I'm very much a noob with regards to headphones but not so much with music in general.
A little about me.
Currently, I'm running a Theta transport to an Audio Syntheis DAX Decade or Moon 300D DACs to Lexicon pre to Moon Aurora power to Aurum Cantus Vollas with Velodyne DD12 serving up everything below 50Htz.
Not exactly the be all and end all of Hi-Fi but it is part of a 7 channel cinema system and, I feel, a good compromise.
In terms of headphones, I've had a pair of Grado SR-60 since I can remember and replaced these quite recently with SR80i when they developed a slight rattle.
Being very very happy with the SR80i out of my iPod, I decided to research ways to make them even better.
I foolishly purchased a Fiio E5 'amp' which seemingly has no real purpose as it possibly sounds worse than even the current Nano's headphone out.
I then purchased an eBay portable headphone amp from Neco with the upgraded opAmps. Now, that was a good purchase and with the SR80i, the match is just stunning. I figured if less than £100 could get me this far, I'd keep going.
So, I delved a little deeper into this forum and ended up with a Hi-FiMan 801. If I'm honest, this is a little too much for the Grados to cope with in many ways and I actually prefer the Neco amp with iPod overall with the SR80i.
The HiFiman seemed to be pushing me toward another, better, pair of Headphones so I purchased the Denon AHD 7000 ( I'll explain why in a moment) and suddenly the HM801 makes perfect sense. It not only drives the D7000 with great ease but also gives them a depth of both soundstage and low frequencies that is extremely pleasing indeed. The D7000 were my obvious choice because I'm currently walking my dog around 12 miles each night and the isolation is very welcome compared the Grado/Senn open backed design.
I'm closing the case (yeah right!) on portable use as the D7000 with HM801 or the Grados with iPod and Neco amp are very capable combos that I'm extremely happy with.
After that lengthy intro, I'll actually ask the question now...
What non portable amp should I get?
I'm looking to install a headphone system to run parallel to my main setup.
I will stream apple lossless files to an Airport Express feeding the Moon 300D with optical input. The moon will then feed (preferably via it's XLR outputs) an amp to drive the D7000.
There are two problems I am facing.
Firstly, I don't know which amp to get.
Secondly, I'm very likely to buy more high end headphones in the future if this goes well. Obvious additions would be the LCD2 or the HD800. This makes choosing an amp even more complex because of the properties required to drive such varied cans.
Having read a great many threads on here over the lest few weeks, I've seen a lot of recommendations for US based kit.
I'm after something I can buy in the UK or EU if possible. I'm also limiting my search to SS amps.
I've gotten my list down to the following but am finding it hard to work out which way to go.
3. Black Cube Linear
The Phonitor is also viable but I need to know if it's really worth twice as much as the others.
My D7000 have about 250 hrs of ISOtek system disc on them now and are starting to sound very good. The HM801 doesn't quite get hold of the bass output and the mids seem quite recessed but very sweet. Treble is wonderful but right on the cusp of becoming harsh.
Via the Moon Dac 300D, the bass is clearly tighter but having no appropriate amp it's hard to judge anything else.
I like amps which sound like they are not there. Low noise floor is more important to me than soundstage; width more important than depth; a little warmth is preferable to sterility. Essentially, I want the amp to be accurate but very much able to make me tap my feet. It needs to rock but also give my geek / nerdy side something to develop my ears with.
I listen to everything from Classical to Thrash; A lot of Heavy Rock and female vocalists; Guitar music from Vai to Legg and simply adore Yann Tiersen.
So, is the Phonitor worth the extra? If not, which of the others should I go for? I can't imagine there is anywhere in Yorkshire to audition any of them so I'll have to buy blind.
I'm leaning toward the V200 but I rather fancy that is based on looks alone. I like to buy once not constantly upgrade. If that means spending more, then so be it.
Many thanks for any responses. I realise this has been asked many times before but things move on and hopefully, the question may provide fresh answers for other UK based members as I can't find a thread comparing D7000 suitable amps for this side of the pond.