We all like something for nothing: the extra scoop of ice cream, the baker’s dozen, the unexpected set of vibration canceling feet included with our new amp purchase.
Rarely are we pleased with the opposite—something intangible for plenty more. Yet, this is the conundrum we face when considering headroom.
Headroom in amplification—both preamps and amps—offer huge benefits that we never notice until they are missing. Compare a low headroom amplifier with its polar opposite and the problems of compression, increased non-linearities, and eye-squinting strain become apparent.
It’s not easy to plunk down more funds for greater headroom because it requires a leap of faith, and faith is something we all struggle with.
It’s often the invisible we benefit from the most.