Dec 19, 2018300 views

A/V Receiver to drive Headphones ??

I have a Marantz SR5011 that specs good DACS, compressed file compensation, etc. I recently got 6xx's and a Pioneer XDP-30R Portable HR Digital Audio Player. Could anyone please tell me if my Marantz SR5011 will drive the 6xx's or I really need to buy a dedicated headphone amp (say a JDS Atom or Liquid Carbon, etc.)????? Thank you !!!
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Looking at the specs, the Marantz SR5011 seems to function as a speaker amp. There does appear to be a 1/4" headphone jack in the front, but there's no word on what the specifications are. I'm not sure how one might use this as a preamp, or an audio-out, to a dedicated amp. There might be more information in the owner's manual. Keep in mind that the HD6XX is a scaling monster; it's one of the few headphones around that actually will let you hear differences between truly high-end setups. If you are considering getting an inexpensive amp, may I add the Cavalli Liquid Spark and Schiit Magni 3 to your list? I find the Liquid Spark to offer a supremely musical experience for its price, with the Magni 3 being more of a neutral amp (I'm not of the opinion that either amp deviates much from neutral however).
dcha12
Thanks for responding, dcha12. Yes, my Marantz SR5011 has a 1/4 in headphone jack on the front panel. It's got separate 24bit/192khz DACS for each of its 7 amplifiers (it's a heavy beast of an A/V), as well as correction circuitry for compressed audio (HDAM & Current Feedback Tech) and an isolated audio circuit board for better audio. Still, I'll been following, DMS, Josh Valour, Z, and Metal157 on YouTube, regarding headphone and dac/amp reviews. There's no arguing that you have a point that, despite the Marantz having all that, it's still NOT a dedicated headphone amp. As for your recs, I've recently heard good things about the Liquid Spark (close to the JDS Atom, with a tad more power (1.3) and build quality, albeit the Atom was a tad more linear - both $100. If I wish to spring for the THXAAA789 (very recent stellar reviews from Z & Lavour) and way more $$ ($350), I'd be getting even more power, very linear and quasi-balanced output. Of course, I'd have to get a Dac.... soon. ... and so it goes - no end with audio (yikes!).
jeffer
I really wouldn't rule out just testing the Marantz by itself and forming impressions based on that (I personally keep a notebook to record impressions). You might actually really like the way it sounds and it might just prove to be a great experience. If you are near some high-end audio dealers it's also worth taking your headphones to audition some amps (won't be a perfect comparison unless you take your Marantz and source with you too, which probably is really impractical). Try not to get too sucked in with audio stuff; there becomes a point where it becomes very difficult to find a real upgrade (yes, even if you spend a lot more) and what ends up happening is that you'll get sucked into the circle-jerk of sidegrading. There's nothing wrong with a sidegrade; just maintain your awareness and understand that you're getting something different, not necessarily better. If that "different" suits your tastes better, great!
They'll drive them as any dedicated amp or receiver, but will you get the same sound quality as a dedicated headphone amp or DAC/Amp combo, no? Since your receiver has a dedicated DAC just buy yourself a dedicated headphone amp. Receivers are more for listening with speakers, not so much for with headphones. Yes, they have a jack, but it's not where the money goes.
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I thought I recently saw Z review some headphones which were insanely amp dependent (not the Senn 800's) and he pointed to several of his amp, including the RME-ADI-2 (?? ok I'm NOT really sure) - saying that only the 789 drove it acceptably. I like "Z," but I find "Z" reviews somewhat frustrating, as he is so damn moody and crazy at times. It's what i like and cannot stand about him all at once. Still, he's quite knowledgable. Like Josh, he just reviewed the THXAAA789 and gave it a stellar review. Regarding Amp/Dacs, my concern is about the potential weakness of the combo, as a good amp remains a good amp and Dac tech changes, with new chips coming out periodically that are perhaps better ---- or new codex that (perhaps) can't be done in a software upgrade. So, I'd rather have "separates," albeit they're NOT as cost effective (at all) vs. a Dac/Amp.
jeffer
All of what you just mentioned is one of the reasons why I love watching Zeos' videos. He's definitely a peculiar fella. (I mean wtf is wrong with blue LED) However he does have a pretty good idea of what he's talking about, so he's not exactly talking out of his ass. As far as the turnaround of your particular DAC becoming obsolete I really wouldn't read too much into it. I mean iFi claims to have the ability to listen to MQA, yet try even downloading the drivers available. So I don't think you should have anything to worry about. At least for a while.
can I at least use the marantz SR5011 as a DAC ?
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I believe the Marantz SR5011 has Burr-Brown DACS. I literally just got the 6xx , so you're right. I might as well try it. I also just got a package from B&H Audio (NYC). It's a Pioneer XDP-30R-B portable player. It's on sale from $400 to $180, so I went for it to replace my cheap Samsung portable player (I mostly listen to an eclectic collection of FLAC files, along with some lossy MP3 320, the latter I'm not loving, but it's what I have - I have to find myself a better music source, for garbage-in, garbage-out is a KEY audiophile rule). My new Pioneer sports Balanced outs and dual 32-bit Sabre Dacs, but's amps are low-power 75-150mW -uhhh - so, it's only good for driving very efficient headphones (like my V-Moda's or my AT MSR7's - definitely NOT audiophile grade). I also just ordered the super-cheap ($65) Creative Aurvana Live's, as Lavour and DMS claimed that were amazingly like a Fostex THX00 - (they said it has the SAME Foster numbered driver - maybe I'll have fun modding it). BTW, here's a link to its specs on the Pioneer player (if you're interested): https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1334874-REG/pioneer_xdp_30r_b_digital_audio_player_black.html Anyway, you're so right. When I was younger, I'd read Stereophile and The Absolute Sound. I have an uncle who used to spend a fortune for merely an INCREMENT difference in sound. Yep. ... and I do live in the NY Metro area - plenty of audiophile stores around.
jeffer
I own a Marantz SR6012 and use the zone B pre-outs to power the SE inputs of my Cayin iHA-6 amp. That same amp gets an XLR balanced input from my Teac UD-501 DAC. The PC that serves up my music files is connected to the receiver via HDMI and the DAC via quality USB cable. My thoughts: 1) PC>Teac>Cayin sounds the best 2)PC>Receiver>Cayin still sounds good 3)Receiver>Cayin for Spotify Connect sounds better than option 2, not as good as option 1. 4) Receiver direct to headphones works but is definitely the bottom performer Check your manual if planning to use zone B outs, most receivers don't play digital inputs out of the zone B outs and if they do even fewer down-mix surround signals to 2-channel .
(Edited)
Marantz is horrible about specifications, the only information on the headphone out that they give is a hearing loss warning.
Keth
As a person who's been memorizing AV Catalog specs for 25 years I beg to differ. Denon/Marantz are more detailed than most on their specifications (looking at you Sony/Pioneer/Onkyo/Cheaper Yamahas). The receiver market as a whole are not as specific as I would like and are prone to listing only test parameters that yielded the most positive result. Headphone amps just aren't a priority in the speaker world and the SR series of receivers is first and foremost a speaker market product.