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  1. #1

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    Jul 2010

    Question Struggling with overpowered headphone amp....

    Hey guys! Looking for some advice here.

    I've got a HiFiMan EF2A tubed DAC/headphone amp. I really love the little thing. Cool design, solid knobs and switches, RCA inputs, and plenty of power. But there's the problem... it's actually TOO much power. I keep this amp at the office, where I can use it to stream music from my computer or listen to CDs from a DVD player. In order to keep things within a reasonable listening range, I have to really push the boundary on the channel imbalance at the lower end of the volume knob, and even then I have to lower the volume on the computer (which decreases dynamic range and degrades the signal, if I'm not mistaken). The DVD player, with no such volume control, is WAY too loud.

    So what can I do about this? I'm currently using Grado SR80i's, which I absolutely love. Maybe one solution is to get headphones that are a bit harder to drive? In that case, I'd probably like to get a closed-back design with a bit more isolation. As it is now, my officemate is subjected to listening to everything I'm listening to!

    If there's another solution I haven't considered, please let me know. I'm not sure if another tube variation might be able to provide lower gain. This thing takes a pair of 6ak5's.

  2. #2

    Member Sales Rating: (0)

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    May 2006
    The Seasonally Frozen Wastelands


    My cheap Headroom DAC/Amp has switchable gain. Does yours? If so, just turn the gain down so the volume control becomes useful again.

  3. #3

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    Dec 2011


    I think you amp is probably better for High-impedance headphones like the Beyerdynamic 250 and 600 ohm models, and Sennheiser 150, 300, and 600 ohm models.

    but your grado's are 32 ohm.

    i would go to head-fi forums and look up your headphones and see what others are using at

    and or go to Schiit audio and check there guide and maybe just email them what you have and see what they recommend at

    I have a WOO wa3 and its great for my senn HD650's but when using it with my grado RSi2's they distort if I turn it up to loud.

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