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Authoritative Denon x000 Amplification Discussion

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 


This thread's goal is to provide up-to-date information on amps that best suit varied listener demands within distinct price ranges. I will update and organize the OP with all newly compiled information in a way that will hopefully serve as an authoritative headamp buying guide for the Denon line.
Veteran Head-Fi'ers: please consider this thread as an investment in de-cluttering the boards.

Here are a few things I believe would be helpful for a new buyer:

How does the amp affect the highs/mids/lows?
How does the amp affect the sound stage?
Does the amp meet or exceed your expectations for the purchase price?
Does the amp have enough power to properly drive other, higher impedence phones as well?
Is the volume pot sufficiently sensitive and balanced across L/R at low volumes?
Do you believe the amp is out-dated, or has been succeeded by another amp?
IF the amp contains a DAC, does the DAC meet your expectations?

Please feel free to add any other criteria you believe are important. I am just a newb trying to organize information.

Price Ranges in which amps will be placed:
Amps that should be discussed:
FiiO 7/9
HiFi-Man EF2A
Travanger's Red, Green, White
NuForce Icon, HDP...
iBasso 4, 10 ,12...
Schiit Asgard
Audio GD-Fun
Octavart O1

As for >500 amps: 
I am new to this, and haven't devoted any research to amps in this range. However, I will gladly relay what those with more experience than I post and try to organize it as best possible.

Please try to keep this discussion focused.
I am open to ANY suggestions on how to sort the collected information. To make a suggestion, please PM me so that we can attempt to keep information within this thread as concentrated as possible. If I then proceed to not follow through with you suggestion, feel free to slam me on here :).

Please help get this thread off the ground, and thank you in advance to anyone who contributes!
post #2 of 7


post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

double already :(

Edited by Mercer - 1/6/11 at 12:30pm
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 


Originally Posted by nikongod View Post


Hahahahaha. I hope they are!


Originally Posted by Skylab View Post

There are two very valid technical reasons that OTL tube amps are not an ideal match on paper for low impedance headphones:

1. The output impedance of most (but not all) OTL tube amps is high-ish - output impedances of 40-60 ohms are not uncommon. Running a 25 ohm headphone off a 50 ohm output impedance is definitely not ideal.

2. Low impedance, high sensitivity headphones want a lot of current swing, but don't require a lot of voltage. SS devices are generally better at delivering current into lower impedance loads. Tubes are, again very generally speaking, better at voltage swing, and less good at current delivery. Frank Van Alstine, a very talented audio guy who prefers tube-ss hybrid designs for amps, prefers them because he considers the vacuum tube an ideal voltage source, and SS devices an idea current source.

There is also the fact that a high-sensitivity headphone will be less forgiving of even very low level hum, which some cheaper tube amps do have.

So there are good reasons for people stating the mismatch.

That said, I have found the Decware CSP-2, an OTL tube amp, to work well with low-impedance Denons, and I like the RSA Stealth, an OTL tube amp, very much with the medium-impedance JVC DX1000. So the proof is in the listening and the ear of the beholder, and there are no absolutes.

That said, if I was a committed Grado person, I would probably not make a foray into OTL tube amps. For me personally, being a 600 ohm Beyer guy mostly, owning a bunch of OTL tube amps is a pleasure 

I hardly know anything about that kind of amp, so I'd need more justification/ specific examples to eventually put it in the op., especially when there is a scientific basis as to why it shouldn't be ideal. What amps have you had success with and on what phones? And what made 'em so good?

Edited by Mercer - 1/6/11 at 12:29pm
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Well: this didn't work...

post #6 of 7

I've been looking for this thread for a long time. I also want to know what is the favorite amp for fellow Denon lovers.

post #7 of 7
Originally Posted by nikongod View Post


OTL?  I could have sworn you were a transformer guy....or perhaps I'm confused. ;)


For Denon, unity gain FTW!  Those things are sensitive...

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