Just listening

David Alexander

Active Member
Got some open back headphones (Grado SR325e) in addition to my closed AKG K550 and I am comparing them playing some Amazon HD through my Laptop. All sounds good and I can hear the differencce between the open and closed cans, same reordings best possible audio (24-bit, 192Hzs).

Grado are nice, but not sure about the 'on-ear' thing. So I like the open back experience, but less the pinna-crush.

A couple of questions to peeps.

1. I've got Amazon HD running through my laptop at the 'best setting' for my device (24-bit/192Hz), and it sound good through my headphones through my ASUS 550C laptop connected via the 3.5mm headphone output. Both headphones have a 32ohm impedance.

Is there any benefit in getting a headphone amp? Do they really make a difference?

2. Running Amazon HD through my FireTV stick to my AVR via HDMI is only getting me 16-bit/192Hz even though the source is 24-bit/192Hz. Can I run the laptop through to the Arcam? The laptop has an HDMI port as well. I'm not sure if you can actually hear the difference between 16 and 24 bit, it's just that it bugs me not to be getting the best output as compared to input....
 

Ruffuz

Well-known Member
You should be able to hear difference with amp dac/amp, even though 32ohm is easy to drive.

Ifi Zen Dac might be good cheap option to give a go?
 

David Alexander

Active Member
Thanks @Ruffuz , I'll take a look at that amp. I'm mainly listening from home so I don't need portability, so this could work. So this could be a good option for getting the best output in terms of the Amazon HD service to headphones using the PC.

Just need to see if I can get input to the AVR up to the level of the source output.

Again, it sounds good at 16 bit/192KHz but looking to see if there's a fix to get that up to 24 bit/192 KHz. I'm going to see if connecting the PC to AVR via the HDMI connection on the PC (yes it has an HDMI output) can get me a 24 bit 192 KHz input/output match.

Happy days
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Headphone amp? Absolutely. I have 32 ohm open back and 46 ohm closed backed 'phones. Big difference with using a standalone headphone amp. My music source is pretty simple just a SACD player connected by analogue. There are amps to suit all budgets.
 

David Alexander

Active Member
Cool, so for headphones my best option is playing Amazon HD via my laptop, which is capable of reproducing whatever the souce input is according to the App. i.e. 24-bit 192KHz. Then output this via the USB to the headphone amp (may get the Zen v.2, I've a birthday coming up :) ).

So that's digital>digital and then the Zen interfaces with the headphones. I'm liking the option of the bass enhancement of the Zen, as this is what I felt I was missing coming off playing therough the Arcam SR250 and speaker/sub set up to headphones during evening listening.

I reckon I'm resigned to the output of the Arcam being 16-bit but then this sounds pretty good to my ears and I'd probably need a much better set up to notice the difference between 16 and 24-bit through an amp and speaker set-up.

Thanks for the input gents.
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
Laptop manufacturers do not usually invest in the onboard DAC unless you have a premium model. Agree with @Ruffuz advice to look at a combined DAC/amp (or separate DAC and amp if that takes your fancy). A headphone amp alone means double amping the laptop headphone output

Re 24 bit, a lot of modern DACs will support 24 bit. The realistic chain is laptop to USB DAC and then output via digital or analog to the next step in the chain. HDMI DACs do exist but are less common...
 

Bass junky

Active Member
Cool, so for headphones my best option is playing Amazon HD via my laptop, which is capable of reproducing whatever the souce input is according to the App. i.e. 24-bit 192KHz. Then output this via the USB to the headphone amp (may get the Zen v.2, I've a birthday coming up :) ).

So that's digital>digital and then the Zen interfaces with the headphones. I'm liking the option of the bass enhancement of the Zen, as this is what I felt I was missing coming off playing therough the Arcam SR250 and speaker/sub set up to headphones during evening listening.

I reckon I'm resigned to the output of the Arcam being 16-bit but then this sounds pretty good to my ears and I'd probably need a much better set up to notice the difference between 16 and 24-bit through an amp and speaker set-up.

Thanks for the input gents.
Hi

I can highly recommend the iFi Zen DAC/AMP combo. I use the version 1 with a set of Focal Clear open back headphones and it sounds stunning. The bass boost is not your average crude affair it does some magic and the mids and highs remain untouched by the increase in bass. The ZEN DAC is only USB so it will work best with your laptop only.
 

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