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What's a Good Under $1000 Headphone Amp?

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  • What's a Good Under $1000 Headphone Amp?

    Schiit?
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
    -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

  • #2
    Staying under $1000 I would start with Schiit. When the new small Cavalli is out that is a must hear item, and sounded great at the last Canjam out here.
    Steve Lefkowicz
    Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
    -
    Analog: Linn LP12 (MOSE/Hercules II), Ittok, Dynavector 19a, iPhono2; Pro-Ject RPM-1 Carbon, Sumiko Pearl, iFi iPhono.
    Digital: Samsung 300E5C notebook, JRiver Media Center 26, Tidal HiFi and Qobuz Studio), iFi iDAC2, iFi iUSB3, iPurifier2.
    Electronics: Burson Conductor Virtuoso, DIY switch-box with TKD 10K pot, Antique Sound Labs MG-SI15DT-S, Burson Timekeeper Virtuoso, Jolida JD1000P, B&K ST140.
    Speakers: Tekton Double Impact, Tekton Lore, Magneplaner .7, ELAC Debut2 B6.2, Debut F5 and Debut B6, Emotiva Airmotiv B1, Sound Dynamics 300ti.
    Interconnects: Morrow Audio MA1, Vermouth Audio Black Pearl, Nordost Solar Wind, Audioquest Evergreen
    Speaker cables: Morrow Audio SP4, Vermouth Audio Red Velvet, Nordost Solar Wind, Nordost Flatline, Audioquest Q2.
    Digital cables: Straightwire USB Link, Aural Symphonics Digital Standard xxv USB, Belkin PureAV.
    Accessories: Sound Organization turntable shelf, Mondo racks, Pangea Audio Vulcan racks, Pi Audio Group Über BUSS, Monster HTS2000 power conditioner, Sound Organization speaker stands, Pangea Audio speaker stands, Kinetronics anti-static brush, Pro-Ject VC-S record cleaner, Spin Clean record cleaner.
    Headphones: Schiit Valhalla amp, Meze Audio 99 Classic and 99 Neo, Beyerdynamic DT770Pro, 1More Triple Driver Over Ear, 1More MK801, 1More Triple Driver IEM

    http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...ounding-system

    Comment


    • #3
      All of the Schiit stuff is great value for money.

      HD-650 (often on sale for $350 new) with Valhalla 2 might be the best $$$/sound ratio in all of audio.

      Kronos Pro/SCPS + Zyx Omega Premium -> Trulife Argo -> Schiit Ragnarok -> Event Opal Monitors

      Comment


      • #4
        It retails for just over $1000 but...

        Comment


        • #5
          Are all of the very best headphone amps tube based?
          Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (St) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (St) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (St) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (M) , Luxman Tonearm (M) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (M) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-300 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

          Comment


          • #6
            I own schiit amps in part because mike moffat is an audio god and a really cool dude so i gave him my business. so crowded is the 1000 dollar price segment that serious head-fi enthusiasts would probably name 10 other amps before they would say schiit...whatever. but i love my schiit Vali 2 its so good for the ridiculously low price of $170.
            Simon Yorke S10 | My Sonic Lab Eminent GL | AcousticPlan PhonoMaster | Wadia X32 | Innuous ZEN Mini Mk II | Valvet Soulshine2 | Linear Tube Audio ZOTL10 MkII | Avantgarde Uno Fino XD

            "One of the great challenges of this world: Knowing enough about a subject to think you are right, but not enough about the subject to know you're wrong" - Neil deGrasse Tyson

            Comment


            • #7
              To post just an amount I an amp is tough , without knowing the headphone . One might think it does not matter but it does very much . Imp matching is just one type of synergy . A headphone like hd800 needs a high imp TP sound great , while a low imp one needs 2 ohms or so. My woo audio WA5 has a setting for three types . A low imp , high imp and speaker output and a Speaker output . I also own a hdvd 800 SS amp from sennheiser . While it makes most all senhisser headphones sing it does not do so well with all. Then there is a great headphone the hifiman he6 . For anyone who loves speakers and wants to start to try headphones this is the one. While it sounds like planer speakers on your head . But it's major draw back is it needs about 15 watts at 8 ohms and it has about 45 ohms imp . It needs a low imp output too. But when you get the right amp it's a wonderful speaker sounding setup. Of I were shopping for a 1k budget amp I would go with an integrated amp . And use the speaker output terminal. In this way you have plenty of power and can use a imp matching resister network to better match low and high imp speakers. Also if you like warm or neutral ypu will know by the amp you buy. Some headphones need some warmth if not fed a great source as well.
              analog stuff.
              otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
              otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
              sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
              new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
              thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
              thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
              kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
              phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
              speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
              mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
              digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
              Dacs lampi various

              Comment


              • #8
                i've had very good results with the Massdrop/Grace Designs m9XX headphone amp/DAC and my Fostex TH-900 and TH-X00 headphones. a better combination IMHO then the WA7 + solid-state power supply (or Micromega MyZIC) i have at home.

                for a portable setup, i also have geek out 450 which works in a pinch and works well with the Fostex cans.

                i'm a tube fanatic but in this case the solid state headphone amps work better. is there a correlation with very low output impedance (< 1ohm) and the headphone impedences (32-ohm in both cases)?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by JCOConnell View Post
                  Are all of the very best headphone amps tube based?
                  no but tubes have an advantage . they give more openness and calm things with bad recordings .
                  analog stuff.
                  otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
                  otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
                  sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
                  new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
                  thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
                  thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
                  kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
                  phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
                  speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
                  mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
                  digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
                  Dacs lampi various

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    myles I have a phonitor the one with spl one I can loan it . I also have a great combo from cypher labs its a bal dac and amp . portible to my brain one of the best port combo ,s and it plays dsd as well as pcm . just ask check it out for a while . not asking you to buy it . the combo plays from an ipad or iPhone as well .
                    analog stuff.
                    otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
                    otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
                    sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
                    new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
                    thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
                    thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
                    kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
                    phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
                    speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
                    mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
                    digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
                    Dacs lampi various

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the offer Al! Right now I am so up my neck in reviews and am barely staying afloat.
                      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                      ________________________________________

                      -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                      -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                      -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                      -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                      -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Understood but know you have friend willing to help you if I can.
                        analog stuff.
                        otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
                        otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
                        sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
                        new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
                        thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
                        thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
                        kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
                        phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
                        speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
                        mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
                        digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
                        Dacs lampi various

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          So many. Woo Audio WA6, WA5, Burson 160, Burson Soloist, Violectric V100, Violectric V200, HiFiman EF5, Schiit,, Graham Slee Solo SRG II, La Figaro 339, Lehmann Audio Black Cube Line and if you like a little DIY the Bottlehead Crack. Like anything it all depends on what you want headphones you trying to support.
                          Chris
                          ----------------------------------------------------------------
                          Kef 201/2, Pass xa30.5, W4S STP-SE, Manley Chinook, VPI Classic, Dynavector DV20x2L, ExaSound e32, Acoustic Zen cables. (Office): Vincent SP331 Mkll, Quicksilver Pre, Lumin D1, (Ken Lau Signiture Edition PSU), Bryston BCD-1, Vapor Audio Breeze, WooAudio W6se,Questyle Audio CMA800R LCD-3,HD800s, HD600, Mr Speaker Ether C Flow,

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Got to try to the new Schiit Jotenheim "configurable control center" at the Schiit Show this weekend. Headphone amp, preamp, optional DAC or phono stage ($100 extra). The DAC was decent, but not anything special (better to use your own DAC through a line level input) but the phono stage should be a very good entry level MM device.
                            However, as a $400 headphone amp ($399 without either DAC or phono), it was shocking. Heard it with Senheiser 800S (not a favorite of mine) Ether C Flow (awesome), and my trusty 20 year old 600 ohm Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro. Feeding it from my Questyle QP1 (all FLAC ripped from CD, 24/96 or DSD files) it was actually kind of shocking how good it was. Initial impression was that it's one of the best under $1000 headphone amps I've tried, along with the pre-production Cavalli Liquid Spark (can't wait for that to hit the market). Plus, it is configurable for single ended or balanced (it is internally a fully balanced design) with multiple gain settings.

                            I think it will be big for Schiit, but also think it will seriously cut into sales of their pricier amps.
                            Steve Lefkowicz
                            Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
                            -
                            Analog: Linn LP12 (MOSE/Hercules II), Ittok, Dynavector 19a, iPhono2; Pro-Ject RPM-1 Carbon, Sumiko Pearl, iFi iPhono.
                            Digital: Samsung 300E5C notebook, JRiver Media Center 26, Tidal HiFi and Qobuz Studio), iFi iDAC2, iFi iUSB3, iPurifier2.
                            Electronics: Burson Conductor Virtuoso, DIY switch-box with TKD 10K pot, Antique Sound Labs MG-SI15DT-S, Burson Timekeeper Virtuoso, Jolida JD1000P, B&K ST140.
                            Speakers: Tekton Double Impact, Tekton Lore, Magneplaner .7, ELAC Debut2 B6.2, Debut F5 and Debut B6, Emotiva Airmotiv B1, Sound Dynamics 300ti.
                            Interconnects: Morrow Audio MA1, Vermouth Audio Black Pearl, Nordost Solar Wind, Audioquest Evergreen
                            Speaker cables: Morrow Audio SP4, Vermouth Audio Red Velvet, Nordost Solar Wind, Nordost Flatline, Audioquest Q2.
                            Digital cables: Straightwire USB Link, Aural Symphonics Digital Standard xxv USB, Belkin PureAV.
                            Accessories: Sound Organization turntable shelf, Mondo racks, Pangea Audio Vulcan racks, Pi Audio Group Über BUSS, Monster HTS2000 power conditioner, Sound Organization speaker stands, Pangea Audio speaker stands, Kinetronics anti-static brush, Pro-Ject VC-S record cleaner, Spin Clean record cleaner.
                            Headphones: Schiit Valhalla amp, Meze Audio 99 Classic and 99 Neo, Beyerdynamic DT770Pro, 1More Triple Driver Over Ear, 1More MK801, 1More Triple Driver IEM

                            http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...ounding-system

                            Comment


                            • cpp
                              cpp commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Ether C , I really like mine.

                            • Quint
                              Quint commented
                              Editing a comment
                              My best friend has the Jotenheim that he's using with a pair of Audeze LCD-2s. His lifestyle has changed a lot, so he's using it as his reference rig. I must say, it's pretty damn impressive for what he has invested into it!

                          • #15
                            Schiit Lyre 2 is extraordinary. A hybrid tube in SS out. Six Watts. It will drive any pair of phones you throw at it. You can buy it with free second day shipping Amazon Prime. Never ceases to satisfy me.
                            TW Acustic TT with Ref motor & controller; Tri-Planar Arm; Ortofon Windfeld-Ti Cartridge, Harmonix-Combak platter matte & weight; Arcam R Phono Preamp; KLAudio Ultrasonic Record Cleaner.

                            Bluesound Vault-2 Music Server & Streamer

                            VTL 6.5 preamp Series II
                            Pass Labs 150.8 Amp

                            Piega C711 Loudspeakers

                            Symposium Osiris Rack; Symposium Platforms and Roller Blocks plus grade 2.5 Balls

                            Acoustic Revive RR-888 Low Frequency Pulse Generator

                            Shunyata Hydra 8; Shunyata AC Cords; Synergistic Research Level 3 HC AC Cord and Level 3 power cord, Synergistic Carbon fiber wall plates & Blue Outlets, Furutech NCF Booster Brace, Audio Art Ref balanced ICs, MIT Oracle IC and Magnum Speaker Cables

                            Sennheiser HDV 650 Headphone Amp; Sennheiser HD1200s Headphones.

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