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Connecting headphones to the DAC via RCA cables?

Drumster

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Hi, I have a noob question.
Can I connect headphones (Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7b) directly to the DAC (Topping D10S) via 2x RCA to 3,5 mm female cable like this?
Or do I need to add some headphone amplifier like the Topping L30? And would there be any difference in sound quality (not volume) between plugging headphones directly into the DAC and plugging into an amp that will be plugged into that DAC?
 

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chindman

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Not a good idea! I don't know what the actual output impedance of the d10s is but the nominal traditional impedance for line level outputs is typically 600 Ohms. This is adequate to drive loads down to about 2 k Ohms with minimal distortion. Typical line level input stage impedances are 10k Ohms and higher.

Obviously the situation is hopeless for low impedance headphones i.e 16-60 Ohms since you couldn't get near full scale output which is ~2 Vrms. For instance assume that the DAC output stage can drive 600 Ohms to full scale 2 Vrms output. This is delivering 2^2/600=6.66 mWatts with a current of 3.33 mA. Lets guess that the output current could double if we drop the load impedance. So we might get 6.6mA into a 33 Ohm headset which is a little over 1 milliWatt. Not adequate and the distortion at this level is anyone's guess.

You might get a listenable signal with a high impedances HP (i.e 300 Ohms) but still are not going to get full output. IAC the risk of high distortion from overloading the output stage of the AC remains high and continued use in this mode could well reduce the lifetime of your DAC.
 
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Drumster

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Ok, so if i add AMP like Topping L30 between DAC and headphones, then it will be fine?
 

AdamG247

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chindman

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Ok, so if i add AMP like Topping L30 between DAC and headphones, then it will be fine?

Yes! Almost any headphone or IEM amp that amir reviews even semi-positively should be able drive headphones of either low or high impedance. Somewhere on this site is list of reviewed headphones and the output power that they can provide. For the L30 and low impedance phones (33 Ohms) amir measures output of > 1 Watt!!! So be careful with that volume control! Good luck.
 

Bob-23

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Hi, I have a noob question.
Can I connect headphones (Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7b) directly to the DAC (Topping D10S) via 2x RCA to 3,5 mm female cable like this?
Or do I need to add some headphone amplifier like the Topping L30? And would there be any difference in sound quality (not volume) between plugging headphones directly into the DAC and plugging into an amp that will be plugged into that DAC?

If it's loud enough (without distorting) you could do it - frequency response is not goin' to be effected, as impedance of the ATH ist constant over the whole frequency band. (Frequencyresponsewise the ATH doesn't react on [high] output impedances.)
1621765125913.png

https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/hp/audio-technica-ath-msr7.php
 
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