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Low cost headphone amp: Any recommendations?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi...

I was a lurker on headwize for about a couple of months... finally getting ready to buy and *poof*, I can't do research on the old headwize forum archive! Ack!

I guess I'll be starting my research here (hope that headwize is back up soon!).

So, on to my question:

My system consists of Sennheiser 545 headphones, a Marantz CD-63, and a Sony SACD 775 on order (should be here in 2 or 3 weeks).

Anyways, what I'm in need of is a headphone amp. Unfortunatly, I don't have a whole lot to spend, so I'm wondering if anyone knows of a bargain in the $150 range?

thanks!

- Zoo

[edit - I just realized that I posted this in the wrong forum. If a mod could move this to the Electronics/Accessories forum, I'd appreciate it]
post #2 of 14
With your set up I'd go for creek OBH11. I have Sennheiser Hd 565 (the bigger brother of the 545) and they partner well with the Creek.
post #3 of 14
I think that blr is probably spot on with the Creek OBH-11

Just to add my two pennuth

Slightly abstract for me to say this... but, one (headphone) amp that used to work really well for me and my HD565s, and would certainly fit in your price-range was the Pioneer PD-202... Do you have speakers, and a normal amplifier already? Admittedly there aren't that many good intergrated hi-fi / headphone amps on the market, but the pioneer I mentioned was... also, I believe that just before headwize went AWOL that someone was saying that there was a NAD amplifier with a really good headphone socket?!?
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Duncan
I think that blr is probably spot on with the Creek OBH-11

Just to add my two pennuth

Slightly abstract for me to say this... but, one (headphone) amp that used to work really well for me and my HD565s, and would certainly fit in your price-range was the Pioneer PD-202... Do you have speakers, and a normal amplifier already? Admittedly there aren't that many good intergrated hi-fi / headphone amps on the market, but the pioneer I mentioned was... also, I believe that just before headwize went AWOL that someone was saying that there was a NAD amplifier with a really good headphone socket?!?
Thanks both of you, for the Creek recomendation! I remember reading about the Creek on headwize, but couldn't for the life of me remember the brand/model. I'm away to search for a good price on the web (any hints there as well?).

WRT my amp/speaker situation, I have a Denon 1700 receiver and Acoustic Research AR-1 speakers - both part of my home theater setup.

The headphones and Sony SACD 775, however, are going into the bedroom. To be honest, I haven't done a whole lot of headphone listening in many years. But some recent contemplation on my life and music brought me to the conclusion that:

1) I've always done my serious music listening with headphones.
2) I haven't been as happy listening to music via speakers for some time now.
3) The happiest time in my life listening to music was when I was a kid, listening through headphones at night in bed.

So, I'm 35 now, and am somewhat trying to recreate my childhood listening environment - much to my wifes chagrin. We'll see what she says when the 5-disc SACD player goes on my nightstand next to the bed.

Thanks for the suggestion, I'm going to poke around the web for the Creek right now!
post #5 of 14
Don't know if you're looking for a new or used Creek, but GoodCans has them for $179.99 new.

Find them at goodcans
post #6 of 14
Rega also makes a headphone amp for about $199
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by KR...
Rega also makes a headphone amp for about $199
Hmm... looks like it's made out of plastic:



On their website, though, it says that they are redesigning the case to be made of aluminum.

Has anyone auditioned the Rega Ear?

Also, does anyone know what model of NAD amplifier people were discussing on Headwize?
post #8 of 14
Here is a pic of the Creek OBH-11.




For $179 you can't really go wrong.


Savant Audio has the Rega Ear.
www.savantaudio.com

The website has a price of $220, but I got a quote by email of $199 for the newly styled Ear.

I don't have a pic of the new Rega ear but it is supposed to be styled to match the rest of the 2000 line.

Good luck!
post #9 of 14
The Rega EAR is definitely worth checking out - for the money, it's incredible. Very neutral and transparent with very good soundstaging.

It is solid-state, so it does not provide any of the warmth or euphony of tubes (or the Creek for that matter, if I can fall back on others' impressions - I've never heard it, myself). It IS very articulate and fast with good frequency extension, however, and really mated well with my Sennheiser HD 600s.

Actually, my Rega is now in the capable hands of Voyager, who seems to really like it with his HD 580s. He can probably provide some additional insight, as well.

Hope this helps!
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by Duncan
also, I believe that just before headwize went AWOL that someone was saying that there was a NAD amplifier with a really good headphone socket?!?

That was probably me. I mentioned that my NAD C340 integrated amp has a really nice headphone output. NAD also brags that their socket can "drive any non-electrostatic headphones".
For the price, I'm very happy with that amp.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
I've sent mail to savantaudio asking what the build quality of the new Rega is like... I'll report back if I hear anything.

Beowulf - thanks for the NAD model number... it's probably time to see if I can find a local NAD dealer!

Actually... I just checked their website, and the "drive any non-electrostatic headphones"quote appears also on their C300 model as well as their C160 preamp. Thanks again for the pointer!
post #12 of 14
Here's their web site http://nadelectronics.com/
post #13 of 14
Quote from the rega website on the new Ear:

Ear and Fono re-styling
The Ear headphone amplifier and Fono disk stage have been re-styled and will be housed in a miniature extruded aluminium case to match the rest of the Rega electronics range.

http://www.rega.co.uk
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hmmm... got a response from savantaudio in regards to my query about what the new Rega Ear looks like, and what they thought of the build quality.

The savant rep gave me a link to a picture of the old (plastic?) model, and didn't mention what he thought of the build quality. This leads me to believe that they don't have the new model.

I've replied asking if they are indeed selling the old model or new one.
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