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Joined: Dec 2009
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Is this headphone amp market meant for suckers? They want $349 for that unit!

Yes.

I have the PreSonus HP4 and, other than the gain being somewhat too high, it is very nice and has good build quality.

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Just to ask before I do research on my own since I am unable to do so right now, anything I use whether it be bought pre-made or built myself, do I risk damaging either my headphones or DP? Gonna scratch out the obvious too high of a volume output for headphones but is there anything else I should be aware of? Apologies if this is very "noobish".

Last edited by fanatik22; 05/06/10 09:23 PM.
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when i build my own stuff I always tend to splat solder around so the first time I turn it on, I keep the volume down low, sometimes you'll get an uncontrollable oscillation or burn out your op amp or a capacitor, lots of stuff can go wrong, replace the bad part and try again.

The first time you test your circuit dont use your most expensive headphones. After the circuit is tested and everything is working right, there shouldn't be any danger in using your best headphones on it.

There are of course the issue of impedance matching, but mismatched impedance shouldn't burn out a headset.

Of course obviously if you put too much volume into your headset it will burn up.

You're not saving a lot of money building it yourself, just because the endless hours it takes diagnosing any circuit problems. It's so much fun building these circuits though.

Also, don't forget TI gives out free op amps, just write them and ask for a sample for your business. I've also built myself a thermin -- again, I could have bought myself a premade therimin for a few hundred, but instead "saved" myself a lot of money by building it myself. In the case of my therimin I had a blown adjustable capacitor (the standard design has 4 tunable caps) that took me a few weeks of correspondence and circuit testing with my volt o meter before I located the problem and then another couple of weeks before I realized I had an inductance load due to some metal parts that were too close to my antenna.

To me of course, all those countless hours spent diagnosing problems was part of the fun.

But it would have been cheaper to flip burgers at $8 an hour and pay for my theramin that way.

If you are a pianist, let me tell you, it sure does take away from your playing time when you are futzing around with circuits.

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Originally Posted by fanatik22
Just to ask before I do research on my own since I am unable to do so right now, anything I use whether it be bought pre-made or built myself, do I risk damaging either my headphones or DP? Gonna scratch out the obvious too high of a volume output for headphones but is there anything else I should be aware of? Apologies if this is very "noobish".


Amps can burn out phones for sure, though I've never heard about such incidents in the marketplace; only small production run amps and the DIY forums are full of such mistakes. I'd love to build my own headphone amp, and one could start to save tonnes of cash on building larger amps themselves, however, the day only being 24 hours, and me already having serveral hobbies I like, I don't see myself learning to built circuits anytime soon.


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Now I'm interested too.... these links look pretty solid/interesting. Doesn't look hard if you have basic soldering skills.

http://tangentsoft.net/audio/cmoy-tutorial/

http://gilmore2.chem.northwestern.edu/projects/showfile.php?file=cmoy2_prj.htm


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I've found a remarkable difference in the gain of different headphones. For example, with my P90, if I use my Sennheiser headphones, I have to volume set to "5" whereas with some Koss headphones, I set it to "2."

In other words, you might try some other headphones before buying an amp.

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so true some of these projects are simple, I've done a project in less than 30 minutes from the time I pick up my drill and mount my stuff to the time I set down my soldering iron.

All the time is spent when something goes wrong and you have to start running diagnostics or if you don't get the quality of sound you are expecting and you start swapping parts from stuff you get at mouser or digikey, you wait for a week to get the new parts then they dont fix things etc etc.

When "everything goes right" it's quick. But when you tell the wife how long it will take, multiply all the times X 10 because if something doesn't work right, you'll be spending a long time on it.

It's lot of fun, and very satisfying, as long as you remember that diagnostics of your home brew equipment is something you need to budget time for.

Last edited by edt; 05/07/10 06:45 PM.
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Right. My Sennheiser HD565s are 1-200 ohm impedance, IIRC. Some other models are even higher. Average portable music player phones are more like 32 ohm. I don't completely understand the relationship from here to sensitivity.

Thing is, I'd like to use these headphones smile because they're pretty good quality and very comfortable.

I've noticed some distortion when playing loud bass notes at moderate volume as well, and I don't think it's the 'phones, more likely the headphone amp in the Yamaha running out of juice...

Besides, building things is fun smile

Last edited by ukwomble; 05/07/10 07:27 PM.

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I'm having a hard time understanding why people would go to such lengths to even buy a headphone amp (never mind building one).

For a portable application (such as the example found on the previously-mentioned Head Wize site), the headphone amp makes sense.

But with a piano? Portability is not an issue. Why not just use a normal stereo amplifier ... with headphone jack? Just plug the piano's output into the amp, and you're set.

Brand new receiver: $200 or less.
Used on ebay: under $50, or even under $30 if you're not too picky.

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I'm more or less wanting to use this portable amp for other things as well such as my Ipod and or laptop. It's just a scenario where my DP is the top priority and everything else comes next. Might as well purchase something that kills more birds with one stone (of course taking my gadgets on the go). I do understand though that the alternative you mentioned makes perfect sense.

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Originally Posted by fanatik22
I'm more or less wanting to use this portable amp for other things as well such as my Ipod and or laptop.
Thanks for the explanation. That all makes sense now.

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I built a Starving Student (search for it on head-fi), but that isn't portable, and it has tubes, which some might not like. Also, if you like the E5, I think trying out the E7 would be a good idea. It's small enough to be portable, and it sounds decent from what I've read.


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