A question about headphones

I've decided I would like to give the headphone experience a try because I am an early morning person and I would like my wife to enjoy her sleep.  She is definitely not an early bird.

I have a McIntosh C48 preamp and it has a headphone jack on front.  I have plugged my BT transmitter into this and paired with my Bose noise -cancelling headphones but can't say its anything to write home about.  Do I need a headphone amplifier and where do I connect the amplifier to my rig?

I like headphones that fully encapsulate my ear.  I can't see that open-back headphones appeal to me.  I am about 20' away from my rig and although I would consider a cable, what's the consensus on BT headphones or a combo BT / cabled?

I live in Canada and I was thinking to make a start, I would not want to sink more that $500 into headphones until I am convinced this is the route to go.  I still don't know about the headphone amp and its cost - if I need it.

I don't post much here but I follow this forum daily ad appreciate all opinions and feedback.  Thanks in advance everyone.


Since you want to ’test’ the waters, and given your opening post: go over ear, closed back, Bluetooth 5.3 (5.2 at least). BTW, the Bluetooth version needs to be supported both on your phone (for instance) and your headphone (to get the full benefit of the version).

If the pair you go with works to your satisfaction with BT, it will perform better wired. However, your need for a 20 foot long cable is fairly long and that length will require careful selection and audition (i.e. might pose pairing issues with a headphone amp and the type of headphone you choose) .

With BT you can skip the headphone amp and cabling (for now) while you are figuring out how to move forward.

Check out sites like Headfonia, Headphone.guru, Headphonics, etc. for recommendations and reviews.

B&W just released the PX8 (slightly above your current budget). The previous PX7 S2 is available well within your budget.

If you want something that is almost portable and decent sound check out the following DAC with headphone amp. (limited to digital only)

Matrix Mini-i Pro 3 Wireless Bluetooth DAC/Amp – Apos Audio

You can keep this next to your seating position and use the WiFI for streaming (it has BT, Ethernet, etc,,). WiFi is not the most reliable streaming option but when it works it is good. I had this unit and gave it to my friend since it was so easy to use, and my friend does not need the hassle of complicated setups.

Now if you want to step up to the very best quality sound you should explore RAAL-Requisite’s headphones. You can even use your 2-channel amp to drive them (not your preamp).


My BT transmitter is something cheap off of Amazon.  It fits the 1/4" plug on my preamp through an adaptor.  There must be something better out there?

I have a DAC and a Matrix DCC.  Thanks .


The B&W lineup looks nice but it seems BT only, no combo.  Is this correct?