HK 3490 White Noise - Beginner Question


Active Member

I recently purchased a HK3490 and am pretty happy with it sofar listening on speakers.

I recently tried to use my Sennheiser HD 598's with it and immediately noticed a fair bit of background noise that isn't affected by source selection or by volume.

Initially I thought this may have been an issue with the headphone port but on closer inspection the distortion is also (barely) audible when outputting through the speakers.

I've come up with a workaround for using my headphones. I've used an inline volume attenuator to the point where the distortion is no longer audible and simply increase the volume on the amp a few db's.

I've tried to minimise local interference by removing all other electrical devices etc but it hasn't had an effect, coming from a background of headphones listening with a number of desktop amps/dacs I've not experienced any interference before so am a little in the dark

My questions:

a) What could be the possible causes of the white noise? Am I just in an active em area, is a small level of distortion to be expected, is the amp compromised?

b) Is my solution a good one? From my listening I haven't been able to tell a difference in audio quality by employing a volume attenuator but am I hampering signal quality at all? Is the increase is noise due to increased sensitivity of the headphones over my speakers?

Any help/guidance would be greatly appreciated

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