How to connect headphone amplifier?


I’ve read over this topic but I don’t fully understand from previous posts so I’m hoping I can get my answer in full.

So I’m looking to take advantage of my expensive DAC rather than getting a cheap dac/headphone amplifier for headphone listening. How can I route a non- Naim headphone amplifier through my NAC52 pre?

I believe I can plug my DAC in to say, input 2a and then plug the Din to RCA cable (to headphone amplifier) into input/output 4/5/6 using interconnect that uses output pins.

Then I can select input 2a for play and say input/output 4 on record for my headphone amplifier listening to that DAC source. Is this correct?

Just to say most headphone amps are also a pre so your essentially going via to pres and two forms of volume attenuation one in the nac then in the headamp. This is far from ideal scenario you onyk want one lot of volume attenuation although some so it’s best to feed the headamp direct from the DAC and use its volume control. No doubt others will have a different opinion though.

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That would be ideal but my DAC only has one output. I would need to unplug and replug every time I want to use the headphone amplifier

Can somebody please confirm if I am understanding this correctly

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Your understanding is correct. The audio signal which is output on 4,5 & 6 (used to be called Tape Out) does not pass through the volume control, therefore it is at full volume. Providing your headphone amplifier has a volume control then you are good to go. Just ensure that your DIN to headphone amplifier cable is connected to the right pins at the 52 end.

This is how my Headlines are connected to my 82 and 102

If your Din-to-Phono lead is the correct type, yes you are correct.

It must be a lead which connects to the Output pins on the DIN, not the Input pins. So not a ‘normal’ interconnect lead.

Yes I understand. Thank you for confirming. This will be an easy read for future members looking for an answer to this. :+1:

This question is not new - and neither is the answer… :expressionless:

I appreciate that but it wasn’t stated in a simple way. I’ve read the previous posts on this topic.

Here is another odd question. Do excuse me if I sound pathetic. Does using a tape/line out on a pre-amplifier effect the performance of the preamp in any way.

I have previously ready that using/plugging multiple inputs can have a very small effect on overall sound/noise floor.

Does anybody have any experience with this?


Thank you. I take that as no it doesn’t effect performance of pre-amp

Sorry…in my view. No.
I think there may be an argument about disabling certain inputs on Naim streamers to maintain SQ…but it goes in the snake oil tin as far as I’m concerned.

Well I’ve conducted the test on the pre amp. If you say plug in a DAC into input 3, then switch to input 5 where nothing has been connected. Crank up the volume and listen with your ear next to the speaker you will hear a very faint bleed of input 3.

So this is proof of that claim for sure.

I just wasn’t sure about output sapping extra power when two outputs are connected

Yes… that’s cranking it right up…most preamps will suffer with that.
At normal listening levels, you won’t notice.
I don’t think many people sit and listen to an unused input on their amp at 12 o’clock levels, may be wrong.

Yes you’re right. But the argument goes if one input bleeds into another that has a separate source connected, then the noise floor is certainly effected.

in high end Audio IMO Every little helps. But then I DO have the purist approach I guess

Thanks for your feedback.

It’s purely my view, no more value than what you perceive.
Scientifically you are probably correct.

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