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post #1 of 37 Old 05-07-2012, 09:49 AM - Thread Starter
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In a 2 channel system with a cd player, DAC, amp, and pre amp. Do i need an external headphone amp would it be better than the high end equipment for the 2 channels? Or is better to have a separate for just headphones, the pre amp has an audio jack on it.
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post #2 of 37 Old 05-07-2012, 02:21 PM
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Depends on the preamp and the quality of the headphone output and the headphones you're using. I use a separate headphone amp (Bottlehead Crack) and it sounds 100x better than the headphone out on my Yamaha receiver. It's a better impedance match to my sennheiser headphones. Check out head-fi.org for more info.
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post #3 of 37 Old 05-07-2012, 03:39 PM
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Unless your cans are especially onerous as a load, just use your preamp.

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Originally Posted by nymartyk View Post

Check out head-fi.org for more info.

Do not go to head-fi expecting worthwhile information. By and large it's drivel.

Here is a better synopsis of that place than I can be bothered to write myself. The rest of the article is a pearler too.
Head Fi section starts near this image.
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post #4 of 37 Old 05-07-2012, 03:41 PM
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Depends on your headphones. Also, some of the better headphone amps offer a crossfeed circuit that can do a good job with "image clustered in the middle of your head" syndrome. For that reason, I rarely listen to headphones without one of my headphone amps.

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Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post

Do not go to head-fi expecting worthwhile information. By and large it's drivel.

Here is a better synopsis of that place than I can be bothered to write myself. The rest of the article is a pearler too.

Seconded.

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post #5 of 37 Old 05-07-2012, 03:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post

Depends on your headphones. Also, some of the better headphone amps offer a crossfeed circuit that can do a good job with "image clustered in the middle of your head" syndrome. For that reason, I rarely listen to headphones without one of my headphone amps.

That is a good point. I have experimented a bit with xfeed, but aren't using it with my STAX so didn't think about it. I plan to do some more experimenting with it when I build the new Gilmore amp for the STAX* - I have a bunch of variations from the Meier articles drawn up to vary the efffect and settle on what I like.

* For the OP, STAX cans need specialised amps because they're electrostatic.
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post #6 of 37 Old 05-07-2012, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post


Do not go to head-fi expecting worthwhile information. By and large it's drivel.

Here is a better synopsis of that place than I can be bothered to write myself. The rest of the article is a pearler too.

Thanks for the link to alternative reading, am always interested in other views; is bookmarked for further perusal.

¿lɐɯɹou ǝq ʎɥʍ

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post #7 of 37 Old 05-08-2012, 03:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nymartyk View Post

Depends on the preamp and the quality of the headphone output and the headphones you're using.

Very true. The requirements are that the headphone amp put out enough voltage so that you can listen at a comfortable level which can be problem with some phones that have high impedance and low sensitivity, that it not have audible hum or noise which can be a problem with some very sensitive headphones that are out there, and that it provide a low source impedance, which is particularly important with low impedance headphones.

Note that not all of the above requirements relate to every set of headphones.

Equipment that has dedicated active circuitry for driving the headphones has a better chance of hitting a home run and meeting every requirement that I gave above. But, just because a headphone jack has dedicated active circuitry does not mean that it does everything right.

Quote:


I use a separate headphone amp (Bottlehead Crack) and it sounds 100x better than the headphone out on my Yamaha receiver. It's a better impedance match to my sennheiser headphones.

Thing is, you don't have to spend hundreds of dollars to get a headphone amp that is technically sound. In some cases the equipment at hand, such as a more recent iPod or a Sansa Clip digital player comes with a well-driven headphone jack.

The obvious price performer out there is the Fiio E3 which runs under $20. It is optimized for use with computers or portable players so it requires USB power and has a built in battery. You might have to spend an extra $15 or less for a USB power supply (such as is used with some cellphones) to integrate it with your home equipment. It also has a 3.6 mm input jack, so an adapter might be needed with the 1/4" headphone jacks on some home equipment.

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Check out head-fi.org for more info.

Unfortunately many of us find that there is lots of pseudo-science, sales hype and disinformation there.
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post #8 of 37 Old 05-08-2012, 09:42 AM
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Bang for your buck I like my Audio-GD amp/dac. Plays my Denon's well along with my higher resistant Sennheiser's to comfortable levels.

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post #9 of 37 Old 05-08-2012, 10:09 AM
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I like my Firestone audio cute beyond. It does a good job with my senn 650 hd cans. I still use my denon 3311ci headphone jack for tv sometimes since the cable box doesn't go to the headphone amp only the oppo.

Good to know about head-fi. I always kind of scratched my head on their rankings for various products.
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post #10 of 37 Old 05-08-2012, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a9x-308 View Post

do not go to head-fi expecting worthwhile information. By and large it's drivel.

+1

The best is the enemy of the good. Voltaire (1694-1778)

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post #11 of 37 Old 05-08-2012, 11:33 AM
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Hope this is under the tree this year but its one of the best bang for the buck units out there warning she runs warm. http://schiit.com/cart/index.php?mai...&products_id=1
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post #12 of 37 Old 05-08-2012, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oztech View Post

Hope this is under the tree this year but its one of the best bang for the buck units out there warning she runs warm. http://schiit.com/cart/index.php?mai...&products_id=1

Really? Based upon this report I would consider it faulty and incompetently designed.
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post #13 of 37 Old 05-08-2012, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a9x-308 View Post


do not go to head-fi expecting worthwhile information. By and large it's drivel.

+2

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post #14 of 37 Old 05-08-2012, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post

Really? Based upon this report I would consider it faulty and incompetently designed.

That article was almost a year old and if this were a widespread delima it would be posted in a lot of places if you look hard enough you can find someone with an issue with almost any brand.
I originally was looking for a Gilmore Lite but sadly they are not made anymore and this seemed like a very close comparison.
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post #15 of 37 Old 05-08-2012, 10:37 PM
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Here's the problem with any of these KG designed amps is that they are manly a DIY amp. So if you are thinking about getting a used KG amp make sure you know who built it.

If you are looking at Stax lower to mid range headphones, the safest and best new amp bang for your buck imo would be a Stax SRM-323 AMP. If you are looking for the best of the best with headphones and bang for your buck, then look at the Stax SRM-727/009 combo.

btw; I am just talking about what you can buy new.
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post #16 of 37 Old 05-09-2012, 12:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oztech View Post

That article was almost a year old and if this were a widespread delima it would be posted in a lot of places if you look hard enough you can find someone with an issue with almost any brand.

Still such an obvious fault and the reported manufacturer response leaves me with zero confidence in them and their gear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sillysally View Post

Here's the problem with any of these KG designed amps is that they are manly a DIY amp. So if you are thinking about getting a used KG amp make sure you know who built it.

The builder for this amp is me, so no problem there. I've been designing and building linear electronics for 3 decades, both professionally and as a hobby.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sillysally View Post

If you are looking at Stax lower to mid range headphones, the safest and best new amp bang for your buck imo would be a Stax SRM-323 AMP. If you are looking for the best of the best with headphones and bang for your buck, then look at the Stax SRM-727/009 combo.

btw; I am just talking about what you can buy new.

I'm not looking for anything to buy new. The newest Gilmore design is excellent and I also have a tube design of my own (5th or so generation now) to use in the bedroom to listen at night because I like the glow and I wanted something different. Plus it is a different topology and fun to design.
I also have the parts graded and matched for a pair of Dynalo for the living room HT. Construction has been delayed on these as AMB don't seem to sell the boards any more and I haven't had the time to order some to be made.
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post #17 of 37 Old 05-09-2012, 02:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post

Really? Based upon this report I would consider it faulty and incompetently designed.

Yes I would agree with what is said in that report, but as you may know there was a relay of some sort added to the Asgard.
However what Jude has said about why nwavguy was banned was because of his PM "unsolicited private message to one of our moderators that was forwarded to me. Among other things, in that message he brought up his attorney"

Quote:
Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post

Still such an obvious fault and the reported manufacturer response leaves me with zero confidence in them and their gear.

The builder for this amp is me, so no problem there. I've been designing and building linear electronics for 3 decades, both professionally and as a hobby.

I'm not looking for anything to buy new. The newest Gilmore design is excellent and I also have a tube design of my own (5th or so generation now) to use in the bedroom to listen at night because I like the glow and I wanted something different. Plus it is a different topology and fun to design.
I also have the parts graded and matched for a pair of Dynalo for the living room HT. Construction has been delayed on these as AMB don't seem to sell the boards any more and I haven't had the time to order some to be made.

What are you building, a T3.
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post #18 of 37 Old 05-09-2012, 03:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post

Really? Based upon this report I would consider it faulty and incompetently designed.

...as would anybody who understands the issue. It is a common failing of equipment like this - the designer pays lots of attention to outer appearance and build quality, but apparently doesn't use it a lot and do bias and boundary checking before he sends the gear out the door.
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post #19 of 37 Old 05-09-2012, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sillysally View Post

However what Jude has said about why nwavguy was banned was because of his PM "unsolicited private message to one of our moderators that was forwarded to me. Among other things, in that message he brought up his attorney"

That may or may not be true. NwAvGuy denies it in the quoted post.

I have no idea (or interest in knowing) who's correct, but it is worth considering between the two, NwAvGuy certainly has more credibility than whoever runs that funny farm/whorehouse does...

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post #20 of 37 Old 05-09-2012, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iamanoob View Post

In a 2 channel system with a cd player, DAC, amp, and pre amp. Do i need an external headphone amp would it be better than the high end equipment for the 2 channels? Or is better to have a separate for just headphones, the pre amp has an audio jack on it.

Although I have had past troubles driving my Sennheiser phones with standard amplifier/receiver headphone jacks, my current Sony ES amp and Marantz CD player headphone jacks are quite adequate.
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post #21 of 37 Old 05-09-2012, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iamanoob View Post

In a 2 channel system with a cd player, DAC, amp, and pre amp. Do i need an external headphone amp would it be better than the high end equipment for the 2 channels? Or is better to have a separate for just headphones, the pre amp has an audio jack on it.

What are you plugging into what else?

Some headphones absolutely require a specialized amplifier - for example the Koss Corporation makes a series of headphones that they call ESP, these are electrostatic models, and include their own specialized driving equipment (some are transformer/bias boxes designed to hook up to speaker amplifier terminals, some are actual amplifiers). My understanding is that STAX is (are?) the Japanese equivalent of this.

However the majority of headphones are not this specialized, and are usually quite suitable to be plugged into XYZ device's headphone output. If you're concerned about compatibility, find the specs of the headphone you have (if they're available), and look at the specs of the thing you'd like to plug them into (if they're available); compare them along the lines of Arny's advice.

Finally, one other consideration would be for functionality. Is your seating area right on top of your equipment rack? If not, it might be annoying to have a long cable spanning the room to plug in your headphones. So having something wireless, or something wired up closer to where you sit, might be more functional. Again, this doesn't have to cost a lot, but it's something worth considering. Alternately, if you don't care about the wire, extension cables are cheap, and most devices have remotes.
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post #22 of 37 Old 05-13-2012, 07:24 AM
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Quote:


originally posted by a9x-308 view post

do not go to head-fi expecting worthwhile information. By and large it's drivel.

+3
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post #23 of 37 Old 05-13-2012, 08:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post


Do not go to head-fi expecting worthwhile information. By and large it's drivel.

+4.

Not only it is drivel, but it is emphatically, almost militantly, anti-scientific. The absolute ban on even mentioning double blind tests (DBT is a dirty word over there and sometimes brings out the instant ban hammer) in all but one or two dedicated, glacially moving sub-forums ought to be a big clue that it's full of myth-based nonsense and product whoring.

Their motto -- and I am not making this up for effect -- is literally, "Welcome to Hi-fi. Sorry about your wallet." A prudent person would avoid it at all costs.
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post #24 of 37 Old 05-18-2012, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
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thanks for the reply's even though i didn't get a clear answer lol. I guess the 2 channel system will perform very well with headphones using the pre amp plug.
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post #25 of 37 Old 05-18-2012, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iamanoob View Post

thanks for the reply's even though i didn't get a clear answer lol. I guess the 2 channel system will perform very well with headphones using the pre amp plug.

I know you got a plethora of answers. Start with your preamp. (Brand?) What do your ears tell you. If you are satisfied, stop!!

Part of audio addiction is 'the grass is always greener...: Maybe though its just green enough.
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post #26 of 37 Old 05-19-2012, 05:08 AM
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So how would yall rate the headphone jacks on Denon AVRs such as the 3311? Currently using that to drive my Senn HD598 instead of a dedicated headphone amp. I figured it is fine since the 598's don't require much power to drive properly.
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post #27 of 37 Old 05-19-2012, 07:26 AM
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If it sounds good leave well enough alone. I have the 3311 and Senn 650hd (300 ohm). I asked denon if it would drive the 650s from the headphone jack. I was afraid it would not as all their headphones are 25 ohms. They said it would be fine. I had gone ahead and purchased a cute beyond heaphone amp and it does great, but you know the denon wasn't bad either. The way things are hooked up, I have to use the denon for cable tv if I'm using headphones as the RCAs into the headphone amp are dedicated from the Oppo analog outs. Other wise I use the heaphone amp.


The 598s are lower impeadance phones so you should be fine. If all your sources are HDMI into the 3311 and you like it, I see no reason for you to do different.
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post #28 of 37 Old 05-19-2012, 08:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stuup1dmofo View Post

So how would yall rate the headphone jacks on Denon AVRs such as the 3311?

Hard to tell. I see no specifications for them in the user manual.

Quote:


Currently using that to drive my Senn HD598 instead of a dedicated headphone amp.

I figured it is fine since the 598's don't require much power to drive properly.

Power is just one of the two important dimensions of a headphone jack. It is the most important, because if you can't hear, who cares about fidelity?

The other important issue is source impedance which affects the headphone's frequency response. With absence of information and no published test reports covering this issue, who knows?

I will say that you have minimized any impedance issues by choosing Sennheiser phones that have a fairlyh high impedance.
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post #29 of 37 Old 02-01-2013, 10:44 PM
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Is Fiio E3 good enough to drive both Grado SR60 as well as Senn HD600 ?
Is Fiio E9K overkill for the purpose ( though it does have a pre out feature) ?

Thanks

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post #30 of 37 Old 02-01-2013, 11:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hifisound View Post

Is Fiio E3 good enough to drive both Grado SR60 as well as Senn HD600 ?
Is Fiio E9K overkill for the purpose ( though it does have a pre out feature) ?

Thanks

If you are just looking for just power to drive your headphones look at specs, the E3 has 0.012 Watts at 300 oms so no that's not going to handle the HD600's.
The E9k has 150mW (300Ω) or 0.15 watts at 300 oms, so it will probably be ok for the HD600.

ss
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