If the recording is excellent and your source doesn't artificially brighten things up to "enhance resolution", then the HD800 will just tell it like it is and will not be "too bright", i.e. not any brighter than the real performance. If source or amp are already on the bright side then it's no fun to listen to violin music on the HD800 but that's postively old news ... .
If you read this thread about the NYC mini meet : http://www.head-fi.org/t/751421/new-york-mini-meet-hifiman-he-1000-impressions-thread you will find that the HE1000 can be driven by the Hifiman digital player as well as e.g. i-phones. Maybe no to the ultimate best performance but no, the headphones don't need to be powered by the EF1000 balanced amp.
???... versatility based on what ? Have you used it with different headphones, low impedence, high impedence, planar, dynamic, IEM's ?Have you used it with a variety speakers?A little early for such a judgement, isn't it ?
This shouldn't be any surprise really, should it ? First of all no one has heard the amp with anything else but the HE1000 headphonesand second no one knows if the amp will be sold separatelyand third no one has any realistic idea of the price
Here one of the top favorites of my latest acquisitions :
Kenny Barron (piano), Dave Holland (double bass) : "The Art of Conversation"
Excellent sound quality and fantastic playing.
Very enjoyable, I listened to it already 3 times - which is quite rare for a new album.