cost!
 
Regards,
 
Art
 
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