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Old 17th September 2011, 05:31 AM   #1
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Default 2 channel headphone amp for novice?

Hi all

total noob here, hoping someone can point me in the right direction. I've been reading for hours and my head is spinning!

My wife has some mild hearing loss and has trouble hearing when we sit down to watch a movie together. I don't have a lot to spend, but I am trying to put together something which will give her greater clarity so she doesn't miss so much.

I had thought that the best thing for starters would probably be a headphone amp and a decent set of headphones.

I have got as far as learning that one can build a CMoy amp which could do the job. I guess I could split the signal and build two so that we could both listen the same way.

I don't have any experience in this, but I am pretty technical and I'm sure I could follow a good set of instructions. Long term I can see it becomming a real hobby, but for now I would just like to follow instructions.

Anyway, I am hoping someone could point me in the right direction on this one. I guess I am wondering the best way to get a 2 channel heaphone amp on the cheap for a total noob!

Thanks for reading!
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Old 17th September 2011, 05:40 AM   #2
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Let me get this straight... are you saying you have no soldering experience? If you have none than a CMOY might be a good choice. If you have more than "none" then might I suggest you build an Objective2 amp: NwAvGuy: O2 Summary
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Old 17th September 2011, 06:04 AM   #3
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I've done a little soldering here and there. Most complicated was soldering the power supply back onto the motherboard of a laptop, but I have no experience reading and interpreting schematics, and I don't really know what all the parts do, so I would need a good walkthrough.

The O2 looks great, but I can't see a good walkthrough and it is a little intimdating at the moment. Thanks for the tip though, it might be a future project.
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Old 17th September 2011, 06:06 AM   #4
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One way to think around the box would be to buy a pair of high efficiency headphones, and regular headphone jacks would sound much louder.

In terms of higher volume, sometimes you would need to make a headphone amp supply at higher voltages, for example a "CMOY-style" amp utilizing OPA551 may run from a supply of +/- 30V and can swing much more before clipping, this might be a total overkill for most headphone users but depending on her level of hearing loss, might be something worth looking into.
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Old 24th September 2011, 08:34 PM   #5
Nanook is offline Nanook  Canada
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Default jeremiah bullfrog...hearing loss

sorry your wife suffers from hearing loss.

Have you ever asked her to listen to a set of headphones? If so what type? I might suggest an IE type or full sized over the era "can". If a satisfactory level can be attained that way, then I suspect some phones and a tuned (equalized) headphone amp may be something to consider.

If the hearing loss warrants the use of hearing aid(s), are these a digital type? Can they be set up for a couple of tuned settings by her audiologist? Can these be "adjusted" between 2 settings by the end user?

You may be able to create an equalizer to counteract some of the frequency loss, but please be careful regarding the amount of gain available to her ears. If measurements are available to you, then this could be something that could be incorporated into a headphone amp. Perhaps even the use of a miniDSP (a diyaudio sponsor/advertiser whose products are relatively inexpensive). These boxes (digital signal processing) can be configured as a 1/3 octave equalizer, or a parametric EQ and allow adjustment for each "channel". This is perhaps one of the best things about DSP to begin with: it can be used to accommodate folks who have hearing issues. If a battery pack could be devised and a microphone input, it could also be used in public venues such as movie theaters, etc.

You may also find that some here at diyaudio have built or have at least designed a system for exactly the purpose you require. I've thought about it myself for my father-in-law who has some hearing loss.

Just a couple of ideas.
stew -"A sane man in an insane world appears insane."
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Old 25th September 2011, 06:52 PM   #6
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hi all

thanks muchly for all the advice. it is very much appreciated. Apparently the damage isn't quite bad enough to warrant hearing aids, though I guess that might be something to consider in coming decades. Time flies.

She's not that keen on headphones at the moment, so I'm looking into improving our pretty rubbish home hifi by building an amp and some better speakers. This seems a harder project. When I looked for a headphone amp the CMoy really stood out, but there seem to be less clear options for a small power amplifier. Just gout out 8 textbooks from the library, so brushing up now!
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Old 25th September 2011, 07:40 PM   #7
Mooly is offline Mooly  United Kingdom
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Jeremiah, have a read at this, post 18 and 23,

Advice for hearing impaired setup on a new television?

Advice for hearing impaired setup on a new television?
Installing and using LTspice IV. From beginner to advanced.
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Old 26th September 2011, 12:45 AM   #8
Nanook is offline Nanook  Canada
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Location: Chinook Country.Alberta
Default Affordable power amp options and some speaker ideas too.

jeremiah: Depends on your speakers, but there are quite a few newer designs that can be either purchased for a low buy in or made from kits. Class "D" or "T" amps should be looked at, and perhaps a "gainclone" as well.

I like the 41Hz kits, but there are several very affordable "T-amp" options available on eBay, etc. and most of those have some sort of input and volume control. Gainclones are the realm of Peter Daniel, a regular contributor here, who has his own forum under "Audiosector" or similar.

Depending on the current requirements digital amps may not be the best option. If more current is required, then consider a Gainclone or perhaps a Nelson Pass design.

If wishing to build speakers, then look for designs that have as stable an impedance curve as possible. I like single driver types, as no crossover is needed. If more top end is required a pair of super tweeters or helper tweeters could be implemented. These need not cost much either, just stick with a proven design that uses good rather than "cutting edge" drivers. I like the planet10 designed loudspeakers that use the eN versions of the Mark Audio drivers.
stew -"A sane man in an insane world appears insane."
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Old 5th October 2011, 02:22 AM   #9
Wolfsin is offline Wolfsin  United States
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I too suffer from hearing loss but headphones impose a bit of a barrier in the best of circumstances. Hearing aids are painful in their own ways, expensive, and more of a nuisance than headphones for listening.

I have experimented for the last several years building listening apparatus but only toward the end stumbled on the importance of a balance control. Very few simple headamps allow separate left and right controls even though most people's hearing is usually quite different from ear to ear.
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Old 5th October 2011, 02:29 AM   #10
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Default head phone amp

High-Performance Stereo Headphone Amplifier, Pt.1

16 September 2011

If you can't afford a high-performance amplifier and loudspeakers, you can still have the best possible hifi sound, with this headphone amplifier and a set of high-quality headphones.
warm regards
andrew lebon you can see schematic without subscribing
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