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Help me choose a Headphone Amp for my Senn's.....Please

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hey Guys,

 

I'm a noob around these parts. I troll every once in a while to get some reviews on things, but I signed up for this one question (I'm sure I'll have more now that I'm a member).

 

I consider myself to have a champagne taste with a beer budget so I do what I can. I have a set of Sennheiser HD 555 (I really wish they were HD 800's) and I'm not entirely sure if I need a headphone amp for them. I'm an audiophile and am constantly searching for the clearest most precise sound I can attain with what I have.

 

My question is, do the HD 555's warrant an amp? I use them solely with my iPod and I know they're not the greatest headphones in the world but they are pretty decent. Would an amp make that much of a difference or is it worth just investing in some HD 650's instead?

 

I've been searching and it looks like I have two inexpensive choices for portable amps:

 

1) Fiio E7 USB DAC

 

or

 

2) Headroom Total Bithead

 

If needed which one would be better? Both seem to have good reviews, the Fiio is sleeker looking but that really means nothing. I have a feeling the Total Bitheads are better in general. I honestly have no idea because I've never listened through a headphone amp before.

 

Any and all feedback would be greatly appreciated! Many thanks!

post #2 of 3

Some members seem to believe that the HD 555's and HD 595's benefit from an amp, but I find it hard to believe it would make much difference at this level and efficiency. I wouldn't go with just the HD 650's either. My advice would be to buy a better sounding DAP and stick with your HD 555's.

post #3 of 3

I've been using the 595s for the past two and a half years. I can tell you that the 555s and 95s alike do benefit somewhat substantially from moderate amplification. But the benefits dramatically decline after about the $200 range. For example, I could not really tell the difference between my cMoy and and Asus STX in terms of soundstage. That's to say, things will still still have that 55/95 "closeness" that gets kinda dull after a while (in my opinion). You can expect good increase in bass punchiness and a smoother, clearer treble.

I think you're on the right track with the FiiO E7/E9 (from what I've read so far it seems like a pretty good setup for the price). Also, consider the Fubar III by audiophileproducts. I think this is a really underrated amp/dac and I"m surprised there hasn't been more recent conversation about its new 2010 model. As well, check out the iBasso D2 or D4 Mamba. It's sleek and small and is a amp/dac as well.

Currently I'm leaning towards the Fubar III, but I'm also strongly considering the iBasso. I will be getting the HD600s soon (hopefully). I recommend that if you're just listening to an ipod to get an E7, save the money, and call it a day.

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