Long (Long!) time lurker, first time poster.
I've been "upgrading" my ears gradually over the years, and am now using a xonar essence stx with a Sennheiser PC360 G4ME for gaming, and Shure SE530 for music listening. Almost all my music collection is 44khz/16bit FLACs self-ripped from my CDs. I mainly listen to New Age, Lemonjelly, etc. And A LOT of Jean-Michel Jarre.
I love the sound of the Xonar, and am very happy with it. I've also read a lot of praise for it here, particularly that it has a good DAC with good value for money.
I now want to take that "big leap" and go for the big one: A Sennheiser HD800. I know that driving this using the Xonar's amp is stupid, if not out of the question. Hence, I'm willing to get an external amp. Total budget for the whole project £2000.
My main questions are:
1\ What amp would you recommend? I hear the Black Cube Linear is the perfect match?
2\ How much would I need to invest in the cable between the Xonar's RCA out and the amps IN? Any recommended cables?
3\ audioaffair.co.uk have what looks like a very good offer on an HD800 + Graham Slee Solo Ultra Linear for £1399. I have absolutely no experience with stand alone amps (bar the Xonar's built-in one), and I read that the GS is targeted at people wanting to get that tube feeling but for a lesser price. The website for the amp even goes to say that you might here the "traditional" tube hiss.
This worries me that this AMP isn't right for me (FYI, I'm a detail freak, I like to notice every little thing in the music) - but the price is much better than the HD800 + BCL (about £400 cheaper).
What are people's view on the GS amp for my set up?
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and hopefully reply :D
Feel free to recommend a different amp/headphone combo, but the one thing that I'm not flexible on for the time being is that the source has to be FLAC music coming out of a Xonar Essence STX.