Edited by schaaf - 7/20/12 at 9:22pm
beta22 balanced amp + hd650
the author suggests that the hd650 won't sound it's best untill it is combined with one of the highest level amplifiers there is. and it's scalable.
Grace m902 + HD650 is absolutely FABOLOUS!
The Grace is a better amp than it is a DAC - but this combo is stunning. The best I've heard the HD650. Stupidly I sold the Grace.... The Grace is pretty briught, which is partly why it goes so well with the HD650 - it makes it sparkle :) But many use the Grace with Grados too (and Grados are.... bright)
The HD650 is anyway a very good headphone, with a much more natural sound-signature. Natural in the sense that it is more similar to live music. Too many HQ headphones are understatet in the bass and exaggerated in the highs (this creates an illusion of "transparancy and detail".
I have enjoyed the HD650 very much with the Lehman Black Cube Linear, as well as the Naim Headline (has got the possibility of upgrading the PSU later on). And the HD650 sounds very good with the Woo WA2. WA3 is the little brother of WA2. The saying is that the OTL-construction WA2 and WA3 are better for high impedance and WA6/WA6SE are better for low imp phones. But the WA2 drives even the HE6 quite well according to skylab, so it's a relative thing.
If you have a speakers rig -- I can reccomend changing your speakers amplifier for a used Cary SLI-80 or the VTL IT-85 and get a first class speakers amp and headphones amp in one chassis (both tubes - and headphones out are running through all tubes .)
Thanks for the suggestions. Ill have to check some of those out...
When adding a DAC to an amp, do you have to be careful to "pair" them, or does it matter? Will they all sound the same? Do some add "color" ? Im assuming they decode differently and that you get what you pay for... If I were to do a LCD-2 with a Lyr, which DAC would you recommend?
Regarding DAC's - all you need is this :)) - at $60
It bettered my USD 3500 Naim DAC,which is a 2010 prize winning dac (!)
Don't bother about all the modding - unless you wan't to
Read up here...
and you should get a better PSU (and run it on 9V in order to avoid the problems that the mini dac can have due to heat with the supplied 12V psu. Don't worry, it says 9-12V on the input at the PCB - 9V must be set manually - it's in the thread or just ask me :)
Also the Metrum NOS DAC "quad" is a very good NOS dac that sounds similar to the Muse ^ Better built and more expensive - but still cheap at 290 EURO
might be something in here :)
I would go for a amp + dac SEPERATES solution then you are free to adjust the sound to your liking :) MATCHING is everything :))
Thanks for the links,
I have read thru the majority of those with some new ones thrown in for good measure.
Its hard to gather everyones opinions to form your own. Especially without hearing any of this stuff.
Thanks for your help.
you may want to look into the JH3A... its JH audio's new creation and its their top tier IEM combined with an amp and dac.. the whole she-bang works as a unit and cannot be used with anything else, but it is just being released and the early impressions are that it rivals the top tier cans currently on the market. It's also relatively portable.
There are 2 major threads about it.. an old one that is now locked, and a new one.. you will find a few impressions towards the end of the new one
Schaaf, with a $2K budget it would be silly not to start at LCD2s or HE-500s. And you seem to already be past that point. So thumbs up on that decision.
I think an important question for you to consider is--do you think you'll be investing more in head-fi in the future? If you do, well then it makes the most sense to get separate components AND to spend most of your budget on either an excellent DAC or amp that you can build a system around. If you don't, then be careful not to bottleneck the components you're buying for $1K.
Yeah so Im going with LCD2s or HE-500s (but leaning more towards the LCD2)
For an amp I have it down to
Plusses for the lyr = lower cost, great reviews, fun with tubes, fun name, matching DACs coming out.
Plusses for the V200 = excellent reviews. kind of different,... but mainly the reviews.
Plusses for the 6SE = good reviews, fun with tubes, looks super cool.
Plusses for the 160D = built in DAC, good reviews.
So still kinda stuck on this one!
id go with the one you want most because if you dont, ull always wonder how that WA6SE would have sounded (even though all the amps on your list are probably great).