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DJM 900 NXS - Headphone compatibility (impedence)

I've got a DJM 900NXS mixer and a pair of 600 ohm Sennheiser headphones and would be interested to know if the NXS headphone output has the power to drive these high impedence headphones properly, or would I be better off with a lower impedance pair?

If there's anyone here who's tried similar headphones on this mixer, successfully or otherwise, I'd be grateful to hear about your experience.

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Jon

Jonathan Boutinot Con risposta

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Hi Jon, 

The high impedance of those headphones simply means the maximum volume you can get from the mixer's output will be lower than if you used a low impedance headphone. If you only ever mix in the studio, it may be adequate, but if you find you need a louder output, you could go the route of a headphone amplifier. There are plenty of those on the market, both wall-powered and battery powered.

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"NXS headphone output has the power to drive these high impedance headphones properly, or would I be better off with a lower impedance pair?"

First off, be kind and gentle to your ears, and also make sure you're not just running your levels up to the meter zeros for every track.  The only tracks that should only peak at the meter zero is pink noise, a test tone, or some poorly-mastered victim of the loudness wars.

Only you can say whether the knob goes up far enough with a particular headphone.  You get better low-end extension with higher impedance drivers and/or a lower impedance jack due to damping factor. A higher impedance load, while drawing more volts than an otherwise identical but lower impedance version of that driver, is more likely to be an uncomplicated load to drive and does less weird stuff to the amp. Lots of low impedance headphones have complicated impedance curves that their stated spec (which is just the dominate spike on the curve) isn't encompassing. In other words, with a higher impedance driver the amp will more likely reach its actual max rated voltage with less gradual pre-clip distortion and will be more extended in frequency response while doing it. 

There's otherwise nothing necessarily preventing a higher impedance headphone from being designed quite sensitive per volt, though in my opinion headphones designed for studio and DJ mixers tend to put too much emphasis on sensitivity in the design considering how meaty mixer jacks are and the fact the driver usually produces orders-of-magnitude more distortion per dB than a properly-used amp does.  In other words, with universally juicy mixer jacks and the driver being such a weak link in the chain, you'd think designers would be trying to get better sound and not worry so much about how loud the driver will get on an iphone. 

A lot of stated headphone specs now don't even bother telling you the sensitivity in wattage at a given impedance but simply tell you the output at the ear per volt.  So if you're comparing two such headphones to each other that use that type of language, it's easier to figure out which gets louder on a given jack that's cranked to max, if that's important to you.  In that case, the impedance of the headphone driver itself is only relevant in making sure your jack impedance is a fraction of it if you want the bass as extended as the headphone is capable of.

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Well said. My ears are only slightly damaged and even I find that I can't stand having the headphone volume levels above the half-way mark with a pair of HDJ-X10's or HDJ-2000's.

There was a technical issue with early production units of the DJM-800 which would cause the mixer to crash due to high impedance headphones being connected, but that was resolved and as noted, the only real technical issue now would be as @Reticuli says, not enough power being delivered.

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