What's the best headphone that doesn't need an amp?
Mar 6, 2006 at 10:05 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11

jagorev

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 16, 2005
Posts
3,316
Likes
15
Just wondering about high-end headphones that deliver their full potential from headphone jacks on good portable CD players or home receivers. (IEMs excluded for obvious reasons.)

I've often heard of the A500/A900, HD555/HD595, and the Grado series mentioned in this context...which of these improves the least with an amp? Or, in other words, which is the best headphone for which a dedicated amp is really not necessary, or even superfluous?
 
Mar 6, 2006 at 10:32 PM Post #3 of 11

rsaavedra

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 20, 2002
Posts
5,819
Likes
21
Quote:

Originally Posted by jagorev
which of these improves the least with an amp? Or, in other words, which is the best headphone for which a dedicated amp is really not necessary, or even superfluous?


I think the question is overloaded because:

Sounding best without amplification is one thing.
Improving the least with amplification is another thing.
 
Mar 6, 2006 at 11:11 PM Post #4 of 11

kramer5150

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Sep 20, 2004
Posts
14,427
Likes
196
I frequently listen to all my Grados unamped from my vintage PCDPs. No they are not at full potential, but they sound better than straight out of any of my MP3 players.

So I guess Grado gets my vote.
Garrett
 
Mar 6, 2006 at 11:53 PM Post #5 of 11

Nomad

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 24, 2005
Posts
1,106
Likes
12
Quote:

Originally Posted by rsaavedra
I think the question is overloaded because:

Sounding best without amplification is one thing.
Improving the least with amplification is another thing.



Agree. They are not the same thing at all.

Both the L3000 and PS-1 sound pretty good straight from the iPod. Which is better is a matter of taste. Each one has a different approach.

If I had to keep only one, I'd keep the L3000.

However the PS-1 is quite good too and it's quite convenient as it is "foldable". Easy to put in a suitcase/bag, around the neck and you can even go for a walk with them.

Still... I'd keep the L3000.
 
Mar 7, 2006 at 1:32 AM Post #6 of 11

jagorev

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 16, 2005
Posts
3,316
Likes
15
Quote:

Originally Posted by rsaavedra
I think the question is overloaded because:

Sounding best without amplification is one thing.
Improving the least with amplification is another thing.



Good point. I know that some phones can sound fine without amplification, but improve a lot with.

I guess what I'm really asking is which headphones really do not need an amp in order to sound their best (or close to it at any rate)?
 
Mar 7, 2006 at 1:37 AM Post #7 of 11

bangraman

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Posts
10,275
Likes
30
The Qualia 010. It performs at its nominal spec unamped, which means it will show you what is wrong with whatever you're listening to
biggrin.gif
 
Mar 7, 2006 at 2:10 AM Post #9 of 11

Hirsch

Why is there a chaplain standing over his wallet?
Joined
Aug 12, 2001
Posts
7,822
Likes
29
Quote:

Originally Posted by bangraman
The Qualia 010. It performs at its nominal spec unamped, which means it will show you what is wrong with whatever you're listening to
biggrin.gif



That's odd. The only thing I've ever heard when trying to listen to the Qualia without some sort of amplification is dead silence
very_evil_smiley.gif


All headphones need an amp. The question is whether the amp in a device is a better amp than an external amp. The difference in amp quality/synergy with headphone determines whether or not you can hear improvement. So far, I have not heard a high-end headphone that will deliver its full potential without an external amp. High-end headphones will work from amps in sources or receivers, and can sound very good, but full potential? No. Not one.
 
Mar 7, 2006 at 2:55 AM Post #11 of 11

GoRedwings19

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Sep 11, 2004
Posts
5,014
Likes
11
The three which spring to mind that I have had in my possesion are the:-

Ps-1, L3k, Qualia 010

I don;t know if they are the "best" but certainly they stood out SQ wise when using something like a DAP.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top