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Any references on general amplifier headphone output quality/specs ?


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Hi All,

 

Any references on general rec/amplifier headphone output quality/specs ?

 

I mean by brand/model, and specs  or (and) measurements ? 

 

Also, seeing I suspect no large list, what have you experienced that is very good ?

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Super vague.

 

But generally, for a solid state.

 

You want good power. Depends on what headphones, but anything sort of saying "150mW @ 32ohm" is generally not going to cut it too well.

 

Low output impedance. Couple ohm max.

 

They all basically have distortion levels beyond our hearing now anyway.

 

As for what's good. Without any budgets or what headphones you have. Let's go with the Niimbus US5+. Its good.

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6 hours ago, greggyp said:

what have you experienced that is very good ?

 

Depends very much on what type of headphones you are wanting to drive.

 

High impedance or low impedance.... and high efficiency or low.

 

Most will drive lower impedance headphones ok, unless they are very inefficient.....  but IME many "afterthought" headphone outputs are not designed to drive high impedance cans well.    Although, it depends.

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47 minutes ago, davewantsmoore said:

but IME many "afterthought" headphone outputs are not designed to drive high impedance cans well. 

 

This is a relevent point, that a lot of headphone outputs used to be, and some still are, added as an afterthought to the design of a bigger amplifier.   In the bad old days, a couple of resistors were used to cheaply cut the main output down to headphone levels.  In newer amps I have seen a small cheap opamp used to drive the headphone output.  Neither method is optimal.

 

A dedicated headphone amplifier is usually a better bet.   The best I have heard is a big parallel SE 6AS7/6080  triode amp that I put together to try this design out.   

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1 minute ago, aussievintage said:

 

This is a relevent point, that a lot of headphone outputs used to be, and some still are, added as an afterthought to the design of a bigger amplifier.   In the bad old days, a couple of resistors were used to cheaply cut the main output down to headphone levels.  In newer amps I have seen a small cheap opamp used to drive the headphone output.  Neither method is optimal.

 

A dedicated headphone amplifier is usually a better bet.   The best I have heard is a big parallel SE 6AS7/6080  triode amp that I put together to try this design out.   

 

It depends so much on what you're trying to drive..... as headphones come in a big variety of loads.

 

Resistors on the output of a bigger amp.... or triodes and such, can be great to drive high impedances, as they can swing the high voltages needed.

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What I mean, is assuming they are not hard to drive, I have various pairs, none are known to be very hard to drive.

 

I am more thinking of the quality of many built in headphone amps. When using fairly easy to drive quality headphones.

 

Going back to the 80's, no one though of desktop mini amps just for headphones & usb was not a consideration, i.e you used the amps output for phones, or you used the speakers :) and you did it all with 6.5mm.

 

I remember great sounds. My memory could be adding something though :)

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2 hours ago, aussievintage said:

 

This is a relevent point, that a lot of headphone outputs used to be, and some still are, added as an afterthought to the design of a bigger amplifier.   In the bad old days, a couple of resistors were used to cheaply cut the main output down to headphone levels.  In newer amps I have seen a small cheap opamp used to drive the headphone output.  Neither method is optimal.

 

 

Not all of them would have been afterthought as there were no other options back then if you wanted headphones.

 

I wish I could remember the gear my long gone uncle had, I used to look forward to going over and using his system and headphones, it was not cheap....vu meters everywhere with that soft orange/yellow glow, my JVC and other amps had no meters& were prob 20w.

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Built-in ones are usually easily bettered. Then you need to decide—

High power, low power?

Solid state, tubes?

Single output, multiple outputs?

DAC included, DAC separate?

Crossfeed circuit?

Pre-amp out?

 

I don't listen to headphones often and my most expensive pair is $A500.

I like a crossfeed circuit and my Meier Corda Jazz-ff does extremely well for just under the $A500 mark.

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You are probably right, it is probably as simple as easily surpassed.

 

While bulky, I will be trying them all out I guess one by one if I can connect enough to same source easily.

 

I have an old yamaha hooked up, and it sounds great with speakers, it sounds pretty good on headphones too if not pushed.

 

One Cambridge sounds fine too, can push it with any headphone I have, but it is too exy and good to use for that purpose alone.

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  • 8 months later...

How much do you want to spend?

Burson Funk at $899 - 35W/Ch class AB amp @ 8 ohms, 2.5W @ 32 ohms class A head amp. , output impedance <2 ohms. Burson Playmate if you need Head amp/Dac without power amp

Lots of positive reviews.

If can spend more, Burson have better stuff up the range. - Addicted to Audio/Minidisc should have on demo in Sydney

Topping, SMLS and Singxer all garner positive reviews.

 

I run Hifiman HE6se, HE560 and have had Dan Clark Ether C. Had good results with Burson (Conductor V1 & V2+)and Violectric but getting pricey there. When I had easier to drive B&W P5, the Audioquest Dragonfly were great value

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