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AMP/DAC? low impedence.

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
So I've finally decided on getting the ATH-A900 closed-back headphones.
The thing I'm not sure about is do I need to bother with an amp as they're only 40 ohm impedance? Or should I just get a DAC for them?

EDIT - Which ever I get it'll be used with my Xonar Essence STX card.
Edited by kiwwanna - 2/6/11 at 12:54pm
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ROJO
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post #2 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwwanna View Post
So I've finally decided on getting the ATH-A900 closed-back headphones.
The thing I'm not sure about is do I need to bother with an amp as they're only 40 ohm impedance? Or should I just get a DAC for them?

EDIT - Which ever I get it'll be used with my Xonar Essence STX card.
If you're going to be using your headphones through your soundcard, i would recommend finding some higher impedance headphones. The Essence STX is capable of up to 600 ohms and there is a setting for it in the driver window. However at 40ohms buying a separate DAC makes no sense, your STX would be more than enough.

Higher impedance headphones tend to be of a better quality simply because they require more power to drive them.

Hope this helps.
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post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
So lower impedence = lesser quality?
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post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwwanna View Post
So lower impedence = lesser quality?
That is unfortunately a common misconception. You see impedance is nothing more but the resistance offered by the output/input device. When you have Headphones of 16 ohms resistance(most mainstream headphones do), you know they have been optimized for ipods since ipods have an output impedance of 16.


The deal is, as headphones become more and more expensive, the logic follows that the person using them is more serious about the sound they are going to hear. Therefore, the presupposition is that the output power of said professionals' equipment will be far greater than an ipod.

This is the reason you see $1000 dollar headphones at >300 ohms. The equipment they will be using is most probably somewhere in that range.

As long as you are not too outside that range your sound levels and channels will not get distorted and warped. This is why you see mainstream Bose, or Skull candy or any cheap USB headphone having a low impedance.

The trick is therefore to match them up as best as can be. If you hve a perfectly matched impedance then your sound will be as close to what the manufacturers wanted you to hear.


Hope you found this helpful.
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post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwwanna View Post
So lower impedence = lesser quality?
Not exactly, a lot of high-end companies make 32 ohm versions of their flagship products, but with some quality compromised. Lower ohms means that the cans will be efficient with the power that they are given. For the most part high ohms = high end/audiophile.
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post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
I thought a lot of high imPedence headphones were so they could be connected in parallel with other ones and still maintain higher empedence keeping them safe from the source?
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