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Best amp for $500 and below?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 

old thread


Edited by vampire5003 - 9/15/12 at 11:27pm
post #2 of 33
Valhalla. I have it and it's very, very good. I'd recommend not getting a used one because Schiit just updated the Valhalla. The old one was on the bright side, but the new one is more relaxed and natural.
post #3 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgjy View Post

Valhalla. I have it and it's very, very good. I'd recommend not getting a used one because Schiit just updated the Valhalla. The old one was on the bright side, but the new one is more relaxed and natural.

Ok thank you, I will consider that option number 1. How does it compare to the Bottlehead Crack OTL without speedball upgrade? What about the Darkvoice 337 though? That amp normally costs like $500 but can be had used for $325. 

post #4 of 33

I'm in almost the same predicament s you. I'm looking for a tube amp under about 600 or so for my HD650's.

 

Jay and I have had some conversations, and I was looking at the Valhalla as my number one too. My choices when I started looking were:

 

Valhalla

Lyr

Crack with Speedball

WA3

WA6.

 

I eliminated the Woo, based on peoples opinions of them paired with the HD650. The consensus seems to be that if you want a Woo amp, you should just go ahead and get the WA2, as the lower priced models don't have a great price-to-performance ratio. 

 

I took the Lyr out of the equation based on the fact it's not a true OTL tube amp. Its more of a "hybrid" and I'm looking mainly for a straight tube amp.

 

The only one I'm on the fence about is the crack. I've read that it's a great amp and pairs well with the HD650, but generally only when the Speedball is added. I don't have any DIY skills, so If I were to order one and have it built, it would cost about 600 with the speedball upgrade... Thats way more than the Valhalla and some new tubes to experiment with..... I'm also not sure if I'm a fan of the overall style and look of the amp. I know some people love it, but it looks a little strange, and all the interconnects are top mounted and that seems a little clunky to me. I guess it comes down to looks vs sound on this one.

 

Please note I have never heard any of these amps, and these are just my impressions based on conversations and the opinions of others who have heard the amps with the headphones in question. 

 

It's really looking like the Valhalla is going to be my amp for the 650's. I could get a crack with speedball for around 350 I guess, but I'm just not sure about the whole DIY thing... a 5 year warranty goes along way in my book. 

 

S-

 

[edit] I forgot to add that people recommend the Darkvoice /Figaro, but I'd rather buy American when possible. I've also done some reading that they have poor, low quality internals that could potentially fail. People seem to think they are decent after they crack them open and re-do all the wiring. - Again, this is all based on my extensive reading over the last week, not my personal experience or first hand knowledge. 


Edited by schaaf - 7/22/12 at 9:36am
post #5 of 33

 I say Valhalla for a couple of reasons. First, I own one and find it to be an exceptional value. I like this amp because of it's design, OTL tube. why? because an otl tube amp will not age like a solid state amp. If you dont care for the sound of an otl, change the tubes, and you'll get a different sound. It's pretty much a new amp everytime you replace the tubes. Other things I like about it are this, it's a beautiful design, hand made in the US, does not look like a $50. kit amp, and will pass the test of time.

 

My last real amp was a MF XcanV3, I used it for close to 10 years. It was a beautiful sounding amp, that made everything sound good to real good. But this amp was not HighEnd.

 

The Valhalla sound Is closer to HiEnd, meaning, it's more honest. if you have a bad recording, you'll hear the bad recording. If you have a good recording, thats what you will hear, and it's a heavenly sounding bliss!

 

As for the Crack, LD3, and Woo3, there OTL tube amps, and there going to be close in sound. They may even overlap each other when you roll tubes.

 

 

Good luck.


Edited by Mr.Tom - 7/23/12 at 2:17pm
post #6 of 33
Thread Starter 

Alright, so far the Valhalla is the most recommended amplifier. Last question, which tubes are best for the Valhalla? The newest model now can tube roll so I want the best tubes for bass and treble. Mostly bass.

post #7 of 33

Originally Posted by Fearless1 View Post



Here is a brief summery of the latest batch of Matched pairs that I have tried in order of preference:

 

LORENZ PCC 88- Fantastically rich meaty sound, bass and mids very prevalent. This is my favorite so far. The only negative is the sound stage is not as wide. Phenomenal with bassy music.

 

SIEMENS 6DJ8- Wonderful sound, sparkling highs and the widest sound stage and instrument separation of the bunch. Bass extension and mids not as good as the Lorenzs (not far behind though). .

 

AMPEREX ORANGE LABEL 6DJ8- The most "tubey" sounding. Very nice for rock and folk. Absolutely haunting vocals with these tubes. 

 

Ediswan 6922- Rich and bass heavy, great mids and highs. Not very good with sound stage.

 

Westinghouse 6922- Nice sounding tube that does everything above average.

 

GE Smoke glass ECC88- I was disappointed with these. They sound decent, but not quit up to the Westinghouse. I bought them from E-bay so who knows..... I expected more.

 

RCA USA 6CG7 3 Black - Sweet "middle of the road" sound. Lacks the energy of the ones listed above this.

 

 

 

Those are recommended tubes for the Lyr. I have NO idea if those same thoughts and observances would translate to the Valhalla, but the Lyr uses the same type of tubes, and I was just going to use this as a starting point. There doesn't seem to be much in the way of Valhalla tube rolling threads as the rollable amp is so new. I figured most of those tubes seem pretty well regarded as I do research on them around the internet. 

 

Jay- I'm interested to know what you think or will think of the soundstage once it gets burned in a little more. You mentioned in the "what amp do you have your eyes on" thread that you felt the soundstage was smaller than that of the Asgard. I'd like to know what you think of it now....

 

S-

post #8 of 33

Hard to say. You'll need to try different ones and see what you like. I prefer a smooth sound, and I found some old Russian tubes that sound fantastic. Novosibirsk plant 6n1p from the late 60's that sound a bunch better then the stock tubes. I also like the Rocket (Voskhod plant) tubes, but there a little more detailed.

 

I've had nothing but bad luck from NOS US made tubes, microphonic, noisey and flat or fat sounding. But I've only tried a few pairs in passed amps. And to be honest, I dont like to spend more than $5. per tube.


Edited by Mr.Tom - 7/22/12 at 11:13am
post #9 of 33
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the tube suggestions and list of your favorites! The LORENZ PCC 88 seem like they will suit me well, but if they are very expensive then I will go with the Ediswan 6922

 

Again thank you all, I'll be ordering my Valhalla this weekend and the tubes too!


Edited by vampire5003 - 7/22/12 at 11:17am
post #10 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by vampire5003 View Post

Thank you for the tube suggestions and list of your favorites! The LORENZ PCC 88 seem like they will suit me well, but if they are very expensive then I will go with the Ediswan 6922

 

Again thank you all, I'll be ordering my Valhalla this weekend and the tubes too!

B-Stock Valhalla are $300. Still has a 5 year warranty and Schiit gives them a good once over. Just Email Jason, and he'll send you a PP money request.

post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by vampire5003 View Post

Hello everyone! Which is the best amp for $500 and below to pair with my HD650 and DT880 600ohm? I've been looking at Darkvoice and Schiit, but bottlehead crack seems like a good option too. 

So heres my choices:

Schiit Valhalla ( I can get it used for $300)
Schiit Lyr (I can get it used for $350)
Bottlehead Crack OTL ( can't find it used dang it)
Darkvoice 337 (I can get it used for $325)
La Figaro 332 classic (I can get it used for $250)
Little Dot MK3 - (I can get it used for $225)
Hifiman EF5

Which has the most synergy and will sound best?! I like bass no too overpowering but present and good, but treble is always welcome. I can't explain if I care whether or not the sound is dark or "light" but I don't notice the whole Sennheiser veil thing. I would like to note that my next upgrade will be either HD800 or Beyer T1 not Orthodynamics. 

PS: Open to suggestions guys!

PSS: I don't mean to open a million threads on the topic, but the old one had me not explaining what I want, budget and sound and I really would prefer to make a fresh thread. 



Thanks guys!

My choice would be Schiit Lyr
post #12 of 33
Why?

Can you provide some more insight?

Thanks-

S-
post #13 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by magic12345 View Post


My choice would be Schiit Lyr

Why would you pick Lyr over the other choices?

post #14 of 33

No reply- confused.gif

 

I'm going to guess it was the age old thought "more expensive is more better."

 

Well after reading and reading and reading through posts and opinions and reviews and replies and emails... I am going with the Valhalla for sure... 

 

Not sure Jay would let me pick anything else at this point anyway. biggrin.gif He has a knack for finding my posts and telling me that the Valhalla is better. It just took me a while to come around to it, but yep, he's probably right. (for my situation anyway!)

 

I just wish I could find one on amazon prime. 

 


S-

post #15 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by schaaf View Post

No reply- confused.gif

 

I'm going to guess it was the age old thought "more expensive is more better."

 

Well after reading and reading and reading through posts and opinions and reviews and replies and emails... I am going with the Valhalla for sure... 

 

Not sure Jay would let me pick anything else at this point anyway. biggrin.gif He has a knack for finding my posts and telling me that the Valhalla is better. It just took me a while to come around to it, but yep, he's probably right. (for my situation anyway!)

 

I just wish I could find one on amazon prime. 

 


S-

Wow good luck, I am actually considering the Matrix M Stage for the HD650 or W1000X. IDK though.

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