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smandersloot



Joined: 24/01/12
Posts: 4
Quality headphones and amplification new
      #966058 - 24/01/12 12:40 PM
I'm planning on investing in quality headphones, but I can't afford to buy a quality dedicated headphone amp right away. Any thoughts on using for example the Sennheiser HD650 with a Mackie Onyx Blackjack small desktop interface for mixing and also audio editing/mixing for video?
Thanks in advance!


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 21823
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: Quality headphones and amplification new [Re: smandersloot]
      #966071 - 24/01/12 01:08 PM
The biggest gain in quality is in buying the HD650s. Well designed dedicated headphones amps can deliver a small and incremental improvement over most equipment's built-in headphone amps, but in most cases it's icing on a cake and an expensive luxury that only the most dediated will be happy to justify.

The HD650 is a fantasically good headphone and will work very well with your Onyx Blackjack.

Hugh

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


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smandersloot



Joined: 24/01/12
Posts: 4
Re: Quality headphones and amplification new [Re: smandersloot]
      #966085 - 24/01/12 01:39 PM
hi Hugh,
Thanks for your reply. Glad to hear that buying 'just' the headphones is still worth the investment. I got scared by a few discussions on the internet stating otherwise.


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Anonymous
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Re: Quality headphones and amplification new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #966126 - 24/01/12 03:46 PM
Quote Hugh Robjohns:



The HD650 is a fantasically good headphone.....

Hugh




+1

Over the years I have fallen in love with these 'phones.


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Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 21823
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: Quality headphones and amplification new [Re: smandersloot]
      #966128 - 24/01/12 03:50 PM
Quote smandersloot:

I got scared by a few discussions on the internet stating otherwise.




I'm not surprised. There's a lot of BS about...

Modern headphone amp electronics are astonishingly good, and the technical, measurable differences between the ordinary budget stuff and the esoteric are vanishingly small. It's the law of diminshing returns -- pay more and things get better because of small improvements in power supplies, headroom, current capability and so on -- but only a tiny bit better. You might appreciate the difference if everything else in the signal path is perfect, or if the headphones are technically difficult to 'drive', but generally the improvements are negligible. The HD650 are not difficult to drive...

On the other hand, electro-mechnical devices like headphones are the weak links in the chain, and spending more money brings very obvious sonic improvements.

hugh

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


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SafeandSound Masteri...



Joined: 23/03/08
Posts: 1052
Loc: London UK
Re: Quality headphones and amplification new [Re: smandersloot]
      #966158 - 24/01/12 05:26 PM
My own experience is that a good headphone amplifier can better the sound by what I would loosely quantify as 15pct in a worst case comparison (i.e.a JRC2068 run off of a USB power line), thats a worthwhile difference in clarity for critical audio listening.

I can see where Hugh is coming from because there are a lot of very expensive "audiophile" type products at £500.00 + but if you are willing to investigate you can find very good sounding products at around £200.00. Maybe that can be considered later on.

It is right that the headphones will make the larger difference.

SafeandSound Mastering


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smandersloot



Joined: 24/01/12
Posts: 4
Re: Quality headphones and amplification [Re: smandersloot]
      #970484 - 16/02/12 05:31 PM
Thanks for all of your advice! Meanwhile I've bought the HD650 and I'm very happy with them. I will definitely look into more affordable headphone amps soon, have you used an affordable amp in particular which you can recommend?

Stefan


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Bob Bickerton
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Joined: 20/12/02
Posts: 3098
Loc: Nelson, New Zealand
Re: Quality headphones and amplification new [Re: smandersloot]
      #970504 - 16/02/12 07:45 PM
I recently upgraded to a Lehmanaudio StudioCube which I'm enjoying and is an incremental step up from the headphone amp I was using in an Alesis mixer and also the headphone amp on my MOTO 8pre. But as Hugh says, these differences can be minor.

Bob

--------------------
www.bickerton.co.nz


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SafeandSound Masteri...



Joined: 23/03/08
Posts: 1052
Loc: London UK
Re: Quality headphones and amplification new [Re: smandersloot]
      #970623 - 17/02/12 01:15 PM
Hi there, the headphone amp I used required some modifications for various reasons so it is not an ideal recommendation to be honest.

You can also consider running a DAC/Headphone amplifier which is driven by a spare SP/DIF source if you have one. (though you then bring the fedelity ambiguities of clocking into the equation)

SafeandSound Mastering
music mastering


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