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High and low impedance headphones of same model?

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High and low impedance headphones of same model?

Postby vinyl_junkie » Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:37 pm

So was looking at getting some closed back headphones for the studio and noticed few come in either a low ohm load i.e. 30/80ohms and also higher loads like 250 ohms versions.

Just wondering why?
Obviously the lower ohm ones are easier to drive but what are the advantages of the higher impedance ones?

Some one I knew once had AKG-240's, both the 55ohm and 600ohm versions and said he preferred the 600ohm version.

Looking at the Beyer DT-250's not sure which version to get basically...
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Re: High and low impedance headphones of same model?

Postby ef37a » Sat Jul 27, 2013 6:01 am

vinyl_junkie wrote:So was looking at getting some closed back headphones for the studio and noticed few come in either a low ohm load i.e. 30/80ohms and also higher loads like 250 ohms versions.

Just wondering why?
Obviously the lower ohm ones are easier to drive but what are the advantages of the higher impedance ones?

Some one I knew once had AKG-240's, both the 55ohm and 600ohm versions and said he preferred the 600ohm version.

Looking at the Beyer DT-250's not sure which version to get basically...

Once upon a time ALL serious "studio" headphones were nominally 600 Ohms, probably as a legacy of 600Ohm "matching" but they had the advantage that they could be jacked across a low impedance line level source for checking. Most "pro" sources are <100Ohms and should be able to drive 600R with minimal distortion although it would probably not be wise to leave them connected across a mission critical line such as a recording path!

Then came transistorized domestic amps and some ignorant so and so "invented" eight Ohm cans! The rot was further set in by the all conquering Pod.

It is a general rule of audio that distortion rises into lower loads so pick the highest Z cans you can...But only if the headphone amp can supply enough volts!

I have asked before somewhere but there must be an optimal Z for headphones?

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Re: High and low impedance headphones of same model?

Postby nathanscribe » Sat Jul 27, 2013 8:07 am

I've got the 80-Ohm DT-250s, and they require a good volume drop when plugging them directly into synths. I suppose it depends what you're going to use them for.
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Re: High and low impedance headphones of same model?

Postby vinyl_junkie » Sat Jul 27, 2013 8:37 am

Thanks for the input guys. After doing some further research on this it does seems that the higher impedance ones seem to be the better choice if the amp can drive them or so the consensus seems to be.

I used to have HD-25's in the past which I had from when I was DJ'ing but they got stolen years ago and replaced them with some Technics DJ model.
For DJ'ing they are perfect or tracking in the studio when you need a closed back can but for any critical listening and/or late night tune making not so good.

Basically I tend to work most of the time at unsociable hours of the day so having the speakers on at 2am is kinda of a no no.

As to what I will be plugging them into... Don't laugh but a Panasonic SV-3800 DAT machine which I've only really been using for the headphone out and the digital output as I find the headphone amp on my Mackie SR-32-4 VLZ Pro mixer totally pants, ok the mixer is too but it sounds better from the main outs imo
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Re: High and low impedance headphones of same model?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:20 am

Low-impedance models are generally better suited to portable and battery-powered equipment, while high-impedance versions are better suited to mains-powered devices with higher power rail voltages. Low-impedance models will also tend to sound louder than high-impedance modesl when driven from the same headphone amp.

Quality-wise, there shouldn't be much in it from the headphone point of view, but amps designed to drive high-impedance phones are generally better performing than amps designed for low-impedance phones.

H
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Re: High and low impedance headphones of same model?

Postby vinyl_junkie » Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:48 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Low-impedance models are generally better suited to portable and battery-powered equipment, while high-impedance versions are better suited to mains-powered devices with higher power rail voltages. Low-impedance models will also tend to sound louder than high-impedance modesl when driven from the same headphone amp.

Quality-wise, there shouldn't be much in it from the headphone point of view, but amps designed to drive high-impedance phones are generally better performing than amps designed for low-impedance phones.

H

Thanks Hugh,

The SV's manual states a max output level of 30mw+30mw (32ohms) and Impedance matching: 8-600 ohms. No where does it state the output impedance or anything else really but at a guess should be ok at driving a 250 ohm load.
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Re: High and low impedance headphones of same model?

Postby Goddard » Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:57 am

You might check the "Headphones" section of Hugh's SOS article on impedance here, although I see that Hugh has already responded with a summary.

FWIW, been plugging 600-Ohm DT770s into all sorts of gear for years without problems. Surprisingly, they came wired with a 1/8" mini-plug plus a screw-on 1/4' plug adapter. Dunno if a 600-Ohm version is still even offered though.
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Re: High and low impedance headphones of same model?

Postby vinyl_junkie » Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:56 pm

Goddard wrote:You might check the "Headphones" section of Hugh's SOS article on impedance here, although I see that Hugh has already responded with a summary.

FWIW, been plugging 600-Ohm DT770s into all sorts of gear for years without problems. Surprisingly, they came wired with a 1/8" mini-plug plus a screw-on 1/4' plug adapter. Dunno if a 600-Ohm version is still even offered though.

Ahh superb, great article!

On a side note my friend has some HD-600's which from memory are 300 ohms and I never encountered issues round there when using them
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Re: High and low impedance headphones of same model?

Postby James Perrett » Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:38 pm

I've had a variety of headphones with impedances ranging from 600 ohms down to 8 ohms and never really noticed that much difference. Ok, so the 8 ohm headphones were generally poorer quality as most manufacturers just chucked a transistor radio speaker into an earpiece and I've overheated a few current limiting resistors when driving them hard but most headphone outputs have a high enough impedance to prevent them being ludicrously loud.

The 600 ohm headphones may have been slightly quieter but at least I could use them for signal tracing when repairing gear. I bought them because I have a couple of bits of gear that are designed for use with high impedance headphones - although I've subsequently found that they still seem to work OK with lower impedance phones as well.

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