Why do companies make headphones hard to drive(300+ ohm) is it a conspiracy to sell more amps?
Aug 29, 2015 at 10:58 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 22

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Got to thinking. I have been on Head-fi since 2004 and heard my fair share of amps/headphones. I have been laptop only for years now and recently the headphone jack died. I picked up a Dragonfly v1.2 which sounds amazing considering it is only $150.
 
However it doesn't quite have enough power to full drive my Sennheiser HD580s(650 drivers in the mail yay!). It sounds good  and far better then a normal headphone jack yes but at higher volumes you can just tell it isn't getting enough power and really needs a dedicated amp(I ordered an Asgard 2 yesterday since my Little Dot is getting stale).
 
So why did Sennheiser make them 300 ohms? Couldn't their engineers make them 120-150 ohm? I still own a pair of Sennheiser 590s and the Dragonfly powers them very well, I believe they are 120 ohm but don't quote me on that.
 
So is there anything in the 580/600/650 driver design that requires them to be 300 ohms?
 
Thanks.
 
Aug 29, 2015 at 11:17 PM Post #2 of 22

Tripcrow

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With lower impedance comes less quality, with more intense sound engines comes more demand for a source to power it. Take the transducers, for example: the Sennheiser HD800's have transducers that are both massive and powerful. That being said, you just simply need more power to make them sound as they are supposed to. You can't efficiently charge a Tesla Model S with a smartphone charger, and you can't efficiently power the HD 800's with a smartphone.
 
As for those specific models (the hd 580, 600, 650), Sennheiser simply put powerful technology in those headphones to give you great sound. They could have made the engines less demanding, but that requires downgraded equipment with less potential. They could have also upgraded the efficiency of the sound engines, meaning less power for more quality, but that's expensive to do.
 
Aug 29, 2015 at 11:18 PM Post #3 of 22

jcx

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300 Ohms is a fine load for a pro studio line output, sensitivity is about right for pro studio level drive V too
 
and mainstream of +/-15 Vsupply monolithic op amps can manage the V
 
so an argument is that 300 Ohms is simply "old school" today
 
today's common single cell 3.6 V LiIon portable players often do about 1 Vrms out so 32 Ohms may the more modern mode
 
Aug 29, 2015 at 11:23 PM Post #4 of 22

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To me, the sennheiser and beyerdynamic headphones are really straightforward. The scarier headphones to drive are low impedance orthos. I'm surprised you don't find your dragonfly good enough for the hd580 btw - are you sure there isn't some type of software issue?  And make sure the 650 drivers are in phase when you install them.
 
Aug 29, 2015 at 11:37 PM Post #5 of 22

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Aug 29, 2015 at 11:41 PM Post #6 of 22

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  are you sure there isn't some type of software issue?

 
Also as to this, I have all volumes everywhere set to 100%. Double and triple checked. 24-bit 44.1khz
 
Through my Dragonfly v2 it isn't even loud enough to hurt my ears. If I plug the Dragonfly into my Little Dot II+ then having it at max volume is too loud and will cause damage. On my old Gilmore Lite(I sold it :*( ) I couldn't get the volume nob very high and full blast would blow your eardrums very quickly on these 580s
 
Aug 30, 2015 at 12:57 AM Post #7 of 22

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A dragonfly is 2 vrms with 10 ohm output impedance, right? That seems like it would be fine for most people in terms of loudness on an hd650. I suppose it depends a lot on the dynamic range of the files you are playing.
 
Aug 30, 2015 at 1:06 AM Post #8 of 22

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  A dragonfly is 2 vrms with 10 ohm output impedance, right? That seems like it would be fine for most people in terms of loudness on an hd650. I suppose it depends a lot on the dynamic range of the files you are playing.

 
Not sure the exact power but it comes out of a USB port not walwort so I can't imagine it has a ton of power.
 
Aug 30, 2015 at 1:31 AM Post #9 of 22

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i don't believe that lower impedance equals lesser quality,and my 32ohm PS500e are my proof. for that matter even Grado's flagship PS1000e which sells for $1,700 is 32 ohms. granted i am not a sound engineer and everyone's preferences vary based on numerous factors from the synergy of their set up to their age to the type of music they prefer, but it's not just Grado that make incredible low resistance headphones, there are plenty of other hi quality low impedance cans on the market from Oppo,Audeze,Sony,Denon,AKG,Ultrasone etc all with low enough impedance levels to be driven by portable players without an amplifier
 
one of the better answers i found to this question online was this -
 
"High-impedance headphones are designed for studio-like applications where there may be multiple phones wired in parallel receiving an input signal from one source. Low-impedance headphones are designed to be plugged directly into a single source, and can more effeciently generate sound from the lower level input signal.
 
High-impedance headphones are a little more durable (electronically), but require higher signal levels to produce the same output level of low-impedance headphones.
http://sound.stackexchange.com/questions/25678/what-is-the-effect-of-impedance-on-headphone-sound-quality"
 
also, here's another discussion on the subject with some good points. https://www.reddit.com/r/headphones/comments/2hc7z4/why_would_a_manufacturer_make_high_impedance/

 
Aug 30, 2015 at 1:52 AM Post #10 of 22

Dogmatrix

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In a headphone or speaker the voice coil is an electro magnet . Power of electro magnets comes from the number of loops of wire . So in order to make a powerful magnet light enough for a headphone driver very fine wire is one solution . That way you can have many loops for power as well as light weight but in return you get high resistance
 
Aug 30, 2015 at 2:12 AM Post #11 of 22

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"Why do companies make headphones hard to drive(300+ ohm) is it a conspiracy to sell more amps?"


 
Lower impedance headphones have lower sensitivity. It's a conspiracy to sell more dual monoblock, balanced drive headphone amplifiers.
 
So basically, everything is a conspiracy, and the only way out is to keep using your Apple earbuds. Oh, wait, they break easily, so it's also a conspiracy, so the only out is to never listen to music unless it's coming straight out of the instruments. Oh, wait, that's a conspiracy to make sure that concert tickets sell well...
tongue_smile.gif

 
------------------------
 
On a more serious note, well the ones who replied previously already covered that. 
 
Aug 30, 2015 at 2:37 AM Post #12 of 22

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Lower impedance headphones have lower sensitivity. It's a conspiracy to sell more dual monoblock, balanced drive headphone amplifiers.
 
So basically, everything is a conspiracy, and the only way out is to keep using your Apple earbuds. Oh, wait, they break easily, so it's also a conspiracy, so the only out is to never listen to music unless it's coming straight out of the instruments. Oh, wait, that's a conspiracy to make sure that concert tickets sell well...
tongue_smile.gif

 
------------------------
 
On a more serious note, well the ones who replied previously already covered that. 
 

 
Truth.
 
Seriously though I find it hard to believe that Sennheiser engineers couldn't come up with a way to make the HD650s 32 ohms.
 
Aug 30, 2015 at 2:53 AM Post #13 of 22

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Aug 30, 2015 at 4:03 AM Post #14 of 22

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Aug 30, 2015 at 4:14 AM Post #15 of 22

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  The 650 drivers are 6dB more efficient for they will be noticeably louder. The dragonfly is still  able to drive the HD580 loud enough to damage your hearing. If you are expecting threshold of pain that is instant permanent  damage. anything above 85dB is damaging your hearing over the long term. 
 
http://www.dangerousdecibels.org/education/information-center/decibel-exposure-time-guidelines/

 
It isn't just about loudness, it is about speaker control and clarity. Unpowered it just doesn't sound as good. Sorry if I am doing a bad job explaining. When I went from my ancient Pocket Amp V2 to Gilmore Lite it was night and day.
 
I am happy to hear the 650 drivers are more efficient. The Asgard 2 has a 15 day money back guarantee so if I find the 650 sufficiently good without it I might just return it. 
 

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