TPA6120A2 Headphone amp or better?

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Hi All, as the title suggests.

Is the little chip regarded as one of the best for Headphones? Or do I need to be looking at others.

Have been trying a few different chips and hybrid amps recently and none have impressed, either my hearing is shoot or what I remember of the MF X-Cans V2 and my DJ mixers is wrong.

Just looking for some inspiration, but the TI chip seems to fit the bill, can anyone comment on real life performance of the chip?

If not then I will go for a Class A 4W valve amp, over kill but I have sampled it, and with some tinkering it will be fit for purpose. It all comes down to budget now. I can have the Class A amp all done for £100.

Any thoughts on this?
The new opa6122 is a step above the TPA IMO. It's only downside is being unable to drive certain esoteric, low sensitivity, cans to ridiculous levels.

If you're after clarity and neutrality then it's the chip for you.

If you're after something that will most likely modify the sound in some way, via its distortion spectra, then the valve amp might be better.
Interesting, what would you consider as esoteric loads?

For me the loads would be ,mid range Grados or Sonys.

I would like some neutrality but I am biassed towards a strong bass drive.

The valve amp did sound good and it had no limits on how far I could push it. That worried me, as I know I would deafen myself with it.
Alternative to TI headphone mplifier chip.

Hi: Are you looking at these chips for a portable or are you after a mediumsize table top amp. that will go head to head w Grace Designs & Benchmark audio? If a table top unit will work for you P.M. me for further information.

There are two ways to go here: 1. I can supply the pcb. 2. Can provide a ready made tested unit.

Best Regards
Bill Wilson
5th Element,

Just been having a closer look in to the OPA 1622, and I think I dismissed it too soon. And came across the thread that John started, seems quite an interesting little device.

I noticed that you built one, what sort of output voltage swing can it comfortably handle?

I will be driving 32r and 40r headphones.

Also is there anything else worth looking at for all out raw power?
Hey fast eddie,

The TPA6120A2 was my first choice, I have tried a few designs recently and left unimpressed other than a single ended tube amp. But I know I would deafen myself with it.

I didn't know that there was a headphone amp section, and I have found what I want now the O2.

Had a quick look at your chip, not bad with a 310mA output, but the O2 doubles that in to my headphones.

Trying to see if I can get it in kit form, or I will do a DIY one staying true to the original.

For the price of £90, I don't think I could build one cheaper.
Hey fast eddie,

310mA output

That's enough current to drive an 8 ohm speaker to around 70-85 dB/1m. What kind of headphones do you intend to drive? I thought only the HiFiMan (?) cans were that power hungry.

I was trying to offer something maybe easier for DIY. Did you look at the breakout board? You could use this chip with a perfboard or through hole proto board. You could put a few components on the "surf board" (even a couple of through hole components would fit).

I hate SMD but in my quest to build ever smaller headphone amplifier boards I am forced to look at some of the components. They're just too good to pass up. These "adapter breakout boards" make DIY smd components practical choices for a clumsy old guy like me.

It all depends on your priorities, I guess. I was thinking of giving it a try. It would make a small, versatile, high quality stereo headphone amp board sans power supply. The new generation chip does all the heavy lifting, and it would work on either a small battery or a nice desktop power supply. It would offer maximum performance available with whatever power supply is available.
I am using 32 Ohm and 40 Ohm cans Fast eddie, and the SMT soldering isn't a problem for me. I prefer the look of through hole components.

The breakout boards do look good, I would like to do something with them one day, like a "modular" amplifier, all boards are designed to fit each other and you can upgrade them stage by stage or PCB by PCB.

Smt isn't a problem if you look at my soldering stations :)


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If you're after the maximum long-term listening pleasure, in my experience classA is the way to go. Class AB chips may well sound initially impressive though.

In many cases with cans of the impedance you state (32-40 ohms) no voltage amplification is needed at all, only buffering. Maybe even some attenuation on higher sensitivity drivers - like my AT MSR7s for example - at 1VRMS peak they're way too loud. You can build a very simple classA amp with a current source and EF2 (i.e. darlington) which will deliver sonically over the long haul.
JBC irons, the best I have used in my opinion.

1Vrms is too loud? Wow, I just did some tests with some familiar sources and average listening volume is 3Vrms with some peaks at 22V, going in to my current cans it would suggest I need a driving current of at least 625mA.

Either my cans are inefficient or I am going deaf lol. But I like the raw head shaking power.
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