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Best amplifier $2000 and under?

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
What is the best amplifier you've ever heard under or around $2000? Balanced/unbalanced, only restriction is I don't want an electrostat yet. Unfortunately being in Hawaii, there aren't a whole lot of meets to go and audition amplifiers so I leave it in your hands . This is going to be purchased at the end of August, so I have a bit of time before I make my final decision which way to go, your advice would be appreciated.

-David
post #2 of 46
hmm, maybe it's because of the fact that getting into speakers has allowed me to audition gear, but i feel like 2000 dollars for an amp that you've never heard sounds awfully risky. There is no such thing as a "best"; it all comes down to what you like. I know auditioning may be difficult, but I would step back if I were you and maybe buy a couple of cheaper amplifiers from places that have good return policies and go from there.
post #3 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by markot86
hmm, maybe it's because of the fact that getting into speakers has allowed me to audition gear, but i feel like 2000 dollars for an amp that you've never heard sounds awfully risky. There is no such thing as a "best"; it all comes down to what you like. I know auditioning may be difficult, but I would step back if I were you and maybe buy a couple of cheaper amplifiers from places that have good return policies and go from there.
Awww coming from team impulse?
post #4 of 46
If I had two grand, I would contact Craig (Eddie Current) and ask him to build me a Zana Duex.

I think it is a bit less than your $2000 mark.

Just read some of the impressions of it at the Cincinnati meet
http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showt...highlight=zana
post #5 of 46
My choice would be a hybrid design like the Bada PH12, FEEL 200 SE or the Rudistor (their two above $1000 USD hybrid models). I have only heard the Bada, out of these.

Hybrids give a combination of rich tone body (to a natural degree) with good tone body resolution/definition, and good tone edge resolution/definition. The result is a natural timbre and great sharply delineated tone imaging (3-D representation of instruments and their tones in holographic space).

Tube amps are deficit in tone imaging - particulary OTL designs, IMO. However, the OTL design does great at tone body resolution/definition and renders a very pleasing and nicely nuanced tone body with soft tone edges. If you like the OTL sound, WOO audio has bargains in the WA 3 and WA 2.

Solid state amps have a lean tone body which some amps tend to overcome with induced tone coloration to mimic tiube euphonics.

Tube lovers will reject the hybrid sound but those who love the best of either solid state or tube sound might love the hybrid sound as the best compromise that is most realisitic. I listen mainly to classical and demand the sound that the hybrid delivers.

One issue with the Bada PH12 is that it doesn't work at itsr best with low impedance headphones. Need 50 ohm impedance or higher in my experience. Also need to take care in use, particularly in tube rolling (not turning on until it has been off for 10 minutes or more, being sure headphones are fully seated before turning on and while on). Blown mosfets can be a problem if care is not exercised.
post #6 of 46
SINGLEPOWER SUPRA
post #7 of 46
The refreshed Headroom line up would be hard to beat IMO.
post #8 of 46
I think ASL Twin-Head Mark III is fantastic. But some tube rolling is necessary, particulary cheap 2A3 Sino for Electr Harmonix or better Full Music.
post #9 of 46
Thread Starter 
I kind of like that Zana Deux, but there's no way it'll fit in the space I have allocated, is there any chance he'll put it into a normal, wider casing when it comes out? (Is it already out? I didn't see it on his website.)
post #10 of 46
how about a maxed out desktop from headroom? or you could wait for that new meier amp that's suppose to come out later this year.
post #11 of 46
The best two I've heard are the SFT Dynamight and Headamp GSX.
post #12 of 46
Second on the HeadAmp GSX.
post #13 of 46

Portal Panache

If you've got the space, consider the Portal Panache. Bonus - it is a real integrated amp so it can do double duty for speakers or K1000s

It sounds great through the headphone jack, and has a ton of juice. I find it to be very smooth and lush considering it is solid state.

-- Gordie
post #14 of 46
do you have listening preferences/likes/dislikes? and what headphones would you use? in your sig or are you planning on new cans in the near future?

whatever you get, we'll have to have a hawaii mini-meet sometime this winter when i'm home for Christmas so i can listen to it!
post #15 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kugino
do you have listening preferences/likes/dislikes? and what headphones would you use? in your sig or are you planning on new cans in the near future?

whatever you get, we'll have to have a hawaii mini-meet sometime this winter when i'm home for Christmas so i can listen to it!
Well I'll be keeping the HF-1 of course, if I'm lucky I'll snag another for Headphile mods, I also plan on purchasing an HD650 again, along with a Grado RS-1, all in spaced out increments of course , I was about to buy a pair of Headphile CD3ks but someone snagged them, so pretty much an all arounder, speaker capability would be nice but at this price point I think I would be better suited to just stick with one that's built to do one thing well. My music preferences contain pretty much everything, classical, classic-rock, alternative, hawaiian, rap, reggae, so once again pretty much an all-rounder . So far I think my best bet would be the GS-X do you know if Justin would be willing to build it up in a single box like the ones for the KGSS, I would much rather have one big box then two thin ones. BTW which do you think I should upgrade first, the amplifier or the source (Nakamichi OMS-5), I'll eventually do both but by the end of the summer I'll probably won't be able to pull off both at the same time.

Edit: The mini-meet would be great, I would like to audition some other stuff too .
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