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Lil Question About Headphone Amps.....

Discussion in 'Sound City' started by Alty, 17 Jan 2006.

  1. Alty

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 23 Oct 2004

    Posts: 1,878

    Location: East Riding of Yorkshire

    Nowadays if you are going to invest in a serious pair of headphones (and well why wouldn't you?) I understand that there are headphone amps available to deliver a better sound quality than if you plug the headies straight into the back of the soundcard. Now my question is this:

    Are headphone amps made to be standalone amps for the headphones (IE you dont need to connect them up to your existing amp/soundsystem) or do you need a seperate amp to connect them to?

    Soundcard -> Headphone Amp -> Headphones


    Soundcard -> Headphone Amp ->Amp/Headphones

    The reason I ask is.... Surely if you have an amp, why would you want a seperate one purely for headphones if there's already a headphone socket on your existing one?

    I am looking to invest in a decent pair of headies soon and wouldl like to know just how much I will need to spend if I have to include the purchase of a headphone amp on top.
  2. rG-tom


    Joined: 27 Nov 2004

    Posts: 9,727

    Location: London

    headphone sockets on amps are usually just resistor'd outputs from the normal output IIRC, and headphones are very different beasts to speakers. A decent dedicated headphone amp would be better in most cases :)

  3. Alty

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 23 Oct 2004

    Posts: 1,878

    Location: East Riding of Yorkshire

    Cheers Tom. In that case I shall look into getting a headphone amp too then :)
  4. Jimbo Mahoney


    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 6,353

    Oh, I think it will also depend on the impedance of the headphones too.

    I use a pair of 85 ohm Sennheiser HD25 SPs on my Zen Xtra. I have a mini portable headphone amp arriving tomorrow, so I'll see how the two compare. I have to have the volume turned up pretty high on the Zen when using the phones normally, so I'm hoping at the very least to extend the battery life by being able to turn the volume down.

    When I use a pair of 24 ohm Sony's, the Zen drives them easily, so a headphone amp would be almost pointless.

    (This is all more aimed at portable audio though).