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post #1 of 12 Old 01-24-2013, 09:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Is this the right board to discuss headphones? If not, I apologize, I'm new.

I just picked up a pair of Sennheiser 280 Pro headphones (around $100). They sound great hooked up to my headphone port on my tv when I watch movies (well, it's been one night of use so far, but I can tell they're great). However, they're really tight feeling on my head. Will these headphones loosen up?

Also, I got the Sennheisers to replace my Turtle Beach X12 Xbox 360 headset. The Turtle Beach x12's were fine, and comfortable, but I always wondered if they were crappy for movie watching, so that's why I got the Sennheiser 280's. But I'm wondering, technically, are Sennheiser 280's that much better than my Turtle Beach x12's?
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post #2 of 12 Old 01-24-2013, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Raider4010 View Post

Is this the right board to discuss headphones? If not, I apologize, I'm new.

I just picked up a pair of Sennheiser 280 Pro headphones (around $100). They sound great hooked up to my headphone port on my tv when I watch movies (well, it's been one night of use so far, but I can tell they're great). However, they're really tight feeling on my head. Will these headphones loosen up?

Also, I got the Sennheisers to replace my Turtle Beach X12 Xbox 360 headset. The Turtle Beach x12's were fine, and comfortable, but I always wondered if they were crappy for movie watching, so that's why I got the Sennheiser 280's. But I'm wondering, technically, are Sennheiser 280's that much better than my Turtle Beach x12's?

280s tend to be on the tight side, unfortunately. They may loosen up some, but they're probably going to stay pretty snug. Extending the headband may should ease up the compression a bit, but that may screw up the fit in other ways. It's too bad, because they sound so good otherwise, especially for the price.

I'm not familiar with the x12s, but if it fits your budget, check out the Sennheiser HD 380 Pro. I was choosing between the 280 and 380, and am very happy I sprung for the 380s, both for sound quality and comfort. The 380s are less tight than the 280s, and they're very comfortable for long term listening - I have them on for hours at a time at work. The price bounces around a lot, though. I got mine for $160, and they're $200 most places these days, but they've been as low as $130-140 on amazon over the past few months, so keep an eye out. Good luck!
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post #3 of 12 Old 01-24-2013, 12:36 PM - Thread Starter
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280s tend to be on the tight side, unfortunately. They may loosen up some, but they're probably going to stay pretty snug. Extending the headband may should ease up the compression a bit, but that may screw up the fit in other ways. It's too bad, because they sound so good otherwise, especially for the price.

I'm not familiar with the x12s, but if it fits your budget, check out the Sennheiser HD 380 Pro. I was choosing between the 280 and 380, and am very happy I sprung for the 380s, both for sound quality and comfort. The 380s are less tight than the 280s, and they're very comfortable for long term listening - I have them on for hours at a time at work. The price bounces around a lot, though. I got mine for $160, and they're $200 most places these days, but they've been as low as $130-140 on amazon over the past few months, so keep an eye out. Good luck!

Thanks, I'll look into the 380's.

Now, here is a headphone cable hook-up question: I had been plugging my headphones directly into my new TV b/c they had a 3.5mm headphone jack but suppose I want to plug headphones into a TV that only has an optical audio out: Isn't the only way to use headphones on this TV would be to buy an "optical audio to RCA converter box" to plug into the TV, and then get a "3.5mm to rc cable" to plug the headphones into the optical audio converter box? Does that make sense? If so, won't this reduce the quality of audio going through all these cable conversions? Do I have any other options if my TV only has optical audio out and I want to use regular 3.5 mm headphones?
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post #4 of 12 Old 01-24-2013, 10:01 PM
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280s tend to be on the tight side, unfortunately. They may loosen up some, but they're probably going to stay pretty snug. Extending the headband may should ease up the compression a bit, but that may screw up the fit in other ways. It's too bad, because they sound so good otherwise, especially for the price.

I'm not familiar with the x12s, but if it fits your budget, check out the Sennheiser HD 380 Pro. I was choosing between the 280 and 380, and am very happy I sprung for the 380s, both for sound quality and comfort. The 380s are less tight than the 280s, and they're very comfortable for long term listening - I have them on for hours at a time at work. The price bounces around a lot, though. I got mine for $160, and they're $200 most places these days, but they've been as low as $130-140 on amazon over the past few months, so keep an eye out. Good luck!

Thanks, I'll look into the 380's.

Now, here is a headphone cable hook-up question: I had been plugging my headphones directly into my new TV b/c they had a 3.5mm headphone jack but suppose I want to plug headphones into a TV that only has an optical audio out: Isn't the only way to use headphones on this TV would be to buy an "optical audio to RCA converter box" to plug into the TV, and then get a "3.5mm to rc cable" to plug the headphones into the optical audio converter box? Does that make sense? If so, won't this reduce the quality of audio going through all these cable conversions? Do I have any other options if my TV only has optical audio out and I want to use regular 3.5 mm headphones?

You could get the Sony WIRELESS DD5.1 headphones whose base will take the optical output directly.
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post #5 of 12 Old 01-25-2013, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Raider4010 View Post

Thanks, I'll look into the 380's.

Now, here is a headphone cable hook-up question: I had been plugging my headphones directly into my new TV b/c they had a 3.5mm headphone jack but suppose I want to plug headphones into a TV that only has an optical audio out: Isn't the only way to use headphones on this TV would be to buy an "optical audio to RCA converter box" to plug into the TV, and then get a "3.5mm to rc cable" to plug the headphones into the optical audio converter box? Does that make sense? If so, won't this reduce the quality of audio going through all these cable conversions? Do I have any other options if my TV only has optical audio out and I want to use regular 3.5 mm headphones?

No, you'll need an external headphone amp or other receiver that accepts optical input. The 3.5mm jack on your TV is connected to an internal amplifier controlled by the volume control of the TV. You'll often see two 3.5mm jacks labeled "headphone" and "line out". The difference is that the line out jack sends a low level analog signal without amplification and lets the (higher quality) external amplifier do the work. The optical output is like an optical version of the line out jack, and sends out a baseline digital signal that is then converted to analog and amplfied by an external device like an AV receiver or a headphone amp.

Wireless headphones work the same way, just with extra steps - the optical or analog signal is received at the base station, the signal is transmitted to the headphones, and a battery powered amp in the headphones powers the speakers. Hope that helps
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post #6 of 12 Old 01-25-2013, 07:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. Does a headphone amp that converts optical audio to 3.5mm reduce the quality of the audio?

I searched Amazon and found a "FiiO D3 (D03K) Digital to Analog Audio Converter With Micca 6ft Optical Toslink Cable - 192kHz/24bit Optical and Coaxial DAC" for $32, is that good enough for my needs?
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post #7 of 12 Old 01-25-2013, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Raider4010 View Post

Thanks. Does a headphone amp that converts optical audio to 3.5mm reduce the quality of the audio?

I searched Amazon and found a "FiiO D3 (D03K) Digital to Analog Audio Converter With Micca 6ft Optical Toslink Cable - 192kHz/24bit Optical and Coaxial DAC" for $32, is that good enough for my needs?

The stereo optical signal has to be converted to analog (3.5mm or RCA, they're the same) at some point to drive the headphones or speakers. The quality of the DAC (digital to analog converter) used for the conversion will affect the audio quality, but nothing you're likely to hear, especially with entry level equipment. However, the D3 you mentioned is only a DAC, not an amplifier. If you're using optical, you need both. The DAC converts the digital optical signal to analog and outputs a baseline analog signal. Then the amplifier boosts the signal to a level you can hear and adjust. The D3 is designed to be used with an external amplifier.

Does your TV have RCA outputs (red and white plugs labeled R and L)? If so, that's probably the output you want to send to the headphone amp. I'd get a plug-in headphone amp and run a long RCA cable to your viewing position and put the amp where you can reach the volume knob (most entry level headphone amps will not have a remote for volume control). If you want to control the volume with your remote, though, the solution you're using now, plugging directly into the TV, is probably the best option without spending a lot.

Headphone amps that accept optical input can get pricey, and they're probably overkill for what you want to do. Once you get past the $100-150 range, a basic HDMI switching AVR will give you much more versatility for your money, with optical and/or HDMI inputs for all your sources, a built in headphone amp, and a remote. Even if you just use it as an oversized headphone amp (and assuming you have the space), it will do everything you need and sound great.

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post #8 of 12 Old 01-25-2013, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raider4010 View Post

Thanks. Does a headphone amp that converts optical audio to 3.5mm reduce the quality of the audio?

I searched Amazon and found a "FiiO D3 (D03K) Digital to Analog Audio Converter With Micca 6ft Optical Toslink Cable - 192kHz/24bit Optical and Coaxial DAC" for $32, is that good enough for my needs?

The degradation caused by a headphone amp is highly dependent on the details of its construction, which rarely show up in model numbers, general descriptions, or spec sheets.

I can't find any reliable subjective or objective tests of it.

it is probably no better of a performer than Fiios D5, and its technical performance is probably a little less than audibly perfect:

http://rmaa.elektrokrishna.com/Various/FiiO%20D5%20-%20HP%20-%20Impedances.htm



Note the 5 dB loss at 20 Hz and 20 KHz - both on the edge of being audible.

According to this report which seems to be both more objective and highly credible, the FIIO E7 pretty well matches highly regarded products costing several times more:

http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/05/fiio-e7-usb-dac-amp.html

So I'd say D3 if you want to save some bucks and take a little risk, or E7 if you want to save fewer bucks but take no risks.
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post #9 of 12 Old 01-25-2013, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
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No, you'll need an external headphone amp or other receiver that accepts optical input. The 3.5mm jack on your TV is connected to an internal amplifier controlled by the volume control of the TV. You'll often see two 3.5mm jacks labeled "headphone" and "line out". The difference is that the line out jack sends a low level analog signal without amplification and lets the (higher quality) external amplifier do the work. The optical output is like an optical version of the line out jack, and sends out a baseline digital signal that is then converted to analog and amplfied by an external device like an AV receiver or a headphone amp.

Wireless headphones work the same way, just with extra steps - the optical or analog signal is received at the base station, the signal is transmitted to the headphones, and a battery powered amp in the headphones powers the speakers. Hope that helps

Is using headphone jack on my TV better than using an external amplifier, or is it pretty much the same? I was thinking of returning my new TV with it's headphone jack for a different TV w/o a headphone jack, but since I'll use headphones a lot, I may just keep the tv.
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post #10 of 12 Old 01-28-2013, 06:24 AM
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Is using headphone jack on my TV better than using an external amplifier, or is it pretty much the same? I was thinking of returning my new TV with it's headphone jack for a different TV w/o a headphone jack, but since I'll use headphones a lot, I may just keep the tv.

Using an external receiver or quality headphone amp is almost always going to sound better. Just like the built in TV speakers are usually low quality, the built in headphone amp is designed to output passable sound to the headphones, but that's about it. Even with entry level cans like the 280s, you'll almost certainly hear better results by bypassing the TV audio entirely and using a dedicated amp.

What sources are you using? Do you have an external cable/satellite box, or are you watching TV over the air? A common setup is to use the AVR as a hub and run all the external sources into the AVR with HDMI if available. Then you run the video to the TV through HDMI, and send the audio to external speakers (or headphones) directly from the AVR. If you're watching OTA TV or analog cable, which are the two most common sources where you need to process the signal with your TV, you can run optical audio from the TV to the AVR, which still bypasses the TV amp and uses the superior amplifier of the AVR.

This setup can take up a lot of room and involves a lot of wires, however. Your desired setup (headphone only) is a little unusual, which is why I have been suggesting workarounds instead of a full-on home theater setup. However, if you want to go the AVR/headphone amp route, that will get you the best sound.

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post #11 of 12 Old 01-29-2013, 08:09 PM
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Fiio E17 would work if you want to spend $100-$140 on it, will also work with your computer
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post #12 of 12 Old 01-30-2013, 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Raider4010 View Post

Is this the right board to discuss headphones? If not, I apologize, I'm new.

I just picked up a pair of Sennheiser 280 Pro headphones (around $100). They sound great hooked up to my headphone port on my tv when I watch movies (well, it's been one night of use so far, but I can tell they're great). However, they're really tight feeling on my head. Will these headphones loosen up?

Also, I got the Sennheisers to replace my Turtle Beach X12 Xbox 360 headset. The Turtle Beach x12's were fine, and comfortable, but I always wondered if they were crappy for movie watching, so that's why I got the Sennheiser 280's. But I'm wondering, technically, are Sennheiser 280's that much better than my Turtle Beach x12's?

When you are in that price range, all that matters is you like what you hear. As long as you are getting the volume level that you want from your TV's headphone jack don't worry about it.

If the headphone band is made of some kind of metal then you can gently bend the metal part of the band, but be careful not to bend to much and then your headphones will be to loose.

Can you improve the audio from headphones to make then sound like a very good 7.1 speaker system, yes but now you are talking big bucks.

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