Headphone amps

outboard gear

I’m shoppping around (on eeeee!bay) for a headphone amp. The Presonus looks nice, 'cause it’s got a Mute switch/Volume control for monitors on it, so I wouldn’t have to turn off my near-fields when I want to record/overdub with headphones. None of the other ‘budget’ devices appear to have this special knob. I’m going to be using it with my Tascam 788, as well as with the PC.

Now on the 788, I thought I could plug in a 2-down-to-1 adapter from the Stereo outs, or the Aux outs (they are both L&R outs), thereby keeping the signal going to the h-phones amp from being affected by the Monitor Volume knob on the 788 (controls the signal currently going to the near-fields).

For the PC, I’ll be using an 8-I/8-O interface (if my MOTU 1224 arrives!), so I could deal with that routing trip from the interface/soundcard’s Control Panel. Right?

So if I can do these things concerning the headphone amp with the 788 and the PC, I really don’t need the Monitor Mute/Volume knob on the Presonus, do I?

No, Sloom, you don’t. I’d go for the less expensive one. That’s your point, right?

Allright… :laugh: …stopping…

Try building your own… - look here, for instance.

Behringer makes two different ones - an 8-output and a four-output variety.

I built the PaiA and it worked OK, but I recently bought the latter Behringer HA4700, and it is great for overdubs - put it in mono mode and you have a unique opportunity to adjust the balance between the playback and what’s being recorded…

regards, Nils

Another vote for the Berry

I think the 4 channel one has more options than the 8.

We got a 4 channel for our church a while ago and its very nice.


That Berry looks pretty intense for my thinking… dunno. Hadn’t thought of putting that much into it in the way of choices.
Build one? Life’s too short for that! But I like the DIY idea, allright! Just don’t have that kind of time now.

Considerations… Thanks for the leads.

I got a Berry HA4700 for Christmas and it’s a pretty nice unit.
Four independent stereo channels and you can hook up to 3 headphones on each (one on the front, two output jacks each on the rear).

Good loud sound.


I got a Berry HA4700 for Christmas and it’s a pretty nice unit.
Four independent stereo channels and you can hook up to 3 headphones on each (one on the front, two output jacks each on the rear).

Good loud sound.

Please do remember to take care of your hearing… - there’s no replacement to be had on a pair of smashed ears. :(

Take care out there… - and no, I don’t care if the knob goes all the way to ‘eleven’… TURN THAT VOLUME DOWN!!!

regards, Nils

A followon to the headphone amp question:

Do I need a headphone amplifier? I am a little confused about this because I am able to use my headphones just fine on the speaker jack of my old Soundblaster Live card.

I’m probably going to buy the M-Audio Delta 1010LT interface. I don’t have a mixing board. But why do I need a headphone amp? Why can’t I just connect phones to a pair of the outputs from the card?

Also, what’s the simplest headphone amp solution? Someone recommended me the Samson C-station. Anyone familiar with these?


The Soundblaster Live card will provide adequate output for a pair of headphones if they have a proper impedance, i.e. they don’t distort or play very softly. Creative Labs are notorious for being very versatile regarding the equipment you can connect to their soundcards without frying anything - including your ears…

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Regarding the Delta 1010LT interface, I cannot find any information about it being suitable for driving a pair of headphones directly. Apart from lacking the proper connectors, it might also not have adequate amplification available. I am quite sure it would be needing a headphone amplifier.

I have heard good things about the Samson C-station, but I have no hands-on experience.

regards, Nils

You might need a headphine amp if you’re recording someone else laying down a track: They need a monitor mix to listen to as they’re playing, and at the same time you’ll want to listen to levels, etc. A headphone amp will connect to your system from one or two places on your mixer (headphone out, or an aux out), or direct from an output on your soundcard…
EDIT: See Nils’ answer above for the soundcard!

If you have a small band and you’re all recording together, it might be helpful- especially if you’re doing something like running your bass or keys in via DI, as opposed to miking a cab. You’ll need headphones to hear what the bass, etc. is doing.

Edited late on Monday night, after re-reading Nils’ post, and deciding to speak up less… :p