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TOPIC: SHD and Headphone (DAC/) amplifier

SHD and Headphone (DAC/) amplifier 3 months 1 week ago #49318

  • Bolduque
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Hi there,

My SHD is coming in today and I just have one final question: How would I integrate a headphone amp with the SHD? Would it be a matter of setting one of the four presets to output a digital signal to a separate headphone DAC/AMP where I would have to control the volume separately there? Preferably I wanted to find a headphone "power amplifier" where I could control the volume via the SHD as well but I am having trouble finding such a model online, but having to separately control my headphone volume is fine, it is not used that much anyway.

From reading other topics I would set output gains limits on all presets to make sure that one does not accidentally raise the volume when on the headphone preset and then destroy my speakers when back on the speaker presets.

Would the above proposed setup work? If not how would i integrate a headphone amplifier with the SHD?
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SHD and Headphone (DAC/) amplifier 3 months 1 week ago #49319

  • Ultrasonic
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If it was me I would probably use analogue outputs from the SHD into a traditional headphone amp, and control the volume with the amp. I say this as it will give you the widest range of headphone amps to choose from and will probably be the cheapest option for something you say you won't use too much.

You could also use a headphone amp with a built in DAC if you'd prefer, provided it had an RCA SPDIF digital input.
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SHD and Headphone (DAC/) amplifier 3 months 1 week ago #49320

  • Bolduque
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Hey Ultrasonic,

This sounds like a good solution indeed. How would the volume knob of the minDSP work together with the volume of the headphone amp? This is the only part I do not fully see.
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SHD and Headphone (DAC/) amplifier 3 months 1 week ago #49326

  • Ultrasonic
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Bolduque wrote:
Hey Ultrasonic,

This sounds like a good solution indeed. How would the volume knob of the minDSP work together with the volume of the headphone amp? This is the only part I do not fully see.

Both volume controls would affect the volume coming out of the headphones and ultimately you could use whatever combination worked best.
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SHD and Headphone (DAC/) amplifier 3 months 1 week ago #49329

  • rodrigaj
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Most headphone amplifiers have loop out functions that are independent and don't need the headphone amplifier to be turned on. That allows only one set of outputs from the SHD to be used - if that is a concern. (Output SHD RCA --> HP --> Loop Out HP --> Amplifier)

I have a similar setup. I leave my SHD volume control on a setting that is appropriate to my speaker amplification and adjust the headphone amplifier to a volume appropriate to the headphones. These are approximate settings intended to prevent mistakenly blasting through your HPs.

Some purists insist that such loop out arrangements detract from sound quality, but I have found that not to be the case with my setup. In the old days, preamps / receivers had Tape Out functions which could be used as a pass through output (i.e., no volume control effect), but fewer and fewer preamps offer this anymore.
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