OT-Is headphone impedance related to sound quality?
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    Default OT-Is headphone impedance related to sound quality?

    I'm shopping for a really good pair of headphones, right now I have my eye on either Sennheiser or Beyerdynamic. Price range is ~$700 or less.
    Some have 60ohm some are 250ohm.
    Now, obviously I would need a dac/amp for the higher ohm pair..
    But my question is in general are the 250ohm headphones better sound quality?

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    Here is a good article that might give you some guidance.

    Headphone buyers: Here's what you need to know about low- vs. high-impedance models - CNET

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    Thank you, that helps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scottl View Post
    Typical audiofool gobbeldygook for people who don't know anything about earphones. About the only meaningful statement is that high impedance phones will not perform well on battery powered amplifiers because they do not have enough voltage to drive them.

    Naturally he has the mandatory tube amplifier. Solid state amplifiers in laboratory instruments like oscilloscopes give nearly perfect reproduction of waveforms but supposedly tubes sound better. Beautiful music is in the ear of the idiot beholder.

    Bill

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    bite the bullet buy a pair of stax 009 or 007 (i couldn't tell the difference) and be amazed .

    keep them nice and you'll sell them for what you paid for them .

    I like the tube amp but have used the simple stepup transformer on my old Sigma and were still better than most modern crap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 9100 View Post
    Typical audiofool gobbeldygook for people who don't know anything about earphones. About the only meaningful statement is that high impedance phones will not perform well on battery powered amplifiers because they do not have enough voltage to drive them.

    Naturally he has the mandatory tube amplifier. Solid state amplifiers in laboratory instruments like oscilloscopes give nearly perfect reproduction of waveforms but supposedly tubes sound better. Beautiful music is in the ear of the idiot beholder.

    Bill
    shrug

    tubes distort in a way that is more pleasing to the ear.

    output devices are still amazingly subjective. And by far the highest distortion component in the system

    I think the article answered the question, gobbledygook aside

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    Quote Originally Posted by Billtodd View Post
    bite the bullet buy a pair of stax 009 or 007 (i couldn't tell the difference) and be amazed .

    keep them nice and you'll sell them for what you paid for them .
    At $3K-plus I hope they come with a lifetime supply of wipes. And Amazon buyers (admittedly not the last word on audio reviews) don't have universally good things to say: Amazon.com: STAX SR-009 Open Back Electrostatic Earspeakers from Japan: Home Audio & Theater

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milland View Post
    At $3K-plus I hope they come with a lifetime supply of wipes. And Amazon buyers (admittedly not the last word on audio reviews) don't have universally good things to say: Amazon.com: STAX SR-009 Open Back Electrostatic Earspeakers from Japan: Home Audio & Theater
    That link doesn't work for me.

    I let my young nephew listen to them (his ears still work , mine have been buggered for the last couple of years) , he was listening to something with backing vocals, " how many backing singers' I asked , "five" he answered amazed that he could count them so easily. He now has my old Sigmas and has stopped listening to mp3s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gustafson View Post
    shrug

    tubes distort in a way that is more pleasing to the ear.

    output devices are still amazingly subjective. And by far the highest distortion component in the system

    I think the article answered the question, gobbledygook aside
    Apparently so, but in this era of digitizing and all sorts of special instruments, it would not be hard to design a solid state amplifier that produced the ideal distortion.

    A few years ago people were paying ridiculous prices for a Western Electric full wave rectifier that you could replace with a 5R4GY for a fraction the cost. One nut explained that the Western Electric tube introduced a resistance that caused the voltage to fall off on peaks that sounded better. My response was that if you wanted that, why not design a supply with the V/A curve that produced the exact effect desired?

    He also wanted me to make copies of a Fender output transformer that happened to sound better than others. He said there were reproductions on the market, but they were not as good as the originals. So why would my copies be better?

    If you already have the amplifier, choose phones with the matching impedance.

    Bill

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    Quote Originally Posted by 9100 View Post
    Apparently so, but in this era of digitizing and all sorts of special instruments, it would not be hard to design a solid state amplifier that produced the ideal distortion.

    A few years ago people were paying ridiculous prices for a Western Electric full wave rectifier that you could replace with a 5R4GY for a fraction the cost. One nut explained that the Western Electric tube introduced a resistance that caused the voltage to fall off on peaks that sounded better. My response was that if you wanted that, why not design a supply with the V/A curve that produced the exact effect desired?

    He also wanted me to make copies of a Fender output transformer that happened to sound better than others. He said there were reproductions on the market, but they were not as good as the originals. So why would my copies be better?

    If you already have the amplifier, choose phones with the matching impedance.

    Bill
    well, my understanding is that transistors distort the way the distort. Tubes will do what they do. It is what it is. If you try to digitally change it to sound like tubes, it will sound like tube distortion added to transistor distortion.

    THe parts of the link that spoke of how the drivers were constructed made sense to me, and in the end, it gave the same advice you do

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    Audio discussions have always irritated the hell out of me. So just sticking to the tube/transistor topic (and there are so many topics (monster cable, gold plated connectors, analog vs digital) I have to assume the recording studio and artists recorded the music with the desired characteristics. But somehow the audio enthusiasts (nuts) believe that by adding an unknown and uncontrolled quantity of distortion that the sound is now better. If that was the case the artist would have added more distortion. So now the enthusiast (nut) is no longer faithfully reproducing the original recording.

    The transistor introduces little distortion and it can be corrected. The tube adds harmonic distortion. The harmonic content is what differentiates a piano from a clarinet. So by using tubes the sound of the musical instruments begin to morph from their unique signature.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gustafson View Post
    well, my understanding is that transistors distort the way the distort. Tubes will do what they do. It is what it is. If you try to digitally change it to sound like tubes, it will sound like tube distortion added to transistor distortion.

    THe parts of the link that spoke of how the drivers were constructed made sense to me, and in the end, it gave the same advice you do
    The business about transistors making a tinny sound goes back to the early days before people learned to look for and correct crossover distortion. If you make a simple amplifier with a PNP and an NPN transistor in a complementary circuit, the point where the signal is handed off to the other transistor will have a dead spot. Even in the mid 60s when I was designing electronics the issue had been largely solved and we could get operational amplifiers that showed no sign of it. Transistor distortion is now an old wives tale, a hangover from the earliest days of their use.

    Most of the transistor types available now didn't exist then. Integrated circuits were just getting on the market. We were reading sub microamp photocell currents and my boss insisted that we had to do it with tubes. Junction field effect transistors had only become available in the last year and he said they were too new to trust. The technician working with me and I got so frustrated that we came in at night and built the right unit. I put it on Bosso's desk and didn't come in until 10 AM. They told me he threw a screaming tantrum, finally calmed down, and realized that we had done the right thing. I built a lot of tube equipment, including some several hundred watt amplifiers, but I don't miss them.

    Bill

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    Finest audio reproduction equipment, minimal distortion...to play this
    on the turntable:
    YouTube

    Sounds like the Mormon tabernacle pipe organ run thru a fuzz.....
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    This has some nice organ notes that can benefit from HiFi I'm sure:
    your time is gonna come led zeppelin at DuckDuckGo

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    The human brain has all manner of biases that make audio discussion and evaluation a futile waste of time that goes on forever. FWIW, I'm perfectly happy with an old pair of Sony MDR-V4 phones and sometimes an old pair of Koss PRO-4AAs. I think the current model of Sony is the MDR-7504. I like those better than the V6 or 7506, but not all do. You can also do well with the Grado phones.

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    I never said they sound tinny
    I said they distort differently and that remains true
    I don’t prefer tube equipment
    Some do
    This is the essential basis of their argument

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    Most electronic devices function better than my right ear. Wish I still had the symmetric full range capability of my youth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gustafson View Post
    I never said they sound tinny
    I said they distort differently and that remains true
    I don’t prefer tube equipment
    Some do
    This is the essential basis of their argument
    In what manner do transistors distort? Instruments like oscilloscopes have bandwidths like my Tektronics 2235's 100 megacycles. My Tek curve tracer will show any deviation from linearity. Distortion analyzers can detect smaller amounts. You are going to get more distortion from magnetostriction in wire wound resistors and capacitor dialectric absorption.

    Bill

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    Everything distorts
    Spend enough money it distorts less

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    And we get plenty of distorted discussion here for free....

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

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    Neither tubes nor transistors, on their own, are free of distortion. They both have non-linear characteristics. It is the circuits that they are employed in that either correct this distortion or, as a design compromise, permit it to get to the output. One way of limiting this distortion is by using only a small part of the overall operation region of the device. So a tube amplifier or a transistor amplifier that is only handling a very low level signal can have a lot less distortion than one which is trying to drive the speakers or headsets which requires higher Voltages and/or currents and therefore must use a larger part of that overall operating region of the device.

    Another way for controlling distortion is with feedback. The problem with feedback is you need a higher gain amplifier which is throttled down by the feedback signal. And that higher gain must exist over the entire frequency range of the device. This is why one of our posters above mentioned the ease with which op amp circuits can so easily be almost distortion free. But an op amp uses many transistors, not just one or two. This is possible at a reasonable price with transistors but could be quite expensive for a similar circuit made with tubes (not to mention the need for tons of air conditioning to handle the heat).

    Other circuit designs have been used. These try to take advantage of the characteristics of the tubes or transistors to produce low distortion. These will be somewhat of a compromise and each will have it's own "sound". Again, since transistors are smaller, less expensive, and consume far less power than tubes, the transistor circuits can be a lot more economical for a given (low) level of distortion. Any level of low distortion that could be achieved with transistors could also be achieved with tubes: it would just cost a heck of a lot more. Just imagine a tube amplifier with 50 or 100 tubes.

    But there is no magic in either device, just a practical matter of where the price vs. distortion compromise falls. And the types of distortion that will come along with that practical design compromise.

    As for headset impedance, the most important thing would be to match the headphone impedance with the amplifier that is driving them. That will minimize the distortion in that, output circuit. As a practical matter modern, low output impedance amplifiers, which usually employ a lot of feedback, will drive any impedance headphones with little discernible difference. The audio nuts will argue about this, but they will not ever accept the results of a double blind test. I have tried and they always find some supposed flaw when the less expensive alternative proves to be as good as or even better than what they KNOW is better.


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