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#70114 - 12/02/2002 06:24 Office listening: headphone amplifier
pgrzelak
carpal tunnel

Registered: 15/08/2000
Posts: 4859
Loc: New Jersey, USA
Greetings!

I do a lot of listening in the office, and I just wanted to relay some good results I have found with headphone amplifiers. I have only found two kinds of headphone amps: really low end (around $20) that sound like it, and high end ($200+) that sound like it...

I am using a Creek, OBH-11 headphone amplifier. I have the empeg directly connected to its input, and a nice set of headphones. This box gives enough power to drive the headphones quite well, is small and nice to work with. It is very different from the battery driven in-line amps I have tried in the past - the results seem far better. Plus, I can drive my best headphones, giving me extremely good results across the entire spectrum, even at the low end.

I am designing a docking station / component box for the empeg, and this will probably be added to give a really nice headphone capability.
_________________________
Paul Grzelak
200GB with 48MB RAM, Illuminated Buttons and Digital Outputs

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#70115 - 12/02/2002 16:54 Re: Office listening: headphone amplifier [Re: pgrzelak]
eternalsun
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/09/1999
Posts: 1721
Loc: San Jose, CA
I'm using a HeadRoom Cosmic with Etymotics ER4S so I know what you mean.

Calvin

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#70116 - 12/02/2002 19:20 Re: Office listening: headphone amplifier [Re: eternalsun]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5313
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
I am using a set of Sony Fontopia EX70LP "ear-bud" style 'phones plugged directly into the line-outs of my player. I don't have to spend $200 for an amplifier and deal with another box and wires and power source etc., and I suspect that the sound I hear is very nearly as good as yours.

Or, maybe I'm just hopelessly naive and don't know what I'm missisng.

tanstaafl.
_________________________
"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

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#70117 - 12/02/2002 19:25 Re: Office listening: headphone amplifier [Re: tanstaafl.]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30789
Loc: Seattle, WA
So do you like those Sonys now?
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#70118 - 12/02/2002 19:57 Re: Office listening: headphone amplifier [Re: tanstaafl.]
jimhogan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 06/10/1999
Posts: 2591
Loc: Seattle, WA, U.S.A.
$200 for an amplifier

And that would be for the "cheap" Creek amplifier! I took a look on the headroom.heaphone.com site and some of the pricing for dedicated headphone amps is pretty jaw dropping. I don't think my ears are good enough for that kind of treatment!

I *could* see getting a separate headphone amp under some circumstances, though. I've used some noise-cancelling headphones where they sucked up so much output from the portable that they wouldn't play loud enough to be worthwhile. In the end, though, I've soured on noise-cancelling jobs and have stuck more with earbuds for air travel.

I have thought about getting some nice over-the-ear headphones for boat use (listen to music while reading without annoying neighbors and also drown out all those oscillating sanders...) and I wanted to find a little remote amp with a built-in gain. That Creek looks just right. 200 bucks??? Ah, next year, maybe.
_________________________
Jim


'Tis the exceptional fellow who lies awake at night thinking of his successes.

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#70119 - 12/02/2002 20:16 Re: Office listening: headphone amplifier [Re: tfabris]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5313
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
So do you like those Sonys now?

Love-hate relationship.

I'm not thrilled with the earbud concept. For me they are not as comfortable as my previous in-the-ear headphones, but it's not enough to be a real bother. What I have the most trouble with is that they aren't as secure as headphones that are held in place by an over-the-head spring strap. When I bump one of the wires, it tends to partially (or completely) knock the 'bud out of my ear, and when I roll my chair back to reach the copier, even though the wire is long enough, the weight of the wire puts just enough tension on the earbuds to dislodge them.

Sound-wise: as we discussed previously, I had to compensate for a perceived lack of mid-range with the equalizer, which in turn compromised the maximum volume. I am right on the edge of listenability volume wise (remember, I'm connected directly to the line-outs) and with the player volume set to 0dB, it is just enough. They are much cleaner sounding than my previous headphones, and I can hear clipping begin if I put the player volume setting up to about +3dB.

Overall? Cleaner than my previous headphones, but not as "warm" sounding. Probably more accurate, though. I just have to avoid taking the attitude that "...it's different from what I'm used to so it can't be any good."

tanstaafl.

_________________________
"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

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#70120 - 12/02/2002 20:33 Re: Office listening: headphone amplifier [Re: tanstaafl.]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30789
Loc: Seattle, WA
For the record, for anyone eavesdropping, Doug and I talked this out and he has huge ear canals. He has to use the biggest of the three earplug pieces included with the headphones, and they don't fit super-snugly.

For me, with the medium earplugs, they stay in quite securely and don't fall out unless given a rather serious yank. If the same yank had been applied to a standard pair of headphones, they would have come off my head, too.
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#70121 - 13/02/2002 01:32 Re: Office listening: headphone amplifier [Re: tfabris]
loren
carpal tunnel

Registered: 23/08/2000
Posts: 3824
Loc: SLC, UT, USA
Ditto. That reminds me... i gotta order some for my girlfriend... and start a thread on what the best portable mp3 device to get her would be.... OTHER than the ipod... =]
_________________________
|| loren ||

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#70122 - 13/02/2002 16:20 Re: Office listening: headphone amplifier [Re: tanstaafl.]
eternalsun
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/09/1999
Posts: 1721
Loc: San Jose, CA
You don't know what you're missing. The Etymotics will *not* fall out of your ears. You can yank the wire and it will end up yanking your whole head. Not recommended. But nothing short of careful puling at the stalk will cause it to come out.

In terms of the sound, I've been through Sennheisers, Koss, open and closed setups, earbuds, and none come close to the etymotics.

It has 23db sound isolation that puts you in your own universe. The "sweet" spot volume range runs practically the entire range. No EQ adjustments need to be made. The bass is very flat and linear as well, unlike the mass market garbage that overemphasizes the bass end of things.

Calvin "Gush!"

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#70123 - 13/02/2002 16:24 Re: Office listening: headphone amplifier [Re: eternalsun]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30789
Loc: Seattle, WA
Okay, but for thirty bucks?
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#70124 - 13/02/2002 16:27 Re: Office listening: headphone amplifier [Re: tfabris]
eternalsun
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/09/1999
Posts: 1721
Loc: San Jose, CA
You are guys that paid over a thousand bucks for an empeg, and listen to it using a 30 dollar item? :-) I'm very well and satisfied with the Etymotics.

Calvin

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#70125 - 13/02/2002 16:29 Re: Office listening: headphone amplifier [Re: eternalsun]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30789
Loc: Seattle, WA
Point taken.
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#70126 - 14/02/2002 12:05 Re: Office listening: headphone amplifier [Re: eternalsun]
smu
old hand

Registered: 30/07/2000
Posts: 879
Loc: Germany (Ruhrgebiet)
<humor>
Yeah, I paid over 1000 bucks for the player, and now only 30 bucks are left for the rest of the gear.
</humor>

...


Well, actually, I now have all the rest of the gear (including a second player, but not including expensive earphones/headphones/whatever), and am in deeeeeep debt.

cu,
sven
_________________________
proud owner of MkII 40GB & MkIIa 60GB both lit by God and HiJacked by Lord

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#70127 - 13/04/2002 13:02 Re: Office listening: headphone amplifier [Re: smu]
Ralyon
journeyman

Registered: 13/04/2002
Posts: 59
Loc: Florida, USA
I know this is a little more than $30, but I already have a Sony wireless headset that I bought for $50 about 3 years ago. Being wireless they have there own built in amp. I set the Riocar to 0db and adjust the volume on the headphones. Works great.
_________________________
Daniel [blue] 10G MkIIa [/blue] Quantum Mechanics: The Dreams Stuff are made of.

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#70128 - 08/05/2002 19:57 Re: Office listening: headphone amplifier [Re: tfabris]
elvis
enthusiast

Registered: 18/01/2002
Posts: 270
Loc: Arizona USA
I must have perfect ears.

I can use just about any earbud phone and they NEVER come out of my ears (even when I wish they would) I've got some pretty cool cartilage structures that hold them in.
_________________________
Elvis

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