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Small Amp for HD650's

post #1 of 91
Thread Starter 
Hi there! this is my first post here, and I'm a total novice (glad thats cleared up).
Recently I recieved the Sennheiser HD650's as a gift, I had been using the HD497's. The 650's are amazing! However they seem to be too quiet. Thus I now want a headphone amp. I've been using the 650's on my PC with the Audigy 2 internal sound card to watch movies, play games etc. I also use them with my TV and laptop.

Choosing an amp seems impossible! I'm looking at an absolute maximum budget of $400. Although I want a small amp it doesn't necessarily have to be very portable, and must run on AC and not just batteries. I've been looking at at some of these but don't restrict you suggestions to just these:
•Creek Audio OBH-21/SE
•WooAudio WooAudio 3
•Musical Fidelity X-CANV3
•ATP Systems Xenos 3HA
•Grado RA-1
•Xin SuperMacro Portable Headphone Amplifier
•JMTAudio amps
•CORDA amps
•Perreaux SXH2 Headphone Amplifier
•Emmeline SR-71 Portable Headphone Amp
•Rega Ear amp
•Antique Sound Lab amps
•LaRocco amps
I've also heard of gilmore's, pimeta, ppa, tubes etc but haven't the faintest idea of what this all means. Please help me decide!

Thanks in advance
post #2 of 91
One I didn't see on your list you should consider is the HeadRoom Little. It has an upgrade path that if you should ever decide on a change, you can add little by little. I have an older one hook up to my computer and it has been a great little performer for the $$$.


HeadRoom Little
post #3 of 91
Something you forgot
The Gilmore Lite and the Talisman Audio T-3H.
The Gilmore I haven't used but is regarded highly for a sound bigger then the price. The Talisman I have used and believe me it can make a dead phone sound nice. For the HD 650 it should be an ideal companion.
I would however recommend getting a source that would do your headphones some justice.

A very cheap yet handy option to use is the AV-710 from Chaintech. You can always upgrade to a nice DAC later on or just a CD player if that is a preferred direction for you

Kunwar
post #4 of 91
Gilmore Lite
post #5 of 91
Yeah I would definitely get the Gilmore Lite. That's what I have and I have been very happy. I later upgraded to the better power supply/dedicated PSU. The Gilmore Lite is a very nice unit for $300 and it is better than most of theamps on your list.

I've heard that the Emmeline SR-71 Portable Headphone Amp gives it a run for it's money but it's more expensive.

The Gilmore seems to be generally regarded as better than the Rega Ear though...especially if you ever want to use it for other headphones (other than the HD650s).

While the Gilmore Lite is based on a design created by Kevin Gilmore (and there are many DIY Gilmore's out there) it can be purchased at HeadAmp.com. I would wait for a used one to hit Head-Fi unless you need one right away...if only because the build time is a couple of weeks from HeadAmp anyway so you might as well try to get one cheaper and faster.
post #6 of 91
I'll second the recommend for the HeadRoom Little. IMO, HeadRoom's crossfeed processor is the greatest thing ever invented for headphone users. See my comments in this thread.

I suspect that many folks new to amps would find this feature alone to be of greater value than many of the traditional audiophile attributes that the geeks here love to argue about.

Anyway, I think it's worth at least a 30 day audition from HeadRoom...

Beau
post #7 of 91
Corda.

Once heard, never forgotten.
post #8 of 91
The Little is a nice amp, however i dont think it does the hd650 justices. PPA will drive them nicely and you can get a nice one used in the FS/FT forum in your price range. I havent heard the gilmore lite or the sr-71 but people who have recommend them and both are in your price range.
post #9 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by eastside504
The Little is a nice amp, however i dont think it does the hd650 justices.
Fer cryin' out loud! The fellow posting the question thinks the 650s sound "amazing" driven by his sound card, TV, etc. I think folks should be more concerned about doing justice to the genuine needs of a newbie than doing justice to their own conceptions of what his new phones somehow "deserve".

Just because the 650s can get the most out of an expensive amp doesn't mean they can't sound darn good with lesser equipment - provided it has enough power to drive them adequately. Mine sound just fine with my older Total AirHead. No... not nearly as good as with my new Maxed Out Home but certainly a heckuva lot better than they sound driven by the headphone jack on my TV.

The Little should drive the 650s to levels as loud as anyone should be listening to phones. I'll stick by my recommendation 'cause of the crossfeed.

Beau
post #10 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apocalypse_HD650
Hi there! this is my first post here, and I'm a total novice (glad thats cleared up).
Recently I recieved the Sennheiser HD650's as a gift, I had been using the HD497's. The 650's are amazing! However they seem to be too quiet. Thus I now want a headphone amp. I've been using the 650's on my PC with the Audigy 2 internal sound card to watch movies, play games etc. I also use them with my TV and laptop.

Choosing an amp seems impossible! I'm looking at an absolute maximum budget of $400. Although I want a small amp it doesn't necessarily have to be very portable, and must run on AC and not just batteries. I've been looking at at some of these but don't restrict you suggestions to just these:
•Creek Audio OBH-21/SE
•WooAudio WooAudio 3
•Musical Fidelity X-CANV3
•ATP Systems Xenos 3HA
•Grado RA-1
•Xin SuperMacro Portable Headphone Amplifier
•JMTAudio amps
•CORDA amps
•Perreaux SXH2 Headphone Amplifier
•Emmeline SR-71 Portable Headphone Amp
•Rega Ear amp
•Antique Sound Lab amps
•LaRocco amps
I've also heard of gilmore's, pimeta, ppa, tubes etc but haven't the faintest idea of what this all means. Please help me decide!

Thanks in advance

For $400 I'd look at either the Ray Samuel's SR 71 or the Gilmore Lite. You owe yourself a listen though, they sound pretty different.

Also, I've seen a lot of praise for the Bottlehead S.E.X. for $369, if you're mechanically inclined (note: I've not heard this one myself, only the above two).
post #11 of 91
JMT Audio PPA with:

Internal regulated power supply
Par Metals aluminum enclosure
Jon will let you know what Op amp to get
post #12 of 91
Beauregard, he ask for an amp that will drive his hd650 at around $400. I used to own a headroom little with the upgraded powersupply. The Little new cost $459 and if you want the upgarded powersupply that will put it over $600. I offered him alternative amps that IMO are better sounding at a cheaper price level. I'm glad you are happy with your amp, but there are several different amps that drives the hd650 better IMO.
post #13 of 91
SR-71. No doubt.
Gilmore Lite would be second choice for me in your $ range but I think it's cool to have the portability in an amp that will drive your cans (my faves) w/ authority. Hope you have a good source cuz most of the amps being recommended to you will be fairly ruthless to sub-std sources.
You might also consider the Ray Samels XP-7.
CPW
post #14 of 91
You mentioned that you want to have one that runs of ac power not just batteries, the SR-71 runs strictly on batteries. But please dont count it out because of that. Its a wonderful little amp. It will run your HD-650's and then you can throw it in a camera bag with your ipod and use it portably. And keep in mind that the SR-71 will give you at least 50-70 hrs. on some good alkaline batteries. Think about that. Thats alot of listening. I get a 4-pack of Energizer 9v's and it costs me 7-8 dollars at Fry's. A little more some places, but thats alot of time for your 8 bucks. 50 hrs. is alot of actual listening time. My SR-71 is my only amp right now and I am not in need. Its not an amp that the sound quality gets worse as the batteries run low. It runs the way its supposed to untill one day you go to turn it up and it will cut out. Change the batteries and your back in business for awhile. The only thing I am not sure about is the battery life you would get using strictly 650's. It has to work harder to run them than it does to run my little 13 ohm UE-10's. It may make no difference, but it might. Im sure someone who knows will chime in with the answer.
post #15 of 91
i'd opt for the gilmore lite, AC powered, and has received nothing but rave reviews. Plus i LOVE the looks, very nice. But hey, you should prob. all the amps a listen b4 you buy anything.
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