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Vintage or Schiit ?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hi.  Just getting back into headphone audio and built out my current setup from old equipment I had sitting in my basement.  The system needs work.  I decided to start at the amp and work up.  From a sound perspective, I like my sources to give me every bit of the detail in the recording and want the rest of the system to make it sound like music.

 

current setup:

CAL Delta CD transport (or Macbook Pro) > Meridian 518 > Meridian 565 (used as DAC) > Sony Receiver (circa 2004) > Sennheiser HD580

 

I've been reading great stuff on head-fi about Schiit Asgard (and Valhalla) headphone amps.  I was originally going to go down that path but then read that people are using vintage (circa 1970s, 1980s) Marantz and Sansui integrated amps and receivers as headphone amps -- particularly because they sound so good.  I have to admit that an old Marantz receiver that I heard at my uncle's apartment, back in the mid '80s, is what turned me on to good audio.

 

So for $250 - $350, powering Sennheiser's, what path would you go down?  New Asgard or vintage gear?  Or is there a headphone amp out there that I should put on my short list?   I'm also looking for a new DAC, but I'll ask that question in the source forum.  I want to keep DAC and amp separate.

 

Thanks!   

 

Marty

post #2 of 17

CAL and Meridian good stuff!!  If you like the sound of your Senns I suggest the Asgard.  If you want a little more sparkle go for the Valhalla.  Also depends on your taste in music.  I have the Valhalla with HD600s.

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks.  From everything I've read, I'm leaning towards the Asgard.   I like the idea of vintage receiver because it gives me an opening to adding speakers down the road.   With that in mind , are there any headphone amps to recommend that can also be used as a preamp?

post #4 of 17

At that price range Little Dot has couple of good options. And Little Dot MK III sound good with Sennheisers. Imo of course :)

post #5 of 17

Problem with a vintage receiver is that it is an OLD peice of equipment, sooner or later you will need to throw some money at it to repair it as stuff starts to break...............'cos it will.

Not a perfect analogy, but would you buy a 2002 car?  Granted the car breaks down due to mechanical wear and tear, the reciever is far more robust than an old car but I'm sure you get the idea...............

post #6 of 17

My Asgard pairs amazingly well with my HD600s. 

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks.   While pondering what to do about a new amp, I swapped out the old Sony receiver I was using for another receiver I had sitting around -- Yamaha RXV990.  It's a beast and sounds a lot better than the Sony -- much cleaner, more punch, less noise.  Then I started playing around with my HD580's -- replaced ear cushions and foam (they were kind of old) and then I decided to take them apart to play with modding them.  Big mistake.  I managed to break one of the drivers by breaking the wire filaments that run from the cord connection to the drive.   So the HD580s are out of commission for now.

 

Then I found HD650s online for $350 and couldn't pass up the opportunity, so I ordered them.  Hoping they come in later this week.  In any case, I'm putting off my search for an amp for at least a little while.

 

My short list for amp, thanks to what I've been reading on head-fi...

Schiit Asgard

Bottlehead Crack

Little Dot Mk IV (maybe SE)

 

I think I've decided to not go down the vintage path.  Seems like it's not as inexpensive as I thought it might be.  I'll still keep my eye out for something interesting at the right price but I want to build out a headphone setup that can help me get lost in the music.

 

Marty

post #8 of 17

With respect,

I didn't really expect a Sony receiver to sound very good, especially paired with Meridian and CAL equipment.

I wouldn't be surprised if a good headphone amp beats a Yamaha receiver.

 

Sorry about your 'phones, that's what us guys do, fix stuff 'til it breaks!redface.gif

post #9 of 17

I mostly agree with you.  I had a Sony receiver not too long ago, and most everything on it was rubbish, including the headphone jack.  I bought a Yamaha receiver to replace it.  Surprisingly, the headphone jack on the Yamaha is very good.  It's not as good as my Woo amp, or even my Asgard for that matter, but it's not far off.  It drives the headphones with authority, but it can sound analytical at times with a slightly compressed sound stage.  Do I still use it?  Yep, for movies during late night and my audio-dvds, which I can only play on my DVD player hooked up to my home theater (separate from my stand alone headphone rigs).  Still very enjoyable.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

With respect,

I didn't really expect a Sony receiver to sound very good, especially paired with Meridian and CAL equipment.

I wouldn't be surprised if a good headphone amp beats a Yamaha receiver.

 

Sorry about your 'phones, that's what us guys do, fix stuff 'til it breaks!redface.gif



 

post #10 of 17

Did the Schiit people  ever fix the annoying humming from the transformer of the Asgard?  It's tempting to buy one but me no like humming.

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by ACDOAN View Post

Did the Schiit people  ever fix the annoying humming from the transformer of the Asgard?  It's tempting to buy one but me no like humming.



After the first reports of humming, it was soon fixed.

post #12 of 17

My new Asgard has zero hum.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raser View Post



After the first reports of humming, it was soon fixed.



 

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgjy View Post

I mostly agree with you.  I had a Sony receiver not too long ago, and most everything on it was rubbish, including the headphone jack.  I bought a Yamaha receiver to replace it.  Surprisingly, the headphone jack on the Yamaha is very good.  It's not as good as my Woo amp, or even my Asgard for that matter, but it's not far off.  It drives the headphones with authority, but it can sound analytical at times with a slightly compressed sound stage.  Do I still use it?  Yep, for movies during late night and my audio-dvds, which I can only play on my DVD player hooked up to my home theater (separate from my stand alone headphone rigs).  Still very enjoyable.



Sounds like you completely agree with me!   LOL!

 

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgjy View Post

My new Asgard has zero hum.
 



 


Good to know. I may as well order one. How is the HF? Does it roll-off  quite a bit?

 

post #15 of 17

I wouldn't necessarily call it roll off per se, but the Asgard does have a nice organic sound to it.  It's not clinical at all.  It's not as warm and liquid as a tube amp, but it's definitely not a sterile volt box, either.  I'd say it's very true to the source with just a hint of organic liquid to it, while still not sounding like a tube amp.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ACDOAN View Post


Good to know. I may as well order one. How is the HF? Does it roll-off  quite a bit?

 



 

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