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Headphone VS Reciever

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Roguey, Sep 19, 2004.

  1. Roguey

    Roguey
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    hi,

    today as an joke really, i remmebered there was some old headphones laying about the house (there were suposed to be like a really costly one about 10 years ago) so me, the person i am thought - "I wonder what they are like?"

    so i go and find them and put them into my reciever (an Sony DB780 - only cost £300 new) and played some music. I was amazed at the differents, the music had power (u know what i mean) with the bass on the headphones had a real punch to it, even the mid range seamed powerful and it was clear.

    After spending somewhat of £800 on some Kef Q7's and hearing the headphones i feel im somewhat majorly let down by the Q7's. I always knew that the reciever lacked bass, even on the headphones i have to do an +10db to the 125Hz area and less, to give music more body. But the Q7's just sound like tweaters compaired to them old headphones. They sound simply like sat's even in stereo mode. The Q7 should be very powerful in my eyes, 175w RMS, 8" woofer, Uni-q 6.5" etc. and i read many good reviews on how good they were, even able to shake the chair - never happened to me.

    How come? is it simply the reciever cant drive them kind-of speakers good enough? maybe cable? (I use some bi-wire, Gale 160 cores x 4). Also can something like an 3805 do an better job? or the new martaz recievers? (which look inresting) - SR7500, bi-amped (which im highly thinking about over the 3805)

    sorry for the amount of writting,

    many thanks for reading and replies
    - Roguey
     
  2. Hawklord

    Hawklord
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    Welcome to the wonders of headphones:)

    I was ignorant to how good a headphone system really can be too. My Sein Hd600's and my GSP Solo MKIII headphone amp puts my conventional system to shame when listening to music unfortunately for a fraction of the cost. The Seins and Solo was a total of £550 and out performs my conventional system that cost many times that. I have addressed the balance a bit by buying a power amp to bi-amp my speakers but there is still no comparison.

    Why not invest in a good pair of headphone and a headphone amplifier?

    Maybe with your current system you have your speakers set to small so they are not giving you the full range signal when listening to music. If your av receiver has pre-outs you could invest in a integrated amp to drive your front stereo pair. I went down this route when I got fed up of the limitations of my av amp with music. Even the 3805 you mention will find it hard to keep up with a good mid priced integrated with music but I could be mistaken as the 3805 is meant to be a vast improvement over the 3802 (I've not hear the 3805). If you were to upgrade to a better av receiver your movie performance would improve too, but , you have to address the area that you feel lacking. If your happy with the performance with movies then get a stereo amp if it will integrate with your current set up.

    But if quality of music is the priority and you like headphones spend a bit of time listening to some headphones set ups. This will by far give you the best results for the least outlay:)
     
  3. Roguey

    Roguey
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    thanks for the reply. im glad its not just me, hearing an differents in headphones.

    there is one major problem with my reciever, there is no pre-out outouts on it, so i cant just buy an power-amp. and i dont want to just headphones allday, as i find my ears would hurt after an few hours wearing them and plus after buying some good main speakers.

    i do feel its lacking in both movie and music. Theses new Marantz reciever SR7500 - would that b stronger than an 3805? i cant afforad to buy an reciever and an power amp.
     
  4. Hawklord

    Hawklord
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    TBH best to just go and have a listen to as many receivers in your price range to find which sounds best to you. Make sure you purchase one that has pre-outs so if you want to upgrade the stereo side later on down the line you can add an integrated if you wish. I think whilst in the past av receivers were rubbish with stereo some manufactures are now trying to redress the situation. You can buy receivers that are good with music like the Arcam avr300 but they're fairly expensive. The Denon 3805 is meant to be adequate but <£500 over the arcam so you'll have to make your own mind up. Your speakers will certainly benefit from better amplification but the source is important too.
     
  5. Roguey

    Roguey
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    so basically the lack of power (mid and a lot of bass) on my main speakers (which I didnt get with headphones) is simply to do with the reciever? and nothing else?
     
  6. Roguey

    Roguey
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    P.S. why are the headphones better quality? is it purely down to they are so much easier to drive than them main speakers? even know the main speakers have an sen of 91db
     
  7. Hawklord

    Hawklord
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    I woud imagine that your budget receiver is holding back you speakers somewhat. How have you got the speakers set? If you've got them set to small during stereo playback they may not be getting a full range signal which will not give you the best sound available. Look in your settings menu options to see if that's the case. A lot of budget av receivers have good spec's on paper but do not give the necessary power especially driving at higher volumes. Buying a mid ranged receiver would give you more power and control with better steering in movies plus improve stereo performance.
    I'd recomend going to a local dealer that has your speakers and try a few to see the difference and make up your own mind as to whether it's worth the extra. I started with a budget Yamaha av amp which got the job done but upgrading to the Denon highlighted it's limitations both with movies and music. The difference was almost night and day but cost me another £300 so what you would expect.

    A good source is as important as good amplification so having a good designated cd player is always better than any budget dvd player for music.

    A trip to your dealer for an audition is very necessary as you can compare different components and find the best match to YOUR ear as everyones taste is unique.

    good hunting
     
  8. Roguey

    Roguey
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    hi, well yer i have them set to small with an 80hz crossover. I have tried them in stereo mode (only 2 speakers, with no sub (with and without set to large)) and still didnt preform.

    When i started to change the EQ to like +10db to 500Hz and less, then it started to be a little more body to the music, however some parts sounded over boom'ie. I just cant get the sound i want from them, i want strong but quick bass and a nice mid range, the high's are fine however.

    do u really think an better amp/reciever can make a pair of Q7's perform more like them headphones? as thats what im aiming for, and I cant see why such speakers cant out-perform even better than the headphones. would bi-amping help the problem on a future reciever? i know i ask a lot from a speaker, but its not like im asking an £10 speaker to do the job
     
  9. Hawklord

    Hawklord
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    I do feel the Sony is the weak link have you an old integrated lying around or that you can borrow? This would give you the oportunity to compare it to your sony and make sure your speakers are up to scratch. You could buy a power amp to bi-amp them but you do not have pre-outs with this receiver and I doubt the Sony's processing is up to scratch either (compared to an integrated any how) for music.
    Bi-amping does give you real benefits (I have done it with my Ninka's) but I feel your money initially would be best spent on a more meaty receiver. Like I said before it will improve movies and music.
    As to whether your speakers will sound as good as the headphones you may be on a lost cause there i'm afraid. My Sein HD600's cost me £120 new and my Linn Ninka's (with upgraded bases) cost nearly 10x that but cannot compare. Even with the extra amplification through bi-amping and the associated expence they still don't come close:(
    To get the same performance as my HD600's and GSP solo amp I'd be in the realms of real funny money which I'm not in a position to do unfortunately. I'll have to settle with what I've got unless I win the lottery.:D
     
  10. Roguey

    Roguey
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    hmm, i see what ure saying. should i be looking to bi-amp them from start then? (get an reciever which supports it), how does it improve the front speakers?

    In the test the headphones were plugged into the reciever, which has an optical link from the pc, where i played some MP3. Really why isnt the singal the same going to the main speakers? is its cos the amp's in the sony cant cope with such speakers, and its draging the amp's down? (maybe the amp is designed for lesser speakers, and maybe why it sounds wrose?)

    many thanks
     
  11. Hawklord

    Hawklord
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    That's probably correct. The power required to drive your heaphones is nothing compared to those meaty speakers. The signal will probably be from the pre-amp stage (I may be wrong -I'm no expert lol) so next to no amplification is required. When the signal is sent to your speakers the Sony amplifies the signal. Amplifiers in budget amps are not rated as high as their mid ranged brothers in real terms so will be limiting your speakers imo. Higher rated amplifiers give more power, control and are able to cope with higher listening volumes. At similar volumes a budget amp at least may struggle and clip and at worst damage both the amp and speakers.
    If you were to buy a better av receiver this should give you the extra omph your Q7's require. Failing that if you buy one that has pre-outs that will give you the option to add an extra power amp or integrated amp or both (as I have done.) This will give you even more power and will allow you to bi-amp your front stereo pair. You may find that just buying a better av receiver suits your needs with out having to spend anymore that's why it's important to audition. I could spec you a system that suits my taste but you may think it's not up to scratch. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and you have to find the sound character that does it for you. Different av receivers have varying sounds. Yamaha's tend to be very bright and Denon are quite warm too my ear musically. You have to find the receiver that best complements your speakers to Your ear. The trick is to find a product that offers you the functions you want, that sounds good to your ear at the price your prepared to pay:)
     
  12. Roguey

    Roguey
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    u been a great help, many thanks for ur time and effort. from my knowledge which isnt great of electrional, the headphones will need an amp to drive them, so they they cant simply come off the pre-out outputs (on soundcards there was an extra 4w amp for it). so they probably driven by the same amp, but like u said, no where near the same load on the amp's.

    i guess this thread should help a few others, basically saying if u got good speakers then, basically get a good reciever to drive them correctly.

    ive been looking for a long time about recievers to be honest - but never thought i had that bad of sound until the headphones that night. At the mo the fight is looking between an denon 3805 and a martaz 7500, and like u said i think both have pre-outs for later maybe adding a poweramp, however i think both will be able to bi-amp. The martaz i dont know nothing really about, but looks good on paper - all the things i wanted: Toroidial transformer, THX select, serial for integration and upgrades, bi-amp, video conversion and a different remote. I read some reports saying they good on stereo (martaz)? no idea on price althou (think £700ish?)

    Also the 3805 having a bad auto-setup, not so strong as stated amps and bad remotes? no THX, bi-amp by using cables on the back only, serial only for control and no toroidial transformer.

    the Arcam AVR300 is off the table, too much cost basically.
     

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