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receiver purchase w/ headphone in mind

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I am looking for a receiver (have none currently) to use with my B&W 620i's. I plan on getting a headphone amp eventually, but would like to have a receiver that also begins to do my HD600's justice in the meantime. Right now I'm listening to them with my JVC minisystem, and I think I can do better.

I have been given the opportunity to purchase a new Sony STR-V333ES for $400. (US), which is some $100 less than I've seen it elsewhere.

My question is, what other receivers should I be looking at in this price range? They need not be multichannel (surround sound makes me nervous). People have mentioned NAD in the forums as having decent headphone output, would that be a better choice?

Thanks in advance,
post #2 of 13
ponzio: Most definitely, yes it would. And you could also consider the harman-kardon HK3470, which has already got a very positive review over here. German list price is 799 DM, which would roughly translate to US$ 315.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini
post #3 of 13
Why don't you just get an integrated amplifier, or do you really need the tuner? Or is this for a video solution as well...?
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
I hadn't thought of an integrated amp, but I don't need a tuner. I'm guessing I'd get a better quality integrated amp in the $500 range than a home-theatre monolith?

I know rotel makes a decent integrated amp, what else should I be looking at?

Note: I really like building things in stages, so maybe after a bit I could upgrade to a better amp and use the integrated as a preamp?
post #5 of 13
integrated amps tend to be much higher quality than receivers, expecially at lower prices. A lot of receivers are pretty crappy, in fact, and not meant for high quality audio.
post #6 of 13
ponzio: Oh, well, then we have the usual suspects for not too expensive integrated amplifiers with good sound - which are Marantz, Rotel, NAD and maybe harman-kardon, too. There is already a recent thread running on integrated amplifiers somewhere on Head-Fi, so you might want to have a look into that. Usually amplifiers with good sound also have a reasonable or good headphone output. Nevertheless, I'd also trust in receivers from h-k, NAD and Rotel, because they have a conservative understanding of receivers: It's like a "Let's just build a decent amp, throw an at least acceptable tuner in, save one case and offer the result for a good price"-philosophy.

The only japanese receivers I ever trusted were from Yamaha (with the possible exception of one specific monster from Technics... ). But I think they don't have upper-class stereo receivers, anymore.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini
post #7 of 13
Check NAD out, the C340 is one of their cheap ones, gets good reviews... though it may be under your budget... they make good low end/priced amplifiers apparantely.

(courtesy of Neruda)
post #8 of 13
I use a input switch box and an AudioSource Amp Two which has L/R line level controls. Has auto-sensing power-on, and doesn't even make pop-on or off noises cause power on is delayed. A lot of bang for the buck, not to mention it sounds great with Beyer DT931, one of the reasons being it happens to have a 220 ohm resister which just happens to be the value many people settle with to tame Beyer treble for their DIY connectors!

Here's a quirky review Review

Keep in mind that the more power your amp has, the higher the resistor value probably is on the jack, the more muddy it may sound with your phones. Definitely not ideal for Grados.
post #9 of 13
post #10 of 13
Tim D: I slightly disagree. Because really powerful amps are often enough basically a pre- and a power-amp-design just sharing one case. And then chances are good, that the headphone output might as well be derived from one of the gainstages in between. Well, at least this is done, when the manufacturer cares for the quality of headphone sound...

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

P.S.: Of course the same can be done with a truly integrated amp-design, too, when an appropriate gainstage is at hand...

[2nd edit]

What I mean is: If you have an amp-design with two [buffer (or phone pre), pre-gain & main gain] or more gain stages, you've got more choice to find the best stage to power the headphone jack from. Otherwise you'd need really mean buffers...
post #11 of 13
I second the NAD and Rotel recommendations. Keep in mind that NAD's power ratings are *very* conservative -- a 30W NAD can often drive difficult speakers better than other manufacturers' 60W amps.

The following integrateds for US $600 or less were listed on the most recent Stereophile Recommended Components list:

Cambridge Audio A500 (Class C) - headphone jack, remote control, $450

Creek 4330 (Class C) - no headphone jack, no remote control, $495

Rega Brio (Class C) - don't know much about it, but it's about $350 I think

The NAD 340 was on the previous list, but was removed because it has been replaced by the 350, which has not yet been reviewed.

There are also a few Adcom integrateds in this price range.
post #12 of 13
obviously the creek is out of the picture since it has no headphone jack, and that makes things difficult when you want to listen to headphones .

Here's what NAD said about the C350:
The NAD C350 retains all the performance and features of the acclaimed C340 — and adds to them 10 watts more power per channel (for a total of 60 watts RMS per channel) plus important features such as bridgeability and two preamp outputs, one with variable output.
It also has an improved remote control (there's a power button this time! )
post #13 of 13

"Note: I really like building things in stages, so maybe after a bit I could upgrade to a better amp and use the integrated as a preamp?"

Just make sure the integrated amp you choose has pre-amp out jacks. Otherwise you won't be able to hook up an external power amp.
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