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I need a headphone power amp with 4 outputs!

Discussion in 'Recording' started by jarjarbinks, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. jarjarbinks

    jarjarbinks Misa want to learn! Active Member

    Hello experts!

    Im currently on the hunt for a headphone amplifier with 4 separate headphone outputs. Anything similar to this (price range $100-150):

    Behringer HA4700 Powerplay XL Headphone Amplifier at zZounds


    The only spec I need is the built-in posibility to mix 2 signals so I can easily offer a "More Me" monitoring mix for every musician. Every channel of the HA4700 has an aux input, and an aux/main knob to control the mixed amount of main and aux signal present on every output. This is what i absolutely need.

    Im not on the US so its kind of hard to buy gear and the ha4700 is not available. I need all the options I can get, so go crazy!

    BTW, I already have a passive monitoring box (a RedCo LittleRedCueBox) but its doesnt provide enough volume for the musicians.

    Thank you!

    BTW, I'm in Latin America. I wish there was local Thomann outreach, they're great!
     
  2. aj113

    aj113 Active Member

    Where are you? Europe? Thomann has it BEHRINGER HA4700 POWERPLAY PRO-XL - Thomann UK Cyberstore I have this unit myself, very serviceable, no complaints at all.
     
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    The RedCo works fine when powered from a decent audio power amplifier. And that's how passive headphone systems are designed for studio applications. Those stupid headphone amplifiers might work OK in your bedroom. But as you indicated, some of this is difficult for you to obtain in your neck of the world. So I say go more with the RedCo's and a simple power amplifier. It can be virtually any amplifier capable of delivering 25 W or more and that even includes guitar amplifiers. What do you think studios did before little crappy headphone amplifiers ever existed? What you've got and what I've suggested is what was done. It's most practical for your situation.

    Practical headphone person
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  4. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    These little Chinese headphone amps all seem to be high on the bells-and-whistles but low on perfomance. And yet if you check auction sites like e-Bay, you can find great deals on models made by Symetrix and Rane that are truly professional in their build quality and performance. These can be had (used) for as little as $100USD and will drive your ' phones to their max. I have a pair of Rane HE-4 4-channel headphone amps that I feed from an A&H GL-2 via its' 4 aux and 4 subgroups, so I can feed 8 channels, each with its' own mix. NOBODY has ever complained about their cue mixes! And all kinds of phones - A-T, AKG, Sony,Shure, even Grados - no problemo. Something else for you to consider, at least.
     
  5. jarjarbinks

    jarjarbinks Misa want to learn! Active Member

    Moon baby,

    Can you tell me more about Symetrix and Rane?

    Im open to the new-old stuff!

    Under the emergency status, I I bought the inexpensive Behringer HA400, and it kinda did the trick, but I want to be able to send "more me" cue mixes to all the musicians in the studio.
     
  6. jarjarbinks

    jarjarbinks Misa want to learn! Active Member

    Oh absolutely, Redco that was my first go to place. They guys at Redco responded within hours and recommended their own power amp.

    Thing is, for the almost the same price I can get an extra set of 4 channels for cue mixes. Am I wrong here?

     
  7. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    There is nothing special about the features the RANE or the Symetrix units offer, pretty basic stuff, just built tough with plenty of output power. My Rane has a stereo input as a "master", but each of the 4 channels has its' own input jack as well. When you plug into that , it overrides the master input so that you can feed that headphone channel with a different mix. I run 4 different mixes out of the Allen & Heath into the Rane. I have even used that rig to drive headphones for LIVE horn players in a Latino big band...it CRANKS! The Rane has the power to push CLEAN audio to all sorts of 'phones, including IEM's. The main difference between the cheaper boxes and these is that companies like Rane and Symetrix design products with beefier power supplies that deliver more operating current without distortion. You get what you pay for , mi amigo, it is up to you whether the price is justifiable.
     
  8. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    If you have direct outputs on your mixer you can build a cable for "more-me" to the aux input. Using unbalanced cable you connect the shield to ring+sleeve and the conductor to the tip of the direct output end and connect the shield to the sleeve and the conductor to tip+ring of the aux input end.
     
  9. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    For the more " me " part of headphone mixes, those newer digital units that allow for 4-8 discrete inputs are really the way to go. But you're talking about a few hundred dollars for each headphone station for each musician. At least it's all carried on CAT 5 cabling. Then in your control room, you need to be able to send separate stems for each musician to create their own headphone mix. This is not what simple bedroom headphone amplifiers generally offer, nor project studios. You are talking about a fairly comprehensive and complex headphone monitoring system. What? Do you think everybody had separate " more me " headphone systems back in the 1970s/80s/90s? Well they didn't. It was up to the engineered to provide a decent working headphone mix for everybody. So compromises not a dirty word. But lousy engineering is. Wasn't all available for $50. If you want to pro, you'll have to pay for pro and that probably exceeds what you paid for your entire recording system. So some things are just not truly realistic regardless of what you might want. You either just have to learn how to live with something or you just have to learn how to live without something. Money can get you anything. No money can't.

    Realistic is a Radio Shaft brand. From a cost standpoint, it's all Realistic but certainly not pro.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  10. jarjarbinks

    jarjarbinks Misa want to learn! Active Member

    Bouldersound, that actually sounds like a very interesting path to explore, however, I dont want to risk the integrity of my system by soldering a cable from scratch. Its a very interesting approach though!
     
  11. jarjarbinks

    jarjarbinks Misa want to learn! Active Member

    Remy,

    Maybe I didnt convey my point properly. Im not looking to give every musician a specific mix, only a little more enphasis on their own instrument. Can you recommend some of those newer digital units that you mention?

    I do see your point, technology availability (cheap or expensive) is no excuse for low level performance musicians or bad engineering. I'm just trying to provide the best possible service I can for the budget I have available.
     
  12. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I really can't recommend anyone in particular as I don't use them myself. I've seen plenty of them in high-end studios. Some are analog and most are digital. You are talking about an investment of well over $1000 US. So regardless of what you want, it's all based upon your budget. You could design something of your own that fits your criteria and may only cost you $50. But it's unrealistic to actually consider what you want. You would have to be technically proficient enough to build it up yourself to keep it within a reasonable budget. As mentioned, there are those headphone amplifiers that also include an external input for each headphone. That's about your only option. And then you would still need a mixer capable of delivering at least one isolated output in addition to the normal headphone output to accomplish that. You know the road to hell is paved with good intentions. We would all also like to be personally driving Maseratis, Porsches, Rolls-Royce & Bentleys but we drive Chevrolets, Fords, Toyotas because we cannot afford that other option. So you balance your headphone mix for more you and everybody else has to live with that also. The Beatles had to contend with that, the Rolling Stones had to contend with that, Led Zeppelin had to deal with that why shouldn't you? If you can't play properly without that option, you can't play properly. So the only thing left to do is to find your directions to Carnegie Hall. Recording is an imperfect world. I'm not trying to be cruel I'm just trying to be realistic. You aren't being realistic.

    You provide a headphone mix until everybody is satisfied with what they are hearing. It's only for recording purposes and then you get to play it back through the speakers to make sure it sounds the way you want it to. And that's how most musicians have worked from the very beginning of time. So instead of providing a stereo headphone mix, you may simply provide 2 mono different mixes instead. And that's how you deliver the very best possible service within your budget. And some of that will depend upon your audio hardware, computer interface and how proficient you are in providing the musicians what they need. So what you are asking for can be quite simple or quite complex. And that's all based upon budget & knowledge. Sorry to burst your bubble of thought but that's just the way it is. So trying to give each musician a heavier emphasis on their own feed is an exercise in futility more than a hardware issue. It's a nice but impractical thought. You have already been given suggestions how to accomplish what you want and are not getting it. That would indicate to me, you are not capable of yet understanding what audio engineering is all about. You have to learn and accept when good is good enough. Nothing will ever be perfect without spending $1,000,000. And rich folks have the money to spend on perfection. Most folks don't. Compromise is not a dirty word it's just a word used a lot in the average project recording studio. I don't/won't be providing any more than a 2 channel mix to headphones. There really isn't any decent practical way to accomplish that without spending gobs of money on things that are not really important. What you are desiring comes from a lack of understanding. That unfortunately, is unfortunate. So even the word unfortunate has Fortune embedded within that word so it can't be all bad.

    Sheesh, students...think it should be a perfect world. Go figure? I hope they didn't teach you in that music production school?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  13. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    +1 to Remy's last post. I strongly believe that good cue mixes make a big difference, but there is such a thing as diminishing returns. At some point you're going to have to call it good enough and start tracking.

    That said, the HA4700's aux inputs are designed to be used as either discrete inputs for each output or for a "more me" function on a shared mix.
     
  14. jarjarbinks

    jarjarbinks Misa want to learn! Active Member

    Remy and bouldersound, thank you for taking the time to stress your points. This forum is great! How else would one get such eye opening insights in a matter of hours/days?

    I haven't had the honor of working at a big studio or project just yet, so I'm just learning the balance in between "here you go Mr. musician, do your best with this set up I can provide" and "no, Mr. musician, we can't go there because that's not how things are or have ever been done".

    I guess the real question is "if I could afford it, would it really be worth doing this?". Nowadays musicians in general rely more on technology that on their own skill....
     
  15. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    My trade is a professional painter. Over the long haul of my entire life I've made more at that than I ever did in music. When I enter a home all I basically need is a 4' ladder, brush, tray , roller and paint. But, I also bring in two boxes of all sorts of things that I only use a a bit, but are essential to getting it done really well and timely. I think everything in life is like this. Having your tools ready at all times is what makes the workflow go smoothly and our work polished everytime.
     
  16. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I own and use two different headphone distro systems. Both are made by Oz Audio (secretly Mackie I think) and one is a matrix while the other is a simple four channel with the ability to bus a separate feed to each set of phones. The Matrix allows a stereo main mix to six separate phones and four separate inputs in addition to the stereo pair as well as having an effects return bus separate from all of them. While its a bit elaborate when you use it with a mixer to distribute your monitor system it gives outstanding mixes of MORE ME variety to all the phones. The model is an HM-6. They arent being made any more I dont think but they do come up on ebay used now and then.

    Good luck. BTW I paid $100 for mine.
     
  17. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    My studio uses a hafler power amp in the drum room, hooked up to a 4way distrubtion box. Cue mix 2 is sent to a ha4700. The 'B' word is a bad word in my vocabulary, but for the 25 bucks i paid it works fine. It just wasn't cleanly loud enough for the drum room. It's nothing special but there nothing really wrong w/ it and it's been used almost daily for 2 years. Bands seem to do ok with the two cue mixes i give them.
     

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