What headphone amp can push my 'XB500' to the limits without 'Clipping' them?
Dec 25, 2012 at 11:47 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11

Bassheadspl

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Hello headfiers, currently i own a pair of Sony xb500 headphones and i power them from a fiio e11 amplifier. With this setup, when i crank up the volume on the amplifier to a high volume level, so the subwoofer bass goes crazy, the drivers start to make a clipping sound. This also happens on my pair of Sony XB700 headphones.
 
So i suppose that the amplifier is creating the clipping sound because it not powerful enough to driver the headphone drivers efficiently because i am under powering them. Or is it because the drivers in the Sony XB500 can't take the intense amount of bass? From my point of view, surely it can because the maximum wattage they can take is 1500mw and the fiio e11 is not even providing half of that, so i am clearly not over driving the headphones, nor pushing them to their ultimate limits. But what do you think from a headfiers point of view?
 
So guys if you own a pair of Sony xb500 headphones, do you experience what i am experiencing and also what amp do you use?
 
Can you suggest me a very good home amplifier that can drive the XB500 to their ultimate bass limits, that doesn't make the headphone drivers clip?
 
& Thanks in advance for your replies:)
 
Dec 25, 2012 at 1:10 PM Post #2 of 11

shadow419

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The distortion you're hearing is just the driver hitting it's limits or the music clipping because you have bass boost dialed in too high.  The xb500 don't need anywhere near 1500mw, and quite frankly that max power handling figure is probably the max it could take for an instant before damage would occur to the driver. 
 
Dec 25, 2012 at 1:36 PM Post #3 of 11

davidsh

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Do you use EQ and is it only at high volumes? Remember to always EQ down, never up
 
Dec 25, 2012 at 1:39 PM Post #4 of 11

Bassheadspl

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Thanks for your reply 'shadow410'.The sound that i am hearing from the drivers is not distortion, its like a clipping sort of noise. What i was trying to work our if its the amplifier that is making the drivers clip? and yes i am using the bass boost option on the fiio e11 amplifier. Would a home fiio e9 headphone amplifier allow the bass levels to get crazy, without hearing the drivers clip, as it can provide more power?
 
Dec 25, 2012 at 1:50 PM Post #5 of 11

Bassheadspl

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Thanks for your reply 'davidsh'. Yes i am using a software based equalizer that is integrated into the soundcard interface of my computer. I have increased the bass frequencies, the 31 Hz and 62 Hz sliders a bit, tweaking them so the music doesn’t distort or clip, to provide the best basshead experience i can get from my XB500's. On top of that i am using the bass boost setting on the fiio e11 and i have set it to '2', which is the maximum level of bassboost.
 
The only problem is why i increase the volume on the fiio e11 amplifier to a certain level, when the bass goes subwoofer crazy, i hear the clipping from the drivers. Other than that, at lower volume levels the bass sounds clean and punchy. So I was just wondering would a better amp get rid of this sound at high basshead volume levels or i am pushing the XB500's drivers to far beyond there mechanical limits? Well i think not, because after all many bassheads do recommend them on this forum, i am also under powering them and they are branded by Sony as 'Extra Bass'.
 
Dec 25, 2012 at 2:24 PM Post #6 of 11

BeyerFan

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Thanks for your reply 'shadow410'.The sound that i am hearing from the drivers is not distortion, its like a clipping sort of noise. What i was trying to work our if its the amplifier that is making the drivers clip? and yes i am using the bass boost option on the fiio e11 amplifier. Would a home fiio e9 headphone amplifier allow the bass levels to get crazy, without hearing the drivers clip, as it can provide more power?

If you are hearing clipping that indicates distortion. It can be either the amp is not providing enough juice to drive the headphones, or the SPL limit of the headphones is exceeded in the case where the user listens way too loud past their dynamic limits, which I suspect is what that is happening here. Of course you can try the more powerful Fiio amp and figure out yourself whether you are under driving the headphones. My impression is the X500 is not that difficult to drive and does not really require an amp and can run off portable devices directly.
 
Dec 25, 2012 at 2:32 PM Post #7 of 11

biggbenn74

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Iv'e had the same issue here. I used a FiiO E7 with max bass boost. If they get turned up too loud, they start "clipping". Just don't listen too loud and don't feed it too much equalized bass. Hope this helps.
 
Dec 25, 2012 at 2:58 PM Post #8 of 11

RPGWiZaRD

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What is your source? I was able to listen with digiZoid ZO at max bass level and I didn't hear any clip-distortion but the higher bass boost you go the lower your source volume will have to be in order to avoid clip distortion, ie. the amp's volume should be maxed and the source volume lowered, THEN you AVOID clip-distortion. So if you listen with like +6dB bass boost you will have to give some headroom on the source too. It works the same with software equalizers too, the higher boost on the EQ, the lower the source volume has to be set to remain with a clean output as it's all connected.
 
Since XB500 is an easy to drive headphone, on my computer I had set 11% volume and ZO's volume was maxed, this gives me roughly "normal" listening volumes with that setup and since the source volume is only set to 11% it could take a HUGE bass boost without distorting.
 
At some point it will distort naturally with the high volume but I don't think it happens at a volume lower than what would quickly damage your ears. I think in this case it's that you got source volume maxed so there's no room for bass boosts.
 
Dec 26, 2012 at 8:21 AM Post #9 of 11

Bassheadspl

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Thanks for your reply 'RPGWiZaRd'. The source is my computers sound card. I use the 3.5mm headphone port, found on the sound card, to provide input signal for my fiio e11 amplifier, by using a doubled ended 3.5mm jack lead to hook it up to the fiio e11 amplifier.
 

But i still want to know from somebody who has got the xb500, if they getting clipping from the headphone drivers with a big powerful amplifier, like a fiio e9, rather than a portable amplifier like i am currently using.

 
Dec 26, 2012 at 10:30 AM Post #10 of 11

Malevolent

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Quote:
What is your source? I was able to listen with digiZoid ZO at max bass level and I didn't hear any clip-distortion but the higher bass boost you go the lower your source volume will have to be in order to avoid clip distortion, ie. the amp's volume should be maxed and the source volume lowered, THEN you AVOID clip-distortion. So if you listen with like +6dB bass boost you will have to give some headroom on the source too. It works the same with software equalizers too, the higher boost on the EQ, the lower the source volume has to be set to remain with a clean output as it's all connected.
 
Since XB500 is an easy to drive headphone, on my computer I had set 11% volume and ZO's volume was maxed, this gives me roughly "normal" listening volumes with that setup and since the source volume is only set to 11% it could take a HUGE bass boost without distorting.
 
At some point it will distort naturally with the high volume but I don't think it happens at a volume lower than what would quickly damage your ears. I think in this case it's that you got source volume maxed so there's no room for bass boosts.

 
Yes, this very true. I can reduce distortion by increasing the volume on the amp, rather than on the source. At near max volumes on my DAP (and amp), the clipping sound starts rearing its ugly head, even on FLAC tracks. I initially thought that the problem was with the source files, but I realised that the clipping sound comes around mostly when the DAP volume is high enough (~95% of max).
 
Dec 26, 2012 at 2:18 PM Post #11 of 11

RPGWiZaRD

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Quote:
Thanks for your reply 'RPGWiZaRd'. The source is my computers sound card. I use the 3.5mm headphone port, found on the sound card, to provide input signal for my fiio e11 amplifier, by using a doubled ended 3.5mm jack lead to hook it up to the fiio e11 amplifier.
 

But i still want to know from somebody who has got the xb500, if they getting clipping from the headphone drivers with a big powerful amplifier, like a fiio e9, rather than a portable amplifier like i am currently using.


 
So lower the soundcard volume? Problem fixed, you will get distortion with any amp you pair with in the same way if you don't adjust the volume on the soundcard if you intend to use any kind of bass boost/EQing.
 

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