Report: Bryston BHA-1 running Sennheiser HD800 and Audeze LCD-X
My BHA-1 just arrived yesterday, and I've had headphones glued to my head since it arrived. I've been enjoying the sound of a high-quality balanced amp on both my Senn's and LCD-Xs.
The sound on both cans is amazing -- ironically, it closed the gaps between both headphones. I originally got the LCD-X to offer a counter-point to the airy, open sound of the Sennheisers. But on this Bryston amp, it filled in the gaps of the lower registers of the HD800s, and seem to have cleaned up the sound of the LCD-X a bit (sound a touch more accurate). On the previous amp (Benchmark DAC2 HGC), both cans sounded great, but each had a distinct "character". On the Bryston, they ironically sound much more similar -- although each one is a clear improvement, so I'm not at all complaining.
TL;DR: For anyone looking at this amp for either the HD800 or LCD-X, all I can say is "Wow, holycr4p!"
The one oddity of this amp is that it doesn't really have a "zero" volume. Even with the gain switch at "low" and the volume turned all the way down you can still hear the music clearly (although softly) with the source at line-level. I never really thought of the HD800s as sensitive, but both headphones come through pretty loud by the time you get past the 7 or 8 o'clock position on the volume control.
- if you have really sensitive cans (the LCD-X are pretty damn sensitive), you may want to make sure you have a source where you can adjust the output.
Don't take this as a negative -- both headphones sound amazing, but I was surprised that the amp seems to have so much headroom that the listenable range is within a rather small turning range on the volume pot.
[edit: fixed spelling]
Just received my second hand unit a couple of days ago and with and wow. Through the hd800's this amp has a looot of transparency(not that the 800's lack in that department) but most of all incredibly impactfull bass.
The reason I tagged this post was to specify that my unit came with modded(by bryston for 35$) gain. I believe the high setting is somewhere between the stock low and high gain and the low gain is even lower. Makes ciems doable with this amp. Miracles sound great!