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inexpensive amp for Senn 580's?

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
Ok, I plunked down the money and am eagerly awaiting my new 580's, but I've gotten so many posts about the need for a headphone amp (even on a regular system) that I'm curious - assuming a severely limited budget (see above headphone purchase for starving grad. student) what is the best deal on a suitable amp for these cans? I know the guy with the $500 amp is going to insist that a $150 amp "won't do justice" to the 580's, etc., but I'd like it if people could think cheap for the time being. Not junk, just inexpensive - DOESN'T need to be portable. Will be plugged into the wall.
post #2 of 49
You could go for the Creek OBH-11. I use it with both my Senn 580's and Grado 125's, and enjoy it very much. I really want to see how the 580's sound with a tube amp (ASL MG Head DT for example) - as I really think they could sound better with something of that nature, but overall, I'm very happy with the Creek. It cost me $180, but if $150 is your budget, I'm sure you could find it used for that price.

Also... JMT is building me an amp right now and I've heard wonderful things about the sound quality (and well, overall build quality) of his amps. I'm not sure if he builds non-portable amps or not, but I can't see having a problem with that. The price is good too.

Anyway, hope that helps a little.
post #3 of 49

I agree with jerikl's comments the CHA47 (from JMT) is a great amp, regardless of price. I initially bought the CHA47 to power my 325s, but for some reason the 580 does not want to be unplugged from it. My amp has two 9vs, but JMT can also make other battery configurations. He also makes an Altoids amp that is very portable. Give him a PM

If portability is not an issue, I would highly recommend the MG Head with the 580 especially for jazz and classical.

Regards - reynman
post #4 of 49
i believe thomas is also selling DIY amps
post #5 of 49
hmm Thomas or JMT, do you have a amp/pricelist for your DIYs?
post #6 of 49
yep.... see my thread in the headwize fs/t forum...

I'm not producing any single amp in large volumes, basically i like to chose a design and make any necessary modifications to the design based on the buyer's headphones, preferences (size, ac powered or battery) and musical tastes...And you can change any parts in the amps for better ones, at cost...

unfortunately this is taking me a really long time to do, and i'm quite far behind right now... It could be a few weeks before i can finish an amp that's ordered now...
post #7 of 49
I know this doesn't square up with all the other comments here, but I'm using my Senn 580 with a Marantz PM4000 integrated amp and getting fabulous results--better than I got from an MF X-Cans V2. That's with classical music---rock might give different results. Frankly I don't understand this obsession with headphone amps--apart from anything else they're lousy value. I know I'll probably get savaged for this but I have to call it as I hear it.
post #8 of 49
See my reply at headwize for technical answers.

i'm wondering why you're singling out this thread to post those BS comments of yours.

I've started shipping out the first of my headphone amps, i'd like to see one person i've delt with say my amps are lousy value. With the time i put in designing/modifying circuits, creating computer simulations, finding parts, creating custom board layouts, construction, casing, and testing, i'm making about $2 an hour for my work. Please tell me how that's "lousy value" for anyone other than me. (and even for me its not lousy value because i get a chance to develop electronics skills i'll use for the rest of my life)

And how can you "call it as you hear it" when you have never had any experience with anything i've made.
post #9 of 49
Frankly I don't understand this obsession with headphone amps--apart from anything else they're lousy value. I know I'll probably get savaged for this but I have to call it as I hear it.
They're only a "lousy value" if you can't hear the difference. If you can't, good for you, because you'll end up spending a lot less money on audio products But for those of us who can hear the difference, they're a pretty good value.
post #10 of 49
he never said your amps were bad, he just doesn't understand why anyone would want a headphone amp in the first place. I think its all just a up to the person, if someone wants to speed their money on an amp because in their opinion its worth it, then they should get the amp. Oh, and Thomas, if I had seen your prices earlier, there is a possibility that I wouldn't have bothered building my own amp...
post #11 of 49
would you say that buying a power mp is a lousy value? because a headphone amp is simply a scaled down power amp for you headphones.
post #12 of 49
I have tried a few headphone amps, if I were to judge all headphone amps based on my first experience with a headphone amp it would have been sorely inaccurate. It actually took awhile before I found an amp I particularly liked...and it happened to be an oustanding value.
post #13 of 49
Thomas, I don't know you or your amps. As someone has pointed out, I was simply stating an opinion. I believe that's the purpose of this forum, is it not? And my statement about "lousy value" is objectively true from the consumer's side. Compare the material value of any headphone amp with a typical integrated. And what else can you do with a headphone amp but listen to headphones? Hey, with an integrated I can listen to headphones AND speakers. Plus I have umpteen inputs, selectors, tone controls....wow! Get my meaning? If my Marantz sounds great to me, why in God's name would I ever contemplate a headphone amp, even one as good as I'm sure you make? And why am I not allowed to state my opinion on the subject along with everyone else?
post #14 of 49
You are allowed to post your opinion...

...now here's mine:

Stop trying to get the whole world to agree with your opinion that headphone amplifiers are a lousy value compared to whatever it is you prefer. First of all, it is not "objectively true" from the so-called "consumer side" that they are a lousy value. How presumptuous! I am a comparison-shopping, spreadsheet-crunching, find-the-best-deal type of consumer that doesn't happen to think you make the best spokesperson for me. This "truth" is no more true than your opinion of it.

In my experience (which is actually quite limited compared to many of the other Head-Fi'ers around here), seperating the preamp functions from the amplification source greatly improves the sound quality whether using speakers or headphones.

The most puzzling part of your posts is the implicit hostility. You sound frustrated with the fact that achieving high-fidelity audio is more involved and costly than simply trekking down to the local Circuit City for a one-box-fits-all device.

People who buy headphone amplifiers like the way that they sound... or the way that they look... or whatever. Does it matter? They aren't criticizing you... so why take such a self-righteous position?
post #15 of 49
Nikolai, there's no hostility in my post other than that engendered by Thomas, who jumped on my post as if I had offered him a personal insult, even to calling it BS. You'll notice I didn't call his opinion BS, nor do I call yours BS. As for headphone amps V. integrateds, only one opinion is ever put here, and I thought it was time to put the other side. Newbies are being told here that ONLY a headphone amp will suffice, and anything less is selling the headphone short. I beg to differ. As I said, I had a chance to listen to an MF X-Can v2 extensively, and was unimpressed. I think it would have improved if burnt in, but at the price ($500 AU) could not take that chance. I subsequently bought a Marantz 4000 (also $500 AU) based on English reviews, and have been astonished at the quality with both headphones and speakers. Is it not possible that others might have a similar experience? How many "veterans" here have actually tested the headphone outputs of mass market integrateds? How about trying a Marantz 4000 just to prove me wrong (fully run in. It took 2 weeks for mine to come right). Then you can speak with authority. I ask nothing more.
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