Best headphones for Yamaha receiver?

 

Bronze Member
Username: S_jones

B.C. Canada

Post Number: 29
Registered: Oct-05
Hello. Is there any particular brand of headphones that are best for a Yamaha receiver? I have a Yamaha RXV657. The headphone output for my receiver is 150mV/100 ohms, though from what I've been reading the hedphone output specs are not really relevant?

I've had a pair of Koss TD65 heaphones for years. They're just cheapies, but they sounded great with my previous receiver (a Sony). However, with the Yamaha the sound is terrible - just thin with no bass (even though I set the bass setting to max and the treble to minimum when using the headphones). I'm not sure why they sound so dreadful, but I'm looking to get a new pair that will give some oomph to the sound (I use them for music listening only). Can anyone offer some advice? Thanks very much.
 

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1421
Registered: Oct-10
Your best bet is to go to a store with a 30 return policy. You won't know what will sound good TO YOU with your receiver until you try it. If there are Yamaha receivers on display with cd players connected. Bring your own cds (make it known right away that you bringing them in, a store employee will probably put stickers on the cases) and see if they'll allow you to try different headphones with it.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16211
Registered: May-04
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You don't provide a price range you're willing to work within so there can be no specific recommendations. From what I see on the web, the Koss headphones sold for well under $35. If that's the maximum cost you can afford, then it might be somewhat difficult to make any recommendations simply due to a lack of information regarding most inexpensive headsets.



The variation in sound quality you have experienced with the Koss phones played through two different receivers is, in all likelyhood, a matter of the impedance loading of the headphones. As the load impedance rises the headphone amplifier will have a more difficult time making deep bass and extended highs unless it has been designed to work into high impedance loads. Conversely, a good many headphone outputs on receivers can have an equally hard time driving a low impedance headphone. It's all in what the headphone amplifier expects to see as a proper load. Unfortunately, most headphone amps provided in mass market receivers have become no more important to the manufacturer than is tuner quality. The inexpensive ic chips used to provide a headphone output are typically quite worthless when it comes to actually making most headphones sound at all respectable and no guidance is provided from the manufacturer as to what impedance loads will work with the receiver.

To make matters worse, unlike loudspeakers where the working load impedance of most systems has been set at roughly 4-12 Ohms, there are no standards for impedance loading when it comes to headphones. Even within a single manufacturer's line the variation in nominal (average) impedance for their headphone line up might run from a low of 8 Ohms to a high of 300+ Ohms. Price is no indication of impedance. That would mean one headphone from that company might sound quite good with a particular headphone amp while another headphone from the same company would fail miserably. Now add to that the fact that most inexpensive headphones simply do not provide any real world spec for the impedance of their products and the consumer is left out in the cold.

You can play the hit and miss game of selecting headphones in a big box store such as Best Buy but my experience with mass merchants says there are no headphones to audition in these large stores. You can buy a headset off the rack and try it at home but you are not allowed to listen before you buy. Even if you had the opportunity to plug in a set, only your receiver model would be an appropriate amplifier since there's no guarantee Yamaha uses the same chip amp in all of their receivers.



I would suggest you have two options open to you unless you feel like playing games with the merchandise returns department of a big box store. First, trying a headphone with a lower impedance is probably going to solve the problem with the Yamaha. A 16 Ohm headset will probably work well with the chip amp. This is still somewhat hit and miss as there's no guarantee the Yamaha amp is even worth fooling with and you'll still be buying pretty blind when it comes to sound quality.

The second, and more dependable, way to solve your problem would be to purchase a dedicated headhpone amplifier that can drive virtually any reasonable impedance load. Headphone amplifiers have become a thriving business in the last decade with some high end models costing as much as a small used car. There are also some very innovative designs which cost far less and even some DIY designs you can put together in an evening's work; http://thegadgetssite.com/Amps/CMoy%20Altoids.html The less expensive the amplifier, the more it is restriced in the load it will drive but I would guess that any dedicated headphone amp will be of far superior quality and be capable of driving a much wider impedance load than is the chip amp in the Yamaha.

Think of the purchase of a quality headphone amplifier as an investment that will last well beyond the life span of your next three or four receivers and the cost doesn't seem all that unreasonable.

Companies such as Audio Advisor, Music Direct, Elusive Disc and a few other audio related retailers can give you more specific information regarding appropriate headphones for your Yamaha and give you details and pricing on headphone amplifiers. A quick search engine with "headphone amplifiers" or "DIY headphone amplifiers" should give you a range of options should you decide to get away from the mass market BS included in most receivers.




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Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1428
Registered: Oct-10
If you can swing $80+ tax, you might want to check out a pair of Sony MDR-XB500s. They sound great with an iPod provided you put the equalizer on bass REDUCER! They are worth a listen.
 

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1429
Registered: Oct-10
http://www.sonystyle.com/p/bass-headphones/en/p/MDRXB500

Here's the link.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2366
Registered: Oct-07
Go to 'Headfi' and ask there.
These guys have lots of headphone infomation and recomendations at all price ranges.
They may even be able to talk you into a DIY headphone amp, like the CMOY, which you can build for maybe 30$, all new parts.

For phones? I'd go with 70$ worth of Grado

http://www.stereophile.com/headphones/grado_sr60i_headphones/index.html

These phones have been in production at least since the
'90s and have stood the test of time.
 

Bronze Member
Username: S_jones

B.C. Canada

Post Number: 30
Registered: Oct-05
Thanks to everyone for your reponses. I had initially thought that the impedance of my headphones (90 ohms) was too low for my receiver, but after shopping around for a new pair I found that almost all of them had an impedance of 32 ohms or lower, so that seriously confused me. So, unless I am able to actually test out some headphones before purchasing them, it sounds like perhaps getting a dedicated headphone amp is the way to go.

Thanks again everyone!
 

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1450
Registered: Oct-10
Let us know what you end up with okay?
 

Gold Member
Username: Illuminator

USA

Post Number: 5518
Registered: Apr-05
Best Buy has several pair up for listening. They're all pretty miserable except perhaps a pair of Philips, which surprised me. The Dr. Dre headphones are all horrible with too much bass, inaccurate treble and not much in the mid area.

My favorite pair of headphones are the Pioneer HDJ-2000. They're designed for DJ's but have a much more flat response than many other headphones (including their predecessor HDJ-1000). Super clear detail and built extremely well.
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