Replace headphone or buy amplifier?

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by LoverOfSound, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. LoverOfSound

    LoverOfSound New Member

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    Hi,

    I have bought the Sony RF865RK wireless headphone to use with my new LG plasma tv. In general they are good quality but the volume it reaches (even on the highest) isn't enough for me. I like to listening to music and music videos with high volumes and they don't do the job. I believe i am not very far from what I want because I have a Sony MDR-XB300 headphone that I use with my computer and the volume it reaches is enough.

    My question is: would I be better off by replacing the Sony RF865RK wireless headphone that I use with my tv for one that has higher volumes (I now realise it doesn't need to be wireless if it has a long enough cable that goes into the tv - I don't need to use it in other rooms) or should I buy a wireless headphone amplifier? In either case what models would you suggest?

    P.S.: since my tv doesn't have a headphone socket I am using an optical digital audio to RCA adaptor.

    Thank you very much!

    André
     
  2. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Hi Andre (LoverOfSound)

    Don't try to increase the volume with an amp - wireless headphones have an amp built into the headphone, putting two amps in line will increase the drive and you will get more distortion. Subjectively that might sound good or horrible but my advice is to go with a nice cabled headphone and mini amp for the best quality at a non-scary price. If you give me an idea of budget - also let me know what the optical to RCA device you are using is (a small DAC I guess) I can give some good suggestions:)
     
  3. LoverOfSound

    LoverOfSound New Member

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    Thanks for the reply

    Hi Robin,

    Thank you very much for the reply. I was thinking about spending something between £$ 70 and 150 (for everything - in our case it would include both the cabled headphone and mini amp).

    The device I am using is a StarTech.com SPDIF Digital Coaxial or Toslink to Stereo RCA Audio Converter SPDIF2AA (Is this one enough for me?). In case this is not clear I am attaching a few pictures of the device.

    Thanks for the suggestions!

    Best,

    André
     

    Attached Files:

  4. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Here are some suyggestions - I have a very similar set up at home when I watch films with headphones. I use an Ibasso D10 as a DAC, a Just Audio AHA-120 as an amp and a Beyer T1. That's a bit higher end but you can get amazing results without going crazy - it will sound much better than anything but the most expensive wireless headphones.


    FiiO E05 McKinley Portable Headphone Amplifier in Black (E-05)
    £16.99 - This will do the job of giving you a well driven volume control.

    or

    FiiO E06 Fujiyama Portable Headphone Amplifier in Black (E-06)
    £20.99 - This would also get you some extra features

    (I'm not sure what music you will be listening to but at this price point I can make quite general suggestions)

    and

    Fostex TH-7BB Dynamic Closed Studio Headphones in Black (TH7BB)
    £49.96 - Excellent for the price, comfy with great sound and very little sound leakage.

    Shure SRH440 Professional Closed-Back Headphones (SRH 440)
    £79.96 -

    or

    Ultrasone HFI-580 Closed-Back Foldable Headphones (HFI 580)
    £109.00

    or

    GermanMAESTRO GMP 250 Closed Back Hi-Fi Headphones (GMP250)
    £124.00
    My recommendations are just based on nicely built and decent sounding headphones which are worth their money. The amount you have will get you something good, there is a huge amount of choice - feel free to be specific about your tastes and I can narrow that down. Looking at the specs of the ones I have mentioned should help to understand what you should get for your money:)
     
  5. LoverOfSound

    LoverOfSound New Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions

    Your suggestions look good. But I will try to be more specific: I will use the headphone with the tv mostly. I will use it in the same room but would like to have some freedom to move inside that room. I watch movies and football games, but what I really like to hear with a higher volume is music. The kind of music that I hear the most is rock and roll from the 70's and 60's (in special I love the sound of a guitar like jimmy hendrix's or led zeppeling's). I also listen to some stuff like jazz and blues, and bossa nova (a sort of brazilian jazz). I am not keen in electronic music. I fist thought about the headphone when I was watching Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' at a really high volume and people started complaining until I had to reduce the volume. there are three issues here:

    a) the headphone itself. I would like to have a good quality of sound and freedom to listen to stuff at a higher volume. I don't intend to listen to stuff at a very high volume all the time - but I would like to be able to adjust the volume to my taste when I so desire. I am no pro, I just enjoy listening with quality without being disturbed and without disturbing. Any headphone who does the job will satisfy me. In principle the Shure SRH440 looks very good (but I don't really understand what the specifications mean - I imagine that a bigger frequency range is a good thing; but is a lower impedance a good thing too?). Something that caught my attention on the Ultrasone HFI-580 is the claim that "S-Logic allows at the same time a reduction of sound pressure levels by up to 40% (3-4 dB) for the same loudness sensation. This may reduce the risk of hearing damage". Do you think this is true? It is relevant because of dilemma I face - I like to hear to music at a high volume, but I don't want to develop a hearing problem as a result of it. If this really allows me to hear at a higher volume with less damage to my hearing this would be an important factor. Since I need some freedom of move and distance from the tv (though in the same room) the size of the cable is important - but I understand I could just buy an extension if needed without sound quality loss, correct?

    b) Both amps look good to me. I don't really understand the difference between the two, but I understand that both would equally serve my needs. Do you agree?

    c) Is the StarTech.com SPDIF Digital Coaxial or Toslink to Stereo RCA Audio Converter that I have got good enough for the job?

    Thanks again for your advices Robin, that is extremely helpful!

    Best,

    André
     
  6. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    You are welcome to the advice - I'm here to help :)

    Avery short Frequency range would be a bad thing (less than 20Hz to 20,000Hz - this would tell you the headphones sound bad as they cannot reproduce the full audiable spectrum) but once they can produce the full human audiable spectrum it doesn't help really. Low impedence is good as this is a measure of how much electrical resistance there is, the more resistance the quieter the headphone (not a perfect science but you can use this as a guide - over 100 Ohms will start to become hard to drive).

    The Ultrasone HFI-580 is a great headphone and should get plenty loud enough but the really nice thing about the S-Logic feature is it gives you more natural sounding stereo effects inside a closed back headphone - this model would suit your music tastes but would also work well for films, TV and Gaming because it will keep most of the noise in (closed back) whilst sounding natural. You will always get some leakage or spill when listening to loud audio but these should

    To avoid damaging your ears simply listen to your body. If you flinch at an aggressive bit of music it is too loud!Everyone eventually has hearing problems they just worsen quicker if you listen to loud music for long periods regularly. Better quality sound normally means people listen at lower volumes as people tend to turn up the volume because detail is missing or the headphones sound better when overdriven (cheap cans normally).

    As cable gets longer you lose quality - stick to under 10 metres, under 5m if you can - and get a decent quality cable and you will be fine.



    b) Eigther of these amps would be fine - the more expensive of the two has some EQ setting which may appeal (heavier bass, less bass).

    c) The StarTech.com SPDIF Digital Coaxial or Toslink to Stereo RCA Audio Converter will be fine although you may like to check the spec against something like this D3. If this is much better you have a cheap way of getting better sound quality. I think it is probably quite good though - this D3 is impressive and seriously cheap!

    Hope that helps - Ask more questions if needed:D
     
  7. LoverOfSound

    LoverOfSound New Member

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    Excellent advice!

    Hi Robin,

    Thank you, once more, for the excellent quality support - it is certainly appreciated.

    I am inclined to go for the Ultrasone HFI-580. According to the description it has "Cord length: 3m". Given that I might need an extension. I think that if I can get between 4 to 5 meters in total that would be enough. What cable do you suggest I go for in order to avoid losing quality?

    Since the more expensive amp is only $4 quid more and is better I will go for that one.

    I am also inclined to change my StarTech.com for the D3 you have mentioned - I am going deep into your advice man :)

    All the best,

    André
     
  8. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Hi Andre

    I'm not sure where you are so our store may not work out for you, it sounds like you might be in the States, Australia or Canada, but you will find similar on a website based in your territory. Obviously you are welcome to order from us, many people from those countries do, but this is a cable I would recommend.

    Headphone Extension Cable 3.5mm Female to 3.5mm Male 2.5m
    £8.95

    It is very decent quality for this price. If you ordered the Ultrasone HFI-580 from us you would have the opportunity to try them and return them if they were not what you were hoping for - they have to come back in perfect condition with the packaging undamaged though - so you should make sure that wherever you do get them from they are definitely returnable. If someone does find a headphone doesn't suit them it makes it much easier to pick one that does. It's hard to choose without a benchmark to judge from but very easy to pick another unit based on what was wrong with the first.:)
     
  9. LoverOfSound

    LoverOfSound New Member

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    Hi Robin,

    thanks once more! I am actually in the UK as well. I am trying to return my sony headphone. If I manage to do that I will by the whole kit from you. If I am not able to but just exchange I will probably by everything but the headphone... (I wish I have found oiut about you guys before)

    I agree, without using it is very difficult to know whether it is what you need. But with your help I think I did it. :)

    All the best,

    André
     
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