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Entry level amp for Senn HD650

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

 

Hello All,

 

I am a long-time lurker, first time subscriber/poster.  I am looking for a decent entry-level amp for my Sennheiser HD650's (like everyone else).  Looking through recent threads, people seem to have a lot of good things to say about the NFB-12's, especially for its price-point.  I have also been looking at the Schiit Valhalla and the NuForce Icon HDP.  

Without knowing much about amplifier hardware I am having a hard time making a decision.  I am leaning toward the Valhalla because of the 15 day trial and I dig their confidence, but I don't know much more than what I have been reading in these posts, which appear to be a bit subjective.

 

Summary:

 

1.  Schiit Valhalla (~$375)

2.  NFB-12 (~$250)

3.  NuForce Icon HDP (~$450)

 

Additional suggestions are welcome and thanks in advance for any advice!

post #2 of 7

Heya,

 

If you're in the USA, I would totally try all the Schiit amps. They are awesome in that they will let you try them for two weeks for about $20 or less essentially with their deal. Try the Valhalla, but also try the Lyr. I have one and a Lyr. It's pretty magical.

 

Very best,

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

It would be really convenient if the Schiit amps had a USB DAC also.  If I'm using a laptop, what's the best route for input into these amps?

 

 

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

Heya,

 

If you're in the USA, I would totally try all the Schiit amps. They are awesome in that they will let you try them for two weeks for about $20 or less essentially with their deal. Try the Valhalla, but also try the Lyr. I have one and a Lyr. It's pretty magical.

 

Very best,

 

It would be really convenient if the Schiit amps had a USB DAC also.  If I'm using a laptop, what's the best route for input into these amps?
 

 

post #5 of 7

From what I've read, the best connection from a laptop to a DAC (digital to analogue converter) is SPIDF/ Toslink (optical).  However, there are many DACs with USB support.  Schiit is in the process of releasing their first DAC, the Bifrost, for $350 (without USB) or $450 (with USB).  Obviously since it isn't quite out yet there aren't any reviews of it, but I think it looks worthwhile (considering buying it myself, but I need a proper amplifier first.)  As for the amplifier, the Schiit amps hold a lot of regard here, but I honestly can't say I've had the chance to hear one, so I can't help you decide which one to buy.  Sorry...

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePhoenix924S View Post

From what I've read, the best connection from a laptop to a DAC (digital to analogue converter) is SPIDF/ Toslink (optical).  However, there are many DACs with USB support.  Schiit is in the process of releasing their first DAC, the Bifrost, for $350 (without USB) or $450 (with USB).  Obviously since it isn't quite out yet there aren't any reviews of it, but I think it looks worthwhile (considering buying it myself, but I need a proper amplifier first.)  As for the amplifier, the Schiit amps hold a lot of regard here, but I honestly can't say I've had the chance to hear one, so I can't help you decide which one to buy.  Sorry...

 

I went with the u-DAC 2 and the Schiit Valhalla.  I want the Bifrost, but 450 bucks for a USB DAC is cost-prohibitive at the moment.  I'll post an update when I get the Valhalla.
 

 

post #7 of 7

The cheapest option is probably the e9 for about $100.

 

The nfb-12 also includes a half decent DAC where the other's don't.  If you want to stay in the price range of the others than the single best deal in head-fi period is the nfb-10se which is worth 2 or 3 times its asking price, has a nice DAC and can power just about anything.

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