Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Lafayette, Colorado
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I just acquired the Beyerdynamic DT770 headphones, 600 ohm edition, to use in my office with a 3G Ipod Touch. Based on everything I had read, I fully expected to need a dedicated headphone amplifier (solid statehave no interest whatsoever in tubes). Although Beyerdynamic does not specify sensitivity, I imagined the 600 ohm impedance would result in only minimal volume out of the Ipod's headphone jack. Totally wrong. I'm listening right now with the volume bar at the halfway point, and the music is as loud as I like it. I also tried them last night with the headphone jack on an older Cambridge Audio 6.1 channel receiver. Again, my ears will bleed before I run out of power.
My question is, should I be surprised? Is it just that these headphones are very sensitive? This isn't based on a measurement, but I feel like I am getting more volume with the Beyers at the same volume position as a pair of AKG k601s I have, rated at 120 ohms and 101dB sensitivity.
My next question is, am I hearing the full potential of these headphones? If I am getting the volume I want without noticeable distortion, what scientific justification would there be to using a dedicated solid state headphone amplifier? According to HeadRoom, the 600-Ohm impedance DT770 model is expressly engineered for audiophile listeners using powerful high-quality headphone amps in their arsenal. The extra high impedance makes this model tough to drive directly from most audio sources but, once properly powered via a good head-amp, the stiff impedance will also help to present an extremely quiet background noise floor . . . . Really? I spent some time comparing short passages with the Ipod and my receiver's headphone outputs, and am sure I could not identify them in a level matched blind test. While I don't know the output specs of either headphone amp, I think it's safe to presume the receiver's is at least equal to the Ipod's, if not higher. So, I feel confident that even more voltage from a dedicated headphone amp is not going to have some magical effect.