Headphone Amp

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by voice, Jan 6, 2005.

  1. voice

    voice Guest

    Looking for a very good but simple Headphone Amp (under $300). Though I have a small recording setup, I need something more than the small one-third rack space 5 headphone volume box I have been using. I would like something with an input gain, and a fair amount of amplification to 4 to 8 headphone jacks, with possibly some level indicators per channel. I don't need any sophisticated monitor-mix choices, or individual control boxes for the musicians, just one mix going to a good amp, then by 1/4 inch cables to the phones. The phones I am using are AKG K250 Studio Monitors. I have done some shopping around and these units seem to be available:
    Furman HA6AB
    Behringer HA8000
    Behringer HA4700
    Any other thoughts? Thanks!
  2. Nemesys

    Nemesys Guest


    I have used all the aformentioned and many more, so allow me to first add three very similar models and then give a breakdown and my opinion on each.

    First, you might as well add in the RANE HC-4 and HC-6 and the ROLLS to your list as they are very similar to above, plus within the price range somewhat [if you buy used].

    First.... the Behringers. their inexpensive.... they definately do their job.... and they have more "bells and whistles" than units which cost 5 times the price........ BUT....... they are noisy as hell. The thermal noise can get overbearing in these units unless you set them right.... the noise might elicit comments from musicians who will complain that their is "some kind of static in their headphones". Been their... done that.... ALSO, Behringer headphones mixers are really succeptible to humming caused by ground loops... If any piece of eqpt ever needed a ground lift switch.... its Behringer eqpt because that seems to be a common flaw in their eqpt.

    You can probably scratch the Behringer HA4700 from your list because this is more of an elaborate 4 channel musicians headphone monitor mixer for foldback use and it may have too many unneeded knobs to be diddling with for each channel. This is exactly what you said you don't want [see your underlined quote above]. This is one of the few units for the money that lets you set up elaborate headphone mixes completely independant for 4 musicians (i.e. heres what I used to do.... I run the music cue which gets "ducked" when I press the talkback button into the main inputs of the HA4700, and then each of the 4 channels has its own AUX input which I feed with the AUX sends from my mixing board correspeonding to each musicians instrument. You then tweak the balance knob for each of the 4 musicians and it balances between more music cue, or more musician microphone foldback. I.e. its a pretty decent "more me" system for people on a serious budget... if only it want so damned noise... it'd be good.

    The Behringer HA8000 is an 8 channel headphone amp which allows for one master signal to feed all 8 headphones, or 8 completely independant inputs. This is more in line with what your looking for. Good unit for the money, but again... the thermal noise and humming is a dealbreaker when you conside better units can be bought for the money.

    At $300 US Dollars, the Fuhrman HA6AB, 6-channel headphone amp is nice. I bought a Fuhrman awhile ago, not sure if it was this exact model..... but I was pleased with it.... less problems than the Behringer. This unit has only 1 input, a master input, so all musicians heave to hear the exact same mix... theres no independant channels.... which is what you wanted.... but I dont care for these kinds of units much... theres no forward thinking involved. Its always nice to have independant channels for when you want to feed a misc signal.

    A comparable model to the Fuhrman HA6AB is the RANE HC4, and while it only has 4 channels as compared to the Fuhrmans 6, it can be gotten for a song and a dance nowadays. These things commonly retail for $200...... but thats a BS* price, so dont pay that. Guitar Center buys these thingsin mass quantities and has been blowing these things out for next to nothing. One time I payed $40 bux for this, and another time I payed $29 for the HC4.... I practically bought out half the stack of the trhe HC4's at my local Guitar Center.... I bought like 8 of them (which I promptly brought home and sold on e-bay for 3 times the price.... )!!!!

    Theres only one master input on the HC4, much the same as with the Fuhrman HA6AB so this unit would probably do it for you. Make no mistake though regarding the price I told you.... this is an extremely good unit, well worth the $200 bux if you cant get it for cheaper. It has a very low thermal noise floor, as is true with most of RANEs products... and the distortion is pretty low so your getting a fairly clean signal to the musicians.

    If you wanted to step up a notch, go with the RANE HC6, which is 6 channels of independantly controllable headphone amps. ... but you can also feed the same signal to each headphone if you want by plugging in the laster input.

    Again, as with the HC4, the HC6 is very low in noise and a great "utility" headphone amp for the money... much better than the Behringers... The HC6 retails for about $379, but if you look around you can get them cheaper or buy used on e-bay... I purchased a few used ones for around $100, which is a really good deal for what yuour getting.

    Theres also the Rolls RA62 6 channel headphone amp which you can get for about $150. Independant channel capable, but other than that, the ROLLS are nothing to brag about.... peoples opinions vary on this brand. I've used them.... their alright, no major complaints. Definately worth $150 if thats as much as you want to pay... but I prefer dealing with RANE myself. Good service in terms of repairing stuff or selling you extra parts like when you need another power supply... they'll have it to you promtly.

    Obviously, the units I listed arent exactly Grace Design headphone amps..... but their nice "utility" headphone amps... they get the job done.
  3. Barkingdogstudios

    Barkingdogstudios Active Member

    Oct 29, 2003

    Let me save you some time. I use the AKG 240 Monitor headphones and I also have the Behringer HA-4700. Three words .... "piece of crap".

    Although is has some pretty nice features like eq and individual inserts, it simply cannot produce enough juice to drive the headphones with enough volume, let alone all the problems that Nemesys has pointed out. Mine simply now saves me from having to buy a rack space filler panel.

    I looked at the Rane amps as well. Nice units, but limited in fleixibility.

    I ended up buying an OZ Audio HM-6. I realize you say you don't need individual mixes but believe me, at some point you will. The OZ Audio has two "main" mixes plus four individual channels whose levels can be adjusted for each of the six headphone outputs. Plus, there's an effects send and return so you can give the singer (and everybody else) as much or as little of reverb in their cans without it going into what's being tracked.

    The OZ goes for $269 USD. The thing is build like a tank and can produce good volume levels no problem. Only drawback as far as I'm concerned is that it's not rack mountable, it's a table-top config. I guess that could be good or bad depending on what your wiring situation is like. If nothing else, give it a look.

  4. voice

    voice Guest

    Thank you very much for the response. This is way more than I hoped to learn. I appreciate it.
  5. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    I have a little rolls headphone amp- about 70 bucs, works like a charm (for the last 4 years or so) - just set it and forget it.
  6. RichardOtt

    RichardOtt Guest

    Do not use a module named "ETEK Partner". It is wholy sh.... :?

    I got it from a german music dealer's sell out and are angry: It is the noisiest I 've ever bought.
  7. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    Sep 4, 2004
    Indianapolis, IN
    Home Page:
    I have the Behringer 4700 - it is noisy - not horrible, but noticeable. It can be pretty bad if you try to run it hot on the back end. It has enough power for anything I've plugged into it, but I don't think I have any high impedance cans.

    I'll replace it some day. For $100 I don't regret buying it at this stage of the game. It is very flexible.
  8. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2004
    Quakertown PA
    I'm using the Samson S-Phone (the only thing I would buy from Samson) and it's actually a pretty decent unit. Rackmount, 4 Ch., 3 headphone jacks per channel, 1 aux input per channel, 2 band EQ every channel, balance and volume every channel, meters on every channel, mute and stereo/2channel every channel, master section has volume, meter, stereo in, insert, stereo out (for driving another unit) all for $129. It's pretty loud with most phones, ok with high impedance (no worse than the mackie phone out) and it's not noisy. All in all I'm very happy with it.
  9. sproll

    sproll Active Member

    Oct 7, 2004
    I have the Rane HC-6. Absolutely perfect, works flawlessly and has a lot of great options. Plus, I got it for cheap on Ebay. Check em out.

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