Headphones (300 impedance) need a Amp. But which one?

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by RogueTadhg, Jun 5, 2017.

  1. RogueTadhg

    RogueTadhg Limp Gawd

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    Alright. I've saved enough money for the headphones I want - but I need an amp to go with them.

    I'm looking at the Sennheiser HD 800. I was going to go with the JDS Labs Objective2, and all the specs seem to me to be good (Used the headphone calculator). But I'd like someone else's opinion to make sure that this is the case.

    I was going to save money for their amp.. but as I'm really starting to hate listening to audio for hours on end with iPod ebuds. My trigger finger is getting itchy, much like my ears.

    https://www.jdslabs.com/products/35/objective2-headphone-amplifier/

    Thank you very much for your time!
     
  2. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge 2[H]4U

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    Have the O2/ODAC combo which doesn't blink at my 300Ohm HD600's, but those are very different cans than the HD700/800/800s, which are all described as 'bright'.

    To answer the basic question, yes, the O2 will power the HD800's just fine. However, you might research what kind of 'character' of amp you'd want, possibly something with a tube.

    (if I had to do it again, I'd have gone with separate components most particularly so I could more easily swap stuff like that around, but I'm in no way hurting with the reference quality O2/ODAC- mostly, I'd want the option to use optical out to electrically isolate the audio chain, for which I'd need another amp as the Objective combo has no input aside from USB)
     
  3. RogueTadhg

    RogueTadhg Limp Gawd

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    I've seen that $50,000 headphone setup with tubes. What's the skinny on those? Is there really a difference in quality with using tubes with amps than the normal style?
     
  4. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge 2[H]4U

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    When getting above say US$50 when dealing with quality headphones/earphones, 'better' is an adjective that should be largely replaced with 'different'. Many keep a collection of headphones of varying values for the simple reason that they're different.

    This concept of different versus better also extends to digital-to-analog converters (DACs) and headphone amplifiers. The O2/ODAC is considered by and large to be a 'reference' setup; the Objective DAC, which is the part that's renowned, is very likely the best DAC you can get short of multibit support and setups with more extravagant input, output, and control options. It's a reference DAC, more or less, that doesn't 'color' the sound. The Objective 2 amp is similar and suitable for a wide-range of dynamic headphones and IEMs. Dynamic headphones have a standard speakerphone per ear, like my HD600 and the HD800 you're considering.

    Variations from either part might be prompted by wishing to 'color' the audio signal, which is what tube amps do- they tend to make the signal 'warmer', which may counter-balance headphones that are too 'bright' or 'harsh'. Similarly, some DACs may also color the audio, but in my opinion this is less desirable.

    Further variations could include additional input and output options, such as using an optical input for the DAC as I mentioned above, or balanced outputs for the AMP, which require balanced inputs on the headphones/earphones.

    Optical audio makes it possible to electrically isolate your audio signal from the rest of the system as a way of avoiding noise and also allows you to use your choice of sound card, such as one of Creative Labs' Sound Blaster Z cards, to better support games, and balanced connections further allow you to avoid noise as balanced signal paths are designed to naturally filter out interference in the same way that ethernet does across CAT5+, by sending a regular signal and an inverted signal and then subtracting any differences.
     
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  5. Baker_God

    Baker_God [H]ard|Gawd

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    IdiotinCharge really laid it out there, kudos to him. It's all about the "sound" that you are looking for. Granted you are upgrading from earbuds, so literally anything would be an improvement. Are you familiar with how those cans sound? Also, what are you using as a source/dac?
     
  6. Neapolitan6th

    Neapolitan6th [H]Lite

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    Hmm I have the HD800s too. I opted for the expensive cans and then getting the equaly expensive amp and dac.

    If I were to do it again, I would have gotten the best headphones possible while choosing a more sensible amp/dac option. As long as the headphones have enough power I believe the biggest sound difference will always come from the headphone you choose. Amps and dacs basicly make your choosen set of cans sound the best that it can.

    That said, if I were to do it again I would get the Schiit audio Jotunheim AMP/DAC. Though I will admit there are cheaper options as this is still expensive at 500$ (400$ without the DAC). I just like that one because its fully balanced if that matters to you (balanced really is not a sensible investment)
     
  7. Stanley Pain

    Stanley Pain 2[H]4U

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    For the HD800s you want something that "colours" the sound "warmly". What I mean by this is that the HD800s tend to be bright and VERY analytical. You'd probably be best served with a good high end tube amp for them. Normally I'm not a big fan of tube amps but in the case of the HD800 I make a BIG exception.
     
  8. pippenainteasy

    pippenainteasy Limp Gawd

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    The S version is quite a bit better. Barring that, you ought to mod the 800 with the superdupont resonator.
     
  9. Gmok Bonecrusha

    Gmok Bonecrusha [H]ard|Gawd

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    I went with the Woo Audio WA6 for my HD800's. Great match IMO. Softens the HD800's very nicely.

    Woo Audio sent me 3 sets of tubes to test. The ones I did not like, they took the returns with zero issues. Great customer service.

    I went with the Princess Sophia tubes because the stock tubes were meh...

    Older review, but still applies.

     
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  10. Neapolitan6th

    Neapolitan6th [H]Lite

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    Looks wonderful. I have the Mjolnir 2 with mine. Though I'd say its probably not the best choice, but I knew it'd be a safe choice choice so that's what I went for. Currently not running tubes with it as mine burnt out haha.
    0311170425.jpg
     
  11. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge 2[H]4U

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    This is the reason that I'm personally wary of any cans that are considered 'bright'. I feel that I'd need to grab a tube amp to 'warm' them, and I'm not excited by the prospect of having to find tubes that 'work' with whichever headphones I buy, currently looking at the Beyerdynamic T-1's, and then dealing with tubes burning out :/.
     
  12. Neapolitan6th

    Neapolitan6th [H]Lite

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    Yeah I'm sure many would say why buy an expensive tube amp just to "fix" a set of cans when you can just buy cans that sound the way you want them out of the box.

    Nice thing about tubes is they are one of the few audio related items that are cheap enough to make good gifts. So even though they do burn out, just make sure Mrs. Claus puts some tubes under the tree every year haha.