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So I need help choosing an amp...

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I know it is cliche, but help me please?

 

I've got a situation here.  I thought I was knowledgeable about this stuff.  But a few minutes here on Head-Fi and all my thoughts got jumbled.

 

So I recently got all these phones: M50, AD700, and MS1.  Low impedance: 38, 32 and 32 ohms respectively IIRC.  So initial thoughts and research: no need for an amp, these are easy to drive.

 

But...  Got to thinking and reading some more, and I liked the idea that anything can be helped by an amp.  It makes sense too, I've seen car audio go from practically nothing to pretty clear and precise (for car audio anyways)...

 

I guess I'm trying to say I read something about low impedance phones doing better with a high quality low voltage high current amplifier.  Instead of creating this thread right away, I spent hours (from about 9 PM to 1:30 AM) reading to see if I could find something to suit my needs.  Well...  Nothing really showed up that shouted out to me.

 

Many people suggested the PA2V2 (I think that's what it's called) for the MS1 but this is portable and I do NOT want a portable amp.  I will only be using this in my home, won't be taking any of these phones on the run.  AD700 had practically no recommendations.  Most say the same about the M50 not needing one.  So I am stumped.

 

Looked up Little Dot stuff.  Doesn't seem to be reliable (where do you buy, official seller, official site all seem to be questions on my mind).  Looked up iBasso, those all look to be portable.  Looked up Gilmore Lite (not in production any longer can't go that route).  And that's really too bad because it seemed the most reasonable to me!  Looked up Woo Audio but they're cheapest price is a little much I think and it doesn't even look like it has a 1/4" headphone out.  Is HeadRoom any good?

 

Anyways, amp/DAC is okay for recommendations.  I'm just so clueless.  The headphones seem to be easier to understand, but the amps confuse me.

 

Also, I am looking to maybe purchase these three headphones in the future (long while down the road): D2000, DT770 PRO 80 ohms, and Ultrasone HFI780.

 

So if I could wrap up a buy that would support those phones later on and help out the phones I have now, then I could feel better knowing I've stepped up my listening experience a bit more for now and later. :)

 

I don't know about budget yet, I'll have to decide that later.  Also looking into a SACD player right now.

 

Thanks in advance if anyone can help me out!

post #2 of 19
For low impedance headphones, you're better off with an amp with low impedance output. That's typically solid state amps and tube amps with output transformers. An OTL generally isn't a good choice except for some pricey/exotic models. The Gilmore Lite is out of production, but I think someone is manufacturing the Dynalo (pretty much the same circuit) today. Other good ones to consider are the M^3, CK2III, and EC/SS. I don't know how much you want to spend on a SACD player, but a used Marantz SA8001 is pretty reasonable today. I've had one for a few years and see no reason to upgrade. It sounds great and has terrific measurements. Zero problems with it, either.
post #3 of 19

my opinion if you are sticking with those cans for the moment is to first upgrade or get a DAC if you don't have one. in my opinion, you are more likely to see an improvement here rather than the upgrade in an amp. that is not to say that you won't see an improvement, but I think you'd be better off with a DAC.

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post

For low impedance headphones, you're better off with an amp with low impedance output. That's typically solid state amps and tube amps with output transformers. An OTL generally isn't a good choice except for some pricey/exotic models. The Gilmore Lite is out of production, but I think someone is manufacturing the Dynalo (pretty much the same circuit) today. Other good ones to consider are the M^3, CK2III, and EC/SS. I don't know how much you want to spend on a SACD player, but a used Marantz SA8001 is pretty reasonable today. I've had one for a few years and see no reason to upgrade. It sounds great and has terrific measurements. Zero problems with it, either.


Thanks for the recommendations, I appreciate.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cravenz View Post

my opinion if you are sticking with those cans for the moment is to first upgrade or get a DAC if you don't have one. in my opinion, you are more likely to see an improvement here rather than the upgrade in an amp. that is not to say that you won't see an improvement, but I think you'd be better off with a DAC.


Yes I hear that a bunch, but will an external DAC be necessary if I invest in a SACD player?

post #5 of 19

There are many amps to choose from. I'll toss the Headroom Micro Amp into the mix. It's a versatile amp with three gain settings, sounds excellent and does offer crossfeed if wanted.

I had the opportunity to listen to a fellow Head-Fi'er's Marantz 6001 SACD/CDP and it sounded excellent. If you're planning on going the SACD route primarily and won't be using an iPod or computer for most of your listening, an external DAC may not be necessary if you're using a quality source component.

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by baka1969 View Post

There are many amps to choose from. I'll toss the Headroom Micro Amp into the mix. It's a versatile amp with three gain settings, sounds excellent and does offer crossfeed if wanted.

I had the opportunity to listen to a fellow Head-Fi'er's Marantz 6001 SACD/CDP and it sounded excellent. If you're planning on going the SACD route primarily and won't be using an iPod or computer for most of your listening, an external DAC may not be necessary if you're using a quality source component.

 

Yes...  Too many actually.

 

This is what I thought, no need for a DAC as of yet, the quality source component should be fine once I get it.

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

Okay...  So a little more research into this and some people say Marantz players are not only good sources, but they have good headphone outs (so good headphone amps in them I guess) along with good DACs?  Don't know if it's all right, but if I could get a good Marantz SACD player that has both a really good DAC and amp then I wouldn't need to get more than one component.  At least for now anyways, since I'm just starting out.

 

Thoughts?

post #8 of 19

Quote:
Originally Posted by tyty5150  
" Okay...  So a little more research into this and some people say Marantz players are not only good sources, but they have good headphone outs (so good headphone amps in them I guess) along with good DACs?  Don't know if it's all right, but if I could get a good Marantz SACD player that has both a really good DAC and amp then I wouldn't need to get more than one component.  At least for now anyways, since I'm just starting out.
Thoughts?"

I still believe a good dedicated head amp will be better than a built in headphone jack. Jmho of course.

post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by baka1969 View Post

I still believe a good dedicated head amp will be better than a built in headphone jack. Jmho of course.


I will take your word on this.  I'm thinking I'll end up getting a headphone amp anyways to compare to the SACD player's headphone jack (I suppose if it has one) and see if the amp makes much of a difference.  I mean really, all these comments on Head-Fi are recommendations (and nice to read), but how will I know if the amp is really going to make a difference to my ears or not unless I just get it?  Enough worries over what to get, just go for it I guess.  Besides, I'm only building my knowledge and understanding more, plus it should be fun!  Always room for improvement too...

 

I looked more into Dynalo and research has shown some people see the Sheer Audio HA-006+ as being more or less the same as Gilmore Lite.  I'm liking the price and how it is already assembled.  I think I might just buy it, unless of course someone shouts it is absolutely fake/not worth it.

post #10 of 19

Quote:
Originally Posted by tyty5150  


" I will take your word on this.  I'm thinking I'll end up getting a headphone amp anyways to compare to the SACD player's headphone jack (I suppose if it has one) and see if the amp makes much of a difference.  I mean really, all these comments on Head-Fi are recommendations (and nice to read), but how will I know if the amp is really going to make a difference to my ears or not unless I just get it?  Enough worries over what to get, just go for it I guess.  Besides, I'm only building my knowledge and understanding more, plus it should be fun!  Always room for improvement too...
I looked more into Dynalo and research has shown some people see the Sheer Audio HA-006+ as being more or less the same as Gilmore Lite.  I'm liking the price and how it is already assembled.  I think I might just buy it, unless of course someone shouts it is absolutely fake/not worth it."

I'm hardly all that knowledgeable about all this. I mostly have been learning by trial and error. It's the most fun way... Not the cheapest, but fun. :)

Good luck

post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by baka1969 View Post


I'm hardly all that knowledgeable about all this. I mostly have been learning by trial and error. It's the most fun way... Not the cheapest, but fun. :)

Good luck


Ha thanks, ima just get it and see (or hear actually) if I like!

post #12 of 19

I'm going to second the Micro Amp - it's very versatile, and the crossfeed really does help with some recordings.  If you're going to be trying multiple headphones, and may have higher impedance cans later, I would really recommend something with a gain control.

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 

Yeah gain control seems very important when switching between different phones.  Thanks for the input.

post #14 of 19


Good luck in your search and I can't really comment specifically on your individual requirements. But I was curious about what made you come to your conclusion below on Little Dot? They have a good reputation and deal with any warranty issues that may arise impeccably. Just make sure you buy from the official website and not an unauthorised reseller:

 

http://www.littledot.net/forum/viewforum.php?f=9&sid=7d230a36875e9696910fc8943ea2e9a9

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by tyty5150 View Post


Looked up Little Dot stuff.  Doesn't seem to be reliable (where do you buy, official seller, official site all seem to be questions on my mind). 

post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaunty View Post


Good luck in your search and I can't really comment specifically on your individual requirements. But I was curious about what made you come to your conclusion below on Little Dot? They have a good reputation and deal with any warranty issues that may arise impeccably. Just make sure you buy from the official website and not an unauthorised reseller:

 

http://www.littledot.net/forum/viewforum.php?f=9&sid=7d230a36875e9696910fc8943ea2e9a9


Ah interesting I never found this site, thanks Jaunty.

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