Everyone’s surely been telling you to just buy an amp for your 250-ohm headphones.
The issue is…
You don’t have one.
So, how will this affect sound quality?
And why does listening to your favorite band gotta be so complicated?
Yet, your headphones can still work without an amp…
Continue reading to find out:
- How ohms affect headphones’ sound quality.
- How to use 250-ohm headphones without an amp.
- If using your headphones without an amp will damage them.
- And a lot more…
How to use 250 ohm headphones without an amp – 3 steps
First of all, you might be wondering what an ohm is.
It’s practically a niche term…
And it’s not what you chant during meditation sessions: “Ohmmm…”
Instead, ohm (Ω) is the unit used to measure impedance. It makes a device require stronger power.
Imagine a water pipe:
A smaller pipe will require a stronger current.
In this analogy, the pipe is the impedance. So, the higher the impedance, the greater the demand for power.
In turn, the greater the sound quality and volume your headphones can produce.
Now that you’re familiar with the term, you can proceed to the steps below.
#1: Check connectors and jacks
Not all headphones are built the same.
And if you’re unlucky, the headphones may not fit your device’s audio jack.
So to be sure, check if your headphones’ audio connector matches the audio jack of your device.
Moreover, the common types of audio connectors that headphones use are:
- USB Type-A.
- USB Type-C.
- 6.3mm (mostly for audio interfaces and instruments).
Among these, 3.5mm audio connectors are the standard type. And you might have it on your laptop or your phone.
Other than that, USB Type-A is also very common. This type of jack is present in almost all computers. However, phones generally don’t have them.
Fun fact: There are headphones using USB Type-A connectors that already come with a built-in amplifier. Be sure to check your headphones’ product description.
#2: Check for device issues
Even if the connectors and audio jacks match…
Some issues can prevent the headphones from working properly.
To be sure that everything’s a-ok, it’s better to inspect for any problems before starting to play music.
For example, your device’s audio jacks might be broken.
This may cause your headphones to play a distorted sound or no sound at all.
To check if this is an issue, try testing your device’s jack by plugging your headphones in.
If they don’t play music clearly…
Try plugging other audio output such as earphones or speakers into the same jack.
Doing this will reveal whether the problem is with the headphones or with the jack.
That said, your headphones may also not work if there’s a driver issue. This is especially true when you play music through a computer.
Now, a device’s driver controls its operation.
Think of it as a digital manual that your computer can read.
With it, your computer knows what to do with the connected device.
In this case, updating the computer’s audio drivers is the best solution.
With that, here’s…
How to install drivers in Windows
- Connect the headphones to the computer.
- Make sure that you’re connected to the Internet.
- Open Start or press the Windows key.
- Type “Device Manager” on the search bar and press the Enter key.
- Click on the arrow beside the Audio inputs and outputs to expand the option.
- Right-click on the entry for your headset. The brand name is often the device’s name on the list.
- Select Update Driver.
- Click Search automatically for drivers.
- The driver will automatically update. Your headphones should now be working properly.
How to install drivers in macOS
- Manually download the driver from the headphones’ website.
- Click the Apple icon at the top left of the screen.
- Select System Preferences.
- Choose Security & Privacy.
- Click the lock icon on the lower-left of the window to make changes. What you did was provide permission for the driver to install.
- Tick the App Store and identified developers option.
- Click on the lock icon again to save your changes.
- Go to the driver’s download folder and run the .pkg file.
- Follow the installment instructions to install the file. Your headphones should now be working properly.
Warning: Ensure that your driver is downloaded from a trusted source. This helps prevent viruses and malware on your computer.
When all else fails, the safest route is to contact your headphones’ manufacturer. You can often find their contact information on the product packaging and the brand’s website.
#3: Plug and play
If your headphones and device match…
Then, your drivers are all in check…
You’re ready to jam to your favorite playlist.
Just plug the headphones in and press play.
You can now hear that using 250 ohm headphones without an amp is just like using regular headphones.
“So what’s the deal then? Why use an amp at all?”
There’s a downside to not using an amp, of course. I’ve mentioned earlier that impedance will require stronger power for better sound quality.
Having the pipe analogy in mind…
How small the pipe is wouldn’t matter if the water through it is delivered slowly in the first place.
So, you need a stronger water flow to meet the demands of the smaller pipe. And the amplifier strengthens this flow.
Impedance provides a requirement for a stronger power. Meanwhile, the amplifier fulfills that requirement by boosting the power
Without an amp, the output from your headphones will sound weak, distorted, and muddy.
Of course, you have the option of just making your headphones louder. But the sound quality wouldn’t be as good as it would with an amp.
For more information on amps and headphone output, check this out:
Will 250 ohm headphones be damaged without an amp?
Your 250 ohm headphones won’t be damaged without an amp.
As I’ve mentioned earlier:
The consequence of not using an amp affects the sound quality that the headphones produce.
Without an amplifier, the sound becomes very weak. At times, there may even be no sound at all.
But rest assured, the sound quality is all that using 250-ohm headphones without an amp will affect.
However, with no amp, it’s important to remember that your headphones can’t optimize their performance.
All the high-quality sound your 250-ohm headphones are capable of would go to waste.
Therefore, to get the most bang-for-your-buck, it’s advised to use an amp.
But if you don’t have one, you can purchase a cheap amp that’s good quality…
Doing so will allow you to hear the richness of the sound your headphones can produce. So, you’ll be able to hear your favorite singer’s vocals like never before.
And with that, here are some of the best choices for a budget amp: