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Headphone amps - more power more better?

Discussion in 'Audio Visual' started by AllezAllez, May 3, 2020.

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Headphone amps - more or less power?

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  1. Benno1988

    Benno1988 Member

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    I don't have a RME. It's on my radar though!

    Currently just use a DX7 Pro.

    Also have a custom tube amp coming, hopefully is nice!
     
  2. OP
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    AllezAllez

    AllezAllez Member

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    Wow... very surprising. I wouldn't think that you get enough headroom from the DX7 Pro for the Verite's. Is this the reason for the custom tube amp? :)

    - My own limited experience when I went from Mojo (410mW/33ohm) to the Watson (2000mW/30ohm) was that it was a revelation. Maybe I was expecting so little of the Watson, but there was a huge difference. Enough to throw out the old EQ that I was using. Different animal of course with the differing driver type btw the ZMF and Hifiman, but the whole point of this thread was to see if anyone had a similar experience when switching to a more powerful amp.
     
  3. neRok

    neRok Member

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    I've not noticed any difference running my old DT770 32ohms, nor my current HE-4XX, on either my Fiio X3 II or my Schiit Magni 3, the latter having tons more power than the portable player. But in both cases I've been using the X3 as the DAC, so maybe that is the limiting factor.

    My DT880 250ohms however sound like garbage on the X3, and it's due to not enough power. Whilst there isn't enough volume to turn it up, only enough to listen at moderate levels, the biggest problem is that some of the sound was just missing. That's not a problem on the magni though. However, on the magni, I think it sounds different if I have the amp set to low or high gain (I can't remember which I prefer, the amp is at work).

    Wouldn't it be preferable to have a flat amp, then you only have 1 source of difference, the headphones? Otherwise you've got 2 variables to balance.

    If you look at the same model of headphones but with different impedances, ie DT880 32 vs 250 vs 600 ohms, the higher ohms gives better response - a tighter sound. But that doesn't mean anything when looking at different models from different manufacturers.

    I started to look into doing room corrections for my speakers, and the expert on 1 video I watched said people get better at hearing with practice. When you take into account peoples physical differences, and consider that your hearing also changes with age and environmental effects, you've got a constantly moving window of sound preference.
     
  4. Benno1988

    Benno1988 Member

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    No, not at all. Ruler flat doesn't mean good.

    You're after synergy. Where everything in your chain just works, and it sounds incredible....to you.

    You're not after the very most highly best super great rated ASR DAC and Amp and then just a couple headphones. Because it doesn't mean anything. You're just hearing how those headphones sound with that setup.

    HD6XX and the Bottlehead Crack absolutely shit on the HD6XX and any solid state. It's about what works together, not keeping your chain dead nuetral and measuring amazing up until the headphones. Wrong approach.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2020
  5. Benno1988

    Benno1988 Member

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    Verite need less than 100mw to drive to loud enough.

    DX7 Pro outputs 2x115mw at 300ohm. More then enough. Verite is fairly easy to drive...
     
  6. Benno1988

    Benno1988 Member

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    Have an Ananda sitting here. Where the Verite sits are -32db for a fairly good volume (XLR bal), Ananda needs up around -21db (6.5mm unbal). Don't have a balanced cable to test like for like, also don't care.
     
  7. Audionut

    Audionut Member

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    I was mostly just being a cranky old fart having a rant.

    Yes, like anything. Take room correction for example. Before hearing that term you may not even be (consciously) aware that there is a room node in your listening environment, causing a 10dB spike at whatever frequency, or a 15dB null at some frequency, or multiple room nodes causing a combination of increased and decreased amplitudes at multiple frequencies.
    But after hearing that term and having your interest spiked, nek minit you've ordered a calibration microphone, downloaded some measuring software and off you go.

    Or conversely, you may be thinking that something is just not quite right, read about room nodes, and ah-ha!

    In either case you (generally) end up with the complete satisfaction of knowing you've increased the quality of your sound reproduction, and can have the satisfaction of enjoying your favorite music as if it's the first time you've ever listened to it.
    What also happens, is that you develop a skill in being able to discern room nodes. You may not be able to determine the exact frequency, or the amplitude of course, but you can now hear it.

    That then leads to being able to discern that your listening environments symmetry is all shot to shit, and that the speaker you have in the corner of the room has 6dB increased amplitude through the bass region compared to the other speaker that has no adjacent walls, which prior to hearing the term room correction, you didn't give a shit about, because you simply didn't know any better, but now all of a sudden, the left hand side of the sound stage sounds nice and meaty, and the right hand side sounds piss weak. And so on, and so forth.

    And why you should be careful in taking in other peoples listening preferences.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2020
  8. Audionut

    Audionut Member

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    The entire point of sound reproduction is to faithfully reproduce the source material.

    Sure, you could do that by matching a set of drivers that roll-off at the top end with amplification that has slight boost at the top end, and call that synergy (potshot :Pirate:), but it would be a pretty daft way (IMO of course) to get to the end result. You would only do that if you already have one piece (or a favorite piece that you will never part with so help you god) of equipment, and thus your own personal limitation moving forward in purchasing a suitable other piece of equipment.

    Two amplifiers that measure the same on a test bench, can each have their own sonic characteristics, and thus sound different (isn't that a fun game). But sonic characteristics (maybe better labeled "unmeasured differences") are highly personal.

    Valve amplifiers that bench the same as transistor amplifiers will sound different. But what sounds better, is entirely dependent on the individual listener (and all of their bias).

    To me, ruler flat (in and of itself) does mean good (in and of itself) always. It means that the equipment is not imparting it's own technical limitations on the frequency response of the source material. It means that a -3dB source signal at 60hz, and a -3dB source signal at 800hz are both output at the same relative volume. That is a good thing!
    A piece of equipment that measures flat, but sounds "super dry" or "lifeless" is the result of some other technical limitation (or simply the commentators bias (or both)).

    Synergy only comes with experience, and experience is biased.
     
  9. Benno1988

    Benno1988 Member

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    I do get what you're saying.

    Purely from a HiFi and Music Enjoyment standpoint, Flat doesn't mean much. It means exactly what you said, -3db at 60hz and -3db at 800hz are the same relative level. Relative to whatever adjustment/correction/baseline the graph has chosen or corrected for.

    So already its a bit of a stretch to say Ruler Flat is good and the goal, as it doesn't mean too much for the listener. Might mean more for the producers out there.

    It also doesn't take into account all the other aspects that determine if something sounds good to me or not. Speed, Decay, Tone, Soundstage, Separation and every other wank term I can't think of at the moment. All the characterstics an Amp imparts on the headphones or speakers, determines if it comes across as boring, dry, clinical, lifeless. Close to fuck all relation to the ruler flat graph. And every amp has those characteristics, tweaking the sound in their own way.
     
  10. Audionut

    Audionut Member

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    If by graph you mean the measured FR of the amplifier, then any adjustment/correction/baseline is the fault of the operator, not the amplifier.

    Do you want an amplifier to have an uneven FR? Why?

    Of course it does. It means that the amplifier is not adding any distortion to the amplitude relative to the input.

    Obviously! It is not designed to do that. It is a measurement of one single aspect of the amplifiers performance.

    I wonder what the square wave measurement of the amplifier looks like. What about its dampening factor.

    Did someone say crosstalk.

    True. But if the mother fucker is tinny as fuck because it's +4dB between 5Khz and 20Khz, guess what, the measured FR would have relevance for that particular issue. Of course it doesn't have relevance to a bunch of other issues you've decided to bring into the argument to deliver weight to your argument.


    If none of the technical measurements of an amplifier mean anything, honestly, no really....honestly, where do you start? How do you decide what to pass your hard earned cash on?
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2020

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