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Budget rigs for the HD800, what's the best you've heard?

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
Ok, after having my socks blown off by a Buffalo 32S > Balanced Beta22 > HD800 rig at the last meet, I want to find out just how picky the HD800 is with it's amps and sources, and if there are any systems out there which can get the HD800 "most of the way" to what I heard out of the above, with a more modest price tag.

So, for those who have heard the HD800 at their best out of top-tier amps and sources, have any cheaper systems pleasantly surprised you?
post #2 of 49
You are going to break your bank account .
post #3 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MomijiTMO View Post
You are going to break your bank account .
Shutup! And congrats on Supremus!
post #4 of 49
Cant comment myself but check out this great review

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/mat...ellent-475618/
post #5 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Covenant View Post
So, for those who have heard the HD800 at their best out of top-tier amps and sources, have any cheaper systems pleasantly surprised you?
Yes, I have a very cheap, nevertheless almost equal alternative to my Corda Symphony (in some aspects it's even better). But there's one decisive precondition: a DAC with very low output impedance (< 60 Ω) capable of delivering enough current to drive the HD 800 directly. In my case it's the Bel Canto DAC2. I use a (no-name) 500-ohm potentiometer switched between DAC and headphone for decreasing the signal volume. If you're lucky to have or find a DAC with variable line out, the potentiometer could be renounced – but I guess this configuration is rare (since variable outputs usually are of higher impedance).

Of course the DAC2 isn't a cheap DAC, but I think there should be good sounding DACs or even CDPs with low output impedance around which don't cost a fortune.
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post #6 of 49
Benchmark DAC1 has variable line out via the xlr outs Haven't heard the HD800 on it, but I just made a female to female xlr cable so I can listen to my HD650 balanced till I can afford to buy a balanced amp

@OP - Might be worth auditioning with the HD800.
post #7 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcoops16 View Post
Cant comment myself but check out this great review

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/mat...ellent-475618/

If I had a HD800 I would get two of these amps and run balance.
post #8 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaZZ View Post
But there's one decisive precondition: a DAC with very low output impedance (< 60 Ω) capable of delivering enough current to drive the HD 800 directly. In my case it's the Bel Canto DAC2.
It's interesting that this is the solution you found. Am I to infer from this that a high quality source is more important to the HD800 than a top-notch amp?

I'm coming to a similar conclusion as well. I wonder if a Buffalo 32S with Volumite would drive them adequately? I can't find the specs for output impedance or current/voltage output for it.
post #9 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Covenant View Post
It's interesting that this is the solution you found. Am I to infer from this that a high quality source is more important to the HD800 than a top-notch amp?
That's not exactly my approach. But a cheap amp will probably always represent a bottleneck, so if you can renounce it, you save money and theoretically avoid the signal degradation that comes even with the best amps. Every electronics step you can renounce brings you closer to the original signal. Provided that the configuration is capable of driving voice coils instead of input impedances without any drawbacks. That's the case with the Bel Canto and its output impedance of 20 Ω.


Quote:
I'm coming to a similar conclusion as well. I wonder if a Buffalo 32S with Volumite would drive them adequately? I can't find the specs for output impedance or current/voltage output for it.
Unfortunately I can't answer this question myself. In any event, measuring data alone may not be enough, you need to try if the configuration really works (also in terms of sonic synergy). I just picked up a comment that says you can get the Buffalo's output impedance down to 21 Ω, but at the same time it mentions that this is not recommended for driving headphones, for whatever reason. BTW, isn't it the Volumite which is supposed to drive the headphone then? (You see: I don't have a clue about these devices.)
.
post #10 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaZZ View Post
BTW, isn't it the Volumite which is supposed to drive the headphone then? (You see: I don't have a clue about these devices.)
.
The Volumite is just a volume control module. The Buffalo has an I/V stage capable of driving headphones direct, which basically becomes the headphone amp.

I should be able to try out this combo myself in the nearish future, so I'll report back with findings then

Has anyone else heard any particularly synergistic combos with the HD800?
post #11 of 49
Just based on specs, Lake People G100 should do fine, it's $550 + shipping from England.
post #12 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tvrboy View Post
Just based on specs, Lake People G100 should do fine, it's $550 + shipping from England.
I'm more looking for people that have actually heard the HD800, both out of top-notch equipment and lower-end rigs, and found the ideal price/performance points. Spec sheets don't really tell the whole story.
post #13 of 49
At this point I would be happy with the HD800 through my receiver. I just want the damn headphone.
post #14 of 49
Thread Starter 
Bump, any more input guys?
post #15 of 49
I tried them from NAD set up: C515BEE CD Player + C325BEE Stereo Integrated Amplifier.
I dont know much about what NAD put inside their products, but the sound was more than just decent, means that you dont have to spend sky high dollar to get what you may like, its more like matching than amount you spend, imo.
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