Beyerdynamic is a popular choice of high-end, audiophile-grade headphones. One thing that’s often discussed regarding such headphones is whether they need an amp or not. You might be asking the same question if you’re in the market for a pair of nice Beyerdynamic headphones.
Not all Beyerdynamic headphones need an amp. Only high-impedance headphones need amps. They can usually operate without one but will provide better sound quality with an amp. Even lower-impedance headphones can benefit from an amp.
This article will help you if you’re unsure if you need an amp with your Beyerdynamic headphones. I’ll briefly explain which headphone types need an amp and which Beyerdynamic headphones typically need one, so you’ll know what to pick when buying new headphones.
Table of Contents
- When Do Headphones Need an Amp?
- Which Beyerdynamic Headphones Need an Amp?
- Final Thoughts
When Do Headphones Need an Amp?
To understand which Beyerdynamic headphones require an amplifier, we must first discuss headphone amplifiers in general. We’ll talk about which ones need an amp and why, so we can figure out which Beyerdynamic headphone models need amps.
High-impedance headphones need an amplifier for the best sound quality. This is because high-impedance headphones need more voltage to become loud enough. Using an amplifier is the only way to provide more voltage and get a sound that’s loud enough.
Technically, high-impedance headphones can usually function without an amplifier, but the sound quality you get that way won’t be good enough. Since these are usually high-end headphones, it’s a good idea to add some money to your budget and buy an amplifier too.
Shelling out a few hundred dollars for a pair of headphones isn’t worth it if you’ll get mediocre sound quality. If you’re a dedicated audiophile, you’ve probably accepted that this hobby doesn’t come cheap, so it probably won’t be too hard to increase your headphone budget.
How Do I Know If My Headphones Are High-Impedance?
There doesn’t seem to be an exact definition of high-impedance headphones. Some consider everything above 50 ohms high-impedance, while others only include headphones above 250 ohms in this category.
However, it’s safe to say that headphones with 50 or more ohms need an amplifier for the best performance. While they might work without an amp, using one is advisable to get the most bang for your buck and the best high-fidelity audio possible.
If you have headphones with really high impedance, for example, 250 or 600 ohms, you absolutely have to use an amp with them. Otherwise, they will sound thin and won’t differ from the cheapest headphones you can find.
Do I Need an Amp for Low-Impedance Headphones?
Some low-impedance headphones may benefit from an amplifier. If the impedance is around 30 ohms, you might get better sound quality with an amp than without one.
These headphones work well enough without an amp, so you don’t necessarily have to invest in one, but you might get a decent boost in sound quality.
Earbuds and headphones with really low impedance, for example, 16 ohms, should never be used with amps. This can make them blow out, as too much power will be supplied to them, which is never a good idea.
I’ve written extensively about the effect of impedance on sound quality in headphones in another guide. Read it to learn when to use Amps and DACs: Does Headphone Impedance Affect Sound Quality?
Which Beyerdynamic Headphones Need an Amp?
All high-impedance Beyerdynamic headphones need an amplifier. Some popular models are the DT 770 Pro and the DT 990 Pro. These high-grade audiophile headphones provide a great bang for the buck, so it’s worth investing in an amp for them.
Let’s take a closer look at them.
The DT 770 Pro
This headphone model is a great choice for everyone who’s a fan of closed-back headphones. These headphones come in a few different versions with different impedance levels. The most popular is the 80-ohm version, which absolutely needs an amplifier.
However, there is also a 32-ohm version, which you can use without an amplifier. This is a good choice if you like these headphones’ performance but have to travel a lot or can’t rely on an amp for other reasons.
Their sound quality is stellar, even though their sensitivity is only 96 dB per mW. They are also very nicely built, with a steel frame and velour ear pads, which makes them very comfortable.
They are best used at home or at work when you don’t want to disturb anyone while allowing yourself to block out outside noises. If you need headphones while traveling, you might want to opt for a different model.
The DT 990 Pro
The DT 990 Pro headphones are another high-end choice from Beyerdynamic. They come at two impedance levels: 80 ohms and 250 ohms. This means that an amp is a must with these headphones.
Their sound quality is amazing, and they easily compete with other similarly-priced open-back headphones. Depending on your sound preferences, they might even blow their competition out of the water.
Since they require an amp, they’re not a good choice for traveling or sports activities. They are also quite bulky, so it can be hard to pack them as they don’t fold into a more compact shape. Therefore, it is best to use them at home for casual listening sessions.
On the positive side, their build is very sturdy, as they also have a metal frame, and the ear pads are covered in a suede-like material. This makes them look incredibly stylish and gives them a lot of aesthetic appeal.
However, they don’t provide enough noise isolation. This means that they leak a lot of noise and let you hear too much of the world around you. These headphones are not for you if you want something to help you get lost in your own world.
Some reviewers have also complained that they are too tight, but that probably depends from person to person. Overall, this is a great pair of headphones if you’re looking for great sound quality while not caring much whether anyone else hears your music or not.
High-impedance headphones generally require amplifiers. If your Beyerdynamic headphones fall into this category, you’ll need to invest in an amp.
Your high-impedance headphones might work even without an amp, but the sound quality will be atrocious, so it’s best to get one if you want the best possible performance.
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