Headphone Amp, what to get ?

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Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby andygriffiths » Sat Feb 16, 2013 10:31 pm

Hey everyone,

I have a 4 ch be!@#$%^& headphone amp & it is slowly dying. What is everyone using these days? I run from the aux's on my console for creating mixes for the players & not the DAW. Hit me!

Cheers Andy
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby gigpiglet » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:07 pm

for the money.. i think those be-ringer ones are great
i have one in the control room, and one in each live room
all flexible to wire pretty much however you want from auxs or master mixes etc
i still see them everywhere too.

when i recently did the research and updated here, without spending A LOT more money i couldnt seem a better solution
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby Alastair Reynolds » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:27 pm

Or make one that lasts with a 5532 op amp and a hand full of components and run it off a bipolar 15V supply. It will sound better and last longer than any piece of mass produced commercial grade junk out of China. Google 5532 headphone amp then fire up the soldering iron. :)
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby The Tasmanian » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:52 pm

I have to dissagree with Gigpiglet on this one.
Those Bewinga boxes are so horrible !!
Try and get a band to play tight on them - makes their job so much harder.
The attack transients get smeared all over the place / noisy / harsh.
Last session I did in sydney the band were so unimpressed with the sound that we got anything we could to get better cans.
Included a small mackie mixer, a small yamaha mixer and a stereo amp.
The sound difference was huge - the band really noticed the difference.
I just cannot go into any studio with those boxes (- I've owned 2 of them, and have one here for extreme situations - for only 1 or 2 people at most, but cant bring myself to giving anyone such .....)
People play well and communicate well, and enjoy playing music when the headphones - and the amplifier are of good quality.
When youve got 4 people on crappy smeared headphone amps - then you 4 x struggle to lock in.

Even a few old pairs of stereo amps would be heaps better sounding - or a DIY like Alistair suggests.
If you've got the money get a hearback system - you can add more modules down the line.
But when you do a proper A/B with the Bewiga even and old shitty stereo amp will blow them away.
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby Barney Loveland » Sun Feb 17, 2013 1:14 pm

JLM audio sells a board just for this job.

http://www.jlmaudio.com/shop/index.php? ... ductId=120
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby Alastair Reynolds » Sun Feb 17, 2013 1:20 pm

Better still if you don't fancy DIY then get a hand built one from Rob Squire. Check out his 4 channel headphone amp on the Pro harmonic web site and support an Australian rather than Uli's bulging pockets :D
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby tony » Sun Feb 17, 2013 1:37 pm

I replaced one of those be!@#$%^& HP amp with one of Robs.....one of the best moves I have made.

Robs amp is great.
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby andygriffiths » Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:43 pm

Cool thanks guys. I just sent Rob an email. I looked at the JLM stuff & would be happy to do DIY but I can't find a kit verson ( pbc, caps, resistors, power supply & case). If anyone knows where I can buy one let me know.

Cheers Andy
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby The Tasmanian » Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:38 am

Hey Rob's one looks great/ compact - I dont like rack ones as each session requires moving stuff around, to be instantly flexible

Maybe Rob could chime in on this? - I would like to know what the channel selectors do.
I presume there is 4 input channels - but channel 1 is common on all channels - or use it as 4 ind amps.

Geez - I might have to get one of these too..... the amount of gear here with proharmonic labels on them is starting to look like I've got a sponsorship..
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby gigpiglet » Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:01 am

now you all have me looking at it again! and i love robs work.. im sure his would be amazing
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby Ben M » Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:50 am

Well maybe we should try and get a bulk order going with Rob. I'm looking for a decent 4 channel headphone amp as well. :-?
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby Ben M » Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:54 am

The Tasmanian wrote: I would like to know what the channel selectors do.
I presume there is 4 input channels - but channel 1 is common on all channels - or use it as 4 ind amps.


That looks right to me Chris.
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby andygriffiths » Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:58 am

He said he could do a 2ch in a 19" case. I'm thinking of getting that one. It's well priced to.
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby rob » Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:01 pm

chaps
the various recent versions of headphone amps I've made use the JLM headphone amp module as the core of the unit.
Joe and I discussed and worked on this design for quite a while culminating in the excellent pcb design that Joe always pulls off.
As Alastair mentions it is based around the 5534 (2) opamp but uses a bunch of them parralled up to increase the drive current. The principles we worked on was very low distortion ( this HP amp is better than 0.002%, wide bandwidth and very high headroom and low noise. In tracking situations you often have wild dynamics, stuff is happening before compression and limiting and these HP amps can get very very loud before they overload. If fact any HPs I've tested will overload before the amp does.
This is the HP amp used in the Passive Mix Plus.... so you have one Chris!

JLM has built a number of 4 channel rack mount units for JCM.

Input options are your call. With a number of the 4 Ch units I've built in floor boxes each channel can pick up an input from an individual pair of sockets or from a master pair.
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby The Tasmanian » Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:02 am

Well that headphone amp on the passive mix sounds really great - only wish I had ordered 2 separate amps on it!
Rob, your technical description of how the amps take very dynamic transients before they are compressed through the tracking medium explains why the Bewinga's (and other cheapies) just collapse/ cant cope and go smeary when there are multiple transients landing on the same beat.
Hence the band cannot lock in unless they are playing really gentle stuff that the HP amp can cope with.
[quote="rob"]
In tracking situations you often have wild dynamics, stuff is happening before compression and limiting and these HP amps can get very very loud before they overload.

I'll have to start saving....again....damn
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby Drumstruck » Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:38 am

Interesting discussion and it makes me wonder .....

- with such high qual h/phone amps do you peak limit the cans sends?
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby The Tasmanian » Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:09 am

No - because the signal has all the transients unclipped with a good HP amp - therefor there is heaps of volume and dynamics in the cans - exactly what you want for a great performance.
Playing into any sort of limiter is a restriction - that really gets you nowhere (like a Bewinga!)
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby Drumstruck » Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:46 am

The heaps of volume and peaks was what I was thinking about

e.g. I replaced an 8 port b&^%&^% with a 4 port Aphex about a year ago - the sonic improvement was dramatic (clarity and volume) and well worth the cost, but I find more now that the loud notes are too loud when the soft notes are at the right level......
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby Sammas » Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:37 pm

rob wrote:chaps
the various recent versions of headphone amps I've made use the JLM headphone amp module as the core of the unit.
Joe and I discussed and worked on this design for quite a while culminating in the excellent pcb design that Joe always pulls off.
As Alastair mentions it is based around the 5534 (2) opamp but uses a bunch of them parralled up to increase the drive current. The principles we worked on was very low distortion ( this HP amp is better than 0.002%, wide bandwidth and very high headroom and low noise. In tracking situations you often have wild dynamics, stuff is happening before compression and limiting and these HP amps can get very very loud before they overload. If fact any HPs I've tested will overload before the amp does.
This is the HP amp used in the Passive Mix Plus.... so you have one Chris!

JLM has built a number of 4 channel rack mount units for JCM.

Input options are your call. With a number of the 4 Ch units I've built in floor boxes each channel can pick up an input from an individual pair of sockets or from a master pair.



Hey Rob,

If it is the JLM headphone kit I got recently from Joe, it actually runs on 4x NE5532's.
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby rob » Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:04 pm

yeah, thats why I wrote 5534(2) ... I was referring to the 5534 style but in the 5532 dual package ... sorry being obtuse!
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby andygriffiths » Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:17 pm

Just ordered a 2 ch one from Rob. 19" rack mounted switchable vu meters. Rob can explain more about it.
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby Sammas » Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:43 pm

Whats the damage for one of those?
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby andygriffiths » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:28 pm

Your have to email Rob for a price. But I think it's very good value for money
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby peat » Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:09 pm

I bailed on the Bringer hp amps a long time ago.
They will burn their outputs if shorted and distort quiet easily.
Also their are many unneeded controls (in my opinion)

I organised these guys with Joe, have never looked back:
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby andygriffiths » Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:27 pm

They look great
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby Gian » Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:16 pm

peat wrote:I bailed on the Bringer hp amps a long time ago.
They will burn their outputs if shorted and distort quiet easily.
Also their are many unneeded controls (in my opinion)

I organised these guys with Joe, have never looked back:


Can you elaborate on what joe built you.
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby peat » Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:11 pm

I was after an extremely simple headphone amp.
My original plan was to have all of the I/O on the back and literally just a level control on the front.
Reason being so that no one could 'mess it up' (L/R mutes, mono/stereo, balance etc..)

I really wanted metering on the input that was very obvious if you were feeding it too much level (hence the VU's)
And then there is a tri colour LED that shows output level post the level control. Joe set this up so that it shows green for signal present, blue for 'nominal' and red for overload. This was just for safety, when these flash red, the amps are only actually at half of their voltage rails.

There is a stereo/mono/mute on the front just in case plus two outputs for 'control room' use.

On the back if you plug into channel 1, it mults over to channel 2.
Plugging two separate sources in however will break the mult and it will function as two individual stereo amps.
Joe built this little board to do this:
http://www.jlmaudio.com/shop/index.php? ... ductId=140

The idea here is that you can send a stereo input in and it will mult to both channels so that you can theoretically have a hell of a lot of headphones coming off the one amp by utilising the power of both with the same input signal.

They have an internal SMPS and an IEC on the back, power switch on the front.

Oh, and also, the amps themselves sound absolutely beautiful.

!
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby Damien » Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:34 pm

i have one of robs headphone amps... its bloody fantastic.

it has a vol pot as well...
Last edited by Damien on Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby obutcher » Sat Feb 23, 2013 8:20 am

I can vouch for those headphone amps Peat posted. Use them every day. They sound nice and have lots of headroom! The two sets of level meters are a very handy feature.
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Re: Headphone Amp, what to get ?

Postby andygriffiths » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:00 am

Well Rob has finished my headphone amp & I should be getting it after Easter. Maybe Rob could post a picture for everyone can see his great handy work.
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