Assuming good source / recording my three favorite are the Dynahi, GS-1, and Headamp GLite. My ears are clearly not as refined as some here, because unless I am really paying attention, and can't tell the different between these three. Hoping that the experience reported here, that the difference between the GS-X and the GS-1 is significantly more than between the GS-1 and the GLite, will be my experience as well.
I have had a limited time listening to a Beta22 and an Apex Arete/Volcano. I thought both were good, but not quite as transparent as the Gilmore designs mentioned above. Quite frankly, I found them just a bit better than the headphone jack on my Lavry DA-11 DAC. I was unimpressed by the Burson H160. It had more gain than the headphone amp in my DA-11, but at equal volume, I liked the sound from the DA-11 better.
I know there are people who talk about how the beta22 or a good tube amp will be more musical and more forgiving than say the GS-1 or GS-X. After spending a bit of time listening to a couple of good tube amps for the HD80 my conclusion is that if I am listening to a bad recording, no amp will tame the HD800. Crap will sound like crap. Either I need to grit it out until I get to the next recording, or switch to much less detailed headphones or speakers.
Edited by verber - 11/29/12 at 7:47pm