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amp for headphones

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igySK View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote igySK Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: amp for headphones
    Posted: January 09 2012 at 05:15
I just got AKG K271 MKII cans. The sound on laptop is really good but if I use them with my mobile I think it needs an amp to get better sound. What would you recommend?
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Dean View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 09 2012 at 07:03
The K271's are high imperdance (55ohms) so to get any volume out of a portable set-up you need to be looking at something with plenty of battery voltage - anything using a 9V (PP3) battery would be fine, two PP3s better still - something that uses 4 AA or AAA cells or that cna be recharged from a USB port is not going to provide the voltage-swing to drive the headphones.
 
For example the Fiio E11 portable amp will deliver 300mW into 16ohms, but into 55ohms will only deliver 87mW whereas the RSA Mustang (that Oliverstoned sings the praises of) uses 9V batteries and can drive the high-impdeance headphones with ease (power unknown -Ray Samuels keeps the important and useful specs a secret) - however that is almost 6 times the price of the E11.


Edited by Dean - January 09 2012 at 07:33


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 09 2012 at 07:41
PS: It makes more sense to buy another pair of headphones for mobile use, ones with low drive impedances (16 ohms or less) that are better suited to being driven by the mobile unit itself than it is to buy a portable amp to boost the levels to drive high-impedance headphones like the K271's. Contrary to received wisdom, a good headphone amp will not make an ipod sound better, just louder.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote igySK Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 09 2012 at 09:36
what about buying an amp for a laptop to get a better sound? I'm using Asus N73S.
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Dean View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 09 2012 at 10:07
Originally posted by igySK

what about buying an amp for a laptop to get a better sound? I'm using Asus N73S.
An external amp cannot make things better ... it can make things louder, or it can add distortion to make it sound worse, but it can never make it better. The B&O audio system in the ASUS is as good as it gets and you'll not make it better. If you need a big amp to drive your big headphones then practically any sub-$200 amplifier will suffice, such as the Project Headbox Mk2 or the Music Fidelity V-Can II, but you can pay anything from $50 to $5000 for a h/phone amp and it's as much a personal preference/choice as buying yout headphones or buying a car and a cheap and chearful home-studio amp like the Behringer HA400 would do the job just as well for $20.
 
However, if I was buying an amp to plug my PC into I'd buy a full-size Hi-Fi amplifier so it could drive a good set of bookshelf speakers too.


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The T View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote The T Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 09 2012 at 10:14
I can speak for the good quality of the V-Can for home uses. For mobile uses the Fiio seems to be the way to go. 
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Catcher10 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Catcher10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 09 2012 at 12:41
It amazes me how people are willing to spend a lot of money to try and make their laptop and phone sound better......key word better.  Louder yes, better...no.
 
That's just me though......
      
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Triceratopsoil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 09 2012 at 18:44
Originally posted by igySK

I just got AKG K271 MKII cans. The sound on laptop is really good but if I use them with my mobile I think it needs an amp to get better sound. What would you recommend?


Hey, same headphones I have.  Word of advice, if you haven't tried them yet - velvet pads.


Originally posted by Dean

PS: It makes more sense to buy another pair of headphones for mobile use


I agree with this if only because I don't like to travel with expensive cans, but it also makes sense aurally

Personally, I use a recording interface+headphone amp deedly as an external soundcard for my computer.
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