The HD800s are on my to-do list as replacements for my venerable 650s. As for an amp, I want to stay with solid state only. The 650s were powered, until recently, by my Graham Slee Solo with PSU-1 power supply. The Solo seemed to compress things when the source got too busy. (I don't listen at high volume, BTW). So it went, and now I want to get another headphone amp in lieu of the Slee unit.
The 650s have a slightly warm sound that, from what I've read on this site, they share with the HD800s. If I had a digital front end (I don't), then I would very definitely buy a tube amp to warm the sound (a bit of tube second harmonic to fill the void). However, I have a turntable based system. Except for the occasional (OK, more than occasional) crap sounding LP/12", the sound is great to begin with - no need to warm it or fill it out.
It would be terrific to hear from those who use records (Hey, there's a term! Here's another- LPs! 12s"!) as a regular source, though the input from the DAC, CDP and iPod gang is welcome too.
So, some contenders to get the ball rolling... (REVISED 22/06/10)
In The Race: Tier One
# Rudistor - These look like the ultimate in quality headphone amplification - but how do they sound? Upper models are quite (very?) expensive.
# Violectric - Designed more for the studio? How do they sound?
# HeadAmp models - Look OK, some posters really dig them.
# Phonitor - The ultimate in features, good reviews for sound. Minus the features, are there better amps for the money?
In The Race: Tier Two
# Lehmann Black Cube (Sennheiser used this in demos... but they also used the Solo for 650 demos..) See review below.
# Luxman P-1u. Mixed reviews on this one. Slightly warm/coloured sound like their amps? Japanese reviewer didn't like it with the HD800s. Too expensive for the package?
# King Rex HQ-1 - any word on this terror from Taiwan?
# Grace Design m902 - Popular. Is it a hard sounding, no-go semi-pro piece of kit? Or, would it feel at home as part of a good sounding rig? Could I also stick the digital-out from PS3 into this thing as well?? Some say not the best match with the HD800s.
# Luxman P-200 - at the price, it's doesn't seem to be in the same league as the other amps on offer.
What about headphone amps from Europe and the UK? What could you recommend from your neck 'o the woods in the way of a very good solid state headphone amp?
Edited by gogogasgas - 6/22/10 at 3:29am