I’ve tested quite a few headphone amps in the past and one thing I always measure is the impedance of the headphone output. In combination with the impedance of a pair of headphones, it can have a considerable effect on the frequency response.
There are some points you can follow to get the best performance from your amp and headphone combination. Let’s see what is impedance in headphones?
What Is Impedance?
let’s start with a small definition of impedance. Impedances are stated in ohms and it quantifies how much an electrical device impedes the flow of an alternating current.
It sounds complex but here all you need to know is that when there is a large impedance a low amount of current will flow and with a low impedance a high amount of current can flow.
What Is Impedance In Headphone?
Now there are so many different headphones out on the market and they all come with their specs and they all claim this and they claim that but there’s one thing that a lot of people don’t understand is what is the impedance number that each one has.
Now a headphone amp has an impedance often referred to as output impedance and you can think of the impedance from a power source as its ability to deliver current. If the amp has a low impedance it can deliver a high amount of current and if it has a high impedance it can only deliver a low amount of current.
As you may know, headphones also have an impedance. Headphones pose a load to the amplifier and depending on the impedance they draw more or less current from the amplifier.
Headphone impedances typically reached from around 16 ohms on the low end up to around 600 ohms or so and this means that there is quite a difference in how much current will flow depending on which headphones you use.
How is an Impedance Related to Sound Quality in a Headphone?
There are many ways through which impedance affects the sound. From the already noted loudness to more suitable soundstage and bass response, to identify a few.
If we see the manufacturing process of a headphone, we can see that using thinner wire and winding extra coils on the driver of the headphone is certain to be greater expensive. This tough process increases the quality of sound so companies go through such a tough process to maintain the sound quality of their headphones.
Companies need to do experiment with headphones for better sound quality.
Nowadays everybody has a mobile and it works as an audio source for headphones. The creation of smartphones has made it so that producers have to choose compatibility with battery-powered, low-impedance devices when you consider that this is what the frequent client will naturally gravitate towards.
But it’s no longer as if smartphones are whatever new. We’ve had them for a whilst now, and iPods earlier than that. There are licensed audiophiles out there who demand audiophile ranges of sound high-quality from low-impedance headphones and producers are comfortable to cost them an arm and a leg for such a luxury.
So yes, the greater the impedance, the higher the audio quality, by way of default – the sound is simply clearer, the bass cleaner, the soundstage grander and extra immersive, and the distortion way decrease and with greater impedance.
However, if you’ve acquired sufficient cash, you can get a pair of headphones that will satiate your excessive standards, in spite of the low impedance. High-impedance headphones are exceptional left for experts in the studio.
What are the advantages of high impedance headphones?
High impedance is better than lower impedance. High impedance produces low distortion at louder levels. When a headphone uses high impedance then its sound is more balanced and clearer.
The problem with low impedance in headphones is that the distortion level is high. Bass and treble are not balanced and with time you face more problems in them with sound. A headphone with high impedance is a good choice for clear music.
How to Choose Impedance For Headphone?
Now we will talk about different points of Impedance which you need to look at while buying a headphone.
Impedance power is directly connected to battery consumption. Low impedance uses less power to generate high audio sound whereas high impedance consumes more battery and your phone battery will drain quickly.
Most people use headphones with a mobile phone. The power of the mobile phone is low so for it, you need a low impedance headphones to match the power of the mobile phone.
The main use of amplifiers is to make mobile phones compatible with high impedance headphones. Amplifiers are not suitable for a mobile phone because the amplifier is an external device that you need to carry with you.
Now you know that what is impedance in headphones. Now you also know that what is the use of impedance in headphones. Impedance is responsible for power. According to your audio requirement, you need to choose the impedance level.