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Re: Driving headphones [Re: Alexander Borro] #2824422 03/08/19 07:29 PM
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Alexander: I would not blame the LX708's headphone amp on the piercing sound without further testing. In fact the headphone amp would be the last thing I would suspect at the outset.

Greg.

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Re: Driving headphones [Re: KevinM] #2824432 03/08/19 07:55 PM
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Charles Cohen Offline
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Three comments:

a) In previous headphone threads, from a year or two ago, the Senn HD598 got lots of favorable mentions. I think it's been replaced by the HD599. Either of those two should work fine. But _comfort_ is subjective, and hard to predict until you've worn the phones for a few hours.

b) I have a pair of open-back AKG K240 Studio phones, rated at 55 Ohms. . They sound OK, and they're reasonably comfortable. But they _are_ "hard to drive". (I was warned about that, before buying them.)

On several low-priced DP's that I tested (including my PX-350), the built-in headphone amps couldn't push them past "forte" levels, into "ff". That was less of a problem with higher-priced DP's, but some of those had the same problem.

My mixer (Xenyx 802) _can_ drive the AKG K240's into "fff" territory. So the limitation is with the DP's headphone amps, not with the K240's.

My Senn HD 280 Pro (64 ohms), and Shure SE215 earbuds, are more than "loud enough" with any DP I've tried them with.

. . . So "impedance" is only part of the story; "sensitivity" is the other part, and nobody talks about it.

c) I prefer closed-back phones (or earbuds) to open-back. Being "immersed in the piano's sound" is easier, for me, if room noise is excluded. I am in the minority, on this subject.

I have age-related high-frequency hearing loss, so I'm hesitant to judge "tone quality".


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Driving headphones [Re: KevinM] #2824448 03/08/19 08:30 PM
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I have no idea if this will help.

I have a Casio, not as nice as yours, and I recently bought headphones. I never even considered the impedance until now. Anyway, I bought some Audio-Technica ATH-M40x headphones and I'm very satisfied with their performance on my Casio and my Yamaha.

If you click the link below and scroll down to where they compare the various models, it looks like most of them are in the range of 35-47 ohms. I know at least one member here uses a tube amp to power his headphones and uses headphones that I believe were about 600 ohms. But for a solid state amplifier like a digital piano would have, I'm guessing that the lower impedance phones would be the ticket. But don't let me spend your money for you. smile


Amazon

Re: Driving headphones [Re: TomInCinci] #2824455 03/08/19 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by TomInCinci
I have no idea if this will help.

I have a Casio, not as nice as yours, and I recently bought headphones. I never even considered the impedance until now. Anyway, I bought some Audio-Technica ATH-M40x headphones and I'm very satisfied with their performance on my Casio and my Yamaha.

If you click the link below and scroll down to where they compare the various models, it looks like most of them are in the range of 35-47 ohms. I know at least one member here uses a tube amp to power his headphones and uses headphones that I believe were about 600 ohms. But for a solid state amplifier like a digital piano would have, I'm guessing that the lower impedance phones would be the ticket. But don't let me spend your money for you. smile


Amazon


The issue is one of voltage gain in the amplifier stage, whether in a DP or a separate headphone amp component. Many amplifier are set to limit the voltage gain and for headphones of over about 150Ω, it's just not enough. My theory is that limiting voltage gain is a safety & lawsuit prevention tactic (imagine a child turning the headphone amp on max with a low impedance set of earbuds and sustaining permanent hearing loss). Even on a dedicated headphone amp such as I have for my 300Ω Sennheiser HD800's, there is an internal switch, not easily/routinely accessible, to put the amplifier in a higher gain mode, if one has high impedence headphones. I know because I had to set it for that smile


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Driving headphones [Re: sullivang] #2824459 03/08/19 09:04 PM
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Alexander Borro Offline
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Originally Posted by sullivang
Alexander: I would not blame the LX708's headphone amp on the piercing sound without further testing. In fact the headphone amp would be the last thing I would suspect at the outset.

Greg.

Greg, I don't think it is the main factor at all, but think about it like this when you pipe the same EQ profile to a headphone with clear projection compared to speakers which are blocked by MDF panels well outside of the sweet spot of a speaker cone. I think many of them don't take this into account at all, you just get what you get. I think kawai did consider this difference, I get the impression, it is much more consistent ... seems to me anyway.


Selftaught since June 2014.
Books: Barratt classic piano course bk 1,2,3. Humphries Piano handbook, various...
Kawai CA78, Casio AP450 & software pianos.
[Linked Image] 12x ABF recitals.
My struggles: https://soundcloud.com/alexander-borro
Re: Driving headphones [Re: KevinM] #2824466 03/08/19 09:16 PM
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Alexander Borro Offline
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Greg, the headphones I had with me were on the bright side,but I am aware of that. I always bring them for testing because they bring out hiss, noise floors and lots of detail etc, they are low impedance and sensitive ath -m50x, not because I like them, but they are great for analytical purposes.


Selftaught since June 2014.
Books: Barratt classic piano course bk 1,2,3. Humphries Piano handbook, various...
Kawai CA78, Casio AP450 & software pianos.
[Linked Image] 12x ABF recitals.
My struggles: https://soundcloud.com/alexander-borro
Re: Driving headphones [Re: KevinM] #2824474 03/08/19 09:43 PM
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Alexander Borro Offline
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

The issue is one of voltage gain in the amplifier stage, whether in a DP or a separate headphone amp component. Many amplifier are set to limit the voltage gain and for headphones of over about 150Ω, it's just not enough. My theory is that limiting voltage gain is a safety & lawsuit prevention tactic (imagine a child turning the headphone amp on max with a low impedance set of earbuds and sustaining permanent hearing loss). Even on a dedicated headphone amp such as I have for my 300Ω Sennheiser HD800's, there is an internal switch, not easily/routinely accessible, to put the amplifier in a higher gain mode, if one has high impedance headphones. I know because I had to set it for that smile


FWIW I did not enjoy the HD800 much for piano for its price, briliant imaging and soundstage, I'll give it that, but also a bit thin, and this is with the recommended amp by the way. I prefer the hd650 tonally, just goes to show money is not everything, but it is equalised in a particular way and understand what the aim was, but no wonder people like tubes with them and try to tame then in various ways .. IMO. If you go down that route I would say get a headphone that's suits more.

I prefer the X2 fidelio overall over the HD 5 or 6 series for piano these days, it was only recently I heard a lecture by Tyll of innerfidelity before he retired and he also mentioned this headphone in passing and he said how natural it sounded tonally, this is exactly why I love it, natural timbre, but not quite as refined as the HD 600 and above series, I don't mind that for piano.

For me HD800 is not worth the money, needs an amp, is amp sensitive and too much hassle. I would not recommend it to anyone for piano for the price.


Selftaught since June 2014.
Books: Barratt classic piano course bk 1,2,3. Humphries Piano handbook, various...
Kawai CA78, Casio AP450 & software pianos.
[Linked Image] 12x ABF recitals.
My struggles: https://soundcloud.com/alexander-borro
Re: Driving headphones [Re: Alexander Borro] #2824480 03/08/19 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Alexander Borro
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

The issue is one of voltage gain in the amplifier stage, whether in a DP or a separate headphone amp component. Many amplifier are set to limit the voltage gain and for headphones of over about 150Ω, it's just not enough. My theory is that limiting voltage gain is a safety & lawsuit prevention tactic (imagine a child turning the headphone amp on max with a low impedance set of earbuds and sustaining permanent hearing loss). Even on a dedicated headphone amp such as I have for my 300Ω Sennheiser HD800's, there is an internal switch, not easily/routinely accessible, to put the amplifier in a higher gain mode, if one has high impedance headphones. I know because I had to set it for that smile


FWIW I did not enjoy the HD800 much for piano for its price, briliant imaging and soundstage, I'll give it that, but also a bit thin, and this is with the recommended amp by the way. I prefer the hd650 tonally, just goes to show money is not everything, but it is equalised in a particular way and understand what the aim was, but no wonder people like tubes with them and try to tame then in various ways .. IMO. If you go down that route I would say get a headphone that's suits more.

I prefer the X2 fidelio overall over the HD 5 or 6 series for piano these days, it was only recently I heard a lecture by Tyll of innerfidelity before he retired and he also mentioned this headphone in passing and he said how natural it sounded tonally, this is exactly why I love it, natural timbre, but not quite as refined as the HD 600 and above series, I don't mind that for piano.

For me HD800 is not worth the money, needs an amp, is amp sensitive and too much hassle. I would not recommend it to anyone for piano for the price.

Well, as an HD800 owner, and being also the owner of a proper headphone amp that drives it, I think it is wonderful, although I will be likely upgrading to an HD800S myself soon. This does not mean it can't be improved however. I found for example, the coloration was improved for my DP using Sonarworks Reference 4 and for my high-end audio system by using Sonarworks True-Fi, both of which are relatively cheap. This said, people who have less high-frequency sensitivity will not do themselves wrong by getting the HD650s as one of the big points for the HD800 is greater high frequency definition, which is pointless if one can't hear it anyways.

This technical comparison is actually with between the HD650s and the HD800S. This is a frequency response comparison graph, again between the HD650 and HD800S.

Now, you mentioned "tonality," which are deviations from neutral, as discussed here in the context of speakers. If coloration is an interest, or if one's hearing of different frequency ranges is not neutral (e.g., loss of high frequency sensitivity), then either a parametric equalizer or piece of software such as the Sonarworks software mentioned above, can always be used to "improve the tonality" in whatever way one wants. Sonarworks (and some equalizers) will even do phase correction, although at a cost of increasing the latency. Custom changes in "tonality" arguably make even more sense than being forced to accept the manufacturers configuration since we all hear differently.


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Driving headphones [Re: KevinM] #2824487 03/08/19 11:07 PM
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Sure you can tweak these things every way which way you want, these days, I prefer something simple, not having to use sonarworks and a daw every time, just fire up and go, but if you enjoy them no problem, I am not stopping you smile

I think the Audeze planars have a more pleasing signature by far, I had one on loan for a while, entirely different beast to the HD800 out of the box, I may buy one one of these days. Much more up my street.

My favourite reviewer is this guy, it seems he hears headphones in a similar way I do, so I like him , a different reviewer will work for someone else, he was constantly fighting with he HD800 getting to like it, I am not into that anymore, but I see where he is coming from.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7H7HeaDYk4

he has some other videos on the HD800 too.

Also, the really high frequency stuff is not that important for piano VSTs anyways, there is no energy there worth talking about to make or break it either way, this can be seen as a strength in the HD800 for other purposes, but piano not so much IMO.

Reviewers often tend to focus on the whole curve, but not much on what happens from say 1000 - 3000 Hz, this can make a big difference how we perceive tone, as well as the square wave response in those areas. Software tweaks cannot address those areas not nearly as well as opposed to naturally tuning the headphone, it can bring some problems.

I wasn't too impressed by Sonarworks trail when I tried it with my X2s, nor does it take into account the amp factor such as output impedance and other factors too long to write about, the X2 I own, while it is easy to drive, it is also sensitive to output impedance in the bass, and it is low impedance overall, sonar just ignores the fact that it sounds different on a low impedance amp or a high impedance amp, most audio interfaces are 30 Ohms or higher, this can have an effect, it certainly does with the X2. I have system wide EQ in my audio interface so I put a small dip there, then it applies to everything system wide, easy fix, other than that I just like them as they are i.e. slightly coloured. I can't be bothered to grab my amp from down stairs just for piano and have even more wires.

It has been quite a while I tried Sonar, they may have improved it.

Cheers.

Last edited by Alexander Borro; 03/08/19 11:10 PM.

Selftaught since June 2014.
Books: Barratt classic piano course bk 1,2,3. Humphries Piano handbook, various...
Kawai CA78, Casio AP450 & software pianos.
[Linked Image] 12x ABF recitals.
My struggles: https://soundcloud.com/alexander-borro
Re: Driving headphones [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2824582 03/09/19 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by TomInCinci
I have no idea if this will help.

I have a Casio, not as nice as yours, and I recently bought headphones. I never even considered the impedance until now. Anyway, I bought some Audio-Technica ATH-M40x headphones and I'm very satisfied with their performance on my Casio and my Yamaha.

If you click the link below and scroll down to where they compare the various models, it looks like most of them are in the range of 35-47 ohms. I know at least one member here uses a tube amp to power his headphones and uses headphones that I believe were about 600 ohms. But for a solid state amplifier like a digital piano would have, I'm guessing that the lower impedance phones would be the ticket. But don't let me spend your money for you. smile


Amazon


The issue is one of voltage gain in the amplifier stage, whether in a DP or a separate headphone amp component. Many amplifier are set to limit the voltage gain and for headphones of over about 150Ω, it's just not enough. My theory is that limiting voltage gain is a safety & lawsuit prevention tactic (imagine a child turning the headphone amp on max with a low impedance set of earbuds and sustaining permanent hearing loss). Even on a dedicated headphone amp such as I have for my 300Ω Sennheiser HD800's, there is an internal switch, not easily/routinely accessible, to put the amplifier in a higher gain mode, if one has high impedence headphones. I know because I had to set it for that smile


My entire post was an error. I failed to realize that I'd had a tab open all day and it looked like no one was answering. So I chimed in with my limited experience and then saw that he received plenty of good advice. I do like my $99 headphones but since all I hear through them is MY piano playing I guess it's hard to say how high quality they are!

Re: Driving headphones [Re: KevinM] #2824646 03/09/19 02:33 PM
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I have been into the big smoke that is Manchester today which gave me the chance to try 55 ohm AKG 240 headphones with a AP-470 and the AP-470 struggles to drive those. I was surprised by this. It could be that because the store had a lot of background noise which didn't help with semi-open headphones.

The superlux phones are 2 times 32 ohms which I assume means each channel is 32 ohms which means 16 ohms in total.

Kevin

Re: Driving headphones [Re: KevinM] #2824679 03/09/19 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by KevinM
I have been into the big smoke that is Manchester today which gave me the chance to try 55 ohm AKG 240 headphones with a AP-470 and the AP-470 struggles to drive those.

You might be interested in checking this online headphone calculator.


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Driving headphones [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2824720 03/09/19 07:12 PM
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I wonder how you could make use of this?
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
You might be interested in checking this online headphone calculator.
The data it requires is often not available.
And even when it is ... you still don't get an answer to the main question, that being "will these phones work well with this device (piano)".
There's nowhere to enter specs for the piano!

Re: Driving headphones [Re: MacMacMac] #2824725 03/09/19 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I wonder how you could make use of this?
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
You might be interested in checking this online headphone calculator.
The data it requires is often not available.
And even when it is ... you still don't get an answer to the main question, that being "will these phones work well with this device (piano)".
There's nowhere to enter specs for the piano!

You're right, this is a much better calculator (spreadsheet, in this case) and gives more supporting data. That earlier one I had linked is a bit lame and I found some defects in it, which change depending on browser. Lame.


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Driving headphones [Re: KevinM] #2824727 03/09/19 07:24 PM
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I did struggle trying it out, playing with the numbers was interesting but in the end I was missing the important information to enter. I think I just have to buy the superlux headphones and hope.

Kevin

Re: Driving headphones [Re: KevinM] #2824729 03/09/19 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by KevinM
I did struggle trying it out, playing with the numbers was interesting but in the end I was missing the important information to enter. I think I just have to buy the superlux headphones and hope.
Kevin

There are some key patterns to note which playing with the calculators will make amply clear for those without any electronics background. How you perceive the sound from headphones will dramatically change depending on their sensitivity and impedance. As just one example, as the impedance goes up the sound pressure level (dB) produced goes down, so that one's expensive 600Ω monitor headphones sound much quieter than a less expensive low impedance pair of earbuds given the same gain settings on the amp (or piano). Similar effect for sensitivity. etc. etc.


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Driving headphones [Re: KevinM] #2824730 03/09/19 07:31 PM
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Same complaint. It doesn't answer the question.

Re: Driving headphones [Re: MacMacMac] #2824731 03/09/19 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Same complaint. It doesn't answer the question.

Give me an example of a particular piano and a particular pair of headphones and I'll show you.

Obviously your real question though is, "how will it sound to ME." That any calculator like either of these can only partially do. They can answer some objective things like, "will it sound loud enough?" but the subjective ones like, "will I like the sound?" can't be answered of course. No calculator could have told me I'd hate the on-board sound from my FP30...


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Driving headphones [Re: KevinM] #2824738 03/09/19 07:50 PM
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Pick any piano. None of them give specs for its headphone amplifier.

Re: Driving headphones [Re: KevinM] #2824750 03/09/19 08:41 PM
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My current headphones are lighter in bass that I would like. They are 24ohms, 98 sensitivity with cups that sit on the ear not over. They produce a good volume with my AP470. They are closed.

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