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Headphone impedance for zoom h6

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Headphone impedance for zoom h6

Postby Aldo199 » Fri Jul 24, 2020 11:12 pm

I have a ZOOM H6 that i use as a audio interface. I was thinking about getting some headphones for mixing and music production. I have heard that is important to use headphones that are compatible with the output impedance of the source device. In this case the headphone output impedance is 16 ohms. I was thinking about getting some Beyerdynamics DT 770's, my doubt is whether I should buy the 32 ohm version or the 80 ohm version.
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Re: Headphone impedance for zoom h6

Postby ef37a » Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:36 am

Not sure where you got 16 Ohms from but the specs I found gave a suggested load impedance of 32 Ohms which is a very common value for headphones these days.

All things being equal, lower impedance headphones will be louder than higher but things are rarely equal! You also have to take into account the sensitivity of the headphones.

This is expressed as so many dB Sound Pressure Level for 1 volt of signal or one milliwatt of input power. I doubt the H6 will have any trouble driving the usual crop of cans.

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Re: Headphone impedance for zoom h6

Postby blinddrew » Sat Jul 25, 2020 9:05 am

I've had no issues running my 250 ohm DT770s from a Zoom H4. I would expect that the 80 ohm model will give you plenty of oomph and not cause any compatibility issues with any other bits of kit.
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Re: Headphone impedance for zoom h6

Postby wireman » Sat Jul 25, 2020 9:46 am

The specs for the H6 would seem to indicate an over-engineered headphone output...

"PHONE OUT stereo mini jack (20 W + 20 W into 32Ω load)"

Not that I know anything about headphone drivers but 20W seems a lot for a portable device and this is not telling you what the output impedance of the interface is.

I found an interesting article on this topic.
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Re: Headphone impedance for zoom h6

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jul 25, 2020 9:51 am

Battery-powered gear generally gets on better with low impedance phones -- below 100 Ohms and usually closer to 32 Ohms, delivering more volume. Mains-powered gear typically prefers higher impedance phones above 100 Ohms, but it's usually a fairly subtle distinction and both are fine with values around the 100 Ohms mark.

So if you plan to use your phones mostly with the Zoom then 32 Ohms would be a good option. If you plan to use them with other mains-powered gear too, then the 80 Ohm option might be a better compromise. But either will work perfectly well in practice, with only the amount of inflicted pain varying slightly at maximum volume.
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Re: Headphone impedance for zoom h6

Postby ef37a » Sat Jul 25, 2020 1:04 pm

wireman wrote:The specs for the H6 would seem to indicate an over-engineered headphone output...

"PHONE OUT stereo mini jack (20 W + 20 W into 32Ω load)"

Not that I know anything about headphone drivers but 20W seems a lot for a portable device and this is not telling you what the output impedance of the interface is.

I found an interesting article on this topic.

Typo: They mean 20 MILLI watts (mW) into 32 Ohms Wireman. That is not that generous, equating to less than one volt. Most headphones can produce 100dB for one volt and that is much louder than you should listen at for anything but the shortest time but I would think0.8V is sailing a bit close to the wind for some purposes or headphone models?

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Re: Headphone impedance for zoom h6

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jul 25, 2020 1:24 pm

wireman wrote:Not that I know anything about headphone drivers but 20W seems a lot for a portable device...

It's quite obviously a typo... The specs I found stated:

Zoom wrote:PHONE OUT
Jack type: 1/8" stereo mini jack
Output Level: 20 mW + 20 mW into 32 Ω load

I found an interesting article on this topic.

Sadly, the author appears not to understand the difference between impedance-matched and voltage-matched interfaces...

An Impedance-matched interface must, by definition, have the same source and load impedances as the characteristic impedance of the connecting cable, and it is designed to maximise the transfer of signal power from source to destination.

A voltage-matched interface has a low source impedance and a much higher (typically 10x) load impedance and is designed to maximise the transfer of signal voltage.

The square-wave response diagrams are not great, and the implication is that there is a problem with 32 Ohms headphones, when the reality is that the headphone amplifier used for that particular test evidently has poor control and damping characteristics for low-impedance headphones! Perhaps a better conclusion would be that not all amplifiers perform equally with all headphone impedances....

The paragraph about dynamic range is gibberish, as is the one about the advantage of balanced amplifiers...! (Although the benchmark comments are accurate, of course).

For what it's worth, I've never come across a practical situation where a headphone output couldn't deliver usable sound to any headphone with an impedance within the modern typical range of 32-600 Ohms. It's certainly true that some specific (usually tweaky hi-fi type) headphone amps sound better with headphones of specific impedances (low or high), but it's not something I've ever felt the need to get particularly exercised about.
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