Interesting. Yes, I am on the verge of getting a First Watt. I have been abreast of the threads pertaining to the HE-6. That being said it is a headphone and it seems logical to try them out on headphone amps. The original question was about whether any of us have used the HE-6s on the Stratus. My original post acknowledged that SS amps seem to be the way to go. I was merely stating that *to my ears* they sound good with the Stratus - not optimal but good. They also sound good with my 15W George Wright Au-215 I tube amp using the speaker posts. So far, in my odyssey with SS amps for the HE-6s, I have not been able to entirely do away with what I hear as a false treble sibilance and a lack of decay in the higher frequencies in general. There is a combination of linearity and largeness of tone that good tubes bring to the HE-6s that I haven't found reproduced yet by a transistor. But I by no means want to imply I have done exhaustive research. Still, there does seem to be a general dismissal that tube amps can't drive the HE-6s *correctly* that isn't really borne out by mathematics, more by subjective reaction, which I respect and want to understand better.
What First Watt re you looking at? The J2 is what I would go after if I didn't have the F1J. Or even better but might be a little "overkill" (my middle name) would be a pair of F4s.
I always say the HE-6 are speakers sitting on top of your head.
The thing is. The leg work has already been done for new comers. Just like they ask questions in this thread after reading it. The same could and should be done from a research standpoint in the HE-6 thread and the Amps that can drive the HE-6 thread.
I have to agree with Frank that if you have not compared head amps with speaker amps when pared with the HE-6 they you just don't know. Then yes - you are playing them - not driving them. However, I agree with you as well in that - some just might like the sound they get while "playing" them...
I've just had a lot of trial an error with these. Been through many amps. Been to audio store with the headphone in hand testing different amps. Spent lots of time until I cam across the amp I have now.
So yes, people can enjoy music from the HE-6 out of anything. However, until people are able to hear and compare to other amps / speaker amps / tube amps - people are just not in the know.
I'm not a tube guy. So I have no input on tube gear. I've heard people say they got clipping with tube amps and the HE-6 on very demanding and complex passages. I've not experienced that myself.