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ChocoFudgeCake

Does the Helix need a headphone amp for driving high-impedance headphones?

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Hi everyone,

I bought a Helix a few weeks ago and I've got to say I'm absolutely blown away with it! So far I've mostly been using it with my reference monitors and sometimes into an amp until I get sorted with a portable FRFR system.

I'd like to start using headphones for late night practice, and so I'm looking at some nice over-ear headphones like the Sennheiser HD650. It seems most headphones in this category need a headphone amplifier depending on the source.

So I'm wondering, can the Helix drive high-impedance headphones? Are other helix users using one? Please, let me know what you do headphone users!

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No it does not need a headphone amplifier... In fact, it's got a strong amp inside that some people (like me) claim can overdrive low impedance Headphones in certain situations... Some like to connect to headphones through another interface.  I don't have the HD650's.  I've got the DT770 Pro 250 Ohm and Shure SRH840 40 ohm headphones.  The Shure's get crackly sometimes.

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Hi everyone,

 

I bought a Helix a few weeks ago and I've got to say I'm absolutely blown away with it! So far I've mostly been using it with my reference monitors and sometimes into an amp until I get sorted with a portable FRFR system.

 

I'd like to start using headphones for late night practice, and so I'm looking at some nice over-ear headphones like the Sennheiser HD650. It seems most headphones in this category need a headphone amplifier depending on the source.

 

So I'm wondering, can the Helix drive high-impedance headphones? Are other helix users using one? Please, let me know what you do headphone users!

I own hd650 and use them without any issue with Helix. It sound super great imo, far better than your average cell phone jack or computer. The hd650 are hight impedance and usually sound "bad" without a decent amp. But don't trust them for your sound tweaking, they lie! Bass and treble are too soft, you cannot set your hp/lp with them.

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Thanks, I'm quite happy to hear this. While getting a headphone amp for other purposes might happen anyway, it's nice to see the Helix this kind of portability.

 

I play backing tracks via PC/USB or with my phone using a dedicated auxiliary line in my patches, so this really helps with the grab-and-go advantages of the helix.

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I have used Sennheiser HD 380 cans rated at 53ohms and they sound great with Helix. But I prefer the Beyerdynamic DT700 rated at 80ohms....those sond killer. No external amplifier required

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Sony MDR-V6, 63 Ohms, 106dB SPL/mW. Sound great with the Helix. YMMV depending on the type of material you enjoy.

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I had a pair of Sennheiser HD280 64k headphones and it felt like the Helix was driving them too hard, making everything sound harsh in the mids. I got a pair of Sennheiser HD600s at 300k and they are much, much better. Tonally, they're smooth in the high end with a nice, but not overpowering, low end. Overall, fairly neutral sounding, and they're close enough to my JBL lsr305 monitors that I don't have to compensate when moving between them. Hope that helps.

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Thanks everyone!

I've since gotten my Sennheiser HD650s, and I've got to say they and the Helix work great together.

The higher impedance and over-ear wearing-style makes a huge improvement on how the Helix headphone output sounds compared to my Sennheiser in-ear SE215s.

 

It's still noticeably different to my usual set-up of going from S/PDIF to my reference speakers. There's a little more gain and compression, but I'm still more than happy with the results.

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