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Can one tell the a difference in audio quality between headphones with different ohm specs. Such as the Beyerdynamics 880 or 990 that you can get with different ohms...

Just getting into this headphone stuff ...
 

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For high impedance headphones, you need more voltage/less current to drive them. For portable use the lower impedance headphones are better suited.
If you use your headphones on an amp, it's better to choose a higher impedance, since it wil give you less noise and better damping.

Check this nice detailed analogy.
 

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For high impedance headphones, you need more voltage/less current to drive them. For portable use the lower impedance headphones are better suited.
If you use your headphones on an amp, it's better to choose a higher impedance, since it wil give you less noise and better damping.

Check this nice detailed analogy.
I understand the need for an amp when using the higher impedance phones but was wondering if one can tell the difference in audio quality between high impedance phones when using the appropriate amp?

I am currently auditioning different headphones and have ordered the Beyer 990 250 ohm! I noticed that they also have a 32 ohm and a 600 ohm set in the same model. I understand that the 32 ohm works best with portable music players!

I have tried the Senns 598, which I did not care for, cheap construction and didn't like the sound, Bower and Wilkens P7, which sound great but maybe a little too brite and the Philips X1 ...which was the best sounding and most comfortable until I got the P7s.

Just installed the Creative Labs Zx card on my computer, which has a DAC and a 600 ohm headphone amp and am waiting for the Emotiva XDA-2 which has a DAC and headphone amp also.
 

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Before I dove into high priced (for me) headphones I as most others likely do did some research into them by reading pro reviews and the forums.
All of the headphones I was interested in were 600 ohms I found nothing to suggest a portable player like an iPod would be suitable until a HTS member reviewed the Sennhiser HD 600 headphones using a variety of MP3 players, AVRs, and a laptop.
I have owned them for over a year and the only reason I could see to use an amp would be for more volume.
In my case I do not max out the volume on the iPod and the AVR will get loud enough to cause hearing loss.
So despite the prevalent option of needing an amp for high impedance headphones if your soundcard or MP3 portable is loud enough you are good to go.
To the question of different impedance options for the same headphones making a SQ difference I would want to know how that impedance difference was achieved.
Its not like you just swap a resistor and get 32 or 600 ohms (or at least it shouldn't be).
Of course listening to each is the best way to decide.
 

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Using high impedance cans on a portable amp could still become an issue, when pushing the amp to it's limits. This is because of a combination of the amps sensitivity and how the headphone impedance variates with frequency. For instance the Senn's HD650 impedance to frequency;


Because of that some music passages can requere more power than others (let's say, loud cymbals), which can result in reaching max power, even though volume is not set to max. This can cause clipping.

Rule-of-thumb: choose an impedance that is 8 times higher or more than the ouput impedance of your amp, and preferably use powerful amps to drive high impedance cans.
 

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Higher impedance headphones are harder to drive, but the higher impedance is for better fidelity. The reason is dampening. Most typical headphone amp sections have a higher impedance than you would like. What happens when you pair that with a low impedance headphone is that you will get ringing (read: audio distortion). Basically, you should do the following:

Low end system - less expensive headphones with lower impedance probably not over 50 (this makes them easier to drive)

Middle end system - If the amp output impedance is lowish perhaps around 1ohm, you can probably drive low impedance earphones but a 250 ohm headphone would be a good choice.

High end systems – For instance my Violectric V100 has an output impedance of around .125, so it has a dampening factor of around 400 for a 50 Ohm headphone. The dampening factor would go up significantly as you use headphones that have higher ohm ratings. In short, you can use any headphone with this amp with little to no ringing/distortion.

In summary, I would stay away from high ohm headphones unless you know you have a headphone amp that has a relatively low output impedance and has high amp power. Some headphone amps will list the ohm range that it supports, but if you can find out the true output impedance that would be better.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I decided to stay with the Beyers DT 990 pro(250 ohms) as they sounded the best for me using the headphone amps of the Emotiva XDA-2 and the Creative Labs soundcard. The headphones were probably the most comfortable cans that I have tried. They still seem to work OK with my tablet or Ipod (but I do need to increase volume levels).

BTW ...wife got tired of me buying and trying different headphones....
 
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