Headphones are an increasingly important tool for many aspects of audio production, and the quality of headphone design and manufacture is higher now than it has ever been. Ensuring the very best performance from these headphones requires they be driven by a dedicated headphone amplifier such as the DACS Headlite III B 4-Channel Headphone Amp. These days “making do” with the headphone socket from the mix board just doesn’t really do at all – especially when there is more than one set of ears which need to listen in. Choosing a headphone amplifier is important and can sometimes be confusing, but there are three main features to bear in mind:
CLARITY AND SOUND QUALITY
Whatever the headphone task – from listening to a mix while recording an overdub, to editing, sub-mixing, mixing and even mastering – the quality of the final result begins with whatever you can hear in your ears. Accurate representation of the whole audible frequency range is essential and any over-emphasis of certain bands, or overall mud or indistinctness in the sound, will inevitably affect both the overdub and the overview. The metering added to the busses that feed the amplifiers allows users to set their input levels, making sure what goes in to the amplifier will give optimum output performance.
Amplifier power is not just about level (sound pressure level) it is about clean level (sonically pure level). A cheap headphone amplifier when pushed beyond its narrow limits can begin to distort before your headphones or your ears, and this not only compromises the sound you can hear, it can also damage your hearing itself. A headphone amp which has enough power should be `cruising’ for the whole of its useable range, and so the output signal is always as clean as the technical specifications indicate it should be.
It is likely that in a studio situation you will need to drive more than one set of headphones, and likely too that not every listener wants to hear the same source, e.g. the same mix balance. So a good headphone amplifier will provide multiple outputs – with individual amplifiers for each – and a choice of inputs.
DACS’ Clarity HEADLITE 3 which, like all DACS Audio Products was designed in the field by working engineers and developed in the labs by industrious boffins, scores top marks in all of the above: Excellent Clarity and Sound Quality is ensured by the design of the amplifier which produces very low distortion and an extended and flat frequency range The Power of the output on the standard channels is more than sufficient to drive any headphone of any impedance, and special higher power channels can be specified to drive multiple headphones without loss of volume.
And the Flexibility is provided by four bussed inputs selectable in combination on each of the four stereo output amplifiers and eight physical outputs.
The standard channel amplifiers of HEADLITE 3 have power to spare – 125mW RMS into 150 Ohms – and each will easily and cleanly drive 400 Ohm headphones at possibly unwise maximum output levels. HEADLITE 3 is also fitted with one high power channel for driving multiple headphones – in tests six 400 Ohm headphones were powered with no loss of level (additional channels can be specified with order or retro-fitted) – and has overall power output of over 200mW RMS into 600R.
Outputs for each channel appear on both the front and rear of the unit, and are able to drive long audio lines to remote headphone outlets such as in vocal booths or over-dub rooms. For each of the amplifiers, users can select from the four inputs (A, B, C and D) to hear A and B, or C and D as stereo, and A, B, C or D as mono. This means, for example, that two different submixes could be sent to the HEADLITE from the mixer aux outs to suit two different purposes: the drummer and the singer might well need to hear different balances in their headphone feeds … HEADLITE 3 offers excellent signal to noise ratios, low cross talk, very low distortion and a bass response that is flat down to well under 20Hz. The unit’s frequency response (-0.5dB at 3hz to 35kHz) is substantially flatter (within 0.1dB over the 22Hz to 22kHz band) than its predecessor, thus offering improved fidelity. Because of the design of the amplifier’s output stage, its high frequency response does not suffer significantly, even down very long lines.
As such, HeadLite3 delivers all the features recording professionals need in a rugged and reliable package that will last for many years.
CONDITION New WIDTH 540 mm DEPTH 430 mm HEIGHT 140 mm UNIT WEIGHT 3.5 kg INPUT CONNECTORS 1/4 in. TRS OUTPUT CONNECTORS 1/4 in. TRS