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sennheiser hd800 amp in the $500-$1000 range

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

Does anyone have anyone recommmendations?

post #2 of 28

Depends how good your source is, but I'm in the process of writing a review of the XP-7 from Ray Samuels Audio and I couldn't see who would be disappointed with its performance.  It simply does everything so right.  You might also consider the bigger brother HR-2.  Outside of the RSA line up I would recommend the Headroom Desktop model.  Also the Amphora from ALO would be high on my list if I were building a set-up around the 800s.   

post #3 of 28


If your laptop is the source, I would highly, HIGHLY recommend you get something like the NuForce uDAC as a DAC.  This can be bought for $100.00 and make a mighty fine digital to analog converter, far better than you laptop alone.  I would suggest a Kimber USB cable to use as your digital cable, Kimber analog interconnects, (RCAs, say the PBJ model) both of which combined could be had for $200.00 together, and then say the RSA XP-7 for $500.00, (which does not include the power supply, but instead uses internal 9V batteries).  This puts you at $800.00 plus shipping.  And for the money spent, almost impossible to beat.   If you did all of that, just make sure your music on your laptop is ripped at CD quality and your good to go.



post #4 of 28
Look at the good solid state amps, like the Gilmore Lite, M^3, Dynalo, and EC/SS. The budget tube amps are usually too compromised to deliver quality sound, but solid state is less expensive than tubes to do well. The only exception is if you want to roll your own tube amp - you can do quite well for about $1,000.
post #5 of 28

M^3, GS-1 (good Dynalo), Beta22

Edited by Shahrose - 6/25/10 at 10:16pm
post #6 of 28
SPL Auditor...

I really enjoyed Asr's rig at CanJam...of course, the Ayre QB-9 likely had a lot to do with it:)...
post #7 of 28

Don't overlook the Matrix M-stage.  This is a high quality clone of Senheissers HD800 demonstrator amp, the Lehmann Black Cube Linear that retails for around the 1k mark.  The Matrix is 300 dollars.

post #8 of 28

I haven't heard it yet, but Vincent Audio has just introduced a new $500 hybrid amp (one 12AX7 in the input stage) that might be worth looking into.

post #9 of 28

If this is the new hybrid Vincent - I have one that looks identical.


Here are some pics of the internals - can anyone interpret the qualities of this design, if any?

Edited by SP Wild - 6/26/10 at 12:53pm
post #10 of 28

If you're looking for a budget tube amp for your HD800's , I don't think you'll do any better than the Bottlehead Crack amp w/Speedball upgrade. It's sold as a kit (about as easy as it gets too) for $319 (219 for the basic, plus 99 for the upgrade) but they'll build one for you for $150.

I listened to ASR's HD800's on one at CanJam and the only other amps I really thought made them sing that well was the EC Balancing Act, the Pinnacle and nikongod's Silver Ghost (in other words, for at least another $3k+).

Check out the thread going.



post #11 of 28

The HA-160 is well known for driving sennheisers such as the HD650, etc...it could be another choice. 

post #12 of 28

Throwing out another suggestion: Little Dot MKVI+ or MKVIII SE. Both in the price range and more than capable. I've owned my MKVI for a year and a half and can't imagine ever parting with it. The MKVI+ is actually the more powerful of the 2 amps, but the MKVIII SE is supposed to be more refined and tuned specifically for the HD800. In addition these 2 amps can easily power a set of K1000 should you ever decide to try them.


MKVIII SE - http://www.littledot.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=871&sid=6f09603abe1c07340e003e9bbb6c489d


MKVI+ - http://www.littledot.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=831&sid=6f09603abe1c07340e003e9bbb6c489d


I've listened to some pricey amps and found my MKVI to hold it's own and then some. I've gotten lots of compliments at the meets I've been to about it's massive output and dynamic ability.


edit: Note: These are balanced amplifiers and will require a balanced connection meaning a different cable. I believe Sennheiser has made a 2 x 3pin XLR cable for these headphones you can purchase separately for not much money, but I'd recommend having a DIY or sponsor cable company craft one for not too much more money. I'm not a believer in better cables equaling better sound, but I do appreciate well made items, made to the specific dimensions and using the specific materials I choose. If I had to suggest a cable manufacturer I would not hesitate to recommend Alex at APureSound (.com) who I've met a couple times and his work is top professional quality. I use one of his cables for my HD600 with 4 pin XLR.

Edited by Maxvla - 6/29/10 at 8:05pm
post #13 of 28

I would recommned the Corda Concerto

post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 

anymore suggestions?

post #15 of 28



Absolutely wonderful with the HD800 as reported by many (the Auditor is also excellent which is EQUIVALENT to the Phonitor without all the knobs!).

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