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Music Headphone Amplifiers?

Discussion in 'General' started by .//TuNdRa, 15 Feb 2012.

  1. .//TuNdRa

    .//TuNdRa Resident Bulldozer Guru

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    So with the oncoming Headphone upgrade (probably to a set of HD555 or above); I've been looking around at Headphone Amplifiers, even with my Soundcard outputting FLAC; i've been noticing the constraints if I up the volume a touch, just the point where my soundcard flat out refuses to keep my EQ active and such, so this brings me onto my question:

    Where on earth can I find a good Headphone Amplifier that isn't either; 100% Battery powered, and doesn't cost, at least, £106~ (Cheapest I could find in my google-fu).

    As far as the temptation goes to buy the parts and solder myself a simple Valve Amp; I wouldn't trust myself with a bit of hot spiky metal like a Soldering Iron.

    So to all ye'; The members of Bit-Tech; Can you point me in the right direction, maybe give me a push if I need it?
     
  2. Panomama

    Panomama I once signed up on uniform dating

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    Do that,
    I'd recommend head-fi.org for the tutorials :thumb:


    Here is the one I am planning on building: www.pmillett.com/Jonokuchi.htm
    Links: http://www.head-fi.org/f/6/diy-do-it-yourself-discussions
    http://www.pmillett.com/index.html
    http://www.pmillett.com/starving.htm

    Sorry I can't be much help, i'm still in the planning stages myself!
     
  3. Behemoth

    Behemoth Timelord in training

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  4. Freedom

    Freedom Minimodder

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    diyaudio.com is your friend.
     
  5. Xonar

    Xonar What's a Dremel?

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    + 1 for the Fiio E9

    Fantastic amp and very reasonable price, great for anyone looking to get into the stand alone headphone amp market, have them paired with a set of Sennhieser HD595's and couldn't be happier with them.
     
  6. Ficky Pucker

    Ficky Pucker I

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    Fiio E10, tbh you don't really need an amp for these headphones...
     
  7. .//TuNdRa

    .//TuNdRa Resident Bulldozer Guru

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    True, but it's easier to get an Amp now, rather than later, when I upgrade another rung up the ladder and get some headphones that may need an Amp. The issue isn't in getting the best from my headphones, anyway, it's from getting the best from my Sound Card.
     
  8. Cookie Monster

    Cookie Monster Multimodder

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    If I can steal the thread for a second, i'm guessing these Fiio's plug into a soundcard, then the headphones and speakers plug into the Fiio? I have two questions,

    1. Can you have both plugged in together and flip between headphones and speakers with the flip of a switch?

    2. With the E9, can you listen to music from your iPod / iPhone without turning your PC on?
     
  9. Krikkit

    Krikkit All glory to the hypnotoad! Super Moderator

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    Forget the headphone amp alone - get a DAC + Amp combo. I can't tell you how much better that will be than an internal soundcard.

    Not used one, but from how the E7 operates it is 1) No, because it has no switches. The line out will be going whatever you plug in, so you would need to turn off your speakers and plug h/phones in. 2) Yes, if you get the E9i then it's even easier, as instead of being a dock for the E7 on top it's iDock.
     
  10. Behemoth

    Behemoth Timelord in training

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    My E9 is plugged into my soundcar via the line in socket, you could disconnect that and connect anything you like such as your iPhone or any other mp3 player that has a 3.5 inch jack connector :)
     
  11. Twellmann

    Twellmann Carnivorous Homunculus

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  12. .//TuNdRa

    .//TuNdRa Resident Bulldozer Guru

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    Two more questions;
    1. Why is it that almost every Headphone Amp has a DAC? I already output off a £50 soundcard. I don't need a DAC too! (It would make my soundcard pointless. I'd rather not waste any more money, Kthx)
    2. Why are Headphone amps so much more expensive than just an average Amp that provides similar audio quality? Is it the size? The gearing towards headphones and their strange impedances? The fact they always chuck a bloody DAC In that I don't need?
     
  13. Mojo

    Mojo Multimodder

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    might not really help your cause but would be willing to lend you an E5 if you wanted to have a listen..

    its only a cheap one.. but the sound difference is night and day.. i'm running that from a asus zonar d2x with a set of Grado SR80I
     
  14. Smilodon

    Smilodon The Antagonist

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    AFAIK DACs doesn't do any processing. They simply convert a signal. For instance in games you will still need the processor on the soundcard to encode the sound from the data the game puts out (Adding reverb relative to your position in a room and so on.) The soundcard will then make a single digital signal and send that to the DAC. The DAC will then decode the signal into analogue signals that the headphones can make into sound.

    Sound cards also have DACs, but they tend to be poor quality. A better DAC will give your amp a better signal to work with. Amplifying a poor signal is pointless.

    Headphone amps isn't really overly expensive, it's just that the built in amps on soundcards are incredibly cheap. Onboard amps are in most cases simply an integrated part of a chip. In a proper amp there are better components in general. There are also better power supplies (More powerful and smoother) which also cost money.
     
  15. .//TuNdRa

    .//TuNdRa Resident Bulldozer Guru

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    Thank you for clearing that up a little for me. It's nice to know that, in theory, I could still use the full power of my Xonar card (The 3D surround makes 5.1 headphones seem tiny in comparison, without distorting sound. I really will have to work out how that trick is pulled.)

    Now the only concern is in getting enough money to afford a good one, which means I could either get a good Amp now, then headphones later, or headphones now, Amp later. Hrm...
     

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