CHANGSTAR: Audiophile Headphone Reviews and Early 90s Style BBS

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Author Topic: Spending more on an amp then headphones  (Read 6511 times)

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cspirou

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Re: Spending more on an amp then headphones
« Reply #70 on: September 24, 2015, 06:41:17 AM »

I like to think in terms of TOTAL SYSTEM. Plan a budget for an entire system.

<$125
100% on headphones.
Use whatever for source/amp.

<$500
50% headphones
50% amp
whatever for source

<$1000
50% headphones
30% amp
20% DAC

<$5000
33% headphones
33% amp
33% source (DAC/TT)

<$15,000
20% (less or more)
40% amp
40% source (DAC/TT)



Finally the type of answer I was looking for!
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Sorrodje

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Re: Spending more on an amp then headphones
« Reply #71 on: September 24, 2015, 06:55:59 AM »

I tried 25 closed portables before I finally said, "Fuck it! No more. I'll use IEMs."

I'm definitely with you on that one.  IEMs rule for portable and maybe for all uses where isolation is needed. Using CIEMs at home instead of a closed can is probably not a bad idea. 

Prydz

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Re: Spending more on an amp then headphones
« Reply #72 on: September 24, 2015, 10:14:32 AM »

I guess if you buy HE-6, you end up spending more on amplifier.
Atleast thats my case... First Watt F6 & Pass Labs INT-150.
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cspirou

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Re: Spending more on an amp then headphones
« Reply #73 on: September 24, 2015, 10:48:35 AM »

I guess if you buy HE-6, you end up spending more on amplifier.
Atleast thats my case... First Watt F6 & Pass Labs INT-150.

Is this a dedicated headphone system? No crossover to speaker use?
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kothganesh

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Re: Spending more on an amp then headphones
« Reply #74 on: September 24, 2015, 11:01:06 AM »

I guess if you buy HE-6, you end up spending more on amplifier.
Atleast thats my case... First Watt F6 & Pass Labs INT-150.

You raise a good point...I've gone both ways..paired the HE 6 with Yggy/Odyssey Stratos extreme (amp was a tad less in cost) and with Yggy/Mark Levinson power amp (mucho dinero but stupid overkill)
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Prydz

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Re: Spending more on an amp then headphones
« Reply #75 on: September 24, 2015, 11:53:53 AM »

Is this a dedicated headphone system? No crossover to speaker use?


Dont worry, I will sell the First Watt F6 most likly. I recive the INT-150 tomorrow so i'll see which 1 to keep.
And it will be dedicated headphone system.

1 thing I do want to say is that I feel like a class A stereoamp might be better then most high end headphone amps for other headphones aswell. I mean a INT-150 is class A/B and has tons of power, so a INT-30 is probably better for overall headphone use.
Or a First Watt. 
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Marvey

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Re: Spending more on an amp then headphones
« Reply #76 on: September 24, 2015, 03:07:34 PM »

Those are some pretty distant break points...Gumby sort of breaks my ratio to pieces.  :)p1

Gumby can throw the ratio out of whack because of it's value and high performance / dollar. Still, if you've got Gumby, you really should be running an amp that will take advantage of it's capabilities.

As far as the distant break points, put the figures in Excel and interpolate.

My reasoning was as follows:

1] Headphones will be the most colored piece of gear in the audio chain. We can discuss this all day, so we won't. Pick this first for obvious reasons.

2] DACs sound closer to each other than not. Differences between DACs are more easily heard with more resolving gear.

3] Thus don't bother with DACs at the low end or even entry level. Use what you have handy or can get for free from friends (iRiver Soviet iPod, sound card, old HeadRoom BitHead).

4] As an aside, because of #1 and #2, so called "objectivists" claim there are no DAC differences if three or four measurements don't show nonlinear behavior past certain thresholds. Of course this has nothing to do with science since these "objectivists" have not heard any of the gear in question nor have they conducted experiments to support their hypothesis. They demand experiments of high rigor (DBT, 0.01db volume matching, etc.) from those who they disagree with, while accepting less rigorous "experiments" (anecdotes) from those they agree with: "I conducted a blind test of the ODAC and the Benchmark DAC1 and I couldn't tell the difference from my Objective 2 amp, which we all know is nearly perfect and transparent".

5] As we move up to higher fidelity headphones, the immediately weak link seems to be amplifiers. Many headphones, such as high efficiency orthos and moderate efficiency traditional dynamics, love amplifiers that can provide clarity, power, control, dynamics, articulation. There are some exceptions. Grados and certain Audio Technicas, because of their super efficiency, may not sound any better with an amp. These kinds of headphones require extremely resolving amps, not necessarily power. But in general, more power is better, but only if we can maintain resolution, clarity, low distortion, etc.

6] At some point, between roughly $2000-$3000, the source starts to become more important, as important as the amp or even slightly more, just in case. IMO, in the initial or medium stages, source should take a back seat to the amp because an amp's sonic colorations are more obvious.

7] Finally, for some headphones, spending more on amps won't matter after some point. They won't scale. All you will get is something "different" (nothing wrong with that, just be cognizant of it and don't let HF convince you otherwise). Same thing for amps. After some point, DACs won't matter if your amp can't reveal the nuances of what the better DACs are capable of doing. The above, #2 and #5 is why Gary at HF didn't find any distinguishable differences between most of the DACs he auditioned. He used an LCD3 (presumably degraded) and a speaker amp.

8] Another approach is source first. Maybe a small business in a nice small town just north of El Lay made a kick ass DAC (or two) which is universally agreed by everyone as to have an extremely high performance/price ratio. Might be a good idea to start with that.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2015, 03:25:52 PM by Marvey »
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kothganesh

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Re: Spending more on an amp then headphones
« Reply #77 on: September 24, 2015, 03:55:01 PM »

Dont worry, I will sell the First Watt F6 most likly. ............... 1 thing I do want to say is that I feel like a class A stereoamp might be better then most high end headphone amps for other headphones aswell. I mean a INT-150 is class A/B and has tons of power, so a INT-30 is probably better for overall headphone use.
Or a First Watt.


Mate, what am I missing? Why sell the F6
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Andre Y

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Re: Spending more on an amp then headphones
« Reply #78 on: September 24, 2015, 05:44:42 PM »

They demand experiments of high rigor (DBT, 0.01db volume matching, etc.) from those who they disagree with

The level matching should be 0.1dB. I don't think any reasonable person demands 0.01dB. Anyway, for things with flat frequency response (ie. not headphones or speakers), this is easy to do: just use a voltmeter and a 1 kHz sine wave test signal and match voltages to 1%. That's a little better than 0.1dB, but easy to remember and do. (20*log10(1.01) = 0.08dB)
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Anaxilus

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Re: Spending more on an amp then headphones
« Reply #79 on: September 24, 2015, 06:00:48 PM »

The level matching should be 0.1dB. I don't think any reasonable person demands 0.01dB. Anyway, for things with flat frequency response (ie. not headphones or speakers), this is easy to do: just use a voltmeter and a 1 kHz sine wave test signal and match voltages to 1%. That's a little better than 0.1dB, but easy to remember and do. (20*log10(1.01) = 0.08dB)

Another easy thing to do is looking up the definition of 'facetious'. ;)
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