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Benefit of headphone amplifier?

Dpaulyn

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Joined
May 12, 2020
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Toronto
Hello ASR community.

I listen to my Dan Clark Aeon 2 Noire (32dB/13 Ohms) with Fiio M11 Pro DAP balanced out (≥ 460mW 16Ω ≥550mW 32Ω). To me it sounds really good (I’m not trying to fix anything).

Nevertheless, with all the rhetoric, and product reviews on headphone amplifiers - I remain confused about potential benefit of an amplifier in my scenario.

Is increasing gain the only function of a headphone amp? I have read amplifier reviews that make reference to ‘better’ sound quality with an amp (not just more gain). e.g. “Aeon 2 Noire will perform much better with . . . more power” (what does this even mean?)

My listening with no EQ is typically at 67% volume available, about 72% with EQ. Anything above that would be far too loud.

Headphone power calculator indicates required power for 110dB 63.10 mw.

Any opinions on whether or not a headphone amp might somehow result in improved sound quality in my case, would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
 

DVDdoug

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May 27, 2021
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If what you have is loud enough and it sounds Ok there will be no improvement.
 

Jimbob54

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Hello ASR community.

I listen to my Dan Clark Aeon 2 Noire (32dB/13 Ohms) with Fiio M11 Pro DAP balanced out (≥ 460mW 16Ω ≥550mW 32Ω). To me it sounds really good (I’m not trying to fix anything).

Nevertheless, with all the rhetoric, and product reviews on headphone amplifiers - I remain confused about potential benefit of an amplifier in my scenario.

Is increasing gain the only function of a headphone amp? I have read amplifier reviews that make reference to ‘better’ sound quality with an amp (not just more gain). e.g. “Aeon 2 Noire will perform much better with . . . more power” (what does this even mean?)

My listening with no EQ is typically at 67% volume available, about 72% with EQ. Anything above that would be far too loud.

Headphone power calculator indicates required power for 110dB 63.10 mw.

Any opinions on whether or not a headphone amp might somehow result in improved sound quality in my case, would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
If you arent clipping the DAP output (or unless it has horrendously distorted output full stop) then no, you wont get any benefit. The ability to go louder, cleaner would be the only advantage IF your DAP wasnt sufficient.
 

vurt

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Jun 1, 2023
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Hope you don't mind borrowing your thread OP!

I'm powering a Noire with the Qudelix Q5K and I was also wondering the same. A few people on the forum have said the Q5K is fine, I don't know any better tbh.

Not knowing what I don't know—will there be any benefit to an upgrade or using a desktop DAC/amp instead?
 
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