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Recommend me a decent headphone amp pls Audio Interfaces
Old 24th September 2013
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Recommend me a decent headphone amp pls

Hi,

I have some pairs of good headphones (Sony MDR CD900ST, Yamaha HPH-MT220 and HD650) and I need a decent amp for mixing purpose. Am using Prism Sound Orpheus as DAC and headphone amp and "sometimes" will use Crane Song avocet as head amp.

Since I didn't have chance to compare other head amp in my country so if anyone like me who is using headphone for mixing, pls share your head amp with me. BTW, I've tried Benchmark DAC1, M903, Lehmann audio Linear and Phonitor but they are not my cup of tea. Budget is around $2000, pls advise.

Regards!
Piggy
Old 25th September 2013
  #2
Lives for gear
 
TheBrightSide's Avatar
What don't you like about those amp's you tried?
There are some very good ones in that list.
Old 25th September 2013
  #3
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choond's Avatar
Hey Michael!

I was wondering, have you ever tried the headphone amp on the E-MU 1820M ? I suppose it wouldn't be enough to drive your HD 800's, but do you think it could drive AKG K702's ok?
Old 25th September 2013
  #4
Lives for gear
 
TheBrightSide's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by choond View Post
Hey Michael!

I was wondering, have you ever tried the headphone amp on the E-MU 1820M ? I suppose it wouldn't be enough to drive your HD 800's, but do you think it could drive AKG K702's ok?
Hi B
I've actually never tried the headphone out on the Emu, as I have a few other nice choices. But I just had a listen to it.
I can't use the 800's with it because I changed the connector to XLR, but I tried it with Shure 840's and older Sennheiser 580's.
It sounded really good with the Sennheiser's, plenty of gain, nice and clear. But with the Shure's, it sounded okay at very low levels, but as soon as I turned it up, it started to sound very compressed, to the point of mild distortion. And that's strange, because it hasn't happened before on all the sources I have used it with.
So I think performance will come down to what headphones you use it with. Hopefully it has nice chemistry with your AKG's.
Though at low levels, (which is recommended anyway) it should be a pretty decent headphone out.
Old 25th September 2013
  #5
Gear Maniac
What's that you didn't like about the m903?
Old 25th September 2013
  #6
Lives for gear
 
choond's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBrightSide View Post
Hi B
It sounded really good with the Sennheiser's, plenty of gain, nice and clear. But with the Shure's, it sounded okay at very low levels, but as soon as I turned it up, it started to sound very compressed, to the point of mild distortion. And that's strange, because it hasn't happened before on all the sources I have used it with..
Wow, you have a great headphone collection Michael!

Thankyou so much for trying out the different headphones on the E-Mu amp for me. That's a really interesting result actually- I would have thought the 300 ohm HD 580's would be less likely to sound good , compared to the 44 ohm Shures. Perhaps that Emu amp is suited to driving high impedence phones after all. My ATH pros & HD 280 pros sound great using it.

I have a pair of AKG k702's on the way, so it will be interesting to see how they sound.
Old 26th September 2013
  #7
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choond's Avatar
My AKG k702's arrived. The headphone amp on the E-mu 1616M is plenty to drive them though the volume does have to go fairly high compared to the ATH pros. You can't crank it all the way though. The E-mu patchmix software has the multi-band EQ which boosts the signal a little too, if necessary, just for listening .

Funny, ppl say these are bass light but they aren't with this amp. They sound perfect...plenty of bass, lovely and detailed, lots of space. These were bought used, so already burned in..maybe that makes a difference.
Old 26th September 2013
  #8
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TheBrightSide's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by choond View Post
My AKG k702's arrived. The headphone amp on the E-mu 1616M is plenty to drive them though the volume does have to go fairly high compared to the ATH pros. You can't crank it all the way though. The E-mu patchmix software has the multi-band EQ which boosts the signal a little too, if necessary, just for listening .

Funny, ppl say these are bass light but they aren't with this amp. They sound perfect...plenty of bass, lovely and detailed, lots of space. These were bought used, so already burned in..maybe that makes a difference.
Awesome.
That's quite a nice collection of headphones you have now. Those AKG's look great.
Yes I noticed the different amount of gain needed for different headphones with the Emu, maybe it's an impedance issue like you mentioned.
Some people believe that burning in headphones is a myth, but from my experience it absolutely makes a noticeable difference. Usually the treble drops off a little, and the soundstage "opens up" a bit once the drivers have been exercised.
Enjoy your new headphones!
Old 26th September 2013
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
Lehmman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by piggy915 View Post

Since I didn't have chance to compare other head amp in my country so if anyone like me who is using headphone for mixing, pls share your head amp with me.
It's been some time that I paired my HD-800 with the QES Labs HPBA-2 headphone amp, and it's actually my reference combo for mastering/mixing tasks.

The amp is absolutely linear: its output is an accurate copy of the input.
It is a balanced amp and works in current domain, thus featuring a lightening fast transient response.
The Frequency Response is ultra flat over the whole range, no phase shifting and no colorations at all.

This combo is hyper-analytical, and has an unmatched ability in revealing strengths and weaknesses of the recordings, due to its sound quality and 'resolution'.

I think it does set a benchmark for a real reference monitor system through dynamic headphones.
Old 26th September 2013
  #10
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by piggy915 View Post
Hi,

I have some pairs of good headphones (Sony MDR CD900ST, Yamaha HPH-MT220 and HD650) and I need a decent amp for mixing purpose. Am using Prism Sound Orpheus as DAC and headphone amp and "sometimes" will use Crane Song avocet as head amp.

Since I didn't have chance to compare other head amp in my country so if anyone like me who is using headphone for mixing, pls share your head amp with me. BTW, I've tried Benchmark DAC1, M903, Lehmann audio Linear and Phonitor but they are not my cup of tea. Budget is around $2000, pls advise.

Regards!
Piggy
Seeing as the m903 is about the best headphone amp out there - very clear, neutral and revealing - it seems that you want a headphone amplifier that adds colouration, rather than a neutral one for critical monitoring.

In which case I would look at getting a valve (US translation = vacuum tube) amplifier that would add a bit of warmth.
Old 26th September 2013
  #11
Lives for gear
 
choond's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBrightSide View Post
Awesome.
That's quite a nice collection of headphones you have now. Those AKG's look great.
Yes I noticed the different amount of gain needed for different headphones with the Emu, maybe it's an impedance issue like you mentioned.
Some people believe that burning in headphones is a myth, but from my experience it absolutely makes a noticeable difference. Usually the treble drops off a little, and the soundstage "opens up" a bit once the drivers have been exercised.
Enjoy your new headphones!
Thanks Michael!

The burn in could definitely explain why I find the bass rich and loud on these, when other reviews say they are noticably bass light. I was told the ATH pros hype the bass, and make a good combo with the K702's. But I'd easily keep the AKG's as my sole headphones now I've heard them. Oh, and they are extremely comfortable as well.

I'm trying not to GAS over headphone amps ATM , its bad enough that I have the stupidest most anal cable collection known to mankind
Old 28th September 2013
  #12
Gear Nut
 
Jeb A's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
Seeing as the m903 is about the best headphone amp out there - very clear, neutral and revealing - it seems that you want a headphone amplifier that adds colouration, rather than a neutral one for critical monitoring.

In which case I would look at getting a valve (US translation = vacuum tube) amplifier that would add a bit of warmth.
A colored amp for mixing? Uhhhhhhmmmmmm
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