What is the deal with all the recent '32 ohm headphones' posts

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Interpol

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I think I've seen at least 5 to 10 threads from random people asking for headphone recommendations in the last several days, and all of them have mentioned "32 ohms or higher".

Where the heck is this 32 ohm recommendation coming from? It's the first time I've heard of anything like this. The iPod's internal amp can handle >30 ohm as well as 100 ohm+ headphones (i.e., Shure E5c) without much of a problem. It's when you get to the extremely high impedance headphones, like certain AKG models, that you'll start having difficulty.
 

rogermexico

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It's b/c people are all fired up about the "ipod photo sound problem," and the impression has got 'round that higher-impedance headphones cure it.
 

Interpol

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Ahh, I see. Interesting.

Why not just use an inline attenuator, like the one that comes with Shure E4c's and E5c's and turn it down a little? There's your increased impedance.
 

thedodgyguy

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Increasing the total resistance definitely improves the bass but also affects the sound, usually for the worse by dulling the top end a little. The inline attenuator is also a cheap and nasty pot with no precise control over the impedance applied, and has among other things channel crosstalk, channel imbalance at any given volume setting, etc.


If the headphone is high impedance to begin with, you don't have these problems. 16 ohm phones suffer noticeably from falloff on the iPod. 32 ohms is the point at which the falloff is not disastrous. 64 is better. Also, if you're particularly interested in the bass performance you should ask for impedance vs. frequency graphs if possible. The quoted impedance of a phone is an average, and specific impedance is in many cases not constant along the frequency range. So for example, a 70 ohm nominal phone can have a 24ohm impedance at 30hz and a 120 ohm impedance at 15khz.
 

pInK

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rogermexico said:
It's b/c people are all fired up about the "ipod photo sound problem," and the impression has got 'round that higher-impedance headphones cure it.
Those posts bummed me out because I've got a nice set of E2Cs with specially-ordered ultra soft flex sleeves that evidently would be best kept to my mini, and would need to get a higher impedance pair when I buy a 60GB photo. I'm also saving for a number of other accessories at the same time, so I'm hoping the sound issue isn't that noticeable to me.
 
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