Best option to connect headphones to SN3

Hi guys,

I recently splurged on some new kit (Supernait 3, NDX 2, Spendor A7s) and I’m loving how it sounds.
However, there are times when I need to keep the volume down to avoid annoying or waking people, so I also bought some headphones (Focal Clear MG).

I really like the sound of the Focals, but right now I have to sit close to the amp as it only comes with a 1.2m cable that can be plugged into the 6.3mm socket on the SN3

So my questions:

  1. Do I buy a good quality 3m cable with a 6.3mm plug (suggestions?), or do I add a dedicated headphone amp with a 4pin XLR so i can use the 3m balanced cable that came with the Focals?

  2. If a headphone amp is the way to go, do I plug it into the NDX 2 or the SN3. Most seem to have onboard DACs, but I’m guessing I’d have to spend quite a lot to improve on the NDX 2 DAC, so can they be bypassed sending an already converted analogue signal?



  1. Just get a longer cable.

  2. If you want to go down this route, search the forum for headphone amplifier connection. You will find a pinned thread all about it.
    Usually it connects to the amplifier so it can be used for all your sources.

1 Like

@Neilb1906 it depends on the cable length the OP needs. Focal does not make anything beyond 10 feet for a longer cable.

Yes, understood.
I did mean to infer " subject to what’s available".

@Entilzha I just use the jack 1/4 inch on the SN3 with a 4.5 meter cable from Cardas. I am using the Utopia headphones. I find the headphone amp on the SN3 to be fine. I did not have room on the rack for another headphone amp and the DAC in the NDX2 is great Moreover, if you add another source and want to maintain the NDX2 then it gets complicated with an external amp IMO.

either a plug adapter (to convert the ‘long’ cable included in the Clear MG box (pentaconn 4.4mm by the sounds of it), OR
I’d probably encourage a trade with anyone seeking that long cable (4.4mm plug balanced cable), to the Focal Clear equivalent cable (terminated 6.3mm, same as the Supernait headphone jack).

I use plug adapters for some of my cables, guessing one would exist to take 4.4mm into 6.3mm…

But, if not, Focal do have a cable (that was included with the Focal Clears’ before the MG version) that is long and terminated as you seek…

Hi Entilza,

How do you find the Spendor A7’s with the SN3?
Can I ask what size your room is, listening postion distance from them and their positioning?

Cheers, Gerry.

1 Like

Hi Gerry,

I have the speakers about 2m apart and about 30cm from the wall and toed in slightly. I sit about 2.5m back from the centre point between them. The room is quite large and opens into the dining room behind the listening position.

I think they sound fantastic together, but considering the Spendors are an upgrade to some 15 year old cheap Q acoustic speakers, and the amp is an upgrade to a 10 year old Marantz receiver, I’d expect a big improvement! The sound is clear (definitely hearing new parts to recordings I know well), the soundstage is well defined, and I find myself tapping my foot a lot more than I used to.

While I have had hi-fi separates for over 30 years, this new setup is much much better than anything I’ve had before, so I’m afraid I can’t compare it to anything else in the same price range, other than the Spendor Ds which I briefly tested (was worried they wouldn’t play nicely so close to my wall).

Thanks for your comments folks, I’m going to source a longer 6.3mm cable for now. I am already happy with the sound form the SN3, and this way also leaves open an option for any future bouts of upgraditis




Best choice.

Thanks for that. I have an SN3, HiCap dr, LP12 with AT VM540ML, Cyrus Cdi and Kef R3’s.

Listening position is 8.5ft from speakers which are 6ft apart and 35cm from rear wall.

I’ve tried ATC and Dali Zensors but I kept going back to the R3’s, they are warmer and more “fullsome” in some sort of way.

The system could easily take on a more up market speaker. I’m aware there are a number of speakers from other manufacturers in the same bracket but I’ve always been drawn to the A7’s.

My priorty on choosing a new speaker is with listening fatigue. Your listening setup is similar to mine, we are not far from the speaker fronts.
Are the A7’s tolerable at these distances and also for longer listening sessions?

Cheers, Gerry.

If you cannot find something standard, try Custom Cans. I had some cable made for my Focals there and it works a dream. You can specify exactly what you need.

I second that had a cable made by Custom Can very good quality.

1 Like

I don’t find them in the last bit wearing or tiresome, but it might depend on what you listen to.

I used to listen to a lot of post rock and punk, which I now find a bit much on a longer listen - I think that’s me more than the speakers though. With more acoustic and vocal led music I think they are great and feel very comfy.

That said, my longer listening sessions tend to be accompanied by wine or whisky. Funny how the sound improves throughout the evening…

Brilliant :clap:

@faicaillridge21 My A4 speakers are about 17.5 inches from the wall behind them and about 30 inches from the side walls. I sit about 9 feet from the speakers. They have a slight toe in. Totally fatigue free. I love my Utopia headphones with Cardas cable. I have no problem with the headphone amp in the SN3. Had the A7 speakers not blocked our widow NYC skyline view, we would have gotten the better speakers instead of the A4 speakers.

1 Like

You could also try Cxnnected to make a longer headphone cable.

I’ve used both Custom Cams and Cxnnected, but prefer the latter.


1 Like

Futureshop UK can make any cable you like from any brand you like.

Choosing single ended for now over balanced is definitely a good option. Balanced is the icing on the cake, not the difference between good and bad. There are $8k headphone amps on the market that still only offer single ended connections.

I’ve also recently had a long custom cable made up by Cxnnected and was very happy both with their service and with the cable itself.


Chord make three types of cable for Mini Jack (You buy an adapter) Clearway, Shawline and a more basic