Question about Gain on amps
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DarrenLays

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Hey guys, I had a few questions about my o2's gain setting. 
 
Is it possible that using the 6.5x gain on my o2 vs the 2.5x gain changes the sound in other ways than just volume?
 
When I use the 6.5x gain setting and volume match it with the 2.5x gain, it seems like back-ground noises in the songs become more apparent, and it's easier to hear things in the "soundstage", the highs seem to sparkle a bit more, and the bass seems to thump a bit harder. One thing I notice, is lower-quality recordings do not like higher gain, they seem to distort in the low-end, and my friend said it's because low quality sources sometimes have issues with not being able to output enough volume?  
 
I understand it could be because it's louder, making the noises more apparent, but when I do my best to volume match, it sounds slightly different.
 
The headphones I'm using are LCD-2 rev 3 w/ fazor, I see people say that planars benefit from "more power", could this be an exhibit of that?
 
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ieee754

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Higher gain is used to amp lower inputs, if you hear a difference then probably you're giving too high voltage on O2's input, and the sound clips. If it sounds improved for you, I think you're just getting illusion caused by the higher volume, and I can't really see how you matched them if you have only one amp and no professional equipment (like SPL meter). As far as I know you don't get more power (current) with higher gain, it only increases output / input voltage ratio (and decreases max input voltage).
 
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