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'Best" Grado HP-1000 amp

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

After coming to something of a full circle, where I've ended up with the headphone I began head-fi with a decade ago, I'm having a hard time picking which high-end amplifier is best with the Grado HP-2.

 

 I've found a number of informative, but dated threads, and I'm wondering if there are new contenders I should consider.

 

Right now i'm leaning towards Paravicini's E.A.R. HP-4. However I'm not so sure I can justify the 5,500+ price tag because just a few years ago the amp was selling for 2500.

 

[Melos is out of the question because I would like a model that is currently in production]

 

Edited by Chefguru - 2/21/12 at 3:47pm
post #2 of 22

I think I bought/sold that headphone 3 times. Not quite a record, around here :)

I can understand why someone would choose them as the final stop; nothing else has quite that crisp clean tonality without sounding even a little hard/bright/edgy. I've missed most of this new stuff, but heard an HD800 and thought "you've got to be kidding me". Still overall prefer the Qualias and (slightly) L3000 to the HP1000, though. 

 

On later go-rounds I used them with the Melos SHA Gold Reference and an Eddie Current Zana Deux. I absolutely see the appeal of the Melos, but the Zana is the better amp - amazingly neutral for a tube amp, and perfectly capable of driving those low-ish efficiency 40 ohm HP1000. Eddie Current has come out with some truly delicious looking high-end offerings since the Zana Deux - I'd start (and more than likely finish) my search there. Seems like elsewhere, much of the serious effort towards high-end headphone listening has been diverted towards electrostats. Or those impossibly inefficient ortho things that need like 10+ Watts of power :)

post #3 of 22
Having owned the Melos sha gold reference and currently a zana deux, the best I've heard my hp1000 bar none is through an Eddie Current Equilibrato SE. Unfortunately I think only two were produced and I just sold mine!

I like it with the zd but there is better....
post #4 of 22

Balancing Act or Zana Deux.

post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 

Has anyone here tried both the E.A.R. HP-4 and the Zana Deux with the Grado HP-1000?

 

Also interested in how the Apex Pinnacle might fair against these other contenders. I had considered getting about a year ago when I heard it with the Sennheiser HD800.  Does it have the same synergy with low impedance models?

 
 

Edited by Chefguru - 2/21/12 at 3:42pm
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefguru View Post

Has anyone here tried both the E.A.R. HP-4 and the Zana Deux with the Grado HP-1000?

 

Also interested in how the Apex Pinnacle might fair against these other contenders. I had considered getting about a year ago when I heard it with the Sennheiser HD800.  Does it have the same synergy with low impedance models?

 
 


I have tried the HP-2 with the Zana Deux and the synergy was amazing. Best I ever heard them sound.

post #7 of 22

The best I have ever heard the Grados was through any clean SS amp.(low output impedance, sufficient driving power, etc.)

 

Now don't get me wrong, I love the idea of a burly tube amp as much as the next guy but Grado's really don't require much in the amplification department so if you are going for the "clean" tubes sound, it can be overkill.  Conversely if you are going the  "pleasant harmonic distortion" route, I feel that there are other headphones that benefit from this more.(i.e. senn hd800)

 

Of course, I put the HP1000 sound signature on a pedestal, nostalgia, younger head-fi days, etc.  If I were to go overkill, Headamp GS-X.

 

post #8 of 22

Actually I noticed that the HP1000 is significantly less efficient than modern Grados (e.g. RS-1/sr-225, etc). That coupled with the 40 ohms impedance, makes it relatively difficult load. The volume level of the HP1000 on the Zana Deux was not very far down from its level for the 300-ohm HD650, and the amp would be working much harder to drive the former.

 

I can see the appeal of clean/linear SS, though (only great SS amps sound like that). This is one headphone you don't want to mess with, tonally. An HP1000 with an old Headamp Gilmore Reference (the only SS amp I remember with overwhelming fondness) should probably sound insanely awesome, and would hit 2 major nostalgia points on me at once.

post #9 of 22

many fine recs, some from folks not seen much in recent years.  the melos is an excellent choice and for many was considered the amp of choice with this amazing can. if money is no object then those other choices may make sense, but the melos can be had for far less.  as far as it not being in current production, it's not such a complicated or unknown device that it couldn't be fixed by someone if there was a problem. there are also mods that are out there on the boards to tweak it further.

post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by raif View Post
The best I have ever heard the Grados was through any clean SS amp.(low output impedance, sufficient driving power, etc.)

 

Now don't get me wrong, I love the idea of a burly tube amp as much as the next guy but Grado's really don't require much in the amplification department so if you are going for the "clean" tubes sound, it can be overkill.  Conversely if you are going the  "pleasant harmonic distortion" route, I feel that there are other headphones that benefit from this more.(i.e. senn hd800)

 

Of course, I put the HP1000 sound signature on a pedestal, nostalgia, younger head-fi days, etc.  If I were to go overkill, Headamp GS-X.


I had a balanced HP1000 at the same time as my GS-X once and can confirm that it sounded really good. Not sure it was the "best" amp per se though, as there are some other really good amps too (that have already been mentioned).

 

On a related note I'd recommend sticking with the HP1000's stock cable and not bothering to re-cable it to balanced. There was no audible difference between balanced vs unbalanced when I tried mine on other amps as well (specifically a B22) and a few other proper dual-differential sources (as my Plinius CDP isn't one).


Edited by Asr - 2/22/12 at 5:21pm
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
Bumping this in question to how the woo wa5 might contend against the other top choices.
I read an old review of a the wa6 (non-SE but with upgrades) was sonically Identical vs the original Eddie Zana Deux with the hp1000.
Edited by Chefguru - 4/18/12 at 8:04am
post #12 of 22
In my experience, the EAR HP4 has great synergy with the HP1000s.
The Burson, I would rate, a close second, followed by the Melos.
I'll soon be a proud owner of the BA biggrin.gif and will see how it compares to the EAR.
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Interesting the 160 a close second ? How does your wa22 compare
post #14 of 22

I used to own the HP-2 (wish I still did) and used it with the Melos SHA-1, SHA-Gold Reference, and Meier Corda Prehead mk.1.  The Meier and Melos were very close, but after extensive listening between the two, I preferred the Meier.  Most of the midrange magic of the Melos but with better low and high extension.  That particular Meier amp is discontinued, but obviously there are current production models that I am sure are as good or better than the original Prehead.

 

I also used it with the Decware MLB--not a good match, to me.  It also worked well with the Cary SEI-300B. 

post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefguru View Post

After coming to something of a full circle, where I've ended up with the headphone I began head-fi with a decade ago, I'm having a hard time picking which high-end amplifier is best with the Grado HP-2.

 

 I've found a number of informative, but dated threads, and I'm wondering if there are new contenders I should consider.

 

Right now i'm leaning towards Paravicini's E.A.R. HP-4. However I'm not so sure I can justify the 5,500+ price tag because just a few years ago the amp was selling for 2500.

 

[Melos is out of the question because I would like a model that is currently in production]

 

 

Eddie Current Balancing Act (KR PX4 + TS BGRP) -or- Headamp GS-X

 

Don't even bother wasting your time with anything else if you want the "best"


Edited by purrin - 5/24/12 at 1:18pm
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