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Sorry, another HD650 and Amp Thread ($200-300 budget)

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 

Hi, been lurking for a few months on and off... decided to join.


Just got a HD650 (read like, 100~ pages of that HD650 appreciation thread) recently, but I've been influenced by these forums to get an amp.  As an idiot, I would like to say that the sound is loud enough on the headphones already, so I personally don't think I need one if all they do is make it louder... feel free to correct me on that.


I have FLAC files --> Foobar (WASAPI) --> Omega Striker 7.1 sound card --> HD650 right now.


Also, I've been listening to random songs on youtube lately that I can't get in FLAC... I know youtube has horrible sound quality, but I'm playing the videos in 1080p so that's as good as it gets...


Anyways, what amp can I get around $200-300 cdn (I know, horrible budget)? Dedicated, not portable.... but I'm tempted by those E7/E9s (yes, a n00b's choice)


Thanks so much in advance!

post #2 of 36

Look at the Ibasso PB1 and PB2. They are big balanced portables that are as good as some desktop amps. Ibasso sells a balanced cable for the Senn HDxx, so you don't have to worry about the balanced part. Check out the threads for them, and you will see people raving about the HD600 and 650 with the amps. 


PB1 and the balanced DAC, the DB1:










Tell me what you think.

post #3 of 36

The Audio-GD NFB12 or Sparrow should be on your shortlist. Audio-GD engineered killer dac + discrete amp in that price bracket is unbeatable imo.

post #4 of 36
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the suggestions guys, keep em coming.


I was looking at the LittleDot IV, or Darkvoice 332... are these really old or something? Most of the info I've received was from that HD650 appreciation thread, which is 5+ years old :P

post #5 of 36

Say no to portables.


Grab PPAv2 used.

post #6 of 36

or there is a Millett Hybrid MiniMax in the for sale section for around $200 (the kit alone goes for $220). It sound pretty darn good with the HD650 :) 

post #7 of 36

If you can handle $350, the Nuforce Icon HD is absolutely awesome. Just look at the HDP reviews -- it is the same exact thing minus a few inputs/speaker preamp. 

post #8 of 36
Thread Starter 

Not one person has recommended the same one? lol :( makes my decision so hard!

post #9 of 36

Personally, I most enjoy the HD650's when they are driven from a tube amp.  Given your budget, the Littledot, DV, or a used Woo are all good options.  Additionally, you might consider building your own from a kit.  If this sounds at all appealing, take a look at the "bottlehead crack" amp as one good option. 


This kit is really nice for new DIY'ers because it has clear, step by step instructions, with accompanying photos, that make the assembly process totally feasible for a beginner.  Mine is about half assembled at this point, and I'm really enjoying the project.  Honestly, I wish I had given something like this a go back when I first started lurking around on head-fi.  Assembling an amp yourself provides you with some valuable technical insight and a lot more appreciation for why the complex commercial amps cost what they do. 

post #10 of 36

I'm going to second the NuForce HD as it has worked for me, but it is $50 higher than your budget. If I had not gotten the HD, I probably would have gotten the Matrix Mini-I as my DAC/Amp combo ($300). Matrix Cube ($270) also sounds good (maybe even better than Mini-I) but there have been issues with quality control on cosmetics. NFB-12 sounds like a steal, but there's going to be a bit of a wait for those to ship to you.

post #11 of 36

skeptic has good recommendations here. a couple of others to look at would be the oft overlooked creek obh 21se, if you can find one used. also a head amp gilmore lite, again look for a used one. both can do a very nice job with the senns. the creek has 2 different headphones jacks with different impedances which will give you a somewhat different sound, which is a nice feature.

post #12 of 36
Thread Starter 

thanks for everyone's advice so far.


the Nuforce HD is gonna cost me $370.20 (+ random customs taxes) american.... is that a good deal?


i might be able to push the budget to that...


but the leader right now is the LittleDot IV (not SE.... does it make a big difference?)


keep in mind, i dont need a DAC cuz i already have a pretty decent sound card (i think)

post #13 of 36
Originally Posted by paceee View Post
.... is that a good deal?


a better deal would be what was mentioned in my previous post, though i did neglect to mention that an experienced (something to keep in mind when seeking advice) h-fer like fallen angel might give sage advice.

but buy whatever tickles your fancy.


post #14 of 36

I will second the recommendation for the bottlehead crack kit if you are comfortable with some soldering. It is a very easy kit as far as DIY options go since it comes with excellent step by step instructions and requires no casework. I completed mine about a week ago and am really enjoying it. This is using an AMB gamma 2 for my DAC, and is upgrading from coming straight out of my PC. The sound is much clearer, especially the bass is tighter and more impactful. Mids are not as muddy. I can't say I notice a huge difference in the highs other than maybe some added clarity. The kit is about $220 with shipping.


Almost forgot to mention, I am using it to drive a HD600, not a HD650, but the headphones are very similar so your results will probably be similar.

post #15 of 36

OP im in the same boat as you, and i've heard good things about the Schiit Asgard. its $245.00 And since you already have a soundcard, you are probably just looking for a boost in volume with some clarity (like me)


but i think im staying away from tube amps, and sticking with solid state, that's why im looking towards the schiit asgard or the matrix m stage. Only thing is I can't deal with the RCA jacks. I need a quarter inch jack in the back at least.

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