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Old December 11, 2008, 08:54 AM
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Default What is the purpose of a headphone amp?

Is it simply to provide enough voltage to be able to drive a high impedance headphone to sufficient volume levels or is there more to it then just that?

The reaason I'm asking, is that I got the AKG 702's (much better then the HD595 in case anyone is wondering which ones I got from my other thread) but at 62ohmz, they're apparently quite a beast, and I can't notice a difference in sound quality when I connect the 702's directly to my Cowon D2 or if I route it through the Total Bithead.
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Old December 11, 2008, 10:15 AM
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In simplified terms, yes. But there is indeed more to it than just that. Depending on the devices involved, an amp could brighten mids/highs, increase soundstage, etc.

When it comes to amps, it varies greatly depending on the amp (and its parts, particularly op-amps), headphones, output device, and often most importantly, the listener. Some people believe that in most situations, amps, recabling, or other audiophile efforts are meaningless and do not help sound quality. Some others swear by these things.

If you can't hear a difference, then that's all that matters. The K702s are 62 ohm, so an amp isn't really necessary with most audio devices. For example, you might hear a difference when connecting the amp and headphones to another device, but won't with the D2. Like I said, it varies.
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Old December 11, 2008, 10:21 AM
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I also have some AKG's, the 171's. Awesome choice indeed. Not only does an amp make it sound louder, but it should also make the sound clear. I was using an un-powered HT Omega Striker sound card when I first got them, but I noticed distortion in the audio on some sounds and songs. So I then got the Xonar DX which uses a floppy power connector, and got rid of the strange distortion sounds. Only use an amp if you dont have a good powered soundcard, or if you want even more power. I am still thinking of getting a USB amp/audio interface from M-Audio.....

On a side note, the D2 I also have. It is pretty powerfull and actually sounds better than when I play through my computer. You dont need to power your headphones when you use the D2.
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Old December 11, 2008, 08:29 PM
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D2 can power through most consumer headphones easily.

The purpose of the amp is pretty much to convert a weak powered signal to a stronger signal.

62ohms are relatively decent in impedance for a headphone, and you don't need an amp unless you detect distortions at normal volume.
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Old December 12, 2008, 08:51 AM
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Thanks for the input.

I'm not too well versed in the head-fi but I do love great sound and trying to learn as much as possible. One thing a technical manager at headphone.com told me is that the 702's are a beast to drive DESPITE their 'relatively low' impedene because they are VERY sensitive. Does this 'very sensitive' feature mean that the headphones respond better to higher output voltages better because they can react and move faster?
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Old December 12, 2008, 06:53 PM
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Sensitivity is the intensity of sound you get out per milliwatt of input, and in general Loudness
Low sensitivity generally just mean you have to input a lot of power to get the same intensity that is produced with less power in a higher sensitivity headphone.

I think you should be fine with the D2 since its output is more than enough.
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Old December 12, 2008, 07:43 PM
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0.o PPL WITH D2's YAY. Lol im not the only one. I also have an 8gb D2 w/8gb SD. im Using the Bose In-Ear Headphones and theyre phenomenal (i know they arent teh greatest choice but i got them for $50).
I was also wondering on wether or not it was worth it to get an amp. but it decided against it
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Old December 12, 2008, 08:22 PM
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Consumer headphones that are readily available from big box stores are designed to have relatively high sensitivity and low impedance compared to professional headphones, so that the general public can plug it in portable devices and listen to them.

However the tradeoff is that electrical noise and interference is present, and the reason why pro audio devices have high impedance is to filter out those noises.

EDIT: By no means do I mean the bose suck by referring to them as consumer headphones.
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Old December 12, 2008, 09:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackquelegs View Post
Consumer headphones that are readily available from big box stores are designed to have relatively high sensitivity and low impedance compared to professional headphones, so that the general public can plug it in portable devices and listen to them.

However the tradeoff is that electrical noise and interference is present, and the reason why pro audio devices have high impedance is to filter out those noises.

EDIT: By no means do I mean the bose suck by referring to them as consumer headphones.
I was actually surprised i was thinking tehy were gonna suck bigtime. After listenting to my buddies Shures (not sure which model but it cost him more than $300 (ya i think hes kinda dumb for spending that much money out of his measly savings)) And honsetly. My music sounds better then his. Probably because he has an itouch and i have a D2. But his dont sound all that great. Overall though im happy with the Bose's they sound amazing, especially for $50. But using the Shures + D2, is incredible. So theres obviously a difference, but im not willing to spend that much extra moeney
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Old December 14, 2008, 10:49 PM
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Heh, My Shure E2C after perfect burn-in is just godly in terms of mid and high, bass is lacking, but that's the design. It really depends on what kind of music you like to listen to really. If you like bass, the bose has lots of it. However I'm more of an accuracy and clarity guy, so my Shures serve me very well. Plus my Zen Vision M has excellent audio quality, better than D2 I dare say.
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