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High impedance headphone amp for mixing. Headphone Amps
Old 22nd December 2010
  #1
Gear Nut
 
SMCrock's Avatar
High impedance headphone amp for mixing.

I recently purchased the 250ohm version of the DT770's, and I want to use them for a reference while mixing. The problem I'm running into is that most headphone amps don't even come close to 250ohms. I found the Rane HC6, which looks like it could do the job...

I would like to hear from anyone here who has these headphones. What are you using to power them?

Up till this point I've just plugged into my 002's headphone jack, or used a low quality Samson headphone amp. I don't mind spending some money on a nice amp, but If I'm going to have to spend an arm and a leg to power a set of $200 headphones, then I will just get a pair of the 80ohm and call it a day.

I tried searching, but did not find any specific answers. Mostly people comparing one set of cans to another.

your responses are greatly appreciated!


P.S.

Just for fun I've attached a link to a song I just recorded/produced (it's not mixed yet). Rock on slutz!

"I'm Dreaming"
SoundClick artist: SmC (LA) - page with MP3 music downloads
Old 22nd December 2010
  #2
Registered User
I would have thought you would only run into problems if your headphones were *lower* impedance than the amp could handle ... very low impedance cans (e.g. too many pairs in parallel) would try to suck too much current and cause distortion. I think you will be fine - if they sound good and loud enough, don't worry.

However - don't underestimate the joy of using a high end headphone amp for the clarity and low noise floor. I use a Benchmark DAC-1, and compared to using cheap converters and headphone amps (e.g Mackie mixers) the difference was one of several major quantum leaps that i've made on my journey into recording.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #3
Gear Nut
 
SMCrock's Avatar
I don't think it would be a problem for most headphones, but this particular pair really sucks power, and I want to take full advantage of them. I know people on this forum say that the DT770's don't even really get to their full potential until after a couple hundred hours of burn in time.

I have a good room and a nice pair of monitors (JBL LSR4328's), I just really enjoy this particular pair of headphones as a reference.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #4
Registered User
So what you are really saying is that you can't drive them loud enough?

I think you should look at the output Power of the headphone amp.

Seriously - if you can get to hear a DAC-1 at a hifi store or somewhere, you should be able to see what i'm talking about. Different league.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #5
Gear Guru
 
kafka's Avatar
I went with the 250Ω DT770's recently, and am very happy with them. I drive them with an old Mackie 1202 that I'm using as a cue mixer. It has a lot of output and can drive anything to the point of ear damage, so maybe it's not the best test. While the DT770's were noticeably quieter than my old 63Ω Sony MDR7506's, I didn't feel like it was by a crippling amount. If you do the math, the DT770's should be about 6dB quieter than the 7506's. That's probably about right. So, while it's noticeable, I'm still not within 6dB of the max output of my mixer, so it's just fine.

However, the DT770's are a lot flatter, and make it possible to position microphones, which I was never able to do adequately with the 7506's.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #6
Gear Nut
 
SMCrock's Avatar
I just checked out the Benchmark and it looks pretty rad. I don't doubt for one second that it sounds 100% better than the convertors in my 002. I guess to be more specific I was asking about headphone amps only, not convertors.

Don't get me wrong, I completely understand the importance of conversion. Your recommendation was not only valid, but a good choice. I have saved to the halfway point of a new Apogee Symphony System. This is the only reason I'm looking for JUST a headphone amp with some balls.

Thanks for your feedback! Do you have anything online I could listen to that you have mixed using your DAC1?
Old 22nd December 2010
  #7
Gear Nut
 
SMCrock's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kafka View Post
I went with the 250Ω DT770's recently, and am very happy with them. I drive them with an old Mackie 1202 that I'm using as a queue mixer. It has a lot of output and can drive anything to the point of ear damage, so maybe it's not the best test. While the DT770's were noticeably quieter than my old 63Ω Sony MDR7506's, I didn't feel like it was by a crippling amount. If you do the math, the DT770's should be about 6dB quieter than the 7506's. That's probably about right. So, while it's noticeable, I'm still not within 6dB of the max output of my mixer, so it's just fine.

However, the DT770's are a lot flatter, and make it possible to position microphones, which I was never able to do adequately with the 7506's.

Thanks for the input. Maybe it's not such a big deal? If volume, not sound quality is all that is affected, then I'm ok with that. I'm not trying to blow my ears to bits.

So here is the question:
Is it ok to drive 250ohm headphones with an amp that's only pushing 20-50ohms? (most 4 to 6 channel headphone amps I have looked are in this range.) If so, is volume the only thing affected?
Old 22nd December 2010
  #8
Lives for gear
 
GordZilla's Avatar
 

Somebody please correct me if I am wrong...

The lower the impedance, the less power it takes to drive a set of cans to a given loudness, conversely the higher the impedance the more power it takes to drive them to the same spl.

It does not really matter which headphone amp you use... but it is obviously an advantage to have an amp that can make enough power (in watts or milliwatts... not ohms) to drive the headphones (and number of them) you normally use to adequate loudness.

There is some good info about this here.

My good 'ol AKG 240s are 600 ohm and I usually have to crank them up quite a bit more than my 55 ohm AKG 271s... but I can use either or both of them with the same headphone amp without any issues.... in my case the excellent Rane HC-6.

So you should be able to more than adequately drive your DT770s with any halfway decent amp.... so I wouldn't stress too much about it
Old 22nd December 2010
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
qubi's Avatar
 

2 words: Aphex HeadPod

I had similar experience with 770's, very few devices could drive them well, most just distorted at higher volumes. Until i got the headpod.. I can't help with the why's (no concept of how ohms work, sorry), but this thing works, lots of headroom, loads of volume, and nice clear sound.

here's a review
Aphex Headpod

Best of luck

Qubi
Old 22nd December 2010
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
qubi's Avatar
 

just a disclaimer, the headPod can go really loud, so be careful
Old 22nd December 2010
  #11
Gear Nut
 
SMCrock's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by GordZilla View Post
Somebody please correct me if I am wrong...

The lower the impedance, the less power it takes to drive a set of cans to a given loudness, conversely the higher the impedance the more power it takes to drive them to the same spl.

It does not really matter which headphone amp you use... but it is obviously an advantage to have an amp that can make enough power (in watts or milliwatts... not ohms) to drive the headphones (and number of them) you normally use to adequate loudness.

There is some good info about this here.

My good 'ol AKG 240s are 600 ohm and I usually have to crank them up quite a bit more than my 55 ohm AKG 271s... but I can use either or both of them with the same headphone amp without any issues.... in my case the excellent Rane HC-6.

So you should be able to more than adequately drive your DT770s with any halfway decent amp.... so I wouldn't stress too much about it
Thank you. Much appreciated!
Old 3rd June 2012
  #12
Here for the gear
 
Dean_bam's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kafka View Post
I went with the 250? DT770's recently, and am very happy with them. I drive them with an old Mackie 1202 that I'm using as a cue mixer. It has a lot of output and can drive anything to the point of ear damage, so maybe it's not the best test. While the DT770's were noticeably quieter than my old 63? Sony MDR7506's, I didn't feel like it was by a crippling amount. If you do the math, the DT770's should be about 6dB quieter than the 7506's. That's probably about right. So, while it's noticeable, I'm still not within 6dB of the max output of my mixer, so it's just fine.

However, the DT770's are a lot flatter, and make it possible to position microphones, which I was never able to do adequately with the 7506's.
So if I were to pick up a set of DT880 pro 250 Ohm, a mixer similar to your Mackie would be sufficiently powerful? I'm hoping to power them from a Soundcraft K1 analogue desk (not sure the power of it's headphone amp).

On a more general tip - are mid range (old) analogue desks decent for running mid range cans (ie the DT880 250 ohm) or would a dedicated headphone amp yield far greater sound? And also, the differences in quality - are we talking level or accuracy?

Thanks
Old 29th October 2016
  #13
Here for the gear
 
ChoPraTs's Avatar
This post is a little old... but I'm also looking for a nice headphone amp for mixing and mastering too because, in my case, I'm always moving, not working in a fixed studio and the room is not well threated.

I know two of the best options for mix with headphones: the SPL Phonitor 2 or the Grace Design m920. Both headphone amplifiers are TOP products, so very expensive... about 1500 or 2000 €/$. In the other side, there are amps for just 40 or 50 €/$ but I supose they are made for record, not for mix.

I've also seen a lot of headphone amps and dacs for audiophiles. I'm sure they are very good amps for enjoy the music, but... I'm not sure if they are good options for mixing or mastering.

So... I'm thinking perhaps there are some other good options for less money than the SPL Phonitor or the Grace Design m920 but maintaining good response or perhaps some Crossfeed options (although with the new Waves NX plugin perhaps is not something necessary now). I'm thinking in something between 250 €/$ or 500 €/$. Do you know any?

Thank you.
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