Recommend an inexpensive headphone amp/surround processor?
January 21, 2009 8:16 PM   Subscribe

Can you recommend a decent low-cost headphone amplifier and surround sound processor? I used to have a Sennheiser DSP which did Dolby Pro-Logic decoding and headphone simulation, and am looking for something like that, but for Dolby Digital.

I'd like to be able to play games and watch DVDs on the Xbox 360 without disturbing my wife too much by using the TV speakers. I have a nice set of Sennheiser headphones that I'd like to use, but there's no receiver in that room--the Xbox is hooked straight up to the TV via HDMI, and while the TV has digital and analog audio passthrough outputs, it doesn't have a headphone jack. I do have a portable headphone amp I can use, but it doesn't do any sort of surround decoding/emulation, which would be nice for movies and I understand would make some of my gaming experience much better.

I don't care about in-game headset functionality; I'm not playing multiplayer games much.

Some products I've been able to find that look like they might fit the bill are:

+ A40 MixAmp
+ Sony MDR-DS1000

These also look promising, but I can't find any for sale, even on eBay:

+ Thrustmaster T510

While I'm mostly interested in something I can use with my existing headphones, I'm open to the possibility of using headphones with multiple drivers per ear, such as the Tritton AX Pro or AX360. I'm not too interested in wireless sets--these won't ever be used outside of normal corded range. But it does look like most everything on the market right now is wireless, so if there are any suggestions there, that's cool. The Pioneer SE-DIR800C looks good, but at $250-$300 is about twice what I was hoping to spend.

So, has anyone used any of these? Or something better? Any recommendations? Thanks!
posted by hades to Technology (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I asked my SO about this, as he has more headphones and headphone amps than I ever thought possible (!). He said that he has no experience of Dolby Digital headphone amps, but that you should take this question to the HeadFi forum. As someone who lives with an obsessive on the subject, I'd take his advice ... :-)
Just browsing, they have a whole forum dedicated to headphone amps.
posted by Susurration at 12:52 PM on January 22, 2009

I'll give HeadFi a look, thanks.
posted by hades at 11:31 PM on January 24, 2009

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