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Help clarify headphone Impedance
Old 1st January 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
 
Help clarify headphone Impedance

Hi I recently got a Beyerdynamic DT100 headphone for a present . I noticed that it doesn't sound as "loud" or "clear" as some of the other headphones I have used. (But DT100 is the most comfortable). Anyway looking into it I learned that the version I have, has got impedance rating of 400 ohms, there is a DT100 version rated at 16 ohms too.

Could you please clarify the impedance specification, and about impedance matching. (Technically I know what Impedance means but I'm not sure how it works with in this context).

Why have different version with different impedance?

I use the headphone with different sound cards (audio interfaces) and mixers, one of the sound card I use it with is Focusrite Scarlet 2i2. The headphone output's impedance is rated at 10 ohms (again what does this mean ).

Thanks so much for help.
Old 1st January 2019
  #2
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Lumbergh's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
You are going to need a decent headphone amp to drive 400Ω cans - higher impedance means they require a lot more current for the same SPL (25x more current for 400Ω vs 16Ω cans!)

The 2i2 wont be able to drive your cans so you can either:

1. exchange them for the 16Ω version which will work fine with pretty much anything or
2. buy a HPA to drive the 400Ω version.
Old 1st January 2019 | Show parent
  #3
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Thanks, Why are there 400 ohm headphones? and what does the output impedance of the headphone output means in this context?.
Is there a way to make an headphone amplifier for this situation, it'll be more fun rather than buying one. I ask this because I don't know about impedance matching etc..
Old 1st January 2019
  #4
Here for the gear
 
I also forgot to add is there anyway of making an "impedance matching" device which will come in between the headphone output of a mixer and the headphone (bearing in mind that the headphone output is an amplified output).
Old 1st January 2019
  #5
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brianroth's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
My friend Rick Chinn wrote this article 20 years ago (!) but it is still relevant.

1

Bri
Old 1st January 2019 | Show parent
  #6
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Radardoug's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by lumbergh ➡️
you are going to need a decent headphone amp to drive 400ω cans - higher impedance means they require a lot more current for the same spl (25x more current for 400ω vs 16ω cans!)

the 2i2 wont be able to drive your cans so you can either:

1. Exchange them for the 16ω version which will work fine with pretty much anything or
2. Buy a hpa to drive the 400ω version.
more voltage, not more current!
Old 2nd January 2019 | Show parent
  #7
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radardoug ➡️
more voltage, not more current!
Yes, and that is why a high-impedance headphone would not sound as "loud". Because the source is typically voltage-limited. And especially if the source is a battery-operated device where voltage is at a premium.

Vintage gear tended to favor higher-impedance headphones because it used tubes/valves/firebottles. OTOH new (especially battery-powered) gear favors lower-impedance headphones.

Maybe you can find a non-gimmick tube headphone amp to drive your 400 ohm Beyerdynamic headphones. Good luck with that. I must warn you that many (most?) tube headphone amps are probably bogus. Here is why.....

Old 7th January 2019
  #8
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🎧 15 years
This one is good.

Bottlehead Crack - outatanding SET/OTL amp for high-z cans.

WW
Attached Thumbnails
Help clarify headphone Impedance-crack.jpg  
Old 8th January 2019
  #9
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gyraf's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
This headphone amplifier was made for in-house use in our studios, and is the one I use for demoing the gyraffe's on shows and such.

Drives both low- and high-Z headphones nicely, even to drummer's levels

Warning: has potential of burning low-Z phones if turned up beyond painfully loud

http://www.gyraf.dk/gy_pd/hpamp/HP-Amp.pdf

Single-sided pcb, 5½x10cm (3 amplifier pcb's on a standard 10x16cm photo-resist pcb board)

Jakob E.
Old 8th January 2019 | Show parent
  #10
Here for the gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gyraf ➡️
This headphone amplifier was made for in-house use in our studios, and is the one I use for demoing the gyraffe's on shows and such.

Drives both low- and high-Z headphones nicely, even to drummer's levels

Warning: has potential of burning low-Z phones if turned up beyond painfully loud

http://www.gyraf.dk/gy_pd/hpamp/HP-Amp.pdf

Single-sided pcb, 5½x10cm (3 amplifier pcb's on a standard 10x16cm photo-resist pcb board)

Jakob E.
Hi Jakob, nice one thanks. Just wanted to ask something about your design - what is the purpose of the two leds?Is there any way to add a selector switch to switch between HI-Z and Low-Z outputs . and also how to add a limiter for safety?
Again thanks so much for the help
Old 8th January 2019
  #11
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gyraf's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The red leds are for generating a predictable voltage drop, setting output stage class-A current to ca. 25mA. They are not for decoration.

Amplifier has low output impedance, and you'll want that for both low-and high-Z phones - no reason for changing output impedance (we are not feeding transmission lines).

Limiter is an entirely different thing, a lot harder to do really well...

Jakob E.
Old 8th January 2019 | Show parent
  #12
Here for the gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gyraf ➡️
The red leds are for generating a predictable voltage drop, setting output stage class-A current to ca. 25mA. They are not for decoration.

Amplifier has low output impedance, and you'll want that for both low-and high-Z phones - no reason for changing output impedance (we are not feeding transmission lines).

Limiter is an entirely different thing, a lot harder to do really well...

Jakob E.
Ah I see thanks, what I meant about the selector switch was when someone connects a Low-Z headphone and if the "LowZ" setting is selected the gain of the amp could not go above a certain point
Again thanks so much
Old 8th January 2019 | Show parent
  #13
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Lumbergh's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radardoug ➡️
more voltage, not more current!
Yes sorry, was thinking from a HPA design POV. At the output a larger voltage swing.


@ gyraf Hey Jakob, do you sell those HPA boards? Neat and simple design
Old 9th January 2019 | Show parent
  #14
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gyraf's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumbergh ➡️
Hey Jakob, do you sell those HPA boards? Neat and simple design
Sorry, we don't sell anything related to the DIY-projects, that part of the operation is information only. But it's done in a way that makes it easy to DIY

Jakob E.
Old 9th January 2019
  #15
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Lumbergh's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Thats ok, I can knock up PCBs but I like to acknowledge designers if possible by buying their kit rather than going straight to ripping it off!
Old 2nd September 2019
  #16
Here for the gear
 
Hi, I'm going to buy some headphones and I'm using ZOOM R8 as my soundcard. I'd like to ask how do I know what output impedance (if it's a correct term) my ZOOM has? I haven't found it in the manual when I search impedance they only write about Hi-Z.
Or simply what headphone impedance should I be looking for with ZOOM R8? Thanks
Old 2nd September 2019
  #17
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Headphone output impedance is typically not cited in published specifications for modern gear.
It is assumed that most users have lower-impedance modern headphones so there is typically little problem.
It is safe to assume that all modern gear has outputs suitable for medium-low impedance headphones.
If you want to use higher-impedance headphones, assume that you need something external to drive them.
Old 8th September 2019 | Show parent
  #18
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ruffrecords's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumbergh ➡️
You are going to need a decent headphone amp to drive 400Ω cans - higher impedance means they require a lot more current for the same SPL (25x more current for 400Ω vs 16Ω cans!)

The 2i2 wont be able to drive your cans so you can either:

1. exchange them for the 16Ω version which will work fine with pretty much anything or
2. buy a HPA to drive the 400Ω version.
Higher impedance phones need more voltage not more current.

High impedance phones are (relatively) high voltage, low current.

Low impedance phones are (relatively) low voltage high current

for the same power which roughly equals loudness.

You can plug 400 ohm phones straight into the line out of most mixers and they will be fine. Can't do that with 16 ohm ones.

Cheers

Ian
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