When Is A HP Amp Necessary?
Oct 18, 2008 at 8:13 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 5

Moontan13

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 3, 2008
Posts
1,173
Likes
11
At the moment, I'm very new to headphones. I have several inexpensive full size phones, and a lot of earbuds. While most of my listening is with an iPod, I've done some experimenting using various recievers and amps I have, while noting the overall improvement amplification has over using just the iPod. One amp, a Kenwood KA 3500, stood out among the other amps and recievers as the best match for the headphones in SQ. While I have a nice home audio system, I'm really liking the home headphone experience and will be up for improvements in the near future.

As I feel my way along, at what point will the best SQ result with a dedicated headphone amplifier? As my headphones are presently a 70's vintage Realistic Nova 20, a Denon AH D1001 and a JVC HA RX900, I don't think there's much SQ to be gained with a dedicated amp until I upgrade headphones. Is that right? The thing I'm afraid of is geting an amp, then finding it isn't any better than what I'm using now.
 
Oct 18, 2008 at 8:51 AM Post #2 of 5

1Time

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jun 1, 2005
Posts
4,661
Likes
23
Quote:

Originally Posted by Moontan13 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
As I feel my way along, at what point will the best SQ result with a dedicated headphone amplifier? As my headphones are presently a 70's vintage Realistic Nova 20, a Denon AH D1001 and a JVC HA RX900, I don't think there's much SQ to be gained with a dedicated amp until I upgrade headphones. Is that right? The thing I'm afraid of is geting an amp, then finding it isn't any better than what I'm using now.


Some headphones scale much better with better amping. You can buy an amp, but one or any of your headphones might not sound better to you. However, chances are all of your headphones will sound better to you. Even the simplest headphones or earbuds usually sound better when driven with better amping. The thing to do is to take care in choosing your amp. What's your budget for an amp?
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 12:23 PM Post #3 of 5

Moontan13

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 3, 2008
Posts
1,173
Likes
11
Quote:

Originally Posted by 1Time /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The thing to do is to take care in choosing your amp. What's your budget for an amp?


I was looking to keep it under/around $500, but then I'm reading about this Zero for a lot less...hmm.
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 3:30 PM Post #4 of 5

paaj

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Apr 28, 2008
Posts
2,139
Likes
22
Location
Amsterdam
if you like your kenwood, keep it for while, take your budget and get some more headphones to try.
I was using a marantz pm7001 and then bought a gs solo, but the marantz comes very close. of course a dedicated amp has other advantages (the marantz was either too loud or unbalanced for one) and i do prefer the solo, but a decent full-size amp can be usefull for a long time.
the better performance at the moment is in better headphones
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 5:04 PM Post #5 of 5

sbulack

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 12, 2003
Posts
2,177
Likes
16
When Is A HP Amp Necessary?

Necessary for what? Compared to what? At what acceptable cost?

Ultimately, when a HP Amp helps to increase the owner's life enrichment (however the owner determines that) - by an amount they find is worth the cost of the amp (monetary and opportunity) - then it is "a good acquisition" for them.

A few things to consider before doing the experiments needed to see whether a HP Amp does that for you:

1) There are plenty of threads in which someone has purchased a set of headphones and an amp which are generally spoken of as "worth it to them" by lots of other folks - and the poster concludes that they don't hear any difference, "nada, zip, bupkiss", from what they heard before their purchases. Folks really DO hear things differently. So, it is a good thing to find folks with posts about gear that you have heard and that you agree with, and lean more on the posts of those folks when it comes to gear that you have not yet heard.

2) Given the brute force fact of 1), the more acceptable the cost of an experiment to see whether such purchases would be worth it to you, the better. That could mean to start with lower cost modest or used items, or to try before you buy, or to buy from vendors with a 30-day return policy, or to attend Head-Fi meets to listen first, depending on one's inclinations and opportunities. If the cost of a trial is planned and limited to an acceptable amount, then there need be no fear in trying. If the unrecoverable cost of any trial is such that a fear factor is introduced, it is probably better left untried.

Trying something new should be fun. As long as one's expectations are realistic and attainable, and the costs managed to remain realistic and acceptable, there's no reason why it should not be an enjoyable journey of self-discovery and personal enrichment.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top