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buying a headphone amp Studio Headphones
Old 19th September 2011
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

buying a headphone amp

I need to buy some headphones for mixing when I am away from my studio, maybe some Sennheiser HD650s but maybe something as low end as AKG K240s. I have a headphone output on my Presonus Firestudio rated at 150 mW/CH @ 60 Ohm Load. Would a headphone preamp be worth buying (something like the Pro-Ject Head Box Mk 2 -- P R O - J E C T for $159), or is the Firestudio's headphone amp an acceptable solution?

Thanks.
Old 19th September 2011
  #2
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jakeman1086 View Post
I need to buy some headphones for mixing when I am away from my studio, maybe some Sennheiser HD650s but maybe something as low end as AKG K240s. I have a headphone output on my Presonus Firestudio rated at 150 mW/CH @ 60 Ohm Load. Would a headphone preamp be worth buying (something like the Pro-Ject Head Box Mk 2 -- P R O - J E C T for $159), or is the Firestudio's headphone amp an acceptable solution?

Thanks.
That all depends on how many headphones you will need plugged in and how many jacks are on your interface.

Any kind of cable that turns one plug into two jacks will split the signal, causing a 50% in this headphone 50% in this headphone signal. If you buy a headphone amp it will boost all the signals so that you can have the full volume in each headphone.
Old 19th September 2011
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

My Presonus Firestudio Mobile is an audio interface. It only has one headphone output. One output is all I need. I just need to know if I should use the existing headphone output on the audio interface or invest in a headphone preamp for it.
Old 19th September 2011
  #4
Lives for gear
Just use the one out of the interface then.
Old 19th September 2011
  #5
Registered User
Just ask yourself: how deaf do you want to be in 5 years time?

Headphone amps are relatively simple to make, but they need quality power supply and a good shielded case etc. That makes them expensive to build as a standalone unit, but very easy to add to another unit. So just run with the one that comes with the unit, unless you need more power to drive multiple headphones etc.

The other option, which I actually recommend because i've done this myself, is to get a Benchmark DAC-1 and drive it with a digital output. This is a stunningly good DAC with a stunningly good headphone amp. You will be able to hear everything with a DAC-1. (I actually bought it because I wanted to reamp, and the quality of DAC becomes important if you are re-recording stuff - but it was such a transformation/relevaltion that it hasn't left my monitoring chain.
Old 19th September 2011
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

The Senn 650's have a nominal impedance of 300 ohm...

I use a pair of 600 ohm beyer dt880's - when I recently brought them to a friend's apartment, I tried using them on the headphone out of his focusrite saffire, and it was terribly quiet even cranked.

I know this is a different set of equipment, but I would suspect that 300 ohm cans would be pretty quiet on the presonus output.

You could save a few bucks and consider buying lower impedance versions of quality cans (beyerdynamic makes 60 ohm versions of 770, 880, and 990's I believe) and skip buying the amp.

Yeah it would be less clear than 300 ohm hd650's + a few hundred $$$ amp, but I suspect it would be more than sufficient if it's not for final mixes.

Annnd it would save hundreds of dollars... just an idea.
Old 19th September 2011
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Thanks Yerba. That was extremely helpful. I think that is exactly what I will do.
Old 19th September 2011
  #8
Sky
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Sky's Avatar
 

A few years ago I picked up a used Onyko A05 20WPC integrated amplifier for $25 to use for headphone monitoring. While not absolutely necessary, it does provide more clean gain than the 003R headphone output, and for the price it was a no-brainer.

Sky
Old 19th September 2011
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jakeman1086 View Post
Thanks Yerba. That was extremely helpful. I think that is exactly what I will do.
Sure thing.

Take a look at Beyerdynamic dt880 32 ohm version (I was wrong about them being 60 ohm). You should be able to get them new for around $220 if you search.

There's also a 250 ohm version if you want to split the difference between the 32 ohm/600 ohm versions - just know that they're not going to be extremely loud on the presonus out or daily listening/consumer gear. It's up to you how much volume you feel is sufficient.

The downside to 32 ohm cans is that they're not going to be as accurate as 600 ohm through a good headphone amp, the upside is that they're going to be very good while saving a lot of money, and can be used for daily listening on consumer gear as well (ipod, cd players, etc).
Old 19th September 2011
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

I think I may have just found a better idea. If I buy the AKG K702 headphones, they are 62 ohm, 200mW max according to the AKG site. The Presonus headphone amp is 150 mW/CH @ 60 Ohm Load.

This seems to be ideal. And these are very nice headphones. Is this a good idea? I also found a better deal on these headphones than the Beyer DT880 32 ohm.
Old 19th September 2011
  #11
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Piedpiper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jakeman1086 View Post
I think I may have just found a better idea. If I buy the AKG K702 headphones, they are 62 ohm, 200mW max according to the AKG site. The Presonus headphone amp is 150 mW/CH @ 60 Ohm Load.

This seems to be ideal. And these are very nice headphones. Is this a good idea? I also found a better deal on these headphones than the Beyer DT880 32 ohm.
The 702s are more accurate IME than the Beyers, but the Denon AH-D2000, for the same price, are more accurate than either, with flatter response and lower distortion, are very easy to drive at an extremely flat 25 ohms and slightly higher sensitivity, and are much more comfortable.
Old 19th September 2011
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

Well shoot. That sounds like a win all over. I checked some online prices and in the used market, the akg k702's are $45 less. In your opinion, are the Denon's worth the extra cost? Would I be able to drive the Denon's from a portable mp3 player without a portable headphone amp? With the k702's, this would be difficult, and would add extra cost. One other benefit I see in the K702's is the cable is removable. I'm worried I may fray a cable sometime and have to buy a whole new set of headphones, so just having to replace the cable is nice.
Old 19th September 2011
  #13
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jakeman1086 View Post
I think I may have just found a better idea. If I buy the AKG K702 headphones, they are 62 ohm, 200mW max according to the AKG site. The Presonus headphone amp is 150 mW/CH @ 60 Ohm Load.

This seems to be ideal. And these are very nice headphones. Is this a good idea? I also found a better deal on these headphones than the Beyer DT880 32 ohm.
Those will be great. The Presonus headphone out shouldn't have any problems driving anything in that range. The volume drop off on a cheap/built in headphone amp/ipod/etc doesn't become really noticeable until mid-range impedance headphones (like 250-300) and they don't become super quiet until 600. The AKG's are great.

Edit: I've got a few pairs of the old standard Sony 7506's around for people to wear while tracking. Those are 63 ohm impedance and the volume level on them is just fine on any consumer/prosumer gear I've used them on over the years.
Old 19th September 2011
  #14
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Piedpiper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jakeman1086 View Post
Well shoot. That sounds like a win all over. I checked some online prices and in the used market, the akg k702's are $45 less. In your opinion, are the Denon's worth the extra cost? Would I be able to drive the Denon's from a portable mp3 player without a portable headphone amp? With the k702's, this would be difficult, and would add extra cost. One other benefit I see in the K702's is the cable is removable. I'm worried I may fray a cable sometime and have to buy a whole new set of headphones, so just having to replace the cable is nice.
IMHO, the Denons are definitely worth it, especially for showing up low end info, as well as being overall more neutral. I hear ya on the cable issue, but if you're handy, you can take the Denons apart to replace the cable without too much trouble. Why would the 702s be a problem being driven with an MP3 player? Should have no trouble with either one...
Old 20th September 2011
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

Are the denons lows accurate or just "more"? My only concern is that they're completely closed-back, which should over emphasize lows...

I always tend to go for open back or semi-open to alleviate that - the hd650's, dt990's and k702's are open and the 880's are semi-open.

I haven't used the denons, but in general I haven't ever found closed back cans that weren't hyped and lying in the low end.
Old 20th September 2011
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

I had that same question in the back of my mind. Aren't closed back worse for mixing purposes? Or are the Denon 2000's an exception to the rule?
Old 20th September 2011
  #17
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Piedpiper's Avatar
The exception, IMHO. They are more extended yet cleaner in the low bass than the competition. They are slightly hyped in the very low bass but a less hyped in the upper bass where most other cans are. I find them much cleaner and revealing than the Sennheiser 650s and 600s which are very plump and overly sweet in comparison, though the Denons are not, IMO, bright, and certainly not as bright as the Beyers or AKGs. You may find the Denons to be bass heavy in comparison to the others but that is more a comment on the others...
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