Good AV Receiver For Headphone Use



I listen to everything through headphones but I get quite a lot of buzz through my TV headphone socket, particularly when a light image is on the screen. I was considering getting an AV receiver to plug the optical output from my Sky+ and DVD player into, and then plug my headphones into that so hopefully I wouldn’t get the same buzz.

Most AV receivers seem to have a lot of features that I wouldn’t use, and I was wondering if there was a better option? I’ve been looking for a headphone amplifier with optical inputs which I could plug the DVD player and Sky+ box into, but can’t find anything suitable. Does such a product exist?

If getting an AV receiver is the way to can anybody recommended a fairly cheap (preferably £200 or below) one that’s available in silver, with at least two optical inputs and a headphone socket?

I don’t really know what I’m after so any help you can offer is very much appreciated. Thanks a lot.

-Mark Jones
It would be a total waste of money to get an av receiver just for headphones since they are surely crappy quality. The headphone out on dedicated stereo amps is bad enough! I would go the headphone amp way.

I dont think you will find one with optical inputs though. The optical stream is a digital stream whereas the headphone amp deals with analogue signals. You could however connect from your dvd player audio outs (2 phonos) into the headphone amp. This should achieve what you are looking for.

Hope that helps! If you need more, just ask!

I’m using a pair of Sennheiser HD590s so they’re not too bad. If I went for the AV Amplifier would that be more likely to eliminate the background noise than a headphone amplifier? I was considering the Sony STRDE685 which isn’t much over £200 and the S-Video switching may also come in handy.

I can’t actually find a headphone amplifier for sale anywhere. If the quality between the AV amp and the headphone amplifier would be indistinguishable can you recommend a good headphone amplifier?

One final question, if I go for the AV receiver where would you recommend getting it? Most places I’ve checked don’t seem to keep any stock and would take a month to get the Sony.

Thanks again for your help.
If it's just for headphone duties, why not save your money and just buy a stereo amp from somewhere like Richer Sounds.
Decent units can be bought for less than £100.
Won't have optical inputs, but then you don't need them either - both the DVD and Sky+ will have stereo audio out jacks. Just feed them to a relevant input on the amp.
I use a creek OBH-11 headphone amp along side hd600's. The sound is wonderful, far better than any AV or stereo amp will ever manage.

This little machine cost me £120 including its psu. It would have one downside for you, it can only accept a single phono pair input.... do you would need to buy a little phono switched to listen to boh your sources without repeated switching of cables (which is what i do). Im sure you could find something like that at

I would have thought that any specialist hifi dealer woth his salt should have a headphone amp kicking about somewhere.....its not like they are big and take up storage space!

Originally posted by garmtz
A single phono pair will not be any problem I think. Just connect the headphone amp to an unused "tape out".

he doesnt have an amp........hence his question and my response.

Thanks a lot for the advice. I’ve been having a look at the Creek OBH-11 and the Musical Fidelity X-CANV2. I’ve looked at a few reviews and the OBH-11 seems to be the better of the two, while the Musical Fidelity X-CANV2 is far more widely available. I finally found it for sale at Stone Audio.

Looking at user reviews at most of the complaints about the OBH11 are with the power supply, so I think I’ll go for the £150 version with the better power supply.

The X-CANV2 is £150 everywhere, but I can’t find another place that sells the OBH-11 so I don’t know if the price at Stone Audio is reasonable. I’d be very grateful if someone could confirm this is a reasonable price, and if so I’ll go for it.

Sorry for all the questions and thanks a lot for all your help.

Mark Jones
here you go for creek:

Hi-Fi Stereo
51 Washway Road
0161 973 5577

Replay Audio
64 Flixton Road
0161 202 9922
[email protected]

from the creek site

I have the lesser power supply. It still seems very good to me. I think you would need to do a lot of listening and have a good ear to notice discreete differences like the psu....... but i could be wrong.

Cant help about the MF, but i get the feeling you might find it a bit cheaper if you look hard enough.

Thanks a lot for all your help. I couldn’t resist and ordered it from Stone Audio this afternoon with the With OBH-2 power supply. It’s supposed to be dispatched in 2-3 days so hopefully it should be here at the start of next week. I’m looking forward to trying it out.

I’ve never really looked around some of these specialist audio sites, and can’t believe the price you can pay for some things. The must shocking thing I found was a 1m cable for £1,841! :eek: I can't imagine who could possibly need a two grand cable, but I suppose there must be a market for it.
it is really unbelieveable the amount of garbage sold at incredible prices under the guise of 'high end' apparatus. I saw only a couple of days ago a cable system (not including cables). What it did was it raised your cables 3 inches of the ground and proposed the differences this would make to any cable would be remarkable! They looked about £50 for this! I guess someone buys the stuff though!

I use the Xcan v2 in conjunction with a pair of HD620s. The Xcans tend to be stuck at 150quid as its more of a niche product. I like it.

I also have a yamaha RX630 reciever at home which boasts a headphone processing mode to replicate 5.1 through headphones. I don't know if its any good though ... never used it.
Originally posted by Mr.D
I use the Xcan v2 in conjunction with a pair of HD620s. The Xcans tend to be stuck at 150quid as its more of a niche product. I like it.

I also have a yamaha RX630 reciever at home which boasts a headphone processing mode to replicate 5.1 through headphones. I don't know if its any good though ... never used it.

how many disc actually have dolby headphone encoded? or is it more a hardware thing and the encoding doesnt matter?

but does it actually work! I never thought much of the original lucas thingy from senheiser!

Originally posted by garmtz

That is the best desciption yet! :D

I'll have to have a listen to peral harbour.....guess ill miss the bass though :( time for tactile trasducers i feel! :D
Most PC DVD player software support Dolby Headphone, and you can download demos of them to try it out. There’s a list on the Dolby Headphone products page, along with lings to the sites where you can download demos.

I was quite impressed and I was holding out for an AV amplifier that supported it, but the only two that have been released are well out of my price range.

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