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Amp/dac for disappointed HD800 owner

post #1 of 169
Thread Starter 

Hi,

I recently bought the HD800 with a Nuforce Icon HDP dac/amp and I'm mostly disappointed.

The high notes sound too harsh to my ears and the bass is pretty much nonexistent, I find myself using my old and much cheaper Denon AH-D1001 instead..

Did anyone have a similar experience with the HD800? Is this something that can be fixed by a better amp? Or is this just the overall signature of these cans?

 

My budget for an amp/dac combo is probably around 1000-1500$. I listen mostly to classical/rock/electronic music.

I'm currently thinking about the Burson 160D/160DS. Will it fit my needs? Is the 160DS as good musically as the 160D?

Any other recommendations/advice?

 

I should also mention that I won't be able to try out an amp before buying it..

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 169

HD800 is very picky on amp, I don't think the HDP is a good match with it.  I had a Burson 160D and really like the combo, especially of a slight tube sound of Burson.  However I highly recommend a tube amp for HD800, check out the Woo Audio WA2 or WA6SE for amp and probably a Cambridge Audio DacMagic.

post #3 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by trunk View Post

Hi,

I recently bought the HD800 with a Nuforce Icon HDP dac/amp and I'm mostly disappointed.

The high notes sound too harsh to my ears and the bass is pretty much nonexistent, I find myself using my old and much cheaper Denon AH-D1001 instead..

Did anyone have a similar experience with the HD800? Is this something that can be fixed by a better amp? Or is this just the overall signature of these cans?

 

My budget for an amp/dac combo is probably around 1000-1500$. I listen mostly to classical/rock/electronic music.

I'm currently thinking about the Burson 160D/160DS. Will it fit my needs? Is the 160DS as good musically as the 160D?

Any other recommendations/advice?

 

I should also mention that I won't be able to try out an amp before buying it..

 

Thanks!
 

Well the HDP is known for it's brightness (heard them in a store, terrible). If you pair it with a slightly bright HD800, ya got yourself a screecher. Yes. It can be fixed with a better amp (usually with something like a Zana Deux). What you're saying is pretty much an impossible task (don't get me wrong its a great budget) but the usual solution for HD800 owners is something in the $2K range or 20 pound, if you want to go by weight. I'd say Woo Audio WA6 + a Burson 160D both have a full bodied presentation that will balance out the HD800.


Edited by NinjaSquirt - 12/5/11 at 11:55am
post #4 of 169

I think mine sound pretty good with a 3 channel Beta 22...

post #5 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oberst Oswald View Post

I think mine sound pretty good with a 3 channel Beta 22...



you are talking one of the best amp for HD800, but I still prefer tube over beta22.

post #6 of 169
WooAudio 2 is a great match for the HD800.
post #7 of 169

I had a WA6 (non SE, Sophia Princess) and it didn't help.  For me, the HD800 was technically impressive but ultimately not fun to listen to.

 

Drew

post #8 of 169

You might wanna burn it in a little bit longer and see what happens.

post #9 of 169

I got an HD800 and I found that the only amp that could really bring out the bass was a balanced RWA headphone stage. I’m using it from the Isabellina HPA but you could get a balanced corvina for 1500. I don’t know how much more power the SE stage has but it’s 5W RMS into 32 ohm for the balanced stage. a SE Corvina is 1000.

 

Volume is really loud even at 9-10 on the dial and the bottom end is really nicely filled out. It’s not D5000 levels bass but it’s extremely solid now compared to other, weaker amps.

post #10 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by LCfiner View Post

I got an HD800 and I found that the only amp that could really bring out the bass was a balanced s RWA headphonetage. I’m using it from the Isabellina HPA but you could get a balanced corvina for 1500. I don’t know how much more power the SE stage has but it’s 5W RMS into 32 ohm for the balanced stage. a SE Corvina is 1000.

 

Volume is really loud even at 9-10 on the dial and the bottom end is really nicely filled out. It’s not D5000 levels bass but it’s extremely solid now compared to other, weaker amps.



"Only" is really too strong of a word. Plenty of amps work great with 800. Violectric 181 at full balance, and Lehmann BCL, and these are both not that expensive.

I haven't heard the RWA headphone stage, so do take my comment with a grain of salt since RWA might exceed the two things I mentioned by a lot with respect to synergy with hd800.

post #11 of 169

I meant “only” in the sense that it was the “only” amp that I personally tried that could fill out the bottom end. Obviously I can’t comment on amps I have not tried. I find;t mean to imply it’s the only out there in the world - that wouldn’t make sense. :)

 

I brought it up only because the corvina is at the upper range of his budget but would have zero problems powering the thing. 

post #12 of 169

If you're after more bass, less brightness, and a lusher sound, the T1 may be what you're looking for as opposed to the HD800.

post #13 of 169

The HD800 is not just choosy about the amp, its choosy about the music. It cannot do anything to improve badly recorded music with narrow soundstage. You need a much more forward phone like the LCD-2 to play this well. It is excellent for classical and jazz but not for rock and definately not electronica. 

 

Try a phone like the LCD-2, a Beyer, or a Sennhieser HD600/650. These are in general much more forward in presentation and much better recommendation for playing a wide variety of music because they will not ruin tracks with inherently narrow soundstage. I did extensive listening on my friends HD800 setup driven by a Rudistor RPX-35 before I made my decision to purchase the LCD-2. The HD800 is a dead end for rock/pop.

post #14 of 169

HD800 sounded amazing on a BA with EML tubes.  Even the few average recordings I threw at it sounded good, which is something it did better than my electrostat setup.  Bass was full without being boomy, and it was the largest soundstage I had ever heard on headphones.

 

I wonder if the lesser EC amps provide similar performance with the HD800 (S7, ZD), in which case I may end up selling my GES and paying the balance for a S7 or ZD.

post #15 of 169

Quote:

Originally Posted by Draygonn View Post

WooAudio 2 is a great match for the HD800.


Get a silver one and pair it with a Schiit Bifrost and you will have a great-looking and sounding system, within your budget (until you start rolling tubes) smile.gif

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philharmoniker View Post

You might wanna burn it in a little bit longer and see what happens.


Not going to happen with the HD800/HDP I'm afraid frown.gif

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