Impedance is the resistance of the current. Fortunately, it does not affect sound quality other than volume. This does not affect the true quality of the sound, the impedance.
Impedance is a very technical measurement that is difficult to explain without equations and scientific jargon. We will simplify it and divide it in terms of sound with low and high impedance.
When talking about things like watts, voltage, and power, many audio writers use the analogy of water flowing through a pipe because it’s an analog that people can imagine and relate to.
Think of the speaker as a pipe. The audio signal, your music, acts like water flowing through the pipe. The larger the pipe, the more easily the water will flow. Larger pipes also handle higher volumes of tap water. A low impedance speaker is like a large pipe that gives you more electrical signal and allows it to flow more easily.
As a result, look at amplifiers that are rated to deliver 100 watts at the 8-ohm impedance and 150 or 200 watts at 4ohm impedance. The lower the impedance, the more easily power (signal or music) will flow through the speaker.
Some amplifiers are not designed to work with 4-ohm speakers. Using a pipe analogy, you can insert a larger pipe. Still, it will only require more water (audio) if you have a pump (amplifier) powerful enough to provide an additional flow of water.
Impedance is related to the physical dimensions of the voice coil in terms of several turns, so the shape and gauge, or cross-sectional areas of the wire are formed. This determines the current carrying capacity of the coil.
Given these physical limitations, designers have a finite range in choosing the final impedance of the coil. This is mainly due to the current supply characteristics of the upstream electronics, that is, by moving the voice coil of the amplifier.
At extreme settings, the amp will start clipping, or the headphone diaphragm reaches its excursion limit, adding distortion figures.
Most manufacturers change other parameters, but keep the final impedance at 32 ohms, as it matches the power distribution characteristics of most commercially portable headphone caps, Makes life a little easier.
That said, the impedance can go as high as 100 ohms without affecting audio quality, but this requires the availability of custom headphone amps. An example of this is stacked electrostatic amplifiers and headphones.
Additionally, impedance components often overlooked – voice coil induction and capacitance must also keep within a specific range, or they can contribute to inconsistent frequency response in the audible range. Therefore, geometry and metallurgy of coil and even the dielectric value of the insulation used, such as Teflon versus PVC or PU, also play a role in determining the highest audio quality.
These are some factors that come to mind that underscore the role of impedance in preventing audio quality.
Impedance matching is an interaction between the impedance of the source (the device is connected to the headphones) and the impedance of headphones To ensure the highest audio quality, the source and headphones must be well connected. As you may have guessed from the impedance category examples above, a match does not mean ‘both are equal’, but instead they are ‘complementary’.
Now, it is enough to understand that the audio source and the impedance of the headphones should not be the same and that headphones with different restrictions will require other heads. The same source and the same load impedance maximize the power that we can transfer between the amplifier and the headphones, but this usually reduces the frequency bandwidth, so this is not what we want in hi-fi.
In general, low impedance headphones (which we would define as below 50 ohms) are designed to work well with portable devices, because they provide sufficient volume and sound quality from low voltage devices. It can reproduce efficiently.
In contrast, high-impedance headphones (50 ohms and up) generally require strong amplification to perform at their best.
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Most readers will know that loudspeakers are typically priced at a nominal impedance of four, 8, 15, or 16-15Ω. The latter is used with older tube amps, the former with automotive and battery-powered systems. Speakers are very complicated things, and those with passive crossovers are often a challenge to drive an amp (s). Many speaker manufacturers reproduce impedance curve graphs of their design showing impedance versus frequency. A cursory examination shows how the impedance can be variable, and therefore how difficult it can be for an amplifier to deliver its signal accurately at all frequencies.
In general, amplifiers are designed to have very low output impedance (usually a fraction of an ohm) so that the speaker impedance is relatively high. However, interrupting the connecting cable can also have an audible effect on sound quality. For example, often used with cheap and cheerful systems, the dreaded ‘bell flex’ features relatively high resistance. Since it is in series with a loudspeaker, some of the power from amplifier to heat the wire is isolated. It will be done The resistance of the cable can also interact with the characteristics of the crossover.
Describing the impedance in headphones is not as easy as you might think. You have to know many other terms to understand the true meaning of impedance. However, we will try to explain it in the simplest way possible to raise awareness among our readers.
Let’s consider headphones as an elementary electronic circuit. In that case, the impedance of the audio source can be described as the output impedance of the source impedance. Meanwhile, the impedance of the respective device (headphones) can be characterized as load impedance.
Initially, the impedance of headphones ranged from 8 to 600 ohms. A value of approximately 32 ohms is considered the standard for headphones and is a very common parameter. The source impedance usually is very low. In most cases, it reads a value of 4 ohms and zero ohms. However, when it comes to devices such as special tube amplifiers (especially transformerless output models), the impedance of the audio source can be an absolute value of 120 ohms or more.
A speaker transformer is added to the speaker system for a high impedance connection that increases the impedance to several hundred or thousands of ohms. This allows the speaker system to operate efficiently with a current much lower than that required for a low impedance system. In turn, each power amplifier allows a large number of speaker systems to be connected to the output. High impedance speaker connections operate at a specific maximum voltage, typically 70 or 100 volts, and are therefore also known as “constant voltage” speaker systems (labeled “constant voltage” is somewhat misleading: actual output according to fluctuation in) signal input).
A power amplifier specifically designed for a high impedance connection (100 or 70 volt line) must be used, and can provide more than the total rated power input capacity of all transformer-equipped speakers in the system.
A power amplifier that can handle the impedance of the speaker system should be selected. If the amplifier and speaker system are not combined correctly, the full performance capabilities of the power amplifier will not be achieved. It is also important to select an amplifier that is capable of delivering the maximum rated input (PGM) of the speaker system to achieve maximum output without distortion. A power amplifier that does not have enough power can easily cause distortion and even damage the speaker system.
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One of the important reasons for someone to buy a pair of high impedance headphones instead of low impedance headphones is the clarity of the sound. Compared to lower impedance headphones, higher impedance headphones come with more layers of wire on the voice coil. They also have a low-speed mass. As a result of combining these two aspects, you can enjoy better sound quality with impressive clarity.
The voice coil cables of high impedance headphones have a much smaller diameter. Leaving less air between the wires allows the wires to fit together perfectly. This formation creates a strong electromagnetic field in the voice cable. The result is loud and clear audio. Distortion from these headphones is minimal compared to low-power headphones.
As we’ve already explained, high-impedance headphones require more power to produce audio output. This is very beneficial because it reduces the possibility of an explosion. Even if you use a high impedance headphone with a device with a powerful amplifier, it will not explode.
Some amplifiers and receivers have an impedance switch on the back that you can use to switch between ohm settings. The problem with using this switch is that the impedance is not a balanced setting; it is a curve that varies. Using an impedance switch to “match” your speakers to your devices intentionally cripples all the capabilities of your amplifier or receiver. Leave the impedance at its highest setting and purchase speakers that match your device’s impedance setting for the best performance.
In this article, we have explained the meaning of impedance and the characteristics of high impedance sound to make it easier for you. You can also review the information one more time and choose the product wisely to match your exact requirements.
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