Troubleshooting headphone amp/integrated amp connection


Fellow Audiogoners,

I recently purchased a Heron 5 headphone amplifier. My gear otherwise consists of a Hegel H300 integrated amp; a Simaudio CD 5.3; a refurbished Thorens (MM cartridge); and an EAR 834P phono stage.

Now I can't seem to properly get the Heron 5 connected to the Hegel. When I use the Pre Out RCA connection on the Hegel, I barely get any sound through the headphones. If the Heron 5 is cranked to the max and the Hegel plays at 14 or 15 I'll hear a very faint sound. I'll get more sound if I raise the volume of the the Hegel, but since the Pre Out connection doesn't cancel out the loudspeaker, it kind of defeats the purpose of using headphones (!). I then tried using the Digital Out on the Hegel -- which required using an external DAC since the Heron only has analogue (RCA and balanced) inputs. This lead to decent sound using my CD player, but no sound at all that I could hear using the turntable (I tried Aux 1, 2 and 3 as inputs to the turntable signal coming from the EAR phono stage). The Heron sounds fine also if I connect it directly to the analogue outputs of the Simaudio CD player, but again this implies not using a different source, such as the turntable.

I'm thinking there has to be a way this can work so I can listen to various music sources I use (CD, vinyl, digital files) by connecting the Hegel to the Heron headphone amp. I just can't figure how. Any advice would be much appreciated!

Martin

m_lefebvre
To follow up on my earlier post:

It seems that the only way one can use the Pre Out with the headphone amp on the Hegel is to disconnect the loudspeakers each time one wishes to use it -- since there is no way to mute the speakers without muting everything. Kind of a drag, isn't it? Can someone confirm that this is indeed the case?

ML

To use headphone amp, you must have tape out, not variable pre output.
For this you can shop for upgrade companies that can provide you with tape output and speaker shut down switch.

Heron phono as well does not have pass through which is not a big deal to implement so you can have a choice either/or and connect your amp directly via source output and pass through to the integrated amp.

Another way is to get Y-splitter and connect your 2 sources to the headphone amp and amp.

The more I look at these modern integrated amps the more I like my Sansui G-7000 receiver that has it ALL except built-in DAC.
Modern amps really suck. No tape out, no phono, no descent headphone out. You buy only chassis, everything else you'll have to spend extra -- modern high-end strategy in business...


Thanks czarivey,

Yes the woes of modern gear... After devoting a few hours to the problem I think I should just have a on/off switch made that would attach to the speaker output. That way I could switch off the speakers and use the integrated amp to drive the headphone amp.

M.

m_lefebvre OP2 posts07-28-2016 12:02pmThanks czarivey,

Yes the woes of modern gear... After devoting a few hours to the problem I think I should just have a on/off switch made that would attach to the speaker output. That way I could switch off the speakers and use the integrated amp to drive the headphone amp.

M.

That's negative. The amp should be always loaded. You have to purchase 10W 5...10 Ohm resistor to swap terminals from speakers.
Correction,
10W might not be enough.
25...50W will be safer (just for resistors)
Amp shouldn't stay unloaded when on 
Forgive my ignorance, but if the integrated is running the headphone amp -- and the headphones -- with its own (i.e. the integrated amp's) volume setting, the latter amp wouldn't be unloaded, would it?

M.

No the output stage will not be loaded.
There's other very simple trick to turn pre-out into tape-out or line-out by simply reconnecting terminals to bypass volume control and it could even be done switchable.
Any descent techie should know how to do that.
Sounds like a plan! Many thanks.