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Best Integrated Amp for both Speakers and Headphones

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Here is my setup: Macbook Pro >> Voldemort's ODAC >> About $100 Integrated Amp (new or used) >> Kef iQ30s and ATH ESW9As

 

Since most of my headphone listening is done in my room and I would like to save money by not buying separate amps for my speakers and headphones, I am curious to see what integrated amps the head-fi community would recommend to me in order to get the best sound out of both (I have to give preference to the speakers, but I imagine that they will get it regardless because I'll have to buy a stereo integrated amp, as, obviously, a headphone amp won't drive my Kef's.) I don't mind craigslist, amazon, ebay, head-fi classified, etc. shopping for used ones either.

 

And I primarily listen to classical music.

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post #2 of 12

I'm also wondering whether a speaker headphone combination amp is a viable alternative.  I know there are a lot of great ones over $1000, but it's a lot of money without having heard them first.  Due to poor cellphone connection, I just missed getting a vintage Harmon Kardon 730 on eBay that ended up selling for $143.  You might want to see what's selling on eBay or Craig's List, then read up on the reviews to see if it's something that will work for you.  

post #3 of 12

A stereo receiver is probably your best bet. Check eBay for a receiver from Onkyo, Denon or Harmon Kardon. Those are all good budget brands with an ample supply of used products. $100 should get you a good condition receiver from Denon or Onkyo, finding one from Harmon is a bit of a stretch, but do some looking. The headphone jacks on those tend to be very neutral, so they allow your headphones to show their stuff, which may or may not be a good thing.
 

EDIT: Pioneer and Yamaha also, forgot about those guys.


Edited by Stouty447 - 6/22/12 at 8:21pm
post #4 of 12

Here is the one I am saving up for:

 

SLI80_front_800.jpg

 

Cary Audio SLI-80. The toggle on the right switches from speaker output to a pure headphone amp. I spent several hours auditioning it and it is on the "New toy ASAP" list....biggrin.gif

post #5 of 12

We started with a budget of 100 USD, and now we are talking Cary tube amps ?  WTF, people ? 

post #6 of 12

Well, we're also talking about amps in the clearly labeled Dedicated Source Components section, so if we're gonna veer off course, we may as well go off the road as well. wink.gif
 

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

We started with a budget of 100 USD, and now we are talking Cary tube amps ?  WTF, people ? 

oh....Did I misplace the decimal point?   very_evil_smiley.gif

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smeckles View Post

Well, we're also talking about amps in the clearly labeled Dedicated Source Components section, so if we're gonna veer off course, we may as well go off the road as well. wink.gif
 

 

We usually cut people some slack on their first post. 

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

I went with an AMC XIA, which I bought off fellow head-fier pataburd for $160 with shipping. Also took back the ATH ESW9As because of disappointing lower end, tinny higher end, uncomfortable on-ear pads, and overall lack of dynamic range. Now I have Sennheiser HD600s and Fostex t50rps haha. I moderately prefer the Sennheisers as far as sound goes, and by far in the comfort department, but I feel unjustified buying $310 headphones when there are kids who don't have clean drinking water in Africa. Unfortunately, I might just keep them because as time goes on it becomes harder for me to consider parting with them. Also, as far as Voldy's DAC goes, I couldn't really tell a difference at first, but as I continue to listen to it versus my Macbook's built-in DAC, I feel like I notice a difference. I am going to get a friend to blind test me with them because I am worried it's all in my head and I'm falling victim to expectation bias.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

Also thanks estreeter.

post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by sriracha420 View Post

I feel unjustified buying $310 headphones when there are kids who don't have clean drinking water in Africa. Unfortunately, I might just keep them because as time goes on it becomes harder for me to consider parting with them.

 

If you are in any way serious about your concerns for the have-nots, this may not be the hobby for you. That isn't a criticism - just an acknowledgement that you have joined a forum which promotes conspicuous consumption of luxury toys. I'm not preaching - just sayin' - and I am a slave to the same mania as everyone else here, My sincere advice is to log out and never visit another audio forum again - your wallet will thank you long after this thread is forgotten. Many of us came here looking for $100 pair of IEMs and would have been better off it we had left it at that.  

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

 

If you are in any way serious about your concerns for the have-nots, this may not be the hobby for you. That isn't a criticism - just an acknowledgement that you have joined a forum which promotes conspicuous consumption of luxury toys. I'm not preaching - just sayin' - and I am a slave to the same mania as everyone else here, My sincere advice is to log out and never visit another audio forum again - your wallet will thank you long after this thread is forgotten. Many of us came here looking for $100 pair of IEMs and would have been better off it we had left it at that.  


     That about sums it up for me. I have always tried to distance myself from consumerism and, frankly, buying things I don't need, which has been hard coming from a wealthy family and making a decent amount myself. That said I have decided to return the Sennheisers and the ODAC, then make some custom ear cushions for the Fostex and chill on them along with my AMC XIA amp and kef iq30s. I have to say that my time reading on this forum wasn't wasted because I know for the $370 I spent on the AMC+Fostex+KEF combo (yes, I found sweet deals on them all) I got an awesome setup and won't need to and won't spend any more money on anything audio until something breaks *knock on wood*.

 

     And with the money I saved going this route I'm going to put it where my mouth is and throw Pratham some $$$. I think that more than anything will make my music sound great. Lastly, I just want to let you guys know I'm not trying to judge anyone, but myself. Everyone has different life circumstances. I know nice stuff is... nice and I have a lot of it myself. I also know forums are about community for a lot of people. Anyway, as a last note if any of you are ever feeling generous please check out givewell.com, which rates charities based on their effectiveness. Much love to all.

 

     I'm going to go on a bike ride. Maybe see you guys when I get around to modding my Fostex in a couple weeks? Muahahaha!

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