Speaker amps for headphones
Jul 21, 2014 at 6:47 AM Post #2,611 of 3,871
  Interesting.  Are you guys getting decent enough range with the knob?  Isn't there a risk of blowing the drivers easily?  I can only imagine this HE-6 or similarly hard to drive cans.  In which scenarios are the resistor network used?

 
Hey man! Seems like I'm bumping into you all over Head-Fi 
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The usable range of volume control is an issue with a lot of amps and setups, which is one of the reasons some people are using resistor networks to regain (no pun intended-- ha!) some of that range. Yes, there is a risk of blowing the drivers, but it can be largely mitigated by a judicious use of the volume knob-- no big upswings in volume, and always start at zero and work your way up. (The possibilities for problems here can be reduced with a resistor network also). The HE-6 and K1000, being terrible inefficient, are the two that I've most often heard of people requiring speaker amps, although the HD800 is another headphone that gets brought up frequently as seeing improvement this way. People tend to try it with orthos pretty frequently, but the benefits with the Audezes seem less clear-cut than with the HE-6, at least from what I've read. 
 
In addition to this thread, which is great, you might want to check out the "Amplification for HE-6" thread, where they go through a lot of other options as well. (I'd recommend the HE-6 thread itself, as there is a TON of info there, but it's approaching a thousand pages at this point, and only true nutters like me would read the entire thing, I think). Personally, I use a First Watt F5 clone directly into my HE-6 with no problems; I simply listen at very low ranges on my preamp (Audio-gd Master 8). 
 
In general, using speaker amps requires a bit more care and common sense than using a headphone amp otherwise would, but the consensus seems to be you have the potential to get considerably better sound quality for your money this way. All the usual caveats apply, YMMV, etc. 
 
Jul 21, 2014 at 10:08 AM Post #2,612 of 3,871
.........In general, using speaker amps requires a bit more care and common sense than using a headphone amp otherwise would, but the consensus seems to be you have the potential to get considerably better sound quality for your money this way. All the usual caveats apply, YMMV, etc. 
This has been the point from me for years. You don't need a mini amp to run headphones. But look at the site we're on and the motivation behind it.
 
Jul 21, 2014 at 10:41 AM Post #2,613 of 3,871
This has been the point from me for years. You don't need a mini amp to run headphones. But look at the site we're on and the motivation behind it.


Yep, I've kept an eye out for your opinions as they've popped up in the HE-6 thread and elsewhere. Your feedback was one of the reasons I decided to go the route I have, and now I have some of the best sound I've ever heard. Thanks for the dogged prosyletization over the years, I'm sure I'm not the only person who's better off as a result. Cheers :wink:
 
Jul 21, 2014 at 12:57 PM Post #2,614 of 3,871
One of the quietest amps around is Technics SE-9060 power amplifier. 2x 75W/8ohm.
http://www.thevintageknob.org/technics-SE-9060.html
 
Using AKG K340 ( old, electrostatic / dynamic hybrid - not new "recycled" ) directly off speaker tabs ( it also sports usual 6.5 mm jack w/resistors ) it is so quiet that noise/hiss of ANY CD player connected to its input with heroic listening level for music will create much more noise than the amp itself. This amp is fro Technics' Proffesional Range - therefore S/N of 120 dB (+?) should come as no surprise.
 
Usual caveats regarding use of headphones directly off speaker tabs apply - it unfortunately is easy to damage fragile headphone drivers, so this is for those who do understand what is involved and are prepared to take the necassary precautions. 
 
K340 driven trough resistors or directly - no contest.
 
Jul 21, 2014 at 3:44 PM Post #2,615 of 3,871
Quite interesting analogsurviver! Could probably be a fine upgrade, perhaps with a passive pre-amp if input impedance allows.
 
Jul 22, 2014 at 11:38 PM Post #2,617 of 3,871
  Gary, how much volume dial movement do you get on the Cyclops when using the HD650?


Duckman:
 
Usable volume on a normal track is between 7:30 and 8:30 on the dial.  Not much range, but the dial is pretty big, so there's enough control.  I tend not to crank on volume the way I used to -- I'm old, after all -- but even on Red Hot Chili Peppers there should be enough control for anyone (listening to them right now at ~7:45-8 on the dial... could go a bit louder if I was just listening, but I'm trynig/ to tpye).
 
Jul 22, 2014 at 11:49 PM Post #2,618 of 3,871
  Do you mean you fed it straight off the taps without any intermediary? Wouldn't the HD650 be sensitive enough such that volume play will be very minimal? Hmm...perhaps i can custom build a pigtail extension for my HD600..may I ask what is the rated output of your Cyclops and Nikko amp? Trying to establish a maximum output rating that can safely be used for a direct tap onto the speaker outs.
 
I recall using the HD650 out of the headphone jack from a vintage Pioneer SX-1280 receiver (with 180W output power) and I could hear a lot of hissing without music being played.


Straight off the taps, nothing in between except wire.  Easily controllable with the dial between 7:30 and 8:30 on the Cyclops (110 wpc into 8 ohms).  Brings the HD650s to life, definitely not "dark" particularly using the Nikko (70 wpc into 8 ohms).  Listening to RHCP on the Cyclops right now.  No hiss.  Nice clean high end, real pop in the bass.
 
Reality is that total wattage out doesn't seem to be that critical, as long as we aren't talking hundreds of watts per channel.  Common sense is critical though.  If you're an idiot, you can blow up the HD650s.  If you are a totally deaf, complete idiot, you can blow up the LCDs.  Don't be an idiot, and you will get years of listening pleasure.
 
Jul 22, 2014 at 11:56 PM Post #2,620 of 3,871
I got mine off Amazon from Shenzen:
 
http://www.amazon.com/Upgrade-Version-balance-ZY-002-2-5M/dp/B00A2QJLY8/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1406087641&sr=8-11&keywords=hd650+cable
 
It's a really nice cable.  I have to believe Shenzen will ship one to Australia for about the same price (in USD).
 
Jul 22, 2014 at 11:56 PM Post #2,621 of 3,871
 
Straight off the taps, nothing in between except wire.  Easily controllable with the dial between 7:30 and 8:30 on the Cyclops (110 wpc into 8 ohms).  Brings the HD650s to life, definitely not "dark" particularly using the Nikko (70 wpc into 8 ohms).  Listening to RHCP on the Cyclops right now.  No hiss.  Nice clean high end, real pop in the bass.
 
Reality is that total wattage out doesn't seem to be that critical, as long as we aren't talking hundreds of watts per channel.  Common sense is critical though.  If you're an idiot, you can blow up the HD650s.  If you are a totally deaf, complete idiot, you can blow up the LCDs.  Don't be an idiot, and you will get years of listening pleasure.

Great news indeed. I suppose I could do the same for the HD600? is there any caveat i should be aware of (other than the care with volume control) i.e. specific types of amplifiers which I can't use to tap directly off the speaker taps?
 
Jul 23, 2014 at 12:01 AM Post #2,622 of 3,871
The HD600 and 650 should behave pretty much the same, since I think they use the same drivers, just damped/tuned differently. 
 
As I recall, there are some precautions to be taken if you use resistors with certain kinds of amps, (bridged vs, unbridged???) but the experts on here need to answer that.  All I do is plug in and turn on...
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Jul 23, 2014 at 1:30 AM Post #2,624 of 3,871
Some tube amps want to see a specific load, so your resistor L-pad may need to have a certain config to match the desired output load. If you're going for a high level of attenuation, a three resistor network may be better (one to load the amp, and the other two to achieve attenuation and maintain damping factor)
 
Jul 23, 2014 at 1:32 AM Post #2,625 of 3,871
  Some tube amps want to see a specific load, so your resistor L-pad may need to have a certain config to match the desired output load. If you're going for a high level of attenuation, a three resistor network may be better (one to load the amp, and the other two to achieve attenuation and maintain damping factor)

Thanks for the tip. I read somewhere before where resistors are not necessary for OTL type of amps?
 
In general, is it correct to say solid state amps don't require this resistor?
 

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