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VRM Box using a different headphone amp?
Old 13th August 2011
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

VRM Box using a different headphone amp?

Hi guys! Ok here's the sit -

I want to use the M-Audio Delta 66 as the d/a converter with the Vrm box only for the software, using s/pdif to stream audio out to the vrm box.

Now the vrm box's stock headphone amp isn't strong enough to drive my AKG K-702, so I was thinking of placing a Matrix M-stage headphone amp in there somewhere, but I have no idea where *horror*

Anyone like to answer this grasshopper's question?
Old 14th August 2011
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

bump
Old 14th August 2011
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Kamurah's Avatar
 

If I am understanding your question properly...there is really only ONE place you can put the additional headphone amp...and that is AFTER the VRM box.

VRM box doesn't have analog in...just digital spdif and USB.

BTW...have you already tested the 702's with the VRM box or are you going off of something you have read on the Internet? If you have used them, how low is the output actually?

I am interested because I would love to purchase the 702's or the Q-701 for mixing.

I have both the VRM box and a Saffire Pro 24 DSP (with VRM) but haven't unpacked the VRM box yet (am in the process of a separate comp build).
Old 14th August 2011
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

Hey Kamurah,

I did a lil research and thinking *shock*, and yea i'll be placing an additional headphone amp AFTER the vrm box as you say...will need a 1/4" TRS to Dual RCA cable and I'm cool as cola!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamurah View Post

BTW...have you already tested the 702's with the VRM box or are you going off of something you have read on the Internet? If you have used them, how low is the output actually?

No I haven't tested the 702's with the box, but if you click through the link I have above to the Focusrite site, and read their specs you shall see

· Power output into 150Ω: 15mW
· Power output into 50Ω: 30mW

You may want a more sensitive headphone than the 702's if you want the VRM box to drive them all by its lonesome. The 702's need max 200mW at around 60ohm, very difficult to drive. Now that is fact, and you can find it on the AKG site, and anecdotal evidence (from other forums) would suggest that the soundstage opens up more and the bass gets a boost w/ proper amping.

Right now I'm using the K-702's with a very cheap audio interface [Behringer UCA-202], and I can tell you that it is possible to push the levels to damaging levels. I would think the VRM box would be able to do the same.

If you really want the K-702's, get them with the VRM box, try it out, if you're unhappy, return the K-702's or buy a proper headphone amp.

Hope this helped
Old 14th August 2011
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Kamurah's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hardwinte View Post
Hey Kamurah,

I did a lil research and thinking *shock*, and yea i'll be placing an additional headphone amp AFTER the vrm box as you say...will need a 1/4" TRS to Dual RCA cable and I'm cool as cola!




No I haven't tested the 702's with the box, but if you click through the link I have above to the Focusrite site, and read their specs you shall see

· Power output into 150Ω: 15mW
· Power output into 50Ω: 30mW

You may want a more sensitive headphone than the 702's if you want the VRM box to drive them all by its lonesome. The 702's need max 200mW at around 60ohm, very difficult to drive. Now that is fact, and you can find it on the AKG site, and anecdotal evidence (from other forums) would suggest that the soundstage opens up more and the bass gets a boost w/ proper amping.

Right now I'm using the K-702's with a very cheap audio interface [Behringer UCA-202], and I can tell you that it is possible to push the levels to damaging levels. I would think the VRM box would be able to do the same.

If you really want the K-702's, get them with the VRM box, try it out, if you're unhappy, return the K-702's or buy a proper headphone amp.
Let us know how the headphones sound in the setup once you get it all together! Am interested in the comparison with / without extra HP amp inserted.

Cheers
Old 14th August 2011
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

Hah ! Then my fine friend you will be waiting a good while for me and my school exams to finish

Apparently they're the most important exams of my life if you believe what 'they' say. Anyways I have an exam tomorrow as well, and the headphone amp will probably be coming in 2 months (shipped from China as well) as I'll buy it in just a bit.

I envy you, with a Sapphire 24 DSP
Old 14th August 2011
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Kamurah's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hardwinte View Post
Hah ! Then my fine friend you will be waiting a good while for me and my school exams to finish

Apparently they're the most important exams of my life if you believe what 'they' say. Anyways I have an exam tomorrow as well, and the headphone amp will probably be coming in 2 months (shipped from China as well) as I'll buy it in just a bit.

I envy you, with a Sapphire 24 DSP
...and I envy YOU...still being in the stage of your life where you are studying for school exams....

So you see...it's all about perspective. heh

Best of luck!
Old 7th September 2011
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

Kamurah I don't know if you're still subscribed to this, but I just received an M-Audio ProFire 610, so now I have half-way decent DA converters with which to listen from. I've also got a suitable headphone amp, a unit called the Meier Audio Corda Arietta.

After installing and all that hassle, I have been able to do a quick A/B comparison of Profire 610 --> AKG K-702's vs. Profire --> Corda Areitta --> AKG K-702's.
What did I find?

The 610 is able to send the volume up way past a safe dB level by itself, it probably sounds the way your Saffire sounds like without a *suitable* headphone amp sending straight to your headphones (obviously different converters though, but I am comparing the audio interface's built in *unsuitable* headphone amp vs. a *suitable* headphone amp, your Saffire and the VRM box should be *unsuitable* as they are not rated to be able to drive the K-702's properly)

Once I got my *suitable* amp into the signal chain though, yea there was a pretty big difference. For one, the signal was actually attenuated (upon switching I had left the output level on the Profire 610 the same, so I do know it was attenuated), so I drove it up with the headphone amp, though I could have done so with the 610.

The first things that hit me (upon writing this I've only listened through for about 10 minutes intently) was the bass. (Ok get ready for some subjective words) It was more present and easy to hear (ie. louder), and still tight and kept to its own freq. space - kinda like the opposite of a bad eq boost crapping over the mid frequencies, it was more present without overpowering or changing the lowmids to highs.

The other change happened to the 'soundscape'/stereoscape/stereo width or whatever you want to call it. It widened, stereo effects like panning automation were much more easily distinguished, and instrument separation was better, because there was more stereo space to make it out in. I know this for certain because I was listening to material that had a kick solo'd in the intro, with the headphone amp in it took up slightly more space. When I compared fuller parts of the mix it almost seemed like I was listening in mono before. Another side-effect was a big big lessening of ear fatigue due to the larger stereo width (so if you're feeling any ear fatigue using your K-702's, look into a headphone amp that will properly drive the K-702's)

There were no changes to anything else, timbre and tone colours are still as detailed as you're probably used to by now with the K-702s.

I'm really feeling the headphone amp, but a *suitable* new one would probably cost as much as the K-702s (I got mine for $200 2nd hand). If you don't mix on your difficult-to-drive-properly K-702s, I would say don't worry about it, because you're probably only using it for eq checks and the like. I still check on bookshelf speakers, but now I can make more mixing decisions solely on headphones than before. If you like listening to good music for pleasure on your K702s (and wow it really is enjoyable), then definitely get a proper headphone amp, its upgrades your headphones well (but obviously at a higher cost:value ratio than buying headphones).

Ok that's all, oh and yea my headphones are burnt-in by now with lots of hours of use, so that's where my subjective review is coming from. Remember to keep levels down ! (and I still have exams left to go T_T)
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