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250 Ohms headphone on HX Stomp


ThomThom098
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Hi, got a 250 Ohm DT-770 and to get decent volume I have to increase Output block by ~+12dB (w/ HX Stomp box knob on max). Used to have a 30 Ohm headphone, but very low quality, hence the change and output was on 0dB with ok volume in headset.

 

Is it a problem to have to increase output dB like this?

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I'm using hd600 which is 300 ohms, and I have no troubles getting the volume I need and I also push the output block quite a bit without it sounding strange, as long as you're in the digital domain volume boosts won't introduce noise. 

 

Do you have access to a computer and DAW? I would personally consider anything below 6dB of clipping on dBfs to be safe, whether you boost on the amp SIM or the output block would not matter IMO, except if you use FX loop then don't clip the loop block with excessive amp volume.

 

There are red indicators flashing on the blocks if you push them to clipping which I think is above 0 dBfs 

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Thanks, yes, have HX Edit on a laptop and Cubase LE as well to record / loop running in parallel. I don't think I noticed clipping but will check further. How do I check if I am "below 6dB of clipping on dBfs" ? Increase output block until it clips and see if at good volume I was 6dB before that happened? Thanks again

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My K240's are 55ohm, and with the HXS HP Output maxed and the output block at 0db, I wouldn't want it any louder.

That's just sitting at home jamming along to Spotify/YT/backing tracks, and those are set lower than max for a good mix. YMMV.

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Yes, my previous headphones were 30 Ohms and at 0 dB output I couldn't max the HX Stomp box volume button, it would be too loud. I am aware the higher the impedance of the headphone the lower the volume and am wondering if 250 Ohm is not too much. The issue is Line 6 do not give specs of headphone out impedance/ power so one cannot know how to match the headphone best. Helix out seems to be 12 Ohms and recommendation is Headphones at least 10 times that. But for Stomp we (I at least) don't know.

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5 hours ago, ThomThom098 said:

Hi, got a 250 Ohm DT-770 and to get decent volume I have to increase Output block by ~+12dB (w/ HX Stomp box knob on max). Used to have a 30 Ohm headphone, but very low quality, hence the change and output was on 0dB with ok volume in headset.

 

Is it a problem to have to increase output dB like this?

 

That seems to be rather extreme.

 

If I'm using headphones on my Helix using the Phones Output knob, I would usually have it set somewhere between the noon and 3 o'clock position. Anything higher than that would seriously damage my hearing. I regularly use a pair of closed back Audio Technica ATH-M50x rated at 38 ohms and/or a pair of really cheap semi open Superlux HD 668B rated 56 ohms.

 

It all works fine for me, don't have a Stomp to check it out though.

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5 hours ago, ThomThom098 said:

Hi, got a 250 Ohm DT-770 and to get decent volume I have to increase Output block by ~+12dB (w/ HX Stomp box knob on max). Used to have a 30 Ohm headphone, but very low quality, hence the change and output was on 0dB with ok volume in headset.

 

Is it a problem to have to increase output dB like this?

 

I do have exactly the same headphones and they works just fine with volume maxed out and no gain. Tons of headroom.

 

That 12dB does suggest your signal is probably weak from the start, and I'd rather trying to boost there than pushing the output that way. Might be you have a FX loop somewhere, with mismatched send/return levels?

 

Said that, if all presets are asking for 12dB (that's really A LOT), I'd plan for a hearing test/check.

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31 minutes ago, ThomThom098 said:

 

Thanks again, and you are at 0 on output level dB ?

 

Well, depends. Stock presets, especially the DIR, are rarely setup at 0dB, but I have no problems keeping them as they are. IRRC, they do vary from 0dB to +5dB. Of course depends on the content of each patch. As for my own presets, I do always aim to have a solid signal at the start of my chain, so it's rare I do go higher than +3dB at the final Output Level. Usually Im between 0 and +3dB. Again, main Stomp volume maxed out. I tried boosting at 12dB, man, I had to stop instantly...that's crazy loud!! :)

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Thanks, had a -3dB in the reverb, corrected that to 0. Have a very simple chain, Deluxe amp and a bit of reverb. Gain 5.5 Master 10, amp Level has to be at 9 with output now at +5dB and headset volume knob on the stomp at 3pm. Seems OK like this but then to get a clean sound (gain at 2 to 3) as Master was at 10 and amp level already at 9 I can't get it loud in the headphone without increasing that output gain again...

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8 minutes ago, ThomThom098 said:

Thanks, had a -3dB in the reverb, corrected that to 0. Have a very simple chain, Deluxe amp and a bit of reverb. Gain 5.5 Master 10, amp Level has to be at 9 with output now at +5dB and headset volume knob on the stomp at 3pm. Seems OK like this but then to get a clean sound (gain at 2 to 3) as Master was at 10 and amp level already at 9 I can't get it loud in the headphone without increasing that output gain again...

 

Check this video. Could be helpful to understand how to balance clean and overdrive, which is something we should always do, not only for headphones.

 

 

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4 hours ago, ThomThom098 said:

Thanks, yes, have HX Edit on a laptop and Cubase LE as well to record / loop running in parallel. I don't think I noticed clipping but will check further. How do I check if I am "below 6dB of clipping on dBfs" ? Increase output block until it clips and see if at good volume I was 6dB before that happened? Thanks again

 

Sounds like a good plan actually, I'm not sure how it looks when the output block clips but whenever it starts to clip, back it off a good 5-6 dB and you should be safe and no compromise of sound. Would not need a DAW for it either which is nice

 

If you use a DAW, just make sure it won't go over -6 dB on the meter and you're good to go

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Seems to be OK there, safe before clipping yes,  but still wonder if 250 Ohms is adapted, all blocks when added in presets give too low volume, always end up having to add 8 to 12 dB to get good volume. Hesitant to change headphone for the 80 Ohm version... hmmmmm

 

Note: am also doing these tests w/ single coils, likely not helping, colder mics than humbuckers...

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  • 8 months later...

Hi,

 

sorry to dig this out, but what was your conclusion in the end?

I am having a similar issue with my DT-990 Edition (250 Ohm Version). In fact, if i push the signal enough for it to be nice and loud, there is already some clipping (not the good kind).  Just opened Reaper to check my levels and there it also shows clipping. Therefore i reduced the volume back down so it shows around 0 dB in Reaper but could be louder for the heaphones really....

 

Thanks!

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My conclusion is I had to increase levels of some of my presets indeed compared to previous headset which was around 30 Ohms but it works fine, I have more than satisfactory volume without clipping. Note for those interested: on the Fender Mustang Micro, these headsets work well, the sound is awesome and the volume satisfactory to me albeit at max level - telling me the Ohm is borderline but ok, I would not want to listen any louder (but some may, that is personnal...)

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On 5/2/2021 at 5:01 AM, ThomThom098 said:

Hi, got a 250 Ohm DT-770 and to get decent volume I have to increase Output block by ~+12dB (w/ HX Stomp box knob on max). Used to have a 30 Ohm headphone, but very low quality, hence the change and output was on 0dB with ok volume in headset.

 

Is it a problem to have to increase output dB like this?

 

According to the link below the Helix's headphone output is 12 Ohms.

4 Best Headphones for Helix – Music Gear Zone

 

If that rating of 12 Ohms is accurate for the Helix's headphone output that means, using the 8:1 rule's recommended ratio, a headphone with an impedance of around 96 ohms should be well matched to the Helix. You can of course go higher(or lower) but the more the headphone's impedance exceeds that 96 Ohm mark, the more you may have to turn up the headphone volume. As you up the impedance rating of the headphones there can be a point of diminishing returns, where you feel as if you are not able to get adequate headphone volume anymore. This will depend to some extent on the construction and sensitivity/efficiency of the headphones. 

Headphones Ohms Ratings Explained - zZounds Music Blog

 

Update: I always try to use the equipment I will be using on stage to design presets intended for stage. I use an FRFR primarily as a monitor as it is most similar to a PA speaker. Stands to reason the results are just more predictable. If you do use headphones though, it occurs to me that in addition to the quality and inherent frequency response characteristics of a given headphone, that impedance mismatches may contribute to why some users get worse results than others when taking those presets, designed with headphones, directly to stage(usually a bad idea anyway IMHO). The Fletcher Munson Curve, as usual, is probably a big factor in this as well. See the quote below from the second link provided.

 

"Why does the 8:1 rule matter? If the source output impedance is more than 1/8 of the headphone impedance, you’ll get distortion in the form of audible variation in the frequency response. Highs, lows, or mids may get extra emphasis. These variations in frequency response can range from subtle to easily audible, and often unpredictable."

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On 1/24/2022 at 11:14 AM, ThomThom098 said:

My conclusion is I had to increase levels of some of my presets indeed compared to previous headset which was around 30 Ohms but it works fine, I have more than satisfactory volume without clipping.

 

Here's a quote from Digital Igloo (Eric Klein - Chief Product Design Architect at Yamaha Guitar Group, Inc. / Line 6 / Ampeg)

posted way back in 2017 in this thread - 

 

 

 

"A well-known recording engineer friend and I were talking a while back and he mentioned that some older professional recording gear might get worse reviews today simply because headphone impedances have been dropping steadily. Back then, there was a much better chance that any over-the-ear headphones would be high enough impedance to sound great on gear at the time. Now it's all about blowing kids' eardrums out with their $200 Beats that are designed to push enough bass from a phone's puny headphone amp.

 

Helix is professional gear "designed for professionals" and we weren't about to dumb down our headphone amp because everyone happens to have white earbuds in some drawer in their house. Feel free to use consumer cans, but don't expect it to sound great.

 

BTW, a lower-impedance doesn't necessarily mean worse specs; it simply means the cans were designed for a different purpose. There are amazing-sounding, über-expensive low-impedance cans that sound amazing on phones but terrible on pro gear. And there are amazing-sounding, über-expensive high-impedance cans that sound amazing on pro gear but terrible on phones."

 

Hope this helps/makes sense.

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7 hours ago, datacommando said:

 

Here's a quote from Digital Igloo (Eric Klein - Chief Product Design Architect at Yamaha Guitar Group, Inc. / Line 6 / Ampeg)

posted way back in 2017 in this thread - 

 

 

 

 

"A well-known recording engineer friend and I were talking a while back and he mentioned that some older professional recording gear might get worse reviews today simply because headphone impedances have been dropping steadily. Back then, there was a much better chance that any over-the-ear headphones would be high enough impedance to sound great on gear at the time. Now it's all about blowing kids' eardrums out with their $200 Beats that are designed to push enough bass from a phone's puny headphone amp.

 

Helix is professional gear "designed for professionals" and we weren't about to dumb down our headphone amp because everyone happens to have white earbuds in some drawer in their house. Feel free to use consumer cans, but don't expect it to sound great.

 

BTW, a lower-impedance doesn't necessarily mean worse specs; it simply means the cans were designed for a different purpose. There are amazing-sounding, über-expensive low-impedance cans that sound amazing on phones but terrible on pro gear. And there are amazing-sounding, über-expensive high-impedance cans that sound amazing on pro gear but terrible on phones."

 

Hope this helps/makes sense.

 

Props for mad good research skills! Thanks for digging that post up. Impedance, headphone sensitivity, construction quality, and other factors including the user's personal listening preferences, can figure into what sounds "good" with any pair of headphones used with the Helix. The better matched to the device the headphones are, which is I think the point Digitalgloo was making, the more likely they are to play nice with the headphone amp and also sound good. This is a critical thing to point out due to the fact that low impedance headphones can be so much louder; that can be deceptive and muddies the process of selecting the right headphones. There are a wide range of headphones that can work with the Helix, but a narrower range that sound great. The same as most other devices.

 

This is where impedance matching comes into play. Recognizing how high impedances as well as low sensitivity may reduce the headphone's volume helps to remove confusion in the selection process. It also helps to explain why too low an impedance headphone(like cheap earbuds) with decent sensitivity may require less volume/output from the headphone amp but may also result in less accurate, consistent, and lower quality sound reproduction.

 

Most studio engineers tend to opt for flat headphones or studio monitors over bass-boosting options like "Beats", for example, for some of the same reasons Helix users do. They want the headphones/monitors to accurately represent their tracks. That baseline helps ensure that their recording will more accurately reflect their "artistic" vision and sound decent with a wider range of devices used for sound reproduction. Even after recording using flat headphones/monitors though, a studio engineer will then often proceed to listen in the car, on a pair of HiFi speakers, on a pair of Beats(heh), and on a pair of phone earbuds, to see how the recording translates to different listening sources. Followed by making any required adjustments that represent a compromise that works on a wider array of sound sources. Much the same way some Helix users might take some presets designed on headphones and adjust them on an FRFR or guitar amp for stage use. Better IMHO at that point though to just copy a separate set of edited presets for stage, instead of trying to create a one-size-fits-all preset. Unlike a recording engineer Helix users have the luxury of creating different versions of presets intended precisely for what they will be played through.

 

If volume is the listener's sole criterion for "quality", then a more accurate and better matched pair of headphones may seem like an inferior choice, even when it isn't. The player's intention or goals for using the headphones impact their preference. Maybe they have a pair of headphones laying around they want to leverage, or they may just be looking for something loud that sounds good to them. Louder can easily sound better(and also destroy your hearing) and there is something reassuring about not having to max out the headphone amp. Lower levels on a headphone amp can also equate to a better S/N ratio. I can see where a loud and a subjectively "good" sounding pair of headphones may be just fine if you only intend to listen to your presets on those headphones and don't care how accurately they reflect the preset or how consistent the sound is. The problem is that too low an impedance, although potentially louder, impacts consistency, and personally, that lack of consistency is not something I want in a pair of headphones. There is already an array of factors that can impact the consistency of a preset's sound without me adding an avoidable one.

 

For my purposes and preferences, it makes sense to find headphones that sound good but are also as accurate and consistent as possible without requiring me to fight the headphone amp and run it at full volume and/or necessitate that my presets be boosted. Impedance matching and sensitivity appears to be part of that puzzle. Apologies for proceeding to 'Beats' this point into the ground.

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18 hours ago, HonestOpinion said:

Apologies for proceeding to 'Beats' this point into the ground.


LOL - I hope that Dr. Dre is paying you for plugging his awful product. ;-)

 

It’s purely “horses for courses” - what one guy thinks are great cans the next guy may not agree, as we can see from all the various discussions that continue to appear on this forum. I have lots of different headphones available to use from a variety of reasonable, and budget brand names, Sony, Audio Technica, Sennheiser, Tandberg, Superlux. I have found that if I am checking a recording while wearing, for example the ATH-M50x and then switching to the Tannoys without noticing a jarring difference, then that’s near enough for jazz, or close enough for rock and roll.

 

As you note, I too have gone down the path of spending an 18 hour day in the studios and then dropping a mix onto a cassette to listen to in the car on the way home. The morning after you realise what it is to have “ear fatigue”.

 

I used to think that “studio standard” cans must be the thing to have because, let’s face it, that is what the typical studio musician/engineer was using as a reference. Hmm… not really, you just need to check out what bands like the Beatles used while recording Sgt Pepper’s.

 

Example:

S.G. Brown Type "Super K" Headphones

 

Luckily Abbey Road Studio has better suggestions as starter options now.

https://spinnup.com/as/blog/abbey-roads-beginner-studio-set-up-guide-blog/


 

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DT-770s are 100mW 96db cans...SPL is 96db, so not exactly efficient and I think that's a 1K measurement so I would think the 20-20k rating would be around 87-90db SPL...That usually means at least a 4W @ 16 ohms per channel rated amplifier. That amplifier will put out 250mW per channel @ 250 ohms...2:1 headroom as it should be...A lot of people drop big $ on cans and miss that final step of getting the proper amplifier for them. A headphone amplifier is no different than selecting a properly matched amplifier for near field monitors...I certainly would not just use any old thing for my near fields...just my take...

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