Using a headphone amp to power stereo speakers
Oct 1, 2009 at 3:51 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

Shlonglor

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I have a Zero amp that drives my Denons and does a great job at it, and I'm wondering whether I could use its excellent DAC function along with the amping to drive normal speakers.

I'm in the market for 2.1 stereo speakers solely for music purposes (and some less important movie/tv use). I only have my laptop currently, which has a very mediocre audio output (quality and amplification). I was wondering whether it would be possible to use the Zero as the DAC and amp for normal computer speakers, or perhaps something even better? I would use a plug splitter to connect both the speakers and my phones at all times or just use a switch for this purpose.

Is this a viable idea? Does anyone have any experience with this?
Any recommendation welcome.
 
Oct 1, 2009 at 5:51 PM Post #2 of 13

xxbaker

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I believe you're a bit confused as to how computer speakers derive their power.

Computer speakers that you plug into a headphone jack (well most anyway) have a built in amplifier; hence why you need to plug them into the wall. The speakers aren't being driven directly form the power output of the jack.

With this knowledge you can see that plugging the speakers into your Zero won't be a problem at all and will be much improved in comparison to the stock computer output. What makes the most sense is connecting your speakers to the rca outs on the back of the Zero. That way you don't need a splitter or switch or anything. Most computer speakers have built in volumes, so the fact that the Zero volume pot won't affect the line out won't matter.

Also if you did want to use your zero volume pot on the line out, you can. If you have it set to 'phone/preamp' then it'll output through the rcas with a functioning volume control. In order for this feature to function correctly though, the headphones can't be plugged in so you'll have to plug and unplug when switching between speakers and headphones.
 
Oct 1, 2009 at 8:56 PM Post #3 of 13

Shlonglor

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Thanks for enlightening me.
So I can basically get whatever I want?

I suppose all that's left is to get recommendations for a place to read up on what speakers I should get (in the 100$+ range).
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Oct 2, 2009 at 8:55 AM Post #5 of 13

Shlonglor

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What's the difference between speakers and active monitors?
How powerful is the Zero compared to normal speaker amps, anyway?
 
Oct 2, 2009 at 2:51 PM Post #6 of 13

Shlonglor

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How do I figure out if the speakers actually have RCA outputs? This is a little advertised fact.
Does anyone know if the Klipsch 2.1 ProMedia has them?
 
Oct 2, 2009 at 8:06 PM Post #7 of 13

midget

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Shlonglor /img/forum/go_quote.gif
How do I figure out if the speakers actually have RCA outputs? This is a little advertised fact.
Does anyone know if the Klipsch 2.1 ProMedia has them?



i think you mean RCA inputs. i'm pretty sure you can buy a RCA-mini cable if you decided to get the Promedia 2.1, though personally i don't recommend them at their price point.
 
Oct 2, 2009 at 10:50 PM Post #8 of 13

Shlonglor

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Indeed I do! I found out the M-Audio AV40 and the BX5A have the inputs and I'll have to decide between the two. Thanks.
 
Oct 2, 2009 at 11:23 PM Post #9 of 13

RicHSAD

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You won't drive passive speakers with a headphone amp.
 
Oct 2, 2009 at 11:24 PM Post #10 of 13

Shlonglor

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.
 
Oct 3, 2009 at 6:46 AM Post #11 of 13

xxbaker

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Shlonglor /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Indeed I do! I found out the M-Audio AV40 and the BX5A have the inputs and I'll have to decide between the two. Thanks.


I'd recommend going for the BX5a over the AV40. It makes sense they're better, but I feel like they're also a better value. Unless you're limited on space or price of course. In my experience the BX5a's low end is a lot cleaner than the AV40.
 
Oct 3, 2009 at 3:50 PM Post #12 of 13

Shlonglor

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The Zero only has RCA outputs and the BX5a has XLR inputs. Is this.. compatible?
 

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