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Choosing headphones for my Yamaha AVR, totally confused on impedance and ohms, etc.
texasnightowl
post Nov 27 2013, 01:34
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I have a Yamaha RX-V1800 receiver which has the simulated Silent Cinema (Dolby Headphone type) processing. Have had it for at least 5 yrs. Connected to it is my TV (hdmi), PS3 (hdmi), Wii (via component), and a now obsolete HD-DVD player (hdmi). At some point next year I'll be adding a PS4. I'm in a spot now where I need headphones to use with it...particularly for the PS3 use...because my game room/office is directly next to the living room where other people are watching TV.

I'm mostly looking for headphones to use during PS3 use (but Wii use still happens)...and I assumed the way to go would be to simply use the Yamaha headphone jack as opposed to buying some sort of separate amp, but...I am completely confused on what impedance and ohms mean in terms of what headphones I should be looking at. In part that is probably because the manual for my receiver lists 2 values...kind of?

Here is what the manual says:

Headphone Jack Rated Output/Impedance
CD, etc. (1 kHz, 40 mV, 8 Ω) ................................ 150 mV/100 Ω

My retired electrical engineer father says just get headphones between 16 and 80 Ω. But it seems like a lot of sites are saying the amp impedance should be 1/8th of headphone impedance? But is that based on the numbers in parens or the 100 Ω number? Big difference! I've seen a lot of difference formulas around too but they go right over my head!

If I want to continue with the plan to run headphones out of the Yamaha, what ohm range should I be looking for on the headphones?

Should I seriously consider a separate amp? If so, can it run attached directly through the Yamaha or will it have to be connected to the PS3?

And finally, any suggestions for a sub-$200 range? Under $150 even better?

Thanks for any clarification that can be provided.
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saratoga
post Nov 27 2013, 04:42
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Its a receiver, the headphone output will be awful. Get whatever headphones you like and don't worry.
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DVDdoug
post Nov 27 2013, 06:42
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QUOTE
Its a receiver, the headphone output will be awful.
I wouldn't say that... The main difference I've noticed (without careful listening tests) between my receiver and my computer is that the receiver goes louder.

QUOTE
My retired electrical engineer father says just get headphones between 16 and 80;. But it seems like a lot of sites are saying the amp impedance should be 1/8th of headphone impedance?
Both of those are true. The goal is not to "match" the impedance. The source impedance (receiver) should be low, and the load (headphone) should be higher.

The actual headphone impedance varies quite a bit across the frequency range from its "nominal" impedance. If the source impedance is (relatively) high, the frequency response will vary across the frequency range. Headphones are tested/specified with a low impedance "constant voltage" source.

QUOTE
Headphone Jack Rated Output/Impedance
CD, etc. (1 kHz, 40 mV, 8 Ω) ................................ 150 mV/100
The "rated" impedance is probably the minimum recommended headphone impedance, not the internal source impedance. That's also the way power amplifiers are rated. A solid state power amplifier typically has a source impedance less than one Ohm, but it's rated for 4 or 8-Ohm speakers.

High impedance headphones (300 Ohms) tend to be less-loud (with the same voltage) because you get less power. For example, you generally get about twice the power with 4-Ohm speakers as 8-Ohm speakers. (And if you were to connect a 1 Ohm speaker, or several 8-Ohm speakers, in parallel, you might fry the amp.)


QUOTE
And finally, any suggestions for a sub-$200 range? Under $150 even better?
There are plenty of excellent headphones in your price range. You might prefer your favorite $200 headphone over any other at any price.

I always recommend that you go to a store and listen! You'll learn a lot more by listening to headphones than you'll learn by listening to advice.

You can find some recommendations by searching this forum. GoodCans.com has reviews and recommendations in various price ranges with a minimum of hype or nonsense. But, they sell headphones so they don't recommend/review anything they don't sell.

There are some "frequently recommended" headphones, and that would be a good start. Most Grados have a reputation for being some of the best in their price range. I have a pair of Grado SR225's ($200). But, Grado's do look a little cheap & outdated. I also own a pair of Sennheiser HD280's ($100) which also have a reputation for being good for their price.

This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Nov 27 2013, 06:56
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texasnightowl
post Nov 27 2013, 09:46
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@DVDDoug

Thanks for the detailed response. The previous response did seem a bit simplistic to me...it didn't seem like all receivers could be completely awful!

QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Nov 26 2013, 23:42) *
QUOTE
Headphone Jack Rated Output/Impedance
CD, etc. (1 kHz, 40 mV, 8 Ω) ................................ 150 mV/100

The "rated" impedance is probably the minimum recommended headphone impedance, not the internal source impedance. That's also the way power amplifiers are rated. A solid state power amplifier typically has a source impedance less than one Ohm, but it's rated for 4 or 8-Ohm speakers.

So is the "rated" impedance the 100 Ω? Meaning I should look for 120/250/300 headphones? Or is that the 8 Ω, meaning I can go with pretty much any headphones?

QUOTE
High impedance headphones (300 Ohms) tend to be less-loud (with the same voltage) because you get less power. For example, you generally get about twice the power with 4-Ohm speakers as 8-Ohm speakers. (And if you were to connect a 1 Ohm speaker, or several 8-Ohm speakers, in parallel, you might fry the amp.)
It's backwards for me to think of lower impedance requiring more power ;> The receiver can handle 6 Ω speakers as well and even 4 Ω for L/R fronts. I have no plans for that though! But still...the Yamaha seems like it would have more than enough "power."

QUOTE
There are plenty of excellent headphones in your price range. You might prefer your favorite $200 headphone over any other at any price.

I always recommend that you go to a store and listen! You'll learn a lot more by listening to headphones than you'll learn by listening to advice.

I'd love to try to do this...unfortunately I live in a semi-rural area and I only get to the "city" maybe once every 2 weeks and I normally don't have a chance to do everything I'd like to.

However I'm going to try to check out some options to at least determine if I want over-ear or on-ear and if I want open or closed, etc.

QUOTE
There are some "frequently recommended" headphones, and that would be a good start. Most Grados have a reputation for being some of the best in their price range. I have a pair of Grado SR225's ($200). But, Grado's do look a little cheap & outdated. I also own a pair of Sennheiser HD280's ($100) which also have a reputation for being good for their price.

I'll look into Grados...hadn't heard of that brand until recently. I've seen some recs for Beyer DT770's and AKG K612's which interest me. I know I don't want anything with too much bass...nothing more punchy than intended anyway. As I mentioned, I'll be using these for PS3 gaming and movies and as far as music goes I listen to mostly classic rock, country (don't judge!), 80's pop/rock and some contemporary stuff like Adele. Also selected other stuff like Two Steps from Hell. Basically anything from AC/DC to Toby Keith to Anna Nalick to the Wicked broadway soundtrack. But I'd say at the moment the gaming/moves to music use is probably like 75% gaming/movies to 25% music.

Again, thanks so much!
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texasnightowl
post Nov 28 2013, 01:18
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I'm just going to add that the following is the response I received directly from Yamaha whom I recently contacted for guidance on what impedance to look for.

QUOTE
Thanks for your email. The headphone output is designed to work with consumer grade headphones, which typically have impedance ratings ranging between 15 and 60 ohms.

The output will still work with higher and lower impedance ratings, you would just need to adjust the volume control to compensate for the increased or decreased draw.

Best Regards,
The Yamaha Customer Support Team
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