The majority of preamps make great headphone amps and have all the bells and whistles.
Thought I would bump this thread as I found it extremely educational. It is certainly worth spending the time reading through all the posts. Thanks to everyone who contributed.
I have just joined the party Saturday. I have been reading about the use of old vintage stereo receivers for driving headphones. I have been particularly interested in the higher powered receivers from back in the 70s when the monster very high powered receivers were born. The pioneers seem to have a very strong following. But there are a few others as well.
I have been reading about them a lot lately. I was looking for one as a possible alternative to a dedicated headphone amp for driving my audeze lcd2 v2 phones. In my search I came across a concept 16.5 at a local stereo emporium that sells used equipment along with some new equipment. I went to the store with my lcd2s and listened to it with my phones and a pair of kef speakers. At first I was disappointed in the sound when the unit was powered up. Things sounded a bit raw unrefined and rather two dimensional. But to be fair you have to give things a chance to warm up before you can make any assessments about how it sounds. Well after a few three cds things started to get better sounding. I listened for a bit longer but I started to sweat a bit from the leather pads on the phones and the salesperson switched to a pair of kef speakers he hooked up to the receiver. The speakers sounded pretty good with the receiver and as things started to warm up some more the speakers were sounding very good. By now I had dried of and went back to the lcd2s. Well now things sounded a lot more promising.
well I bought the receiver and had the receiver delivered to save my back.
The concept 16.5 was a house brand receiver sold by pacific stereo a stereo chain back in the 70s and 80s.At the time they were the largest stereo chain in the country even though they had stores that were mainly on the west coast. they had some stores in the Midwest as well. The concept 16.5 was their top model being rated at 165 watts rms at 8 ohms. This thing is a monster weighing in at a hefty 67 pounds. So I decided to give my back a break and have the unit delivered.
The store delivered the unit and boy this thing is bulky.
I will be making some observations the next couple of weeks about how the receiver sounds in my set up.
I've owned a lot of vintage amps over the years and I have never had any issues with the headphone ports. I've been running a NOT vintage HK 3490 for around 3 years or so now...and I have always thought the headphone out (which is fed off main amp but with HP) sounded great. I think it puts out more than enough power for any headphones out there. It performs nearly as well as my headphone tube amp but I have to admit the tube amp is slightly nicer sounding now even though the tube I'm using is nothing special. I assume as I roll better tubes it will further the lead over my HK. BUT the HK sounds good, puts out loads of power and doesn't have any of the strange noise some people complain about. I think i got a HK built on Monday.