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Old 12-28-2009, 10:53 AM
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markn951 markn951 is offline
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Default Can anyone explain headphone amps to me?

So, I work with electronics, and I also am very familiar with guitar amplifiers. Is the headphone amp just a separate, higher-quality power amp stage? If it's not, what is it? Do I need one, and if so, why? Is it more beneficial for very expensive headphones or will I notice a change with my V-Moda Faze headphones? I am planning on buying a set of soundMAGIC PL-50's soon, would I need a headphone amp with that?

My current player is a Sansa Fuze.

FWIW I'm planning on making my own. The Mini Cubed looks like a fun, easy project
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Old 12-28-2009, 06:22 PM
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Jack4L Jack4L is offline
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Well depending on the headphones and the player being used it can be a night and day difference. However if you have a good player, and efficient headphones (or sometimes in the case of IEMs, not too sensitive ones) then you can pretty much skip the amp. So read up on the stuff you got and see if you do need one, take most of what you read with a grain of salt, though.

I dont know for sure about the IEMs you have but the Fuze doesn't really need an AMP from what I read.
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Old 12-28-2009, 08:14 PM
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I did not find anything in the specs that would justify spending on a portable amp for the Faze iem’s or the PL50’s. If you are just up for the DIY, building one certainly looks like a fun project and you’ll be able to find out for yourself how you like a portable amp with your phones, so I'd say go for it. You might want to look at the cmoy amp as well, it appears less expensive the last time I priced the parts, although the Mini³ portable headphone amp does look like a higher quality portable amp from what I read. A while back, I posted “What Can Portable Amps Accomplish?” if your interested in reading my views. Good luck with the project, take lot’s of pics and let us hear and see how it’s going
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Last edited by WalkGood; 12-29-2009 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 12-29-2009, 12:30 PM
JK98 JK98 is offline
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"I dont know for sure about the IEMs you have but the Fuze doesn't really need an AMP from what I read. "

With efficient headphones or earphones 32 ohms or less, one doesn't need an amp with a Fuze. If one has favorite headphones that are much over 32 ohms, or aren't that efficient then they would need to use a seperate amp to drive them properly, and without a seperate amp there might not be enough volume, or the sound quality would not be so great.
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Old 12-29-2009, 02:16 PM
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markn951 markn951 is offline
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So for my 55.5 ohm PL50's, I should probably amp them?
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Old 12-29-2009, 04:34 PM
JK98 JK98 is offline
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The PL50 is listed as being 109 db/mw efficiency, and 55.5 ohms impedance. Due to the high efficiency, I guess they will be okay with the Clip+ without using a separate amp, but the sound might improve with an external amp. My Sony V6 works with the Clip+, however it is not at its best, and would probably benefit from the use of an amp.
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Old 12-29-2009, 06:16 PM
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I think I'll be making a Mini Cubed then
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Old 12-29-2009, 06:50 PM
saratoga saratoga is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markn951 View Post
So for my 55.5 ohm PL50's, I should probably amp them?
Doubling the impedance makes the headphones 4 times quieter, so they're be 6dB quieter then whatever hypothetical headphones JK98 mentioned.

Adding an amp will let you increase the volume more to compensate. If its worth it depends on how loud you want to go. Try it and see if they get loud enough for your tastes, and if not, buy an amp.
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