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Really cheap headphone amps

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I'm going to try amping my decade-old HD495's but I'm cheap. Ten years ago, it was recommended to amp these cans to get best performance (they rated better than SR-60's when amped, but were bested by the Grado's un-amped).  I've decided to go this route rather than get new cans because I'm going to need an amp anyway for anything better than these 495's.

 

Since I'm cheap..

 

1) is a CMoy better than one of those ubiquitous Fiio E1 / E3 / E5?

 

2) I'm thinking of rolling my own using an amp kit from ebay. The kit has Burr-Brown OPA2604's. How do these compare to the Fiios?

 

3) of the pin-compatible replacements for the OPA2604, which are most recommended? OPA2132, AD826, LM6172 ?

 

I know the OPA2134 is also pin-compatible and beats them all, but at $25+ each, not exactly something I'd like to try on a whim.

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 8

depends on how much exactly you are willing to spend, i would personally recommend the 'indeed' amps sold on e-bay i brought one and it sounds better than my Meier Aria..... if your lucky, try to bid on the low reserve ones, u can get away with 30ish dollars + shipping (which is around $10-20? can't remember)

i reckon it's well worth the money, although i have not heard Cmoy amps to compare....

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Alas those Indeeds are all in the $80 - $100 range now (quick ebay check).

 

Anyway I bought a 12AU7-based tube preamp from arjenhelder. I'm planning to use it to drive my TriPath.. but can it be used as a headphone amp? (I also got five 12AU7 tubes cheap, so maybe I'll DIY a tube headphone amp instead).

post #4 of 8

A good Cmoy is nothing to be sneezed at and definitely a step up from a Fiio E5. This one is one of the best bang-for-your-buck portable amplifier deals around right now. Check the reviews! 

 

If you don't feel like spending the moolah you can always try to find a DIY'er on Head-Fi that can build you one according to the specs of that particular one on Ebay. Good luck!

post #5 of 8

OPA2134 is considered an "entry level" op amp for CMoys and sells for $3.50

 

For me, LT1364CN8 is almost perfect for CMoy but you will have to have

a good design as it is a fast amp and could give you trouble with a poorly

designed or constructed CMoy. If you have a design a little more advanced

than a CMoy then there are other op amps that are even better but not

suitable for CMoy.

post #6 of 8

I always believed it wasn't about a specific opamp but about the integration of the parts as a whole. Thus, an entry-level opamp can potentially sound as good as, or even better, than a more expensive one. If integrated effectively, that is. Do correct me if I'm wrong. 

post #7 of 8

Thats true to some extent.

 

A badly integrated LT1364 will sound worse than a

well designed OPA2134, but a well designed amp

will bring the best out in many different op amps.

In this case it will be apparent that higher speed

op amps will sound better than more pedestrian

op amps like OPA2134. Please don't think I am

bashing the OPA2134, It's a great chip for beginner

designs as it is very forgiving.

post #8 of 8

Gay, there are Bravos around for bids starting at 0.01cent..... they're basically the same... the difference comes in slightly better parts in the indeed...
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by orlyandico View Post

Alas those Indeeds are all in the $80 - $100 range now (quick ebay check).

 

Anyway I bought a 12AU7-based tube preamp from arjenhelder. I'm planning to use it to drive my TriPath.. but can it be used as a headphone amp? (I also got five 12AU7 tubes cheap, so maybe I'll DIY a tube headphone amp instead).

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