Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › What amp for under £300?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

What amp for under £300?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi folks. I'm looking to buy my first "proper" headphone amp. My maximum budget is £300. I'll be using it with my PC which has an M-Audio Audiophile 2496 soundcard. I'm willing to upgrade this at a later date if required. My cans are in my sig but to reiterate I have Shure SRH840 & Sennheiser HD595. I've kinda developed a bit of a fetish for cans though and I may well add to this roster in the future. I've finally got around to converting all my CD's to FLAC files and I use Foobar and ASIO as the source. My library now sits at around 62,000 tracks!


I've been looking at the Creek Audio OBH 11 which I can pick up for around £150 and the Graham Slee Novo which is more expensive (but still within budget) at around £225.


I have a couple of questions first -


1. Can I really expect to hear a sonic improvement with these amps driving the cans I already own?


2. Would it maybe be better to invest in one of those portable amps which has a built-in DAC?


3. Does anyone make a stand-alone DAC/Amp which has USB but which is mains powered and if so are they any good?


My musical tastes vary quite a lot but at the moment I'm listening to a lot of Midlake, Alela Diane, Bill Callahan, Bonnie Prince Billy, Alan Parsons Project, Sia, Koop & Patricia Barber.


Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions.

post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 


post #3 of 11

Since you already have an rotel amp and 'phones like 840 ,595 are not power hungry you should consider new 'phones which will be the biggest change.....

New soundcard like emu 1212, esi juli@, m-audio 192 or stand alone DAC would be nice upgrade too.

Edited by loopfreak - 7/13/10 at 10:28am
post #4 of 11

He's right, I'd be surprised if anything ~300GBP will decisively beat your receiver, maybe you suddenly bought a ton of low impedance headphones... Transducers first, you can upgrade the amp later. 

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Really? I wasn't expecting that, lol. I had thought about maybe upgrading the source first, as would be normal practise if I was listening through speakers. I was looking at the Cantatis Overture soundcard which can be had for £200 and has it's own high quality built-in DAC. The thing is, I really like closed cans and I'm not sure they get much better than the Shure's, or do they?

post #6 of 11

I think you should go for a dac/amp. For £300 you can pick up an Audio Gd FUN (AmpCity price). The FUN in my opinion (and most people who have reviewed it agree :D) has a better built-in DAC then the Cambridge Audio DacMagic.


Check out some of the reviews for it first: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/468522/review-of-the-audio-gd-fun-a-modular-dac-headphone-amp-preamp


If you prefer a tube-amp over solid-state, check out the Audiotailor Jade. That however is a stand-alone amp so you'll have to invest extra in a DAC to get the best out of it.



Edited by Yusuf - 7/14/10 at 3:30pm
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the links Yusuf. I must admit valves do appeal to me - I used to own an Audio Innovations amp many, many years ago. I've never heard of Ampcity so I'll check out both the threads and come back to this tomorrow. Once again, thanks.

post #8 of 11
Originally Posted by Zorrofox View Post

The thing is, I really like closed cans and I'm not sure they get much better than the Shure's, or do they?

Haven't heard the Shures, but there's really nice closed headphones out there. I don't like the D2/5000 much, but D7000 is supposed to be really good. Audio Technica makes some really nice closed cans, the ES/ESW portables and their full sized A2000X & W1000X should be great as well. Ultrasone has some decent closed headphones, but they're quite polarizing. 

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

I've read most of the content in the threads linked to above by Yusuf and the Audio-GD FUN really interests me.


If I was to go down this route can anyone tell me what's the best way to get the signal out of my PC? I could take the signal from the phono's on the soundcard but that would rather defeat the purpose of the external DAC. Would it be better to take the signal from the optical out on my motherboard? Is there another way?


Sorry for all the questions guys but I admit I'm a bit out of my depth here.

post #10 of 11

You could use usb too. Coaxial is another option.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Excellent. I really like the fact that this particular amp/DAC combo will allow an element of tweaking. Here's a question - will it accomodate an upgrade of cans to something like the AKG 701? I really like what I've read about that model on these forums and it's a potential future purchase.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphone Amps (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › What amp for under £300?