I keep reading how the EC BA or the Woos beat the B52, but vcoheda, a highly experienced listener who owned both the B52 and the BA feels the B52 was superior with the HD800s,
and I concur that the B52/HD800 is just simply superb (I listened to the entire Beatles '09 box set on it and thought things can't get much better).
And furthermore, to my ears my T1s are equally wonderful with my B52 (in a different way than the HD800s, but vive la difference).
The T1s lose that trace of upper high excess bite they suffer from with my solid state amps.
And the B52/T1 combo works very well with a wider variety of recordings, even strident 80s CDs. The T1 is tops with many recordings. I highly recommend the B52 for T1 fans.
The B52/T1 is just the right balance of liquidity and control, and very natural with lots of air. The soundstage of the 800s is bigger with more depth and separation, but the T1/B52 staging is fine as is
and not compressed or confining at all.
So, I really think the B52 deserves some respect and consideration from potential amp customers and should not be dismissed as unworthy,
especially if you are dealing with flagship headphones that may be brighter than you want or prefer warmth, naturalness and listening ease or listen to non-audiophile rock/pop recordings.
Of course, I have not heard the Woos or EC amps, but I have a lot of experience with other solid state amps and lots of phones (and speakers).
PS: even my PS1000s are even-handed, controlled, and very musical and liquid and even reserved with the B52 (not with all CDs, but certainly many of them).
So if you have any of these phones, I would really consider the B52. And also, the B52 is tunable with tube rolling.
My LCD2s seem better with solid state in my latest listening tests, without the syngery of the other phones on the B52.
Edited by rgs9200m - 3/29/11 at 10:22am