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Headphone Power/Volume Preference

Headphone Power/Volume Preference

  • 120mw

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 250mw

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 500mw

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 1.25w

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Deaf?

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    2

NCX

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#1
I prefer to have at least 700mw (Beyer T90's & HE560 main headphones) for theater like experience for everything aside from podcasts. Perhaps I need hearing aids.
 

solderdude

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#2
How much power is needed depends on the efficiency in dBmW.
So it depends whether you are driving a 75dB/mW headphone or 115dB/mW

Then there is the issue that some people think they need lots of power.
In case of the T90's these are 400 Ohm and 101dB/V yet somewhat efficient as they are 97dB/mW
In case of the HE560 these are 45 Ohm and 99dB/V yet somewhat inefficient as they are 86dB/mW
So at the same volume level they sound about equally loud yet the HE560 requires 10x more power.

To reach impressive levels you need to reach 120dB SPL peaks which one can only listen to for 30 seconds before the uncontrollable urge to turn down the volume takes over.
8.9V for the T90's and 11V for the HE560.
0.2W for the T90's and 2.7W for the HE560

That's quite some spread and it is very obvious you really don't need 0.7W for T90's (125dB) but you will need 2.8W for the HE560.

The poll is going to draw opinions based on belief people have rather than give any insight in what people actually need.

As 110dB peak is already sufficient for very loud listening levels which you cannot sustain for longer than 1 average song length your power requirements would drop rapidly.
2.8V for the T90's and 3.5V for the HE560.
20mW for the T90's and 300mW for the HE560.
 

Jimbob54

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#3
How much power is needed depends on the efficiency in dBmW.
So it depends whether you are driving a 75dB/mW headphone or 115dB/mW

Then there is the issue that some people think they need lots of power.
In case of the T90's these are 400 Ohm and 101dB/V yet somewhat efficient as they are 97dB/mW
In case of the HE560 these are 45 Ohm and 99dB/V yet somewhat inefficient as they are 86dB/mW
So at the same volume level they sound about equally loud yet the HE560 requires 10x more power.

To reach impressive levels you need to reach 120dB SPL peaks.
8.9V for the T90's and 11V for the HE560.
0.2W for the T90's and 2.7W for the HE560

That's quite some spread and it is very obvious you really don't need 0.7W for T90's (125dB) but you will need 2.8W for the HE560.

The poll is going to draw opinions based on belief people have rather than give any insight in what people actually need.

As 110dB peak is already sufficient for very loud listening levels which you cannot sustain for longer than 1 average song length your power requirements would drop rapidly.
2.8V for the T90's and 3.5V for the HE560.
0.02W for the T90's and 0.3W for the HE560.
I believe this poll stems from a discussion here (6xx being the OP phone there under discussion) https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...o-l30-or-thx-aaa-887.16040/page-2#post-518954

And I believe the L30 would be ample for the t90 and quite possibly the 560 for that matter
 

solderdude

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#5
For HD650 I found this:

Here the music is playing at quite uncomfortably loud levels. One may use these levels for listening ‘in the recording’ for analytic purposes to check for distortions or find noise levels in the recording.
These levels are certainly NOT used for pleasantly enjoying music and one, for sure, cannot maintain to listen to these levels for the whole song.
It should be noted though that this is a DR13 recording and this particular part was ‘just’ 12dB DR.

When listening to DR20 recordings the average levels will be quite loud but the peak levels will reach about the same levels.
The amplifier started clipping the highest peaks already which added a sharp ‘edge’ at certain peaks.
I would not call those peaks anywhere near ‘pain levels’ though but ‘very loud’ none the less.

This resulted in the following (rounded off) numbers:
RMS levels = 1.35V = 5.6mW = 105dB (average)
Peak levels = 15VPP = 5.3VRMS = 88mW = 117dB peak.
calculated DR = 11.9dB for that 10 sec part of the song.



I certainly do not recommend listening to these levels for longer than 1 minute or so.
 

AnalogSteph

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#6
It may be more sensible to tackle this question from a voltage POV first.

What's the headphone sensitivity? How much voltage do I need for e.g. 110 dB SPL peak, can the amp support that? How much gain does the amp need given my peak input signal level then? Only then there's the question of whether the amp has enough oomph to back these levels up current-wise.

Values should also be scaled logarithmically.
 

Jimbob54

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#7
How much power is needed depends on the efficiency in dBmW.
So it depends whether you are driving a 75dB/mW headphone or 115dB/mW

Then there is the issue that some people think they need lots of power.
In case of the T90's these are 400 Ohm and 101dB/V yet somewhat efficient as they are 97dB/mW
In case of the HE560 these are 45 Ohm and 99dB/V yet somewhat inefficient as they are 86dB/mW
So at the same volume level they sound about equally loud yet the HE560 requires 10x more power.

To reach impressive levels you need to reach 120dB SPL peaks which one can only listen to for 30 seconds before the uncontrollable urge to turn down the volume takes over.
8.9V for the T90's and 11V for the HE560.
0.2W for the T90's and 2.7W for the HE560

That's quite some spread and it is very obvious you really don't need 0.7W for T90's (125dB) but you will need 2.8W for the HE560.

The poll is going to draw opinions based on belief people have rather than give any insight in what people actually need.

As 110dB peak is already sufficient for very loud listening levels which you cannot sustain for longer than 1 average song length your power requirements would drop rapidly.
2.8V for the T90's and 3.5V for the HE560.
20mW for the T90's and 300mW for the HE560.
T90 are 250 ohm BTW, unless they revised them at some point. https://north-america.beyerdynamic.com/catalog/product/view/_ignore_category/1/id/3033/s/t-90/
 

Vini darko

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#8
I'm going to hazard a guess that I generally use half a milliwatt or less for most listening. That's around 50-70db probably maybe prehaps :p
 

MRC01

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#9
People talk about "so loud you have the urge to turn it down", which is true, but one can't rely on this urge to save his hearing. With headphones, loud listening is dangerous because it is so much easier than it is with speakers to reach hearing damaging levels. To name just two, there is typically less distortion which is a cue to turn it down and fewer bass-related loudness cues like vibration. Ask almost any audiologist who has been practicing for a long time and they'll tell you that over the past 10-20 years they've seen an increasing number of young people with noise related hearing loss. This is the result of increasing popularity of headphones & earbuds, especially with portable listening devices like phones. Young people are supposed to have better hearing, not worse!

When listening with headphones, the cue that I use is to set the volume at a level that has me wanting to turn it up a little louder, and resist that urge. Of course, you don't want to be listening at a level that has you wanting to turn it down, even if only a little. And if the volume feels "just right", then turn it down a bit so it's just on the "quiet" side of "just right".

PS: people who listen to classical or other music having big dynamic range are less at risk. The music's average levels are 20-30 dB quieter than the dynamic peaks, which are brief and occasional. So even if the dynamic peaks perceptually seem loud, it's unlikely to cause hearing damage since the rest of the music is so much quieter. Hearing damage is caused by a combination of loudness + exposure time.
 
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NCX

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Thread Starter #10
That's quite some spread and it is very obvious you really don't need 0.7W for T90's (125dB) but you will need 2.8W for the HE560.
Great information! I know this isn't exact, but choosing an amp based off the alleged or preferably measured max power helped me immensely after relying on soley on subjective reviews and not looking at the specifications or reviews with measurements (did any exist?) back in 2014-2016 when I last bought audio gear.

I do need that much for some blu ray and games, also the T90 are 250ohm. For example, I use 75-85% max power on the Gustard H10 (1.4w into 300ohm max) with the T90's with +12 gain/max power on.

I used to own the Aune S16 (600mW @ 300 Ohm spec; ownership proof), original Essence HDACC (HDACC 2=81mw into 300ohms), and JDS Labs O2 (Spec=150 Ohms=355 mW & 600 Ohms=88 mW; proof), and none were loud enough.
 
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MRC01

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#11
From what I read about the T90:
It's 250 Ohm at 1 kHz on up, but more than twice that around 100 Hz.
The spec says 102 dB SPL takes 1 mW. If true, 100 mW is 20 dB louder which produces 122 dB SPL. For most people, this is painfully loud and the NIOSH max safe exposure time is less than 10 seconds!
At 250 ohms, that 100 mW takes 5 V.
1 V output is about 14 dB quieter, which drives them to 108 dB which is plenty loud enough for the biggest transient dynamic peaks. This 1V output is achieved with about 4 mW of power.
In short: all the amps you listed as not loud enough, have enough continuous power to drive the T90 to hearing damaging levels.

PS and Note: I wonder if your audio sources had low output voltage, in which case the limitation you were running into was the voltage gain of the headphone amp, not its max output capability.
 
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solderdude

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#12
At RAA the T90 measured 406 Ohm, acc. to the graph they seemed to have measured it at 500Hz. At 1kHz it is closer to the DC resistance (around 250 Ohm).
Most of the actual 'energy' in music, however, is below 500Hz so that's where most of the dissipated power comes from.

I do need that much for some blu ray and games, also the T90 are 250ohm. For example, I use 75-85% max power on the Gustard H10 (1.4w into 300ohm max) with the T90's with +12 gain/max power on.
The volume control position says nothing about the output power.
You cannot possibly have used 1W in the T1 and actually listened to it. That would be 127dB SPL peak.

500mW - 750mW = 1.8dB
700mW - 1W = 1.5dB
1W - 1.25W = 1dB
 
Last edited:
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NCX

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Thread Starter #13
I wonder if your audio sources had low output voltage, in which case the limitation you were running into was the voltage gain of the headphone amp, not its max output capability.
The Aune S16 was close to being powerful enough for blu ray and games, fine for music, and like most AMPs it likely falls short of the 600mw spec by 30-100mw. The Gustard H10 (4.1 Vrms measured) needs +6 gain with the Essence and +12 with the M-DAC.

Audiolab M-DAC: XLR Blanced I/O Level: 4 Vrms ±0.2 specification, this reviewer measured 4.6 Vrms
Essence HDACC: XLR Blanced I/O Level: 4 Vrms ±0.2 specification

I should have been more clear, I use significantly less volume with music and streamed media versus games and movies/tv shows on blu-ray.
 
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MRC01

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#14
... You cannot possibly have used 1W in the T1 and actually listened to it. That would be 127dB SPL peak. ...
Oh, I've met people who listen that loud (or nearly that loud). I know how loud that is, sitting right in front of the trumpet section during band practice. (I wear 25 dB musician's earplugs when in that situation). Or a loud rock concert can get close to that. Some people consider that to be "live level" and listen to their music that way. And they do have impaired hearing.

However, I'm not necessarily saying the OP is one of them. Maybe he is, or maybe he just ran out of voltage gain from low level sources, and mistakenly thought the "amp wasn't powerful enough".
 

Jimbob54

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#15
Oh, I've met people who listen that loud (or nearly that loud). I know how loud that is, sitting right in front of the trumpet section during band practice. (I wear 25 dB musician's earplugs when in that situation). Or a loud rock concert can get close to that. Some people consider that to be "live level" and listen to their music that way. And they do have impaired hearing.

However, I'm not necessarily saying the OP is one of them. Maybe he is, or maybe he just ran out of voltage gain from low level sources, and mistakenly thought the "amp wasn't powerful enough".
Well apparently this is with full 4v xlr inputs from dacs . So unless some massive drop in volume on the stereo downmix of blu ray, then OP may just need new ears.
 
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