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Need a < 200 dollar amp recommendation

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

We are going to be getting a Marantz 5004 cd player and putting it in a little spare room in the house with some bean bags for a dedicated music listening room seperate from the main system in the living room. We've got a pair of Ath M50's right now but I will be looking to to try some higher end Senns or others out before long. I'm thinking the Marantz will be fine as far as the SQ goes so I will just need an amp. Do you need dual outs on the amp or will a regular y splitter cable suffice. I'd like to keep it in the 200 dollar range and have been looking at the Little dots and the Project headbox. Any recommendations on a decent amp for my needs? Never have had one and am totally unsure what would work/be the best for my needs. Thanks

 

 

P.S.- any need to rethink my cd player?

post #2 of 8

I would not recommend a Y-splitter for headphones, especially if you're planning to use Audio-Technica (low impedance) and Sennheiser (high impedance) together. There will probably be a huge difference in volume between them. Most of the dual outputs on amps that have them are pretty much the same thing as a Y-splitter. Some will have separate headphone jacks for high and low impedance (still a Y-splitter, but the low impedance jack usually has a resistor in series). That's better, but still not optimal. If you're going to drive two headphones out of the same amp, then either get one with separate volume control per headphone, or use two exact same headphones.

 

The ATH-M50 sounds great even when driven directly by an iPod. So it's pretty much guaranteed to be excellent when plugged into your CD player's headphone jack. This way you can free up the amp to drive just the Sennheiser headphones alone, since those do need an amp to sound their best.

 

The Little Dot amps within your budget are the I+, Mk II, and Mk III. The I+ is a hybrid amp that can drive low impedance headphones, while the Mk II and Mk III are OTL¹ tube amps that work best with high impedance headphones. I've listened to my HD650 out of a friend's Little Dot Mk II and it sounded good.

 

 

¹Output TransformerLess

 

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks. We will be running two different hps at first, but will eventually end up with two of the exact higher end hps. Any thoughts on a decent amp that would plug directly into the cd player and have seperate volume controls like you're talking about. I could stretch the budget a bit if I had too. I see in Guitar Center they have amps with seperate volume controls but I'm assuming those are strictly for studio type use and wouldn't work for me.

post #4 of 8
I too am thinking about a new headphone amp. I've got a pair of UE super fi IEMs and grado sr80 and RS 1s to play with. Most of my listening is at night before bed and mostly jazz but I'd like to be able to rock as well. Any suggestions?
post #5 of 8

I have not tried any of those pro audio studio amps myself, but I know what you're referring to. That was actually what I had in mind earlier. They can be very good bang for the buck at around $50 or so, from what I've read. And there isn't strictly any reason why such amps wouldn't work in a home hi-fi setting. After all, even the M50 was marketed as a "studio monitor".

 

One thing to take note of is the output impedance of the amp. Ideally, you would want the amp's output impedance to be lower than your headphone's impedance rating. The M50 is rated at 35 ohms if I remember correctly. At least one of those studio amps had a 50 ohms output impedance. (For a little context, the Little Dot Mk II is an OTL tube amp that works best with headphones at 300 ohms or higher.)

 

Sorry but I don't have any specific amp to recommend that has multiple volume controls.

 

Another option is to split the output of your CD player. Unlike with headphones, there is almost zero degradation when splitting a signal between two amps. You could get two Little Dot I+ amps, or two FiiO E9 amps. Or one of each. Again, I have not tried these specific amps myself, but have read nice things about them here in the forum. 

 

Remember that you can sell these amps later on to recover some of the cost. Head-fi has a nice set of "For Sale" sub forums.

 

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Sounds good. Think I'll try the double Dot method, really interested in trying out tubes for the first time, always have heard good things about them. Thanks for your help.

post #7 of 8

I think the ibasso D2 or D4 might be a good choice.   Might find one used too for a lot less than $200.

post #8 of 8

Second the MkIII, esp with tube rolling

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