Recommend a headphone amp

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Recommend a headphone amp

Postby dylanger » Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:20 pm

Trying to decide on what to get for a headphone amp. I need to be able to give everyone their own mixes, say for 4-5 people at the most. On bit of a tight budget due to me going home a couple months early and trying to have enough $$ to finish reno's. Don't really want to spend more than $300.
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Re: Recommend a headphone amp

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:03 pm

dylanger wrote:Trying to decide on what to get for a headphone amp. I need to be able to give everyone their own mixes, say for 4-5 people at the most. On bit of a tight budget due to me going home a couple months early and trying to have enough $$ to finish reno's. Don't really want to spend more than $300.
I question the need for 4-5 different mixes. What do you find Andrew? Typical rhythm section setup... All different mixes, or a base mix, with a vocal up augmented version for singer, or something along those lines?

I've done a lot of "band" setups with one mix satisfying everyone. YMMV I know it's nice to have those options, but when budget is critical, sometimes keeping it simple is OK too. Sorry for the sidetrack... :-?

All that being said, this will get you 4 separate mixes, if you need them, for well under $300.00 I've used a version of this for years and have never regretted it. http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/HA4700.aspx

Another option is to use individual mixers/boxes/amps for each position. One of these at each position would suffice, and also be in the price range. http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/502.aspx

I'm sure there are a hundred different options that will satisfy your demand.
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Re: Recommend a headphone amp

Postby dylanger » Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:48 pm

The second behringer option was a thought. I already have the one and it worked pretty good until broke. Ideally I'd like to have a single unit mounted in the control room.
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Re: Recommend a headphone amp

Postby macrae11 » Fri Jan 31, 2014 8:37 am

I actually have 8 channels of headphone amps but part of that is driven by the fact that sometimes I do very large groups, choirs and such requiring 15-30 headphones. For a typical band setup I usually do independent mixes though. I find it's not much more work and much more comfortable for the players especially when dealing with things like DI keyboards playing in the same room as the drums. The keys player needs a ton of themselves because it's all they have but they might not be an integral part of rhythm section so having it blasting into the drummers headphones doesn't make a lot of sense. Actually two of my channels are down so I'm down to 6 amps and one of them is the Behringer which I absolutely hate. Noisy, finicky, and typical shoddy construction.

We have this unit at the school which would barely fit in your budget but should fit the bill nicely. Ample power and two cue buses are great as well as each direct input being fully stereo, not just the cue mix.
http://www.presonus.com/products/hp60
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Re: Recommend a headphone amp

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:31 pm

Malcolm Boyce wrote:
dylanger wrote:Trying to decide on what to get for a headphone amp. I need to be able to give everyone their own mixes, say for 4-5 people at the most. On bit of a tight budget due to me going home a couple months early and trying to have enough $$ to finish reno's. Don't really want to spend more than $300.
I question the need for 4-5 different mixes. What do you find Andrew? Typical rhythm section setup... All different mixes, or a base mix, with a vocal up augmented version for singer, or something along those lines?

I've done a lot of "band" setups with one mix satisfying everyone. YMMV I know it's nice to have those options, but when budget is critical, sometimes keeping it simple is OK too. Sorry for the sidetrack... :-?

All that being said, this will get you 4 separate mixes, if you need them, for well under $300.00 I've used a version of this for years and have never regretted it. http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/HA4700.aspx

Another option is to use individual mixers/boxes/amps for each position. One of these at each position would suffice, and also be in the price range. http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/502.aspx

I'm sure there are a hundred different options that will satisfy your demand.



I have been searching for the perfect headphone amp for years.... It doesn't exist.

I did like my Samson though, for what it was worth it did the job it needed to do, but only had 4 mixes. 4 mixes is fine 95% of the time, but once in a while I'd be caught short on really important sessions...

That being said... Dylan, do you want my modded Samson?
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Re: Recommend a headphone amp

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:33 pm

macrae11 wrote:We have this unit at the school which would barely fit in your budget but should fit the bill nicely. Ample power and two cue buses are great as well as each direct input being fully stereo, not just the cue mix.
http://www.presonus.com/products/hp60


That one looks like a good option. I forget what I hated about it originally...
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Re: Recommend a headphone amp

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Fri Jan 31, 2014 2:15 pm

Mathieu Benoit wrote:I have been searching for the perfect headphone amp for years.... It doesn't exist.

"Headphone amps" have gotten progressively more complicated as time has gone on. Features over clean power has become the norm, and that is why so many fail. Ultimately, adequate stereo power is all you should need the overwhelming amount of time, but we get distracted by all the flashing lights and features.

The biggest thing that is underestimated is the performer's level of experience and technical competence affecting their ability to direct their own mixes. Not everyone wants to, or for that matter can, appropriately tweak their own cue mix. No one solution is going to work for everyone.
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Re: Recommend a headphone amp

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Fri Jan 31, 2014 2:35 pm

Anyone that's been around these forums for the past few years knows that the perfect headphone amp is my holy grail.

The Rane HC-6 came close but there was one small issue:

http://forums.middleaudio.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1869&p=17750&hilit=headphone#p17750

That being said... I'm trying to figure out what made me disregard the HP60 at the time though... Any shortcomings that I'm overlooking Andrew?
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Re: Recommend a headphone amp

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:29 pm

The idea of a main or master in feeding all outputs in addition to the discreet "per output" path is something that I use constantly. I also find it to be strange to have either being exclusive in a design with both of those input types.
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Re: Recommend a headphone amp

Postby dylanger » Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:52 pm

I agree with Malcolm when it comes to the flashy features being a little much.

What kind of mod did you do to your Samson Matt? What model is it?

If I need the 5th I could always grab another mini behringer unit. I can see me needing it a whole lot this summer but it would be nice to have.
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Re: Recommend a headphone amp

Postby dylanger » Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:28 pm

I going to continue to ask about a couple things I need for this summer....

Midi interface?

The Saffire Pro 40 had a midi interface built in but the new I/O doesn't. Everything I've looked at so far looks pretty dinky... What do you folks use/have experience using. I know there's nothing special about midi going in, just thought I'd get your folks opinion.
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Re: Recommend a headphone amp

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:58 am

dylanger wrote:I going to continue to ask about a couple things I need for this summer....

Midi interface?

The Saffire Pro 40 had a midi interface built in but the new I/O doesn't. Everything I've looked at so far looks pretty dinky... What do you folks use/have experience using. I know there's nothing special about midi going in, just thought I'd get your folks opinion.
I guess I'm not exactly sure what you are looking for. Are you looking at audio interfaces and wondering if MIDI connectivity is something you need? Are you looking specifically for a MIDI interface?

As far as computer MIDI I/O, I've used primarily dedicated USB MIDI interfaces, although it's not unheard of for the MIDI on an "audio" interface to get used. I hate to jinx myself, but with all the issues I have experienced at one time or another with audio I/O hardware, I don't remember ever having a problem with any "MIDI" interface specifically. Either I'm lucky, or the stuff is just that solid.
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Re: Recommend a headphone amp

Postby dylanger » Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:07 am

I'm just looking for a midi interface. My new I/O doesn't have it built in and it's something pretty important for me to have. I have no experience with such a product. Everything I looked at just kind looks like a toy. What product do you use Malcolm?
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Re: Recommend a headphone amp

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:39 am

If you just need a single I/O one of these would be solid: http://m-audio.com/products/en_us/Uno.html

MAudio pretty much has something for every size of setup and priced reasonably. I'm a fan of the brand.

I guess it depends on how much physical I/O you are going to need.
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Re: Recommend a headphone amp

Postby macrae11 » Sun Feb 02, 2014 9:13 am

Mathieu Benoit wrote:
macrae11 wrote:We have this unit at the school which would barely fit in your budget but should fit the bill nicely. Ample power and two cue buses are great as well as each direct input being fully stereo, not just the cue mix.
http://www.presonus.com/products/hp60


That one looks like a good option. I forget what I hated about it originally...

Don't remember, was it out then. Did it sound alright at the school session? I keep meaning to take my 250ohm beyerdynamics in to really test it out but it seems fine.
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Re: Recommend a headphone amp

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:39 pm

macrae11 wrote:I keep meaning to take my 250ohm beyerdynamics in to really test it out but it seems fine.
On a related note for Dylan, the headphones that you connect will seriously affect an amps ability to power the line adequately. Something like those Beyers that Andrew mentions are going to load the line in a far different fashion than my Shure 440s or something with a similar lower impedance.
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Re: Recommend a headphone amp

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Mon Feb 03, 2014 10:07 am

Malcolm Boyce wrote:
macrae11 wrote:I keep meaning to take my 250ohm beyerdynamics in to really test it out but it seems fine.
On a related note for Dylan, the headphones that you connect will seriously affect an amps ability to power the line adequately. Something like those Beyers that Andrew mentions are going to load the line in a far different fashion than my Shure 440s or something with a similar lower impedance.


Excellent point. I would just buy a bunch of those Sennheiser HD 280. They are about $100, isolating and 80ohms.
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Re: Recommend a headphone amp

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:48 pm

Mathieu Benoit wrote:
Malcolm Boyce wrote:
macrae11 wrote:I keep meaning to take my 250ohm beyerdynamics in to really test it out but it seems fine.
On a related note for Dylan, the headphones that you connect will seriously affect an amps ability to power the line adequately. Something like those Beyers that Andrew mentions are going to load the line in a far different fashion than my Shure 440s or something with a similar lower impedance.


Excellent point. I would just buy a bunch of those Sennheiser HD 280. They are about $100, isolating and 80ohms.
For general purpose, and the same price range, I'd go with the Shure 440s. Way more balanced sounding IMO, and WAY more comfortable. That being said, I do like the HD280s for tracking drums. They tend to get a little uncomfortable when used for sustained periods of time, at least IME.
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Re: Recommend a headphone amp

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Mon Feb 03, 2014 1:22 pm

I suggested the 280s because it you are doing bed tracks witha drummer you need that isolation. That being said, you are right, they aren't comfortable for prolonged use. Also I may or may not be allergic to Shure.
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Re: Recommend a headphone amp

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:13 pm

Mathieu Benoit wrote: Also I may or may not be allergic to Shure.
:lol:
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Re: Recommend a headphone amp

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:14 pm

Malcolm Boyce wrote:
Mathieu Benoit wrote: Also I may or may not be allergic to Shure.
:lol:


I'm pretty sure I can get a medical certificate to that effect.
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Re: Recommend a headphone amp

Postby macrae11 » Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:36 pm

I'd take the AKGK240s or AT 40 series cans over either of those. Unfortunately they're both less isolating than either the Sennheisers or the Shures. I find the Shures don't fit my head well.
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Re: Recommend a headphone amp

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:12 pm

macrae11 wrote:I'd take the AKGK240s or AT 40 series cans over either of those. Unfortunately they're both less isolating than either the Sennheisers or the Shures. I find the Shures don't fit my head well.


Big head much?
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Re: Recommend a headphone amp

Postby macrae11 » Wed Feb 05, 2014 6:33 pm

yup.
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