Headphone amp and speaker/headphone setup question

Edgar

2[H]4U
Joined
Jul 24, 2005
Messages
2,673
So I just got me some sennheiser 598SE. Thinking about getting a headphone amp. Will the headphone amp make everything sound better or just louder?

Also how should I setup if I split between using headphones and speakers?

Speakers are maudio av40's.

Sound card is sound blaster xfi titanium professional audio pci express

And the headphone tube amp I'm thinking about getting is the bravo audio v2.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...liid=I2W4HH7NO8Z263&ref_=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl

Any suggestions appreciated.
 

Sycraft

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Nov 9, 2006
Messages
4,931
It can make them better. There are three major issues amplification can solve:

1) Volume. This tends to only be an issue with high impedance, low efficiency phones which these are not. However if things aren't loud enough, a good amp can fix that.

2) Bass response. To get good bass, an amplifier must be able to exert control over the thing it is driving (you hear it called damping factor). The upshot is the output impedance of the output needs to be about 10% or less of the headphone impedance. So for the 589s you are talking 50ohms thus you want an amp 5 ohms or less ideally. Many computer outputs are not very low impedance because of how they are built. This leads to weaker, more buddy and boomy bass.

3) Noise. The lower impedance the headphones, the more current load on the output device and the more efficiency, the louder anything is. Thus they can make cheap opamps that you often find on computers audible hiss. A good headphone amp will fix that.


Now that said, a tube amp won't fix any of those except for maybe volume. They are not good when it comes to low noise, or controlling drivers. That's fine, they provide a sonic colouration that some people enjoy, but it is not accurate. If you want accurate sound, you need a good solid state amp. The O2 Amplifier and the Fiio E10K are two that I know to have low output impedance, and low noise.

However first check your motherboard. Some boards actually have good headphone amps built in. TI makes chip headphone amps that are great and some motherboards use them.
 

N1GHTRA1N

Gawd
Joined
Apr 24, 2009
Messages
781
You already have a very good sound card.....

The headphones are only 50 ohms impedance so I don't think the money you'd spending on a headphone amp would offer any benefits unless you jumped up to a very nice amp, even then it would be questionable.

Does your case have a headphone jack? If it does you should be able to set the speakers to mute when headphone is plugged in to case.

If you want a nice affordable headphone amp the Fiio E10K is a good choice..
 

Edgar

2[H]4U
Joined
Jul 24, 2005
Messages
2,673
My case does have a headphone jack. But so do the av40's. Would using the headphone jack on the av40's deteriorate the sound?
 
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