What do Audio Attenuator do for headphones?

I heard about Audio Attenuators that will allow you to keep the volume on your amp high so you can hear more from the music but allow you to lower your volume to the headphones. I guess it does this by connecting between the amp and headphones in the signal chain.

I like this feature cause often i turn up the volume cause it seems i dont hear the full quality of my music but i dont want more volume on my ears either. This sounds ideal. Does it work well? Which Attenuator would you recommend?

Replace the word “attenuator” with “resistor”, then ask yourself again.

What about a nice one like this?:


What about just a plain volume control? Somthing like this?:

This one has 1/4 connectors:

be nice to find out with XLR too.

Heres one for XLR :slightly_smiling_face:

I know attenuators from my guitar amps… I tried to use them to make my blisteringly loud Marshall tube amp not leak into every microphone inside the Tonstudio but the sound just sucked with the attenuator and the attenuator melted. Kills all the highs and dynamic.

I think you are better of using a dedicated Amp for each Headphone.
A low quality volume control will destroy a lot of sound but you are trying to solve the problem at the wrong side (current) of the amp. You will also increase distortion. I solved this problem on one of my vintage amplifiers by plugging an active preamp with a high quality resistor ladder type volume control into the imput and nearly maxing the old school potentiometer. It sounded a lot better and solved the balance issue.

hmm, interesting. I have other amps. i got a Schiit magni and a Garage 1217 ember amp. but they all sound so different from each other. Wont that influence the sound of each headphone too much? wouldn’t that make it hard to give a fair comparison? I like the sp200 cause its so uncolored and neutral

In that case, why not buy another sp200? If your intention is to do comparisons for reviews and what not, maybe just split the output from a dac into two sp200’s. Might be worth the expense.

Two headphone and a attenuator will make your sp200 colored too.
I’m a speaker guy and I go about it this way:
When I get some speakers I will try out all my different amps to finde the best match for the speaker. I will compare the speakers to other speakers with the amp that matches them the best. Because I will listen to them with the best matching amp and possibly not with my very linear and powerful Audionet. To compare speakers just with my most linear amplifier is useless because not all speakers reach their full potential or sound their best with this amp… That why I got more amps than speakers lol…

Yeah ive been thinking about that lately. I could get a treble amp, a neutral amp and a warm amp. Then i could try them on different headphones. like the Schiit amp for a dark like the nighthawks. or a Aiva on a warm amp.

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