I got the B&W C5 S2 earbuds for my PC, since my Sennheiser HD600’s left an impression on my hair after extended use. Sadly, after bringing my new earbuds home to listen to on my Anthem statement D2 pre-amp, there was a loud static white noise only present in the earbuds. The B&W’s are 18dB more sensitive and 32ohms while the Sennheisers are 300ohms. I never heard any static on my Sennheisers, but after roughly 30dB of gain from my Parasound Halo A21 to my Paradigm Studio 100 v3’s I have a subtle static white noise that you can hear if you get close enough to the tweeter with your ear.
Knowing this is present, I wasn’t sure that even if I got a new headphone amp and used balanced out from my D2, would I still have this unbearably loud static in my earphones? At this point I figured I’d have to get a separate amp/DAC combo for my earphones altogether, and that would cost me more than I was willing to spend. Instead of returning the earbuds or wasting money on those new components, I did some searching around. I came across impedance adapters but people said although they work, they usually ruin the sound. Then I found an article about attenuators that was advertising another company’s products. They wanted $50 for a little wire so I was thinking “yeah that’s not going’s to happen”. So I did a quick search and came across this.
The earbuds you 16dB attenuator. I figured, heck it’s two day shipping and affordable I might as well give it a try. So when I got it, I plugged my earphones in and voila! The static was almost completely gone. Now 16dB if I’m correct is a 40X difference in volume, so I was still hearing 1/40 of what was previously present (which was loud), but it’s low enough to only be really noticeable if I focus on it. Before I had this, I tried my earphones on my phone, my D2 and my Focusrite Scarlett Audio Interface. The Scarlett output was awful, a sad excuse of an amplifier for headphones. I already knew this from when trying to power my Sennheisers to directly listen to my microphone but didn’t expect the MUCH easier to power earbuds to sound so horrific.
Anyways, after testing all 3 devices, I determined that the D2 pre-amp had amazing quality and was easy to appreciate, but the static wasn’t worth dealing with. That’s the best part about the EarBuddy, it works AND sustains that quality terrifically. If anything else, I could see it making an improvement on some sources, so long as they are not underpowered. I would certainly recommend this attenuator.