- Jul 21, 2018
- The Neverlands
When you reach clipping levels of amps you either are using wimpy amps or you listen at abnormally high levels.
Headphones that audibly 'clip' mechanically (compress is more exact wording) I know that are quite widely known are the Koss thingies (KSC35,75,PortaPro) which is clearly seen in graphs.
Of course, as Amir also often mentions, is that you need quite a lot of output voltage when you want 'impressive' sound.
So your observations of having a lot of headroom (wouldn't call it power) and output voltage mimics yours an mine as well as Amir's.
However, the observation Amir made about the L30 is that its output voltage is enough to reach that. This isn't even a balanced amp and amps I use and design reach similar output levels, They will show more distortion and noise on the test bench but I don't hear any noise and distortion products are low enough to be masked.
From the measurements I have made (including compression tests which is stretching my limit) I can see all headphones react differently. Some are very good at this others are not. Mostly in the bass area. I don't perceive it that way even when reaching high levels shortly. Some headphones with high distortion in the area above 500Hz I can hear turning nasty or HP's like the Koss, K500/K501 and a Stax SR5.
You would need a test rig like the one Amir is testing to measure distortion at impressive levels. I know that reaching 110dB SPL peak in the bass is bound to create high levels of distortion in many headphones. All I can say is look into headphones that show low amounts of distortion measured at 100dB.
Stating that headphone amps aren't solved because we need even more power (you mean output voltage in case of the Senns) is incorrect though.
Most people enjoying music rarely will exceed a few mW. People that want to turn it up to impressive levels for short moments do need a LOT more power. Just not in > 5 Watts.