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Headphone Amp for HD650s

Discussion in 'Audio, Video & Home Theater' started by vexen, May 12, 2013.

  1. vexen

    vexen

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    Hello, I am getting HD650 this week (thanks to a deal at my workplace) and I understand that an amp is necessary to run them to their full potential.

    I have a few questions, as I'm clearly not fully understand everything here. I've done some research without too much results. I just feel that the audiophile market is not well documented, and in the end it's big on opinions.

    I want to use it on my computer. From what I read, a DAC is nice but not necessary, and an amp will give me the best results. Is this right?

    I'm having problem finding exactly what I need, and it needs to be available in Canada (customs suck..). Are there Amp/DACs combo worth it? Are there some amps that are "too cheap" to run 300 ohm HD650? If so, how much should I be spending? I don't really want to spend more than 150$.

    Thanks
     
  2. Delta6326

    Delta6326

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    The Fiio E10 is a good amp to use if you only want to listen from your computer. If you want a very portable amp then a Fiio E12 or the AMP/DAC E17 are good.

    I would suggest the E10, unless you want to get a non portable Fiio E09K AMP, and if you decide down the road you can hook up a E17 to it to give you a good AMP/DAC combo.

    Also the E18 will be coming out sometime around August, it should be very powerful, but it will be over your budget from the sounds of it $170+, You can find these for sale at Amazon or B&H Photo
     
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  3. KingPing

    KingPing

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    Did you consider buying a new sound card? A Titanium HD, ZxR, Xonar STX, all of those support 300 ohm, because IMHO the HD650 is overkill for the X-Fi Xtreme Gamer with or without amp.
     
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  4. vexen

    vexen

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    Thanks a lot, I guess Fiio is really the way to go in this price range.
    And about the sound card, no, I did not realize the sound card would be holding them back. I've yet to put the 650 on my head, so I don't know how amazing they sound compared to my 555. But yeah, I commute with 555 and I don't see myself carrying my 650 around. So I'm unsure about a portable amp, I don't even think I want to carry it around lol.
     
  5. vexen

    vexen

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    I finally ended up purchasing as ZxR! It seemed like the best investment. I would of needed to plug the Amp as USB otherwise . Thanks again! Can't wait to try HD650 + ZxR!
     
  6. Frederik S Staff

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    The ZxR uses the same TI headphone amp circuit (TPA6120A2) as found on the ST and STX from ASUS. It is one of the best measuring amplifiers for high impedance headphones so my bet is you found a mighty good match there!

    Cheers,
    Fred
     
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  7. Kaynar

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    If you wanted a sound card for your PC, then you made the right choice, ZxR is a strong card for headphones.

    However, have in mind that the quality of the HD650 can only be unveiled with USB Async, optical or coaxial DAC/amp. The cheapest choice of those is the USB Async cause you dont need a good sound card on your PC.

    But anyway, with the card you just bough, you can check if it has coaxial or optical and buy a good headphone amp that receives one of those signals. I can guarantee you that with a £200-300 headphone amp you will clearly notice the difference in sound clarity, even if the signal is still processed by your ZxR. Maybe you cant afford this now, but you might later on, so keep it in mind.
     
  8. Frederik S Staff

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    The headphone amplifier from TI integrated into that sound card is much better than the circuitry in the vast majority of external headphone amplifiers for high impedance headphones. The external DAC/amps can have a different tonality but they are not better technically. Being internal is an advantage in terms of interface latency, but the EMI interference is perhaps larger. The higher end sound cards are for the majority designed to be very good in terms of EMI dampening.
     
  9. Kaynar

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    That thing about higher latency is surely true, but how much noticeable? EMI is ok on sound cards, usually it is a problem when they are linked to the front panel audio, in which case you might notice a faint buzz depending on the headphones.

    Also, I own a Titanium HD linked to a Marantz ampifier with QED cables. While this soundcard doesn't have this TI chip, I can definately tell you that the HD560 ov2 (very old model), HD600, HD650, AKG701 and Denon 5000 that I have used at least once both through the amp and the sound card sound totally different. The sound from the Titanium HD is certainly good but it just sounds flat, dead, without joy when compared to the output from the amp, even though the Denons and the HD600 can go acceptably loud.

    But anyway, i'll have to agree that *technically* a specific TI chip on internal sound card or DAC/amp will mean almost identical performance. But I was thinking of the Sabre ES9018 chip which I've heard so much about.
     
  10. Frederik S Staff

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    The TPA6120A2 is in another league compared to what is featured on the Titanium HD for high impedance headphones. It measures perfectly with high impedance loads and the only "issue" is the output impedance of 10 Ohm. I have also heard and external DAC / amp with it and it is perfect for HD580-600-650-700-800. The Titanium HD has no dedicated headphone amplifier on it, it is the same amplification circuitry for all tasks.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2013
  11. Kaynar

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    "The TPA6120A2 is in another league compared to what is featured on the Titanium HD" how do you mean that? That it is really good, really bad, or simply different?

    And yeah the fact that there is no dedicated amp on the Titanium HD doesn#t make it the best for headphone use indeed.
     
  12. Frederik S Staff

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    It is really good.
     

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