Why are headphone amps so expensive?
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absolutofft

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I would like to get an amp for my HD580s but looking at the prices for what you get they seem to be overpriced. Paying over 100 bucks for something that runs on batteries in not my idea of fun.

What cheap/good amp do you recommend that does not run on batteries?
 
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LTUCCI1924

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absolutofft
HI: Form what I have read Batt. are the best source to run an amp off of.
 
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markl

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What do you consider "cheap"? What's your budget, and what are you currently using to drive your 580's?

Mark
 
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mkmelt

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I agree that many headphone amplifiers are too expensive. It is not that they are overpriced, it is just that these are low volume products, largely designed, assembled, and soldered by small companies of perhaps a handful of employees. There is no way these can be manufactured cheaply, except maybe as a kit for the do it yourself type of audiophile.

There is an alternative. Search the amplifier forum for threads on vintage amps. There are some very good values in vintage solid state amps and receivers from the 1970s. Receivers and integrated amplifiers that cost $400 and $500 in 1975 would cost $1800-$2000 to built today, and largely sound as good or better as any current amp up to the kilobuck range.

Your money will go alot further if you buy vintage gear. A plus is that while many of the higher wattage receivers and amps can cost several hundred dollars today, the low powered models from the same period are often undervalued and can be purchased for well under $100. For headphone listening, the power rating of the main amplifier section of a receiver is not relevant, as the headphone output typically had its own amplifier circuit, and these were standard circuits throughout the product line. I can't imagine that Marantz, Sansui, Yamaha, Kenwood, Technics, and Pioneer spent money manufacturing more than one headphone driver circuit.
 
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absolutofft

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I just plug them into an old pioneer reciever I have for listening to CDs. However I was thinking about getting a dolby digital reciever so that I could have a digital connection from my computer to the reciever for listening to mp3s. Using a line out connection sounds very noisy from a soundcard.

I saw that I can get a dolby digital kenwood reciever on ebay for 60 bucks and the headroom amps seem to be selling for around 88 bucks. Then of course I would also need to get rechargable batteries and a battery charger if I got a headroom airhead amp.
 
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00940

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the airhead alone can be grabbed used for 50$ shipped (look the forum here). the airhead also have a input for a 5V ac adapter, this kind of ac adapter cost less than 20 bucks at radioshack.
 
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LTUCCI1924

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HI: I found that getting a couple of good Ics to go from the cd deck to amp cd in helps the sound from the cd deck a lot from the headphone jack of the stereo receiver or just playing the Cd's through your system speakers. The Ics from the cd deck give a much better signal to the stereo receiver.
 
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dokebi

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They are the jewelery that makes a good wardrobe great.
 
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Dreamslacker

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Quote:

Originally posted by absolutofft
I would like to get an amp for my HD580s but looking at the prices for what you get they seem to be overpriced. Paying over 100 bucks for something that runs on batteries in not my idea of fun.

What cheap/good amp do you recommend that does not run on batteries?


You're not paying over $100 for just the amp cost itself. You're paying for labour as well.

A moderately simple META42 would cost you no more than $80 in parts. That is, no stacked buffers and such. But the labour cost has to be factored in.
I built my Proto42, I know what it's like to be soldering a thousand and one parts. And I don't even get the pleasure of using sockets for resistors.

If you want a good amp. cheap, you can order the META42 board and build your own amp. If you're not willing or able to, I guess you just have to pay for the amp.
 
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Andrew LB

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I've listened to a few amps so far and you definately get what you pay for.
 
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andrzejpw

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Quote:

I saw that I can get a dolby digital kenwood reciever on ebay for 60 bucks and the headroom amps seem to be selling for around 88 bucks. Then of course I would also need to get rechargable batteries and a battery charger if I got a headroom airhead amp.


I think you're confusing the issue here. Headphone wise, the kenwood reciever will stink. The headphone amp in it will be just horrible. The airhead is a whole league above it. You're not paying for only the parts. You're paying for the labor, R&D, salaries, etc. The airhead will sound vastly superior. Though, also look at the CHA-47 DIY amp. Contact JMT for details.
 
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sacriste

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Expensive? Did you say expensive? Actually, they are too cheap!!! You're not worthy of this forum!!! (Read the thread about "How much money have you expended in headphone related equipment" and you'll kill yourself)
 
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tangent

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I think you're just not aware of what goes into a good headphone amp, absolutofft. A good amp isn't topologically all that different from a preamp or a power amp. It's just that the headphone amp is tweaked for lower power output than a power amp and usually doesn't have multiple switched inputs like a preamp. The amplification circuit, though, can be quite similar between these three.

You don't say what other components you have in your profile, but I'll bet your preamp and power amp are each at least $250. Just because the box is smaller doesn't mean $250 isn't a reasonable entry level point for headphone amps, too. And like power amps and preamps, spending more does indeed get you better sound.
 
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