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Old Mar 12, 2014, 11:07 AM   #1
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compunoob
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Default Can headphones ruin a DAC?

I have a set of HD 555 that I have had for a number of years now. They have a 1/4" to 1/8" adapter so they can be plugged into PC etc. Over the last few years the connector has gotten kind of sloppy and you lose sound from one channel until you fiddle with it and it makes the connection.
I just replaced my internal Xfi Titanium as it started making a buzzing noise on the left channel. I bought a Fiio E07k and it has worked flawlessly up til today. I got off my pc to get some coffee. I came back put my headphones back on only to be met with a LOUD buzzing in the left channel. I reset the device and it still does it. I tried other headphones and it is still there. So is it possible that my headphones can be shorting out my devices somehow?
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Old Mar 12, 2014, 03:56 PM   #2
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Old Mar 12, 2014, 06:22 PM   #3
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Would have said damaged jack/adapter/cable 100%, but then you said you swapped headphones too. Loud hums can be produced by ground loops, which is basically just an improperly grounded area of an audio system, generally because of poor design or damage to the connector or cable.

If you're putting the connector under stress, it could be damage to the jack. I don't think it's possible for the DAC to damage headphones - you should be able to verify this by plugging them into a different audio source, like your phone or something.

Since this sort of equipment is generally solid state and low power, it's unlikely that any of part of the internals to be damaged. I would always start looking towards the jack, connector, and cable when diagnosing sudden changes in audio quality.
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Old Mar 12, 2014, 09:36 PM   #4
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Yes, they can blow an amp. Just like crossing wires on a speaker to a live amp can go boom.
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Old Mar 13, 2014, 10:48 AM   #5
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While I didn't find anything specifically stating that it can't in the data sheet for the headphone amp chip that the e07k uses, I can 99.999% guarantee you that there is some kind of short protection or that the electrical characteristics of the amp circuit prevent damage in the event of a short.

Amps for speakers are a totally different monster, the headphone amp in here is rated for about 1/4 of a watt normal output power and is designed specifically for this sort of application.


We're not talking about power from an outside source, we're talking a simple short. While the white paper's specs only go down to a 10 ohm load for their power rating graphs and there isn't specific mention of short conditions (as there is with the op amp it uses), I really can't imagine that TI/FIIO would be so careless as to not build in a safeguard. I also could not find a single report of this unit being damaged by shorting, or even any results saying that headphone jack outputs of any type have been damaged by shorting.

250mW is a whole different ball game compared to 100+ watt dedicated power amplifiers designed to be connected when powered off.
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