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headphone preamp and headphone questions - thanks in advance


looking for a decent headphone preamp that myself and two friends can use. i am looking at the following items from musiciansfriend:

Behringer HA4700 Powerplay Pro

PreSonus HP4 Discrete 4-Channel Headphone

Nady HPA-4 Headphone Amp

does anyone have experience with these or can you recommend a headphone preamp for 3-4 users?

i will be taking the headphone out signal off of a Lexicon Omega and running it into one of these headphone amp units so that we can all hear what we're recording.

we will be needing headphones with some long cables too. how can this be achieved? i'm thinking about using some guitar cords with 1/4" couplers. does that sound right?



RemyRAD Sun, 04/16/2006 - 20:51
First, you need to get your nomenclature straight. You need a headphone amplifier not a preamplifier. You need a microphone preamplifier, not a microphone amplifier. Although everything is used to amplify, it's just a matter of level. "Preamplifier", generally indicates a very low voltage level amplification where " Amplifier" generally indicates a higher voltage or wattage rating, as typically relating to connecting to speakers, etc..

The Beringer and the Nady are adequate crap and are generally disposable as opposed to repairable. The Presonus is better crap.

I'm not quite sure why so many of these companies offer multiple output headphone amplifiers when there are numerous people in a band and nobody sits in front of a dumb rackmount headphone amplifier when they perform? DUH????

Obviously, with one of those units, you will need additional headphone extension cabling, which will also necessitate the need to adjust each volume control at the amplifier position and not at the headphone position.

Throughout the years, I have built numerous headphone monitoring systems for numerous studios use. Most people are not as technically oriented as I happened to be. I have instructed people on this forum how to build a custom headphone system. It utilizes a single stereo amplifier like a stereo Crown D75 (since it is almost impossible to blow them up with improper loads or shorts). 2 resistors are then installed on the output of each channel of the amplifier. 1 resistor is in series with the hot terminal at a value of around 8 ohms and rated at approximately 10 Watts. The other resistor is in parallel with the output of the amplifier, also rated at 8 ohms and approximately 10 Watts, to properly load into 8 ohms so that the changing load of numerous headphones always presents the amplifier with a consistent and stable load impedance. 8 ohms parallel and series on the output of the amplifier for each channel. The amplifier and series/parallel resistors are then connected to a substantially lengthened cable to a breakout box with as many 3 conductor 1/4 inch jacks the box can accommodate.

Then individual headphone control boxes are constructed of 3 conductor standard AC power cords, at the end of 20 foot cables with 1000 ohm to 10,000 ohm linear or audiotaper volume controls, with an additional 50 ohm 1/2 Watt resistors in series to the input of the volume control to further limit the power fed to the volume control/headphone, to reduce the chances of blowing out the components or injuring your hearing. DON'T BUY "8 ohm speaker volume controls" as they are not really applicable to headphone usage and don't really work well anyhow. You would need dual ganged stereo volume controls for stereo monitoring or a single volume control for mono monitoring. With the stereo system, you can take it one step further by installing a DPDT or dual poll double throw switch that would give you the option of a stereo headphones monitor system or a 2 Channel Mono headphones monitor system for 2 separate mixes.

If you like further information on building your own headphone system with multiple output breakout box, just drop me a personal e-mail and heat up your soldering iron.

Heady phone broad
Ms. Remy Ann David

anonymous Mon, 04/17/2006 - 04:01
Actually, the Behringer unit mentioned above (the 4700) is a pretty solid piece of equipment. There are a number of other Behringer amps that are, in fact, garbage, so don't take this as an endorsement of other products from that company, but the 4700 is actually quite usable.

It is one of the few inexpensive headphone amps on the market that can handle a combined impedance as low as 8 ohms, which means you can mix and match different sets of headphones with it and it won't crap out like others on the market.

I don't generally recommend Behringer, and I don't generally disagree with ms remy, but in this case the 4700 isn't a bad piece of gear at all.

BobRogers Mon, 04/17/2006 - 06:07
Actually, I don't think the previous two posts are that contradictory. I have the Behringer PowerPlay 4600HA which I got used and cheap. It has all of the drawbacks that Remy mentions, but if you buy lots of extensions it does a nice job of sending out four monitor mixes. The sound is far better than I would expect from Behringer. Still, Remy's solution looks like a much better design for not a huge amount of money. Its the old good, quick, cheap - pick any two conumdrum. My next few months are dedicated to working on room acoustics, but I'll have to bookmark this thread and get back to Remy for her plans when I get out from under.

TeddyG Mon, 04/17/2006 - 14:53
Remy... What are the "little red boxes" that I use in the studios all the time? I've tried to find one(They can attach to a mic stand usually a "dedicated" stand situated between two people.), but have been unsuccessful. I actually wrote the name down one time(Then lost the piece of paper), but, all the other times for the last 30 years I've forgotten... Are they headphone pream---- I mean headphone amps, themselves, or just "extension boxes" with volume controls(Which would be fine for me - I just want a volume control and jack at my mic stand.)?

Maybe you have a plan for me?(A pure schematic would not do! I need "push tab A into slot B" type of plans.). Just an extension cable with jack and volume control I could plug into my Mackie and attach to my mic stand(There is just me)...


RemyRAD Mon, 04/17/2006 - 17:52
Teddy, you know I can't remember the name of the company that made those boxes either? Probably one of the reasons why we always used to build up our own? I think that if any of these " audio equipment manufacturers" had an ounce of brains, they would offer their 4 Channel headphone amplifiers with 4 external boxes, with clips to attach to microphone stands, each with a volume control and 4, 20 foot cables in a box set just like those drum kit microphone sets? What a concept?!?!

Phony head
Ms. Remy Ann David

anonymous Mon, 04/17/2006 - 20:12
One of the best headphone monitoring boxes I have used got bought by Mackie.

They now make the HMX-56. It is actually a pretty solid unit. You will still need headphone extension cables (who doesn't have those in the studio anyway).

But, you take and mult 6 sends to the studio (1 stereo, and 4 mono) and hook it up to the back of the mixer (usually i do stereo for drums, bass, gtr1,gtr2 and click for a standard rock mix) then you set it next to the least bright member of the band who is good at doing what people tell him to (usually the drummer), and you have him change the mix for each of the headphone outputs as requested by the band members. now you are no longer in charge of the headphone mix.

if you are a PT studio, you can do the 6 channel submix as "sends" and get a good level for each instrument and let the band get "more me" til their ears bleed.

also it's proven to work 60% of the time ALL THE TIME.

no i don't work for mackie or get any sponsorship from them.

check it out here:

street price is about $250