Submitted by Imsjry t3_11e978q in headphones

I have a hybrid, integrated amp (Vincent SV-500) with a headphone output and the Edition XS sound pretty flat and timid with it. My Focal Clear OG's and 6xx's sound great on it so I'm confused. I have to crank the volume knob up almost double from the other cans just to get a decent level and even then, it sounds very bland. My standard lightning/3.5 iPhone dongle sounds much better!

The amp specs are "Headphone Out Power: 24mW(32 ohm), 83mW(300 ohm)". Shouldn't that be plenty to drive the XS's? I'm confused what's up. Is it because the headphone out uses the tube section in the amp? Any guidance would be appreciated.



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verifitting t1_jad4fnx wrote

Planar headphones really suck up a lot of current. Dynamic headphones aren't usually as amplifier picky.

> "Headphone Out Power: 24mW(32 ohm), 83mW(300 ohm)".

This is not that powerful honestly. So no your amp is not handling the Edition XS all that well. A cheap enough combo would be Atom amp+ with its dac (or a Schiit magni+ with its dac).

To compare, Atom amp+ does 545 mW(9.04VRMS) @ 150Ω or 1 Watt (5.66 VRMS) @ 32Ω


blorg t1_jad7fkt wrote

That's very low power. The $9 Apple dongle does 31mW@33Ω, 30% more power than this does.

The Edition XS are much lower sensitivity (91dB/mW spec, and that's optimistic) than the Focal Clear (104dB/mw) or HD6XX (~100dB/mW), while your amp does higher power at 300Ω than 32Ω.

The Edition XS is 18Ω where presumably your integrated amp is putting out even less power.

Often the headphone outputs on these can be OK for high impedance dynamics but no good for low impedance, low sensitivity planars, it seems like this is one of these cases.


ElectronicVices t1_jae0isk wrote

When the rated wattage drops at lower ohm rating the device is current limited/has a very high output impedance. Either could create issues with the planar, the former being more impactful than the latter.


oldandmellow t1_jadarfi wrote

I have new Hifiman Deva Pro w/bluetooth that I hooked up to my Soundblaster sound card that has a discrete headphone amp. They sounded very flat and harsh and unable to get very loud. I bought the Atom DAC/AMP stack and they sound fantastic now. Definitely power hungry.


Imsjry OP t1_jae8ujt wrote

Thanks for all the help everyone. I'm very glad I asked here since I was wondering what the fuss was with the Edition XS after listening. I think an Asgard 3 amp is in my future!


Ok-Change503 t1_jaecbg5 wrote

Ah so you're using the headphone jack on a speaker amp right? The power output is very low compared to low end headphone amps or even a mobo/apple dongle. Given that the power output increases with impedance, I'm suspicious that the headphone output is coming straight from the tube preamp. This would explain why you're getting better performance on your dynamic driver cans than planars, which are low impedance, low sensitivity (generally don't do well with tubes). It's a bit of a shame because that amp looks pretty sweet otherwise. What I would do if I were you is hook up a dedicated headphone amp to the dac/preamp of the SV-500. You'll still get the tubiness of the preamp and good dac, but yeah you need more juice into Edition XS. They're 18ohm impedance so you're probably getting even less than the 24mW. You don't need anything fancy. Schiit Magni or Atom amp would do the trick. You'll probably notice a performance improvement with your 6xx and Clears as well.


mqtpqt t1_jadz423 wrote

some integrated amps just use resistors to step down the voltage/power from the speaker outs; which leads to a impedance mismatch (high damping factor). This can make your headphones sound muffled/boomy (treble cutoff/bass boost), depending on the impedance curve.


thatcarolguy t1_jactx3b wrote

It probably has a high impedance output. All my headphones sound very flat on my Marantz amp. In my case literally anything actually designed for headphones (even motherboard) that can achieve enough volume will sound better.


Imsjry OP t1_jad1anu wrote

I guess headphone output is a case where separate components are better than integrated systems. I just grew up with old receivers you plugged your headphones into and never thought about impedance levels.


thatcarolguy t1_jad2v2h wrote

It really shouldn't be the case that separate components are better but often integrated amps just use high impedance resistors off of the main speaker output to step down to headphone levels.


LyKosa91 t1_jae1qwv wrote

The high output impedence will likely also be contributing to your focals (and possibly sennheisers as well, depending on how high the output impedence is) sounding extra meaty, since high output impedence sources on low impedence dynamic drivers will usually result in a boosted low end (definitely the case with focals)