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#1995010 - 12/05/12 11:54 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Radion Romanovich Offline
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Registered: 03/13/11
Posts: 39
So, is it safe to assume that these high-end headphone are still not good enough to manifest the sterility, roughness and artificiality of on-board piano sounds?

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#1995016 - 12/05/12 12:04 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Radion Romanovich]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3483
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: Radion Romanovich
So, is it safe to assume that these high-end headphone are still not good enough to manifest the sterility, roughness and artificiality of on-board piano sounds?


No, I would say that's not a safe assumption at all. The existence and use of headphones like this is a common cause of the lifting of the veil of darkness that makes people think onboard sounds are really good. When your headphones are good and you play a lot, eventually you realize the need for a software piano.


Edited by gvfarns (12/05/12 12:05 PM)

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#1995043 - 12/05/12 01:15 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Radion Romanovich Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/11
Posts: 39
gvfarns,

Considering that I don't want to get bored of my DP anytime soon, and am not really an audiophile, which of these 3 options would you recommend to me? I'm looking for mid-range in price, and something which is for monitoring but with soul. My brain will fill the blanks that these phones will not cover.

Audio Technica ATHM50
Sennheiser HD-280 PRO
AKG Acoustics K-240 Semi Open Studio (not the MK version)

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#1995054 - 12/05/12 01:49 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3483
Loc: Pennsylvania
I own the ATHM50 and the HD595 and they are both pretty decent headphones, but I like playing piano on the latter better, despite the fact that it doesn't block out the noise from the action or other ambient noise (The ATH does this quite well). Open-style headphones give you a feeling that you are really there and the sound is coming from the room rather than the headphones. They are just more realistic. They don't emphasize the bass as much, so be aware of that. The HD595 is a order of magnitude more comfortable to wear as well. Your ears don't get hot or feel boxed in.

The HD-280 Pro is comparable to the ATH from what I understand, but I don't own it, so I can't comment more.

I also have not had the privilege of using the AKG. However, I feel that the open nature of the HD 595 is part of what makes them sound better. As a result I'm inclined to say the AKG is the way to go.

Overall it doesn't seem to me that getting inferior headphones is a good way to avoid getting bored of your DP. Basically, if your headphones are the weak link, you will get bored/annoyed with them rather than your DP. Each time we improve one piece in the audio chain, we realize a boost to the quality our experience and also notice the weakness of the next weakest link. But we shouldn't confuse the two effects. When you get really good headphones it's easier to notice deficiencies in the onboard sound, but that doesn't mean you aren't having a better experience than you would with poor headphones.

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#1995078 - 12/05/12 02:45 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Dave Horne]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4223
Loc: Arizona.
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
I feel compelled to state this ... again.

Find the best price online (including shipping) and then go to your local audio store and ask if they will match your price.

It's the local stores that let you take a set of headphones home for a day or two to try out, that's been my personal experience.



Dave, I couldn't agree with this statement more. But as I've mentioned, I don'tT have a high fidelity type store anywhere near us. I'd suspect lots of people in rural areas don't. We must rely on people like you who are kind enough to spend the time giving us honest and accurate reviews.

From where we are at, a round trip drive to Phoenix from northern Arizona would be a 6 hour round trip drive. Driving my Ford F-150 would cost around $100 in gas EACH WAY. Spending $200 on gas plus 6 hours driving to audition a pair of $100 headphones....well...!

Anyway, I've made my decision. (and it's not what you think!)

After spending even more time doing research, I've decided to add a third category to the criteria in which my decision was based. In addition to buying a pair of nice (compatible) headphones for use with my digital piano, and my stereo receiver, the third (new) added criteria is sleep! That's right, SLEEP.

You see, my wife (Mrs Hunky) snores a little. Only a little mind you, but it is enough to make me focus on the snoring sound and drive me nuts as I am an EXTREMELY light sleeper. ANYTHING drives me nuts as I am hyper sensitive to anything; especially noises.

So, without going into too much detail, my new headphones will be perfectly compatible with my digital piano since they are rated at only 38 Ohms. (No amp needed). They will sound absolutely incredible on my high power (200 watts/channel) stereo receiver as they project incredible bass/mids/highs (so I've read), AND, they will be perfectly compatible for night time listening in bed my MP3 player without disturbing my wife since the cans are CLOSED with very little to no noticeable leakage of sound.

In addition, I can remain true to myself (that being a cheap bastard) and spin it as being 'frugal' or a 'savvy shopper'.

Cost: Just over $100 bucks @ Amazon.
Brand: Audio Technica
Model: ATH-M50s (straight cord).

After reading all of my criteria, can you blame me?, honestly?





Edited by Mr Super-Hunky (12/05/12 03:54 PM)

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#1995087 - 12/05/12 03:14 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
piRround Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 318
Loc: Yarmouth, Maine
Originally Posted By: Mr Super-Hunky
[quote=Dave Horne]

Cost: Just over $100 bucks @ Amazon.
Brand: Audio Technica
Model: ATH-M50s (straight cord).

After reading all of my criteria, can you blame me?, honestly?





Mr. S-H -- I'm intrigued with using them at night. I,too, listen to my MP3 at night but with a set of (wholly inadequate) earbuds because I'm a side/stomach sleeper. Can you fall and stay asleep with the phones?

Sorry to derail thread.
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#1995092 - 12/05/12 03:25 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: gvfarns]
Radion Romanovich Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/11
Posts: 39
Thanks a lot for your insight. I have to admit that if I could buy better phones I would, but money is an issue. Fortunately, I have noticed that decent phones will satisfy a non-audiophile as long as he is not exposed to their higher-end brethren. As I said before, imagination shall fill the blanks.

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#1995113 - 12/05/12 04:18 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5276
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
My only negative comment about this purchase, it doesn't look as though the cable is detachable.

Earlier this year I threw out several sets of headphones because I couldn't repair them. I then made it a priority to only buy headphones with easily replaceable cables (and ear cushions) as a result. (I bought the Sennheiser HD 598 and the AKG 240 MKII.)

The headphones that I recycled were still serviceable but would have cost too much to send back to the manufacturer to be rewired.

Just a thought ...
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#1995115 - 12/05/12 04:24 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3788
Loc: North Carolina
Wow, you must be tough on headphones! In nearly 40 years I've only once had a cable problem with headphones, and that was a cable break inside the end connector, easily repaired. (BTW, I'm only referring to "real" phones, not the junk cheapos that come with CD players and the like, which break if you look at crossways at them.)

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#1995120 - 12/05/12 04:33 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5276
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
The one set of headphones was about 20 years old but the wire in the molded plug broke. I asked about the repair (from Sony) and it would have cost more than what I paid new. I tried to solder a new plug but the cable itself was a nightmare to work with.
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#1995125 - 12/05/12 04:47 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3788
Loc: North Carolina
Yes, those molded plugs are hard (impossible!) to repair. But the replacement (with removable screw-on cover) is a snap to install, and even today it costs less than $5 USD.

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#1995139 - 12/05/12 05:08 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: MacMacMac]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5276
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Originally Posted By: MacMacMac
Yes, those molded plugs are hard (impossible!) to repair. But the replacement (with removable screw-on cover) is a snap to install, and even today it costs less than $5 USD.


Have you tried to solder that headphone wire? This isn't like soldering speaker wire.

I always solder my own speaker plugs and I used to make my own instrument plugs; the headphone wires were simply beyond my ability. smile
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#1995147 - 12/05/12 05:37 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4223
Loc: Arizona.
pirRound, I don't sleep normally. I lie in bed in an upright position [think sitting up in bed watching TV]. The headphones are more a courtesy to my wife so I don't disturb her.

I have very bad joints that ache horribly at night because my mind focuses on the pain since it is dark and I have nothing else to do. Of course I should be sleeping, but not with the combination of energy and achy joints that I have.

I'm telling you this because this situation has an lot to do with my headphone (closed headphone) purchase. I've noticed that having my mind actively focus on beautiful music (Mannheim Steamroller comes to mind) helps to not focus on the aches and pains. I remember listening to some classical music as a kid on my dads Realistic (Radio Shack) headphones and how the music lulled me to sleep.

Radion Romanovitch, I checked out the pricing history of the ATH-50s on Amazon and the current price is near an all time low. If you do a lot of research, (days, like I'm doing), you will find the these cans are highly regarded by just about everyone. At just over $100 bucks, most, if not EVERYONE will say a better deal cannot be found. And this is with having VERY good quality sound as one of your criteria.

Dave Horne, You make a good point, however, the M50s seemed to address this issue by reinforcing the cable with a wound spring thing at the base. If you manage to bust through all that you must be playing gigs at a broffle and things are getting pretty wild! he he. Plus, they needed to compromise somewhere to offer this quality of a product at this super low price.

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#1995220 - 12/05/12 08:51 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
djwayne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/10/10
Posts: 123
I have the ATH-M50s and they are plenty good enough for me. I got them used but like new on E-bay for $100. I got the coiled cord which works out great for me. The pads had a problem staying on, so I used a little Gorilla glue to hold them on...works perfect now.

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#1995248 - 12/05/12 10:49 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
If it is more convenient to shop online you can return headphones after trying them but you will probably pay for that option in the form of return shipping and maybe a restocking fee. Sometimes it is the only way to get your hands on something to try in your home.

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#1995434 - 12/06/12 12:24 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Deffie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/10
Posts: 169
The ATH-M50s for quite a while were the go-to headphone to recommend on Head-Fi; I think they might have started to fall out of that just recently but they're certainly well-regarded.

With that said, I can't help but wonder how new your stereo receiver is. Most modern receivers have a separate (and usually quite low quality) headphone amp that is completely isolated from the main amp. Hopefully not the case; apparently older amps typically used the main amp to drive their headphone out with some resistors added and newer ones usually have it driven off of a separate cheap op-amp since it's usually an afterthought. I know my receiver doesn't do my headphones any justice although it drives my speakers fine.

Oh, and as far as higher quality headphones exposing DP problems. At least for me I have found that the improvements are worth dealing with that potential issue. I've previously used HD600s for piano and it sounded quite good, and if it didn't require me to bring my amp home I'd probably uses my Audeze LCD-2s when I practice.
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#1995661 - 12/06/12 09:10 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Deffie]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4223
Loc: Arizona.


Here it is Deffie. My 1982 fall semester food and necessities allowance. (Lots of tuna in cans and Ramen noodles to make up the gap!)




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#1996148 - 12/07/12 08:15 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Deffie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/10
Posts: 169
Haha, nice, I know how that goes. Receivers aren't really something I know much about so unless you've thrown some good headphones at it I have no idea how it'll perform. I just know that vintage receivers are popular on Head-Fi because 'back in the day' the headphone jack would be part of the main amplification circuit and now they usually aren't (my new-ish receiver's certainly isn't).

And regardless, the good news is that with the ATH-M50s it probably won't matter since they're quite easy to drive smile
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#1996271 - 12/08/12 06:24 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
kent2012 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/11
Posts: 45
for those on a budget, you guys reckon Sennheiser HD280Pro is the way to go?

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#1996280 - 12/08/12 07:09 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3788
Loc: North Carolina
Nope. True, these are not expensive. But they sound cheap. For the same money there are many other, better choices.

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#1996283 - 12/08/12 07:15 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
kent2012 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/11
Posts: 45
I just assumed any Sennheiser headphone would be good enough for a DP, guess I was very wrong frown

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#1996288 - 12/08/12 07:39 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3788
Loc: North Carolina
Some people like the 280s. So they're not "wrong".
I just think that you can do much better for the money.
There are LOTS of good choices in the vicinity of $100.

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#1996314 - 12/08/12 09:19 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
kent2012 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/11
Posts: 45
like the ones name in this thread? or do you have any personal experiences of your own? please share if so smile

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#1996411 - 12/08/12 01:19 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4223
Loc: Arizona.
Kent2012, I just found a pair of ath-m50s online for $99.00 free shipping. Also, Guitar Center has the M50s on sale now for $108.00 after a $20.00 coupon for spending over $100.

Like I (and a ton of others have said on audiophile sites), there ARE better headphones out there. But not for $100 bucks there isn't!. You would have to compare these cans with others costing 2-3 times as much in terms of audio quality as an equivalent comparison.

If you want something uber cheap that STILL sounds good, get the Sony MDR-zx300. There frequency response is 10hz-24hz which is incredibly respectful for a $20 pair of headphones. They don't sound great, but they do sound VERY good. For $20 bucks, they sound extremely good!

Hope this info helps.



Edited by Mr Super-Hunky (12/08/12 01:20 PM)

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#1996435 - 12/08/12 02:29 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3788
Loc: North Carolina
Kent, the best way is to try them out yourself ... if possible. That's the problem, though. Around here the stores that have any phones open to try out are showing only a VERY limited number, and only brands I've never heard of. Meanwhile, the potentially good stuff is packaged in hermetically sealed cartons and locked up. Fortunately there are online dealers who will accept returns at no cost.

To shorten the process, first consider your preferences and your use-case.

Closed phones will keep sound in, and no one will be disturbed by what you're listening to. And they block outside noise as well. But the sound quality suffers. That's what I dislike about the Senn 280.

Open phones will leak a little sound, and will let some outside sound in. But, to me, they sound better. That's what I liked about the Senn HD555 and Beyer DTX900.

All of the above are at around $100, and there are plenty more. So if you can choose open vs. closed you can narrow the field.

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#1996853 - 12/09/12 10:31 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
kent2012 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/11
Posts: 45
ok thanks for your help macmacmac and mr hunky lol
I am still a newbie beginner and I have a p105 so I was wondering about what kind of headphones to get. I honestly probably wouldn't even be able to tell the difference in sound I think. Think I'll try the Audio-Technica ATH-M50's, also what does a coiled cable do? does it offer anything different then one that isn't coiled?


Edited by kent2012 (12/09/12 10:35 AM)

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#1996903 - 12/09/12 12:05 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3483
Loc: Pennsylvania
The coiled cable gets in the way less and gets tangled less. There's no other advantage as far as I know.


Edited by gvfarns (12/09/12 12:06 PM)

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#1996957 - 12/09/12 02:24 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: gvfarns]
spanishbuddha Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2323
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
The coiled cable gets in the way less and gets tangled less. There's no other advantage as far as I know.

I thought I read in a Hi-Fi magazine article that the spin induced on the electrons contributes to a smoother sound. I wonder if Dave Horne agrees?

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#1996974 - 12/09/12 03:19 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: spanishbuddha]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5276
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Originally Posted By: spanishbuddha
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
The coiled cable gets in the way less and gets tangled less. There's no other advantage as far as I know.

I thought I read in a Hi-Fi magazine article that the spin induced on the electrons contributes to a smoother sound. I wonder if Dave Horne agrees?


Of course, the coiled cable makes a difference. At the equator however those effects are cancelled out. There are minute positive and negative effects though above and below the equator.

Don't you read the literature?
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#1996981 - 12/09/12 03:40 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4223
Loc: Arizona.
After doing a LOT of research, I'm glad I took others advice and did NOT choose a pair of cans based on my own impressions. I know at first this may seem odd, but let me explain.

To begin, there are MANY other qualified people who are more capable of accurately reviewing different headphones than I can. Many of them are considered to be somewhat 'authorities' on the subject. These people not only listen to the lows, mids, and highs but in addition listen to many other things like linear or colored sound signatures, spacial presence, speed of the drivers (slow vs punchy) etc.

These 'authority' type people usually have access to an oscilloscope and various other testing gear to actually see, hear and measure the frequency responses that the cans provide.

In addition, let's 'pretend' that you could just take a short drive to your local audiophile headphone showroom (there's usually one on every corner right?) and open up the factory sealed boxes. Of course since their selection is so huge, and since they have absolutely no problem opening up all the different sealed boxes so that you can audition 20-30 different pairs, you may still find this head-to-head comparison worthless! Why you ask?....because many headphones, especially higher end monitors require a break-in period of 40 hours (or more) to really loosen up the drivers and allow for the entire full range of motion. I've read countless times of people saying that their new headphones sound so much better AFTER being played for several weeks. NOTE: It is usually the fullness and the depth of the low-end bass that takes the time to 'break-in'.

Of course, some people will just crank the crap out of their headphones to their loudest possible level the day they take them out of the box. Others do the same thing with a brand new car engine.

It's your money!

Bottom line:

1.) You may NOT have a pro-audio store anywhere near you.

2.) You may NOT be an audiophile or even very well informed on what you are doing or about to buy.

3.) You may NOT have access to a wide selection of well worn (broken in) headphones that will accurately represent the finished sound product....i.e how can you compare bass response between cans when they are not even broken in yet as they won't sound the same until AFTER they are broken in?

I ended up taking the advice of just about every professional review I could find and ended up purchasing the Audio Technica ATH-M50s for all the reasons mentioned above. Also, when I say a "$100" pair of headphones, I really mean more like $99 as opposed to $159. A 'hundred bucks' is a hundred bucks. NOT 50% higher than that!

Side note: The law of diminishing returns seems to apply with headphones more on construction quality than anything else. As I've mentioned before, lots of cheap inexpensively made cans sound VERY good. The $20 Sony MDR-ZX300 come to mind. It's just the materials used on some of these products may not last all that long. Then again, as Billy Joel says;..."you get more mileage from a cheap pair of sneakers".

Also, don't forget about the OHMs compatibility thing. Basically you have the choice of three levels. 30-ish OHMs, usually best for MP3 players, digital pianos, laptops and alike. 200-300 OHMs, usually for both portable players, digital pianos and home stereo. The use of a headphone amp may or may not be helpful with this impedance. And the 600 OHMs pair is usually reserved for more pro audio type stuff. They will work on every type of portable player but will most likely require the use of a dedicated headphone amp for best results. These are NOT required when using the lower impedance headphones. EXAMPLE, the Sansa/Sandisk clip, clip+, clip zip can power 64 OHM (or less) headphones nicely without much benefit from an amp. After that, higher impedance cans may require more juice from an amp.

Well, this is about all I know, (or at least have read). If anything is wrong, don't come down on me too hard as I've said I didn't know anything just a week ago! Hopefully this info can help someone out.

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