what exacly does headphone amplifiers do?

aniv3

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I've often seen ppl here in the board talkin bout headphone amps, sayin that without one of these what you hear in your headphones is just "blobs in the head", so what exacly does these amps do and in what ways do they enhance the headphones?
is it a MUST 2 have a headphone amp if u wanna hear 3d sound with headphones?
can somebody plz give me a detailed explanation bout this?
 

williamc

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okay okay...hold on to the money train a second-)

extras like headphone amps are never a must have. The more you spend on more gadgets the more your return for your money diminshes. Headphone amps are for high quality audiophile or entry level audiophile headphones who's impediance or resistance are too high for non-amplified jacks. And a bunch of other stuff....

Read this for a basic overview of what headhpone amps do and what headhpones can benefit from them check out THIS link and the rest of the website after you read this page.
<A HREF="http://headphone.com/layout.php?topicID=20&subTopicID=79" target="_new">http://headphone.com/layout.php?topicID=20&subTopicID=79</A>

For info on headphones for gaming read this link, also very important for maximum gaming pleasure.
<A HREF="http://headphone.com/layout.php?topicID=2&subTopicID=125" target="_new">http://headphone.com/layout.php?topicID=2&subTopicID=125</A>

I personally use the Sennheiser HD580 headphones and a Total Airhead 9v amp. For listening to music, i use that on a Sony Discman since it gives much better sound than either a TBSC, GTXP, or Audigy can possibly output for music(but then i'm the rare guy that doesnt pirate mp3's). Setup works great on either...but most people can't afford the 440 or so bucks to listen to use that kind of gear. Then, many people also don't have the ears to hear the difference. The difference is not night and day on a pc. It IS night and day on high quality audio equipment. Unless your buying very nice high quality headphones dont even THINK about an amp. Read everything on the headphone.com site you find interesting, its all very good and accurate information. But, keep in mind, when they talk about a big difference, its barely noticable on anything remotely related to gaming. Your dealing with extremely fine audio equipment and a pc cannot compare to the sound SOURCES those guys use. For a gamer just looking for the best sound for gaming i would recommend something like the Beyer headphones listed at the top of that second link i gave you. They're 169.00USD and work okay with or without an amp.

The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the empires state building, along came goblin, wiped the spider out
 

ritesh_laud

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An amp is about two things: power and signal quality. A headphone jack by definition has some power gain, but it may not be enough to drive a high-end headphone. So that's one reason you'd need a headphone amp. The signal quality is the other issue. My crappy Sony boombox imparts a noticeable hiss to the headphone jack. My Harman Kardon hi-fi receiver doesn't. Therefore the HK receiver has a higher quality headphone jack (it'd better, considering I spent a lot more for it than the boombox!).

A good headphone amp will give you adequate gain combined with a clean amplified signal. Headroom harps on the latter for their amps, because most AC-driven headphone amps will provide enough power to drive nearly any headphone. So power usually isn't an issue. Quality IS.

But it's not as big a deal as Headroom makes it out to be. Just remember that most cheap boomboxes will not have great signal quality on the headphone jack, despite plenty of amplified power.

Ritesh
 

williamc

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Agree with Ritesh but i'd like to add another category what he was sayin. PC Speaker sets, some of them have "amplified" headphone out jacks. The one on my Logitech Z-560's is mostly sufficient for any pc use. Wanted the absolute best sound i could get for listening to music that i could afford though for both at home and portable so i got the Total Airhead for myself because the HD 580's are built for use with an amp...normal people dont buy headphones like that...i'm wierd.

The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the empires state building, along came goblin, wiped the spider out
 

aniv3

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well, recently I've had a one time chance 2 purchase quality headphones, and after some reading and a little research, considering price limitations and qulity, I went with Senn HD 570.
williamc, I did some readin in headroom and other places and I understand that u use HD 580 with an amp.
Now do u think that an amp will greatly enhance the ability of the HD 570? I'm not an audiophile, (though I do use the headphnoes almost exclusively, 4 gaming and music on my cd player,pc or mini-stereo system) so I'm not sure if a guy like me can really notice minute sound differences and stuff like that...
give me some advice - is it worthwhile 4 a guy with my needs 2 spend bout 100$ 4 an amp?
 

williamc

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I cannot and will not attempt to answer that for you. I will say this, Headroom has a 100% money back 30 day satisfaction guarantee. (You end up paying postages though)
The one i use is actually 200+power adapter...not 100 bucks... Its very nice, but i use 580's and Senn 570's are a very different animal i havn't heard. Sennheiser headphones vary greatly between models except for the 580 and 600. Was a frivolous expense for me, dont recommend it unless your just really drooling to get exceptional quality music. I'm planning on getting a nicer dedicated cd player in a few months which is part of why i went ahead and got the amp.

The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the empires state building, along came goblin, wiped the spider out
 

murdoK

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I have the total airhead form them and i have had it for a year and it worked great. I have the slim sony cd player, the 2nd to top of the line one and the sony MDR-V700 headphones. it was a good combo, sound was amazing. I just bought an I-River Slim-X mp3 cd player, cause i am converting all my cds to mp3. I do high quality VBR compresion with Exact audio copy and latest lame, but when i usse the amp on it it get cracking sounds and a hiss in the background. What is this? Is it cause of the mp3s, or should i get maybe a new mini to mini plug from my work (best buy) like from monster or something. any help or suggestions is appreciated...
 

Ehrgeiz317

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Without an amp when the bass hits (Cause I have the bass turned way up plus preamped on the equalizer cause I like to like my music loud) there isn't enough power via just my computer to push that bass without ducking the rest of the frequency range. Even when I turn the volume down I can still hear it ducking the treble to compensate. With the amp all my frequencies have all the power they need to keep the decibels of each frequency where they belong (or where I set them).

In short prevents audio ducking on some frequencies when other frequencies are sucking up all the power.

If you turn your volume up and the treble goes quite when the bass hits then might want an amp.
Headphones matter too though.. I use the M1060c from Monoprice recently upgraded from the M560. Makes my Bose, V-moda, Razer headphones sound like Walmart garbage (tho they don't really set the bar very high to begin with...).
Crappy amps can also cause audio distortion so be careful there too.
 
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Mandark

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In simplest terms a discrete headphone amp and a DAC will provide superior sound and if the amplifier is good can drive almost any type of headphones. If you like quality music and you said you liked it louder and more fuller and rich sounding—then you probably do want a discrete DAC and AMP for your external sound system to provide higher quality audio to your headphones

I use Schiit Modi Multibit DAC and Magni amp. They are amazing
 

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