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Advice on a new headphone set-up

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Advice on a new headphone set-up

Postby Alte_neume » Tue Mar 20, 2018 9:45 pm

I have had my HW set-up for a while now and I have finally ear-marked between $500-600 to improve my "Amplification Situation". I have been using a MacPro and its AUX jack for a pair of inexpensive headphones until now. I live in a small space and will not be going the speaker route for 2-3 years at least. Based on the recent forum thread on headphones, I am going to upgrade to either AKG K712 or K702. I'd like some help in choosing my next step:

1. Buy an amplifier for headphones (such as SAMSL SAPII) and plug into computer directly and wait to buy external audio interface someday.

2. Buy amplifier for headphones and really inexpensive audio interface (ideas?) to plug into computer.

3. Buy an audio interface with built-in amplifier (not sure if any affordable options for this).

Thanks for any suggestions.
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Re: Advice on a new headphone set-up

Postby engrssc » Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:35 am

Once you try option 1, you'll be amazed at the quality of sound. Like nothing else will do.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Advice on a new headphone set-up

Postby jkinkennon » Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:55 pm

There are headphone amps and there are small interfaces which almost always include headphone amps. In either case I wouldn't spend additional money on either unless I could audition the unit first to determine if there was any improvement over the Mac Pro's excellent audio. This is an area where there is a lot of hype. The idea that a headphone amp is some esoteric piece of audiophile hardware that only a few gurus can design is just outrageous.

Buy the best headphones you can afford within reason and then let your own ears be the judge of whether additional hardware is needed. A headphone amp may provide some extra power for low sensitivity headphones or provide helpful features. For a PC I would suggest an external audio interface as it will provide ASIO connectivity. For the Mac the core audio is ready for prime time right out of the Mac's own output jacks.
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Re: Advice on a new headphone set-up

Postby Alte_neume » Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:44 pm

Thank you for the comments. I will go with option 1 and return the amp if I find it doesn't add much to the "conversation".
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Re: Advice on a new headphone set-up

Postby engrssc » Sun Mar 25, 2018 10:12 am

The reason I use an amp is that high end headphones require more drive (they are less efficient than lower version headphones). to get a decent volume, I had to crank the source volume to max and even then, it was softer than I prefer. So the headphone amp made up for this issue.

Rgds,
Ed
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