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What output + gain is best /safe (612s - Asus - O2)

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by saraya, Apr 25, 2014.
  1. Saraya
    I have a pair of AKG 612 being fed audio from an Asus DG sound card with it's own amp(three levels) and an O2 external amp.
    Up until now, I have been running the sound card at lowest output and using the high gain feature of the O2.
    I did a brief test with the Asus card set to maximum and the O2 gain turned to low. This gave more output at the same inline control level. In short it gave more volume on tap.
    Authority wise, it carried about the same punch.
    Second test was at medium sound card output and O2 gain on high. This gave the most authority and punch, with less inline volume requirement.
    Third test was at maximum sound card output and O2 gain on high. This gave the least volume requirement, however the punch was too high, starting to distort.
    I now believe I enjoy the second setup the most. Thoughts on which combination is the safest for ears/hardware/performance?
  2. Saraya
    After much back and forth, I found that the DG on it's highest amplification + the high gain of the O2, gave the most punch and authority levels; however as mentioned before induced a premature distortion on SOME audio playback. It seems the distortion is a combination of poor recording quality and equalizing that I have done, where the majority of that comes from the recording quality. Switching to medium level amp output on the DG aided in removing the distortion for those acute situations while keeping the EQ.
    I also find that games and some film/tv, seem to have more natural volume to them - potentially a +gain that's hardcoded, however this does not induce any noticeable distortion so I simply turn the volume down a bit.
    My conclusion - as discussed in the K612 owner's thread -  is that the K612 needs some serious amplification to make it loud; more so than the usual recommendation we get from people that they are 'hard to drive,' and 'need synergy.'
    I do not know if double amping at high gain and max output will damage the hardware, though I do not have much of a choice.
    Ultimately, do not make the mistake I made before and assume that a simple portable type amplifier, such as a Fiio E11 or similar, is what people mean when they suggest you purchase a headphone amp.

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