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32ohm vs 250ohm vs 600 ohm headphones, need help on choosing
aaronius
post Feb 17 2012, 08:00
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Ok, I'm just getting my feet wet into this audiophile stuff. But, I love my music and want to hear in the best way possible that I can afford. I have found a really nice pair of headphones that fit my budget.
However, they come in 3 different OHM's. I can get the Beyerdynamic DT 990's in 32 ohm, 250 ohm, 600 ohm. From what I understand the 32 ohm doesn't require a seperate headphone amp
and can easily be driven by a pc or mp3 player. (I'll mention that all my music is in AAC 256kbps. Not quite lossless but still much better than standard 128 kbps mp3.) But the 250 ohm and 600 ohm do need an
amp to get the best out of them.

My questions are:

1) how much better sounding is the 600 ohm over the 250 ohm over the 32 ohm? If any?
2) Will an inexpensive headphone amp like the Fiio E7 or E11 drive the 250 ohm enough to get the sound I paid for?
3) I plan on using these on my desktop computer for music (rock/metal) and gaming. Am I better off with the 32 ohm or is it worth the extra expense to get a cheap amp for the 250 ohm?

I appreciate the educated feedback as I am a complete noob and need help on this.

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markanini
post Feb 17 2012, 11:22
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The freqency responce ends up being slightly different for the same model with different Ohmage as in this case. Which one is better is up to you. As a generality higher Ohmage headphones are better performing across the board. You might want a amp even if you choose a 32Ohm model for the sake of impedance matching, I doubt there is a sound card with an 8Ohm headphone outout(1:8 rule).
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saratoga
post Feb 17 2012, 15:56
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QUOTE (aaronius @ Feb 17 2012, 02:00) *
1) how much better sounding is the 600 ohm over the 250 ohm over the 32 ohm? If any?


Impedance doesn't relate to quality. Mostly, the difference is just that higher impedances won't be quite as loud for a given amplifier voltage, and lower impedances will be somewhat harder on an amp since they'll draw more current. For things in the 32-100 range, theres not much difference. 600 ohms might be a little quiet on some devices, depends on the sensitivity of the headphones (how loud they are per mW of power delivered).

QUOTE (aaronius @ Feb 17 2012, 02:00) *
2) Will an inexpensive headphone amp like the Fiio E7 or E11 drive the 250 ohm enough to get the sound I paid for?


I probably wouldn't bother amping high impedance headphones unless they're too quiet.

QUOTE (markanini @ Feb 17 2012, 05:22) *
As a generality higher Ohmage headphones are better performing across the board.


Thats not true.

QUOTE (markanini @ Feb 17 2012, 05:22) *
You might want a amp even if you choose a 32Ohm model for the sake of impedance matching,


I think you just misphrased this, but you don't impedance match headphones. They're deliberately run mismatched.

QUOTE (markanini @ Feb 17 2012, 05:22) *
I doubt there is a sound card with an 8Ohm headphone outout(1:8 rule).


32 divided by 8 would actually be 4 ohms. And to be clear, thats not particularly low for a good headphone output.
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markanini
post Feb 17 2012, 19:10
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QUOTE (saratoga @ Feb 17 2012, 15:56) *
QUOTE (markanini @ Feb 17 2012, 05:22) *
As a generality higher Ohmage headphones are better performing across the board.


Thats not true.

Yeah, actually it's the amp that has a easier job of producing a more accurate output for higher impedance headphones. Amp issues aside the different models will have a different frequency responce which don't have hard correlation to impedance specs. The frequency responce will likely be the most audible parameter which is why you audition a phone before making a purchase.

This post has been edited by markanini: Feb 17 2012, 19:10
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