Sound Blaster Z able to drive 120ohm headphones?
Jul 6, 2015 at 1:10 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 3


100+ Head-Fier
Aug 13, 2014
I currently use a pair of Sennheiser HD 558's for desktop use, mainly music and gaming. They are only 50ohms and are driven fairly easily by my Sound Blaster Z which supports headphones of up to 600ohms. Now I am considering picking up a pair of AKG K612 Pro which is rated much higher at 120ohms. However I've heard several people online saying it drives it decently and some saying it doesnt drive it enough. With one particular comment mentioning he already has all the volume sliders at 100% but the volume output is something he would consider 40%. And thats what worries me.
Surely Creative cant be THAT far off from what they advertised, and I'm not expecting the best bass or freq response from this sound card compared to a dedicated headphone amp of course. Has anyone here with this particular sound card been able to drive this headphone well enough with decent volume?
Jul 6, 2015 at 10:30 PM Post #2 of 3
Creative's claim that the card can support up to 600Ohm headphones is meaningless. Impedance is only one of the factors that determine if an amp can drive a headphone.
The K612 Pro has a sensitivity spec of 101dB@1V. I have measured the max voltage of my Soundblaster Z's headphone out as 3.3V. Accounting for the voltage drop on the Z's output impedance, the maximum sound output would be about 110dB. That's enough for a safe average level of 80dB with 30dB of headroom for peaks. If you listen at a loud average level of 90dB, 20dB of headroom is still plenty for most things.

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