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Picking a Headphone Amp

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by B_Bontrager, Mar 24, 2003.

  1. B_Bontrager

    B_Bontrager Guest

    What do I need to keep in mind when picking a headphone amp? I'm looking for something that allows separate mixes, and not just separate levels of a single stereo mix.

    Is headphone impedance important (I know it is in matching live speakers to amps, I figure the same physics apply to headphones)? I am confused by the dizzying variety of impedance levels, and the impact they have.

    For example, I see some headphones listed as 600 ohm, and others as 55 ohm.

    The Behringer HA4600 is cheap, but says don't go under 100 ohms per channel, which throws out all the lower-cost headphones.

    The Oz Audio Qmix HM6 lloks like it runs things at 60 ohm / channel, which lets me user the cheaper headphones, but it costs 2 to 3 times as much, so the cost seems to offset.

    Headphone- wise I was looking at the AKG K240S (55 ohm) or K240M (600 ohm) for the control, and AKG K55 for musicians (32 ohm). Now I'm not so sure.

    This may end up in use remotely for musicians on stage in a pseudo-live recording, and double duty for overdubs in the control room.
  2. PP2002

    PP2002 Guest

    I'd be interested in hearing what sort of headphone preamps people are using for critical listening when mixing or mastering with their DAWs. Bill, what are you using with your Stax Lambdas for example?

  3. jdier

    jdier Active Member

    Mar 20, 2003
    Home Page:
    I just got my OZ audio Q-mix 6. I chose it because it has stereo ins and also has 4 separate mono ins. Each of the 6 phones attached can turn the volume up on the 4 separate inputs to come up with their own mix. (ie: ch1 kit, ch2 bass, ch3 guit, ch4 vocal)

    Now, I have not plugged it in and used it yet, but I would be happy to share my experiences with it over the next month or so as I start using it.

  4. lowdbrent

    lowdbrent Guest

    The studio that I work at has DC 150 II's powering the headphones. We have custom boxes with pots for each output. Mixes are handled either in Pro Tools or on the Neve.

    For my mobile Pro Tools HD rig, I have two Furman systems. If you want a good meat an potatos set up, the Rane is a standard. The Rane allows stereo in, or 6 mono inputs, driving 6 headphone amps. It is about $395.

    I have listened to the Behringer, Samson (same thing), etc. They pretty much suck tonally. Plus they really can't hack the high imp. cans.

    For tracking we provide Sony MDR-7506's, AKG K240M's, Fostex T-40's and Sennheiser HD240's. For critical listening, the Stax headphones and amp get my vote. I will do a check on the Sony's. If the bass is really happening, I know that is too much.
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    I have 2 Rane HPA 6's and they have worked well for years. They have individual inputs for each channel. and a global input as well. I have been able to drive multiple sets of headphones off one channel. They will drive just about any load, but as with power amps you need to be sure not to drive the load to low (0 ohms). Kurt
  6. FloodStage

    FloodStage Active Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    I've got the OZ and it's great for tracking! Plenty of volume and the capability to give everyone their own customized "more me" mix is a huge help.
  7. Hasse

    Hasse Guest

    About headphones, avoid half-open and get closed ones. The Beyer DT250 works great for me, no more leakage, easy to replace a broken cord, nice to wear and a great sound.

    ...Maybe they have a little to bassy sound, but that is easily fixed if the headphone amp has eq´s.

    I have a Behringer and I've only heard great stuff from the musicians. Not a problem so far, and I know the listening is a REAL BIG issue...kind of surprised myself..

  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    I've got an Oz...love it...need I say more?....
  9. droog

    droog Active Member

    Nov 3, 2001
    i've got the behringer

    i'm happy

    what can i say/
  10. ironsheik

    ironsheik Guest

    Find a cheap used Rane. Preferable without the new external power supply. People seem to let them go at good prices. I got a busted one off Ebay for $75 that just needed 3 new transistors. Lucky me!
  11. hathabr

    hathabr Guest

    The Behringer headphone amp is one exception to the rule regarding their stuff. It's nice. On sale this month $99 at GC. Thinking about getting one myself. Save the money on the unit and get better headphones. It will be more impressive overall anyway. :cool:
  12. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Distinguished Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    I have the Behringer amp, and I also am very happy with it, but I have almost heard GREAT stuff from the Oz stuff.

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