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$500-$600 U.S.A. Tube Amp for HD650's?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hello fellow Head-fi'ers.  I am at it again.  I bought a pair of HD650's (on a thread here somewhere) a month ago that are currently paired with a Maverick Audio D1 DAC/AMP with an upgraded preamp tube (looking into upgrading the OP-AMP) and I'm looking to go with tubes this time around.  I'm looking at a $500-600 budget for an American made amp (preferably, I like to support fellow Americans, not China).

 

(Preferably something that's capable of future tube upgrades.)

 

I'm looking for strictly highest quality sound output with highest quality components.  I'm not decided on OTL or whatever, so educate me.

 

I'm currently looking at:

- Schiit's Lyr (able to upgrade)

- Schiit's Valhalla (not too sure about)

- Woo Audio's WA3 (like it)

- Woo Audio's WA6 (like it more)

- Little Dot MK IV SE (I know, not American)

- IDK...

 

So cliffs:

- Tube (perhaps OTL, idk because I'm still looking for direction)

- $500-600 budget

- Must match extremely well with HD650's (maybe AKG 702's or something if I purchase them down the road...)

- high quality components

- high quality sound

- I want something that dazzles me...

 

(just got the woo audio double headphone stand...sick...)

 

aaaaaaaaaaaand...go...

 

Can Stand

 

d*_*b

post #2 of 18

You listed some pretty good ones. Decware makes great amps also. Although they may be a bit out of your price range. I'm a fan of Woo so my suggestion would lean that way. WA6 and tube rolling galore. LoL

post #3 of 18
I second the WA6 recommendation. It's an awesome amp.
post #4 of 18

Look at the Bottlehead stuff too, especially if you want to diy.

post #5 of 18

not USA but North American is that beautiful hand-built amp shown in IBJ's avatar - the MAD Ear+ HD from Canada.  It is famous on here because of its synergy with grado's but the designer uses HD600s and I use HD650's with it.

post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by EngineerMan View Post

Hello fellow Head-fi'ers.  I am at it again.  I bought a pair of HD650's (on a thread here somewhere) a month ago that are currently paired with a Maverick Audio D1 DAC/AMP with an upgraded preamp tube (looking into upgrading the OP-AMP) and I'm looking to go with tubes this time around.  I'm looking at a $500-600 budget for an American made amp (preferably, I like to support fellow Americans, not China).

 

(Preferably something that's capable of future tube upgrades.)

 

I'm looking for strictly highest quality sound output with highest quality components.  I'm not decided on OTL or whatever, so educate me.

 

I'm currently looking at:

- Schiit's Lyr (able to upgrade)

- Schiit's Valhalla (not too sure about)

- Woo Audio's WA3 (like it)

- Woo Audio's WA6 (like it more)

- Little Dot MK IV SE (I know, not American)

- IDK...

 

So cliffs:

- Tube (perhaps OTL, idk because I'm still looking for direction)

- $500-600 budget

- Must match extremely well with HD650's (maybe AKG 702's or something if I purchase them down the road...)

- high quality components

- high quality sound

- I want something that dazzles me...

 

(just got the woo audio double headphone stand...sick...)

 

aaaaaaaaaaaand...go...

 

Can Stand

 

d*_*b

I personally think you should think about the LYr I use the 650's with it and like the sound and if you decide to go ortho then you will have the power to drive them.
 

 

post #7 of 18
LVR is proven to be good mate with Sennheiser, Although I think WA6 is a better choice it got the warm sounding and adds a lot texture and character to the base to the 650, which i think is essential since HD650's base could be bloated to someone.

Although , I thought jack is from China originally .
Edited by BrucYSN - 4/5/11 at 10:28pm
post #8 of 18

I was going to sell my Woo 3 until I heard it with the HD 650s. Now I'm in the market for HD 650s. I would get the 3+ not the original 3 if I was to do it all over again. Talked to Jack about the + upgrade to the standard 3 and he did not seem to excited about doing it. The + has a little more output and no pre-amp RCAs out. The 3 does not make the best pre-amp in how I have tried to use it anyway.

 

 

The Woo 3 is for high impedance headphones. The AKG 701/702 would not work at all with the Woo 3 as they are low impedance!

 

 

Woo Amps are made in New York. All Americans are imports except Indians.


Edited by Redcarmoose - 4/5/11 at 12:52am
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redcarmoose View Post

I was going to sell my Woo 3 until I heard it with the HD 650s. Now I'm in the market for HD 650s. I would get the 3+ not the original 3 if I was to do it all over again. Talked to Jack about the + upgrade to the standard 3 and he did not seem to excited about doing it. The + has a little more output and no pre-amp RCAs out. The 3 does not make the best pre-amp in how I have tried to use it anyway.

 

 

The Woo 3 is for high impedance headphones. The AKG 701/702 would not work at all with the Woo 3 as they are low impedance!

 

 

Woo Amps are made in New York. All Americans are imports except Indians.


Exactly. Jack is as American as any of us. His products are made just as much in the USA as any other.
post #10 of 18
Ye but i thought he's originally from China and his last name is WU, I don't know if he's born here though ,

But anyway WA3 and WA6 both should be good with 650, if you are on a tight budget and not planning get other low impendance phones i would say just stick with WA3, you can use extra cash to get better tubes.
Edited by BrucYSN - 4/5/11 at 1:02am
post #11 of 18

I think the case parts are extruded in China. Who cares, they are hand made in New York.

post #12 of 18

Buy a Woo here in Asia and you will know that it is an American company.  PRICEY here in Taiwan!

post #13 of 18
I just deleted a few posts. Don't start it up again.

For the record, Woo Audio is an American manufacturer. They build amplifiers in the United States. Further, naturalized citizens are citizens every bit as much as natural citizens. This is the United States. Anyone from anywhere can be an American.

Anyhow, I'd take a hard look at the Bottlehead Crack with the Speedball. It's a fine amp and it has fine performance. It's an easy build and nicely documented. You can't get that level of performance for the price unless you supply your own labor.

Also consider the Mapletree Ear+ kit. It's $620, so slightly out of your budget. But it's another high quality kit.

Don't worry too much about tuberolling. I think of it as something of a dead end. Tubes continually change over their lifespan and, ultimately, are wear items. I look for amps that either use current production tubes or ones with large quantities of inexpensive NOS tubes. Circuit design has a lot more to do with the sound than the tubes do. You can put a fine vintage 6SN7 in a bad design and you'll get bad sound. But an average new 6SN7 will sound sensational in a good design. A fine old NOS tube will sound slightly better in a good design, but it really isn't necessary.

I run decent tubes in good designs. I only change tubes when they die. Swapping tubes in and out looking for tiny differences is a waste of time in my book. I'd much rather spend that time getting lost in a favorite album.
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post

I just deleted a few posts. Don't start it up again.

For the record, Woo Audio is an American manufacturer. They build amplifiers in the United States. Further, naturalized citizens are citizens every bit as much as natural citizens. This is the United States. Anyone from anywhere can be an American.

Anyhow, I'd take a hard look at the Bottlehead Crack with the Speedball. It's a fine amp and it has fine performance. It's an easy build and nicely documented. You can't get that level of performance for the price unless you supply your own labor.

Also consider the Mapletree Ear+ kit. It's $620, so slightly out of your budget. But it's another high quality kit.

Don't worry too much about tuberolling. I think of it as something of a dead end. Tubes continually change over their lifespan and, ultimately, are wear items. I look for amps that either use current production tubes or ones with large quantities of inexpensive NOS tubes. Circuit design has a lot more to do with the sound than the tubes do. You can put a fine vintage 6SN7 in a bad design and you'll get bad sound. But an average new 6SN7 will sound sensational in a good design. A fine old NOS tube will sound slightly better in a good design, but it really isn't necessary.

I run decent tubes in good designs. I only change tubes when they die. Swapping tubes in and out looking for tiny differences is a waste of time in my book. I'd much rather spend that time getting lost in a favorite album.

I couldn't agree more, WA22 and LCD-2 has driven me nuts...
post #15 of 18

The Woo WA6 and Decware CSP-2 are awesome US-Made amps, but are a little outside the OP's price list.  The Woo WA3 would work well with the HD650, as would the Bottlehead Crack, and those are in the price range.  The Crack has the advantage that it uses tubes that can be had NOS for fairly cheap (in that the single 12AU7 of the Crack will be cheaper by a good margin than a pair of 6DJ8/6922's for the WA3).

 

I like to tinker with tubes in my amps until I find a set I like, and then I also leave them in until the die or get noisy.  Once I find a set I like, I don't change them.  Too much of a hassle and bad for the sockets.

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