Would using a resistor adapter w/ headphones have an effect on SQ?
Apr 11, 2021 at 1:58 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 3


Formerly known as KingOfTheWild.
Jun 17, 2012
Olympia, WA
I am a noob with a noob question. I just stumbled upon this thread. I'm intrigued by the idea of using a resistor adapter to raise the impedance-level of a pair of headphones. Would that have any detrimental effect on the headphone's sound signature? Let's obviously assume a sufficiently powerful amp is being used.

Apr 11, 2021 at 2:28 AM Post #2 of 3
I use impedance adders on 90% of my cans. In short they don't change SQ per se. You use impedance adapter to increase the Ohm resistance level because you want to work the amp to the most optimal level. For example, you have a 16 Ohm IEM with 120db of sensitivity and you want to plug it to a 600 mW capable amp, that will be nasty to the IEM as you will get hissing and less than black background, and you will likely crank up the volume at around 10-20/100. However for the same IEM and you chuck in a 100 Ohm adapter, immediately the hissing will be gone replaced with black background. And you can now crank up the volume closer to 40-50/100 range of which the amp will surely pumping up to their full potential. The end result is that you get full sound and dynamics.

There's some variables involved and as how my ears telling me, my 145 Ohm Etymotic ER4SR sounds slightly tighter than it was on the stock 45 Ohm, so yes sometimes there's some subtle influences as how impedance are applied. But it is not always the case especially for an already non scalable cans

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