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best amp for senn 580 / akg 501 <$400?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I've got these two headphones that I like for different reasons and would like to take the another step. Is there one amp for $400 or less that would not be a compromise for either of these?

I listen to jazz both electric and acoustic. Also like to hear blues and rock.

I tried a total airhead and was not impressed.

Last week I listened to an MG Head DT and it was OK, but did not knock me out. It could have been the environment and I should have borrowed them for the weekend.

Currently I am listening to a Rotel cdp through an old Yamaha integrated amp. The combo t sounds as good to me as everyone's favorite Denon cdp, although I never listened to both of them side by side.
post #2 of 22
Nick,

I've heard the OBH-11 by Creek with Sennheiser HD-600's and a lot of other phones, but not the AKG 501's, so I can't say how it'd do with those (maybe someone else here can comment).

I thought the OBH-11 really sounded fantastic with the HD-600's. JMT has an OBH-11 now, and he's using them with some HD-580's, and he really likes that combination, to the best of my recollection.

Now you just have to find someone here who has the OBH-11 and AKG 501's.
post #3 of 22
Nick, I'll second jude's recommendation of the Creek. I have the HD-600s and the sound is excellent. I prefer the MG Head for it's extended, airier high end, but the bass on the Creek is superior to my ears. I only use the Senns for classical, however, as I much prefer Grados for the music you mentioned.
post #4 of 22
Quote:
JMT has an OBH-11 now, and he's using them with some HD-580's, and he really likes that combination, to the best of my recollection.
Jude is right, I really like the combination with Jude's Silver Sonics. My Grados also sound pretty good with the Creek, although I much prefer my DIY amp with the Grados.
post #5 of 22
Hi, Joe, Have you tried Grado RA 1? I tried both OBH-11 and RA 1, IMO, the sound of Grado cans is fuller when driven by RA 1.

I was trying a MG-head last week, however, one of the tubes blew out after only a few hours, still waiting for the replacement of the tube. Really have concerns about the lifespan of the tubes. Any comments?
post #6 of 22
I also use OBH11 with HD600 and 565 with great results, smooth but detailled sound with great bass. Me too haven't tried it with K501 but judging from other's comments on the 501 a little lighter bottom end, the full extended bass of the Creek should make a good synergy. That's just a speculation though, since I haven't heard the combo myself.
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Now you just have to find someone here who has the OBH-11 and AKG 501's.
I'm found . I have both K501 (and had HD600) and OBH-11 and I fully agree with blr - K501 and OBH-11 have an amazing synergy with crystal, ballanced and smooth sound.

And it's true, OBH-11 helps to make AKG's bass more pronounced without rolling-off highs and darkening the sound like TA and MG Head DT do.

It's a differnet story with HD600, to me Senns sounded congested with OBH-11. That's strange since K501 with their huge soundstage and 3D instrument separation were only aided by Creek.
post #8 of 22
I like the Rega Ear. I haven't heard the creek, but this sounds really really good with the Senn 580s. It is a solid state amp and doesn't really chenge the sound. It just makes everything better. I also use it with my Grado SR-80s with good results. The case is a little cheap feeling, but the sound is top notch.
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by albau


And it's true, OBH-11 helps to make AKG's bass more pronounced without rolling-off highs and darkening the sound like TA and MG Head DT do.

1. How much better is the Creek with the AKG 501s compared to the Total Airhead [i am mostly concerned with soundstaging, I don't care much about the bass as long as it isn't boomy or muddy]
2. What about the noise level of both?

I just got the TA yesterday and (based on very little listening) seem to notice some of the "darkish/warm" quality some people are alluding to on various boards here. I want to hold off a full judgement until both headphones and amp had time to burn in a bit; but since the Creeks seem to be on sale on head-fi fairly regulary (bad sign?), making it a price neutral decision, i wanted to get some input.
post #10 of 22
The Creek OBH-11 I owned (AndrewB now has it) was very very quiet. Also -- I don't have AKG 501's though -- it had better overall tonal qualities than my TA (but I still very much like my TA which is now my primary office amp in place of the OBH-11). The Creek OBH-11, though warm, doesn't have as much high-frequency roll-off as the TA to my ears. With the processor on, some might consider the TA too rolled off, but I'm fine with it. The processor on the TA also seems to give a mid-bass boost that makes it less neutral sounding than the OBH-11.

If you don't want/need crossfeed, then the OBH-11 is a fantastic amp, and one I'll probably regret selling at some point.

Just to try a different crossfeed circuit, I may give the Corda a whirl in the future.

-- Jude --



Quote:
Originally posted by legoman


1. How much better is the Creek with the AKG 501s compared to the Total Airhead [i am mostly concerned with soundstaging, I don't care much about the bass as long as it isn't boomy or muddy]
2. What about the noise level of both?

I just got the TA yesterday and (based on very little listening) seem to notice some of the "darkish/warm" quality some people are alluding to on various boards here. I want to hold off a full judgement until both headphones and amp had time to burn in a bit; but since the Creeks seem to be on sale on head-fi fairly regulary (bad sign?), making it a price neutral decision, i wanted to get some input.
post #11 of 22
Joseph: Sounds like bad luck with the tubes. They're usually good for several thousand hours of listening. That is if they aren't abused. Never jolt or move your amp while the tubes are hot. That can kill them. Also, some people like to flick their tubes with their finger to see if the tube is microphonic.....don't. Hopefully your replacement will be fine.

nick danger: I have 501's and 580's and until I bought the Sugden Headmaster, the MG Head was the only amp I had that could power the AKG's properly. I prefer the Sugden's clean, transparent sound with both these phones over the MG Head, but the MG Head is still quite capable power wise, sounds good (some tube rolling may be necessary to get the right sound for you) and costs less than half the price of the Sugden.
post #12 of 22
albau
I'm a bit surprised that you find OBH11/HD600 combo congested. Did you compare the Creek to other amps with HD600?
I also found that Hd600 through OBH11 sound a bit more in your face than HD565 (going to write a separate review on that) but IMO the overal effect was rather pleasant. It helped vocals to sound more natural and brought more presence to the midrange, but I wouldn't call it congested. Perhaps it is evident when compared to directly to AKG K501 since everybody says they have a really huge soundstage.
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the Grado suggestions, but I'm very comfortable with these cans. I owned the Grado SR80s for a while and they were too "in my face" for my taste. The 501s sound as if I am wearing an auditorium on my head and the 580s sound like a good old pair of shoes when I slip them on.

I'm impressed with the number of votes for the Creek. I had thought that the Corda may get more -- too new to the marketplace? I'd really like to try the Corda.

I will listen to the MG Head DT again since it is in town and I can try it at home for three days. I saw some interesting mods available that I believe are available at the factory for upgraded pots and tubes.

I would like nice palpable bass and the Creek sounds like it would deliver. I do not listen at high levels at all, the important thing is great tone at low levels.
post #14 of 22
I'm surprised no one's mentioned the HeadRoom amps, except for the TA, but then again, it's difficult to recommend one of the older models because they aren't available anymore while we wait for the revamped line to come out.

The 580 and 600 are great with the HeadRoom Supreme and Home. The sound is detailed and articulate, with a fairly even tonal balance. No problems with volume or drive capability. The articulation was especially apparent with the Home.

--Andre
post #15 of 22
nick danger,

Hello fellow Chicago(land)an!!! Are numbers are a growing..it's time for a Chicago meeting. If you are going to demo the MG Head, I would go to Holm Audio in Woodridge (right off the 355 and 75th Street exit) http://holmaudio.com and talk to Albert. I demoed a MG Head for almost two hours uninterrupted (w/ my 580, Beyer 250, and the store's 600) before I made the leap. I have the new version with the cage and detachable and upgraded power cord.

After subsequent burn-in, the MG Head is best suited for jazz and classical. Pop/rock/trance/ambient sounds good, but bass lacks impact, though the latest tube combo I'm using (Mullard and Ei/Yugo) makes Pink Floyd sound much better than the stock tubes.

Good luck!

Regards - reynman
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