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Old 4th January 2012, 02:47 PM   #1
nsx51 is offline nsx51  United States
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Default How to connect headphones to old system?

I am in the unfortunate position of having my hearing deteriorate to the point that I have trouble understanding dialogue while watching movies. I guess I was somewhat of an audiophile with a moderately high end system that I use for audio for dvds as well as for music. For my wife's sake I've decided to start using headphones for listening to movies, but I can't figure out what I need to hook them up. I have two preamps, a Pass solid state and an Audible Illusions tube (currently using the Pass) feeding a Muse 160. I think I'll try some Grado phones, since I have other Grado products that I like (tonearm and phono cartridge). I'm thinking of the SR-60 or SR-80 phones with a 15 ft cable extension. After trying to research this, I guess I'll need a head amp. If so, is it possible I could use my Audible Illusions as a head amp? If not, I guess I'll try to build a DIY head amp, but I'm retired and on a somewhat limited budget. At the same time, I hate junk.
So, what do I have to do to connect headphones to this system, and is there any way I can use the speakers (for my wife) and headphones simultaneously?
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Old 4th January 2012, 05:34 PM   #2
nsx51 is offline nsx51  United States
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Would it be possible to split the audio out from the DVD player and go to a second system just for the headphones? I already have a second system I could use, but still with no phone jack. If so, could I play both systems at once to have both speakers and headphones?
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Old 4th January 2012, 07:31 PM   #3
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Are you going to be near your wife while using the headphones? Grado's leak more than any other headphone I've ever heard... ever. It's almost as if it's louder for the people near the listener than for the listener themselves. If that's not acceptable, the Beyerdynamic DT 235 is a great inexpensive closed-headphone option that sounds remarkably good and is lightweight and not flashy at all.

You're going to have to take two signals off your mains, one going to your speaker amp and another going to your headphone buffer. Doesn't the Modulus (I'm assuming your AI is a Modulus) have two simultaneous main outputs (other than "tape")?

Anyway, a Cmoy buffer with good current delivery is seen here: NwAvGuy: Cmoy eBay Headphone Amp

You'll need a seperate volume control for the headphones because it's VERY UNLIKELY that you will have a good volume match on the speakers and the headphones.

However, wouldn't it be easier to take the signal from your AI to your TV and use the headphone out from that while the other feed from the AI goes to the speaker amp? I'm assuming your TV has a headphone port. It may not. Anyway, if you don't have two main outputs from the AI you'll have to buy some y-cables. They're cheap and splitting the signal isn't really detrimental to your setup.
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Old 4th January 2012, 08:24 PM   #4
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Splitting the audio out should definitely be possible. The headphone amp is then best placed near the listening position so as to be able to reach its volume control. Long RCA cables of decent quality aren't that expensive. Cable routing is another story, some creativity may be needed here.

I assume a headphone amp shouldn't be that much past a hundred bucks? If so, a FiiO E9 is a decent mains-operated unit. A semi-assembled O2 amp (see the respective thread) with a matching mains transformer is another option.

Especially when hearing loss is involved, auditioning headphones is a must. The assumption that brighter cans like Grados are better suited may well prove to be dead wrong, in fact mellower-sounding cans may be easier on the ears.

Obviously the real fix would be a hearing aid, though I suppose this is not an option here.
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Old 14th January 2012, 08:49 PM   #5
nsx51 is offline nsx51  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ethanolson View Post
Are you going to be near your wife while using the headphones? Grado's leak more than any other headphone I've ever heard... ever. It's almost as if it's louder for the people near the listener than for the listener themselves. If that's not acceptable, the Beyerdynamic DT 235 is a great inexpensive closed-headphone option that sounds remarkably good and is lightweight and not flashy at all.

You're going to have to take two signals off your mains, one going to your speaker amp and another going to your headphone buffer. Doesn't the Modulus (I'm assuming your AI is a Modulus) have two simultaneous main outputs (other than "tape")?

Anyway, a Cmoy buffer with good current delivery is seen here: NwAvGuy: Cmoy eBay Headphone Amp

You'll need a seperate volume control for the headphones because it's VERY UNLIKELY that you will have a good volume match on the speakers and the headphones.

However, wouldn't it be easier to take the signal from your AI to your TV and use the headphone out from that while the other feed from the AI goes to the speaker amp? I'm assuming your TV has a headphone port. It may not. Anyway, if you don't have two main outputs from the AI you'll have to buy some y-cables. They're cheap and splitting the signal isn't really detrimental to your setup.
I listen to music far more than I watch movies, and my TV doesn't have a headphone port anyway. My AI Modulus and Pass Alief preamps both have two main outputs. I got an RCA to headphone adapter and connected it to the second pair of outputs on the Pass. I was amazed to find that I did have a good volume match between the speakers and the headphones with no buffer amp, but I had to turn the volume control way up. I only listened a short time like this because I was unsure if this hookup was safe. Unacceptable impedence matches or something. I also realized I really need an output selector switch (A, B, or A+B) like old (and maybe new) receivers have.
So, is it safe to operate like this? And if so, can I buy or build an outboard selector box that won't degrade the music? Thanks for your help. You can tell I need it.
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Old 15th January 2012, 12:42 AM   #6
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It is safe to operate like this even with poor impedance matching being very likely. It only determines the damping factor applied to the headphones anyway.
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Old 15th January 2012, 04:18 PM   #7
nsx51 is offline nsx51  United States
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Thanks, that is good news.

Now, can I build or buy a switch box that will connect to an output of my preamp and allow me to select amp (speakers), headphones, or both (A, B, A+B)?
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Old 15th January 2012, 06:27 PM   #8
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The easy and cheap way is to wire up a bus box with two pushbutton switches for A and B which decide if they're on or not. Both in means both are on.
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Old 15th January 2012, 06:35 PM   #9
Mooly is offline Mooly  United Kingdom
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Have a look here...
Advice for hearing impaired setup on a new television?

Advice for hearing impaired setup on a new television?

The simple tuned circuit is intended to connect in series with headphones. It makes a huge difference to the speech "intelligabilty".
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Old 15th January 2012, 09:08 PM   #10
nsx51 is offline nsx51  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ethanolson View Post
The easy and cheap way is to wire up a bus box with two pushbutton switches for A and B which decide if they're on or not. Both in means both are on.
That is exactly what my Audible Illusions does for input selection, and what I'll do. Can you recommend switches? Thanks again.
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