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Senn HD800 + Schiit + Mac

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

OK, so I'm a newbie to this HiFi headphone stuff.  Drafted an open ended post in the HD800 appreciation thread and got slammed a bit - my own fault.   Reading between the lines I was basically told not to waste my money on the HD800's if I'm not willing to spend the $$$s to drive them. So this is an attempt to be a bit more direct.

 

I want a bedroom setup that will sound great.  I auditioned the HD800's and really like them.  So I'm trying to come up with a setup that will sound good but not break the bank.  So how about this:

 

Macbook Pro with iTunes and lossless tracks from CD's ->

Schiit Bifrost DAC ->

Schiit Lyr ->

HD800's

 

I would use SPDIF to connect the Mac to the DAC.

 

Based upon what I know and have read (which doesn't amount to much) this seems like a decent low budget approach to drive the HD800's.  My challenge is the amp and the DAC.  I'd really like to spend $1000 or less and the Schiit gear fills the bill.

 

I know this won't get the most out of the cans, but would it be respectable? If not, suggestions?

 

Thanks in advance,

Doc

 

PS - forgot to mention that I listen mostly to classic rock, alternative, and some pop.

post #2 of 25

Heya,

 

What makes you think you won't get everything out of the HD800 from the Bifrost/Lyr? It will do the job very well. You don't even need the Lyr actually. You could just get the Valhalla instead or even the Asgard. Both have the power for the HD800. You don't need summit-fi level source gear to be able to appreciate and enjoy the HD800.

 

Very best,

post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

Heya,

 

What makes you think you won't get everything out of the HD800 from the Bifrost/Lyr? It will do the job very well. You don't even need the Lyr actually. You could just get the Valhalla instead or even the Asgard. Both have the power for the HD800. You don't need summit-fi level source gear to be able to appreciate and enjoy the HD800.

 

Very best,

I think that because a lot of the posts on the HD800 suggest that matching them "properly" is critical with these headphones.  And the majority (albeit not all) usually reference much more expensive gear.

 

As far as Lyr vs. Valhalla goes, I was thinking the same thing.  But for the $100, I guess I'd rather have the flexibility to drive more difficult headphones if the situation presented itself.

 

Thanks for the response,

Doc

post #4 of 25

Heya,

 

Have you considered other high quality headphones other than the HD800? What is it about the HD800 that really captured you? Have you tried any others? You can create very nice high-end setups for considerably less, even paying new costs, let alone used gear costs.

 

Just a thought.

 

Very best,

post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

Heya,

 

Have you considered other high quality headphones other than the HD800? What is it about the HD800 that really captured you? Have you tried any others? You can create very nice high-end setups for considerably less, even paying new costs, let alone used gear costs.

 

Just a thought.

 

Very best,

Well, I went to the store over the weekend specifically to listen to the HD800's. When I first put them on, I was in awe of the clarity and soundstage.  I did a direct comparison to the HD650's, which sounded muddy by comparison.  Unfortunately, those were the only high end headphones that they had.

 

I am very curious about the LCD-2's, I have a feeling I might really like them.  But I don't have a way to audition them. I've listened to the high end Denon's (can't remember the models), and although they sounded good, I wasn't floored the way I was with the HD800's.

 

I did think that the HD800's were lacking at the low end, but I thought that might have been because I was doing a comparison to the HD650's.

 

That's my story.

post #6 of 25

Heya,

 

Did you take a look at what the HD800's were plugged into?

 

Very best,

post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

Heya,

 

Did you take a look at what the HD800's were plugged into?

 

Very best,

They had them plugged into a headphone amp - didn't take notice of what it was :-(

 

And the source was their in-house server, but how they had the two connected is unknown - it was hidden.  But their setup was definitely not top notch.  I need to go back and ask those questions.

 

Edit: I should point out that I didn't have an appreciation for everything in front of the headphones until I found this site after I auditioned the headphones. I'm a lot better armed to ask the right questions when I go back.


Edited by DocPMD - 8/27/12 at 9:15pm
post #8 of 25
The setup you're contemplating is a good starting point for the HD800. Tube choice has always been the key with the Lyr and the HD800 magnifies this. I found the fabled Lorenz Stuttgart tubes decent through the HD800 but heard exceptional synergy with Amperex Bugle Boys. These tubes are a must if you decide on this particular chain.
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by olor1n View Post

The setup you're contemplating is a good starting point for the HD800. Tube choice has always been the key with the Lyr and the HD800 magnifies this. I found the fabled Lorenz Stuttgart tubes decent through the HD800 but heard exceptional synergy with Amperex Bugle Boys. These tubes are a must if you decide on this particular chain.

Thanks for the hint.  I'm looking forward to this new adventure.

post #10 of 25

My wa2 tube amp set up has plenty of low end, But has anyone tried the schiit/hd800 combo? because I don't think that a schiit/hd800 combo would sound very fun, But then again I think a set of nicer sounding tubes would fix that.

post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SONIC BOOM View Post

My wa2 tube amp set up has plenty of low end, But has anyone tried the schiit/hd800 combo? because I don't think that a schiit/hd800 combo would sound very fun, But then again I think a set of nicer sounding tubes would fix that.

I've seen a few comments that suggest the wa2 is good with the HD800, unfortunately it's a bit out of my price range for now.  But I'm definitely open to more suggestions on tubes that would help the low end.

post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocPMD View Post

I've seen a few comments that suggest the wa2 is good with the HD800, unfortunately it's a bit out of my price range for now.  But I'm definitely open to more suggestions on tubes that would help the low end.


jan (Joint Army Navy) tubes have some real nice low end and go great with the hd800. The only other amp I have tried that went good with the hd800 was the woo audio wa6, But I have not tried alot of amps with them so there's probably a few I am missing besides the wa6 and  wa2, I also tried the asus xonar essence one and thought it sounded boring and did not bring out the hd800 sound stage.

post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

Heya,

 

Did you take a look at what the HD800's were plugged into?

 

Very best,

They were plugged into a Head Box SE II and sourced with MP3 from internal server.  So not even close to ideal.  I bought the headphones because I got a great deal.

 

So I am expecting a lot more out of these with uncompressed source through a decent DAC and amp.  Can't wait!

post #14 of 25

"Proper" matching isn't always with an amp that costs at least as much as the HD800; I liked it with a Cantate.2. Lots of good amps for a low price these days. However, match it with a good source - the USB DAC wasn't making full use of its soundstaging capabilities. It had deeper bass though than the TriVista DAC that the owner had at the time.

I tried a DAC-AH with a K701 (on fresh pads) and a Little Dot MkII before and the soundstage was HUGE, if a bit weird - the symphony was imaged in front of and below the metal band it was backing up ; kind of like they were performing in the Academy Awards, with the symphony in a pit in front of the stage. I also tried a Cayin CD100i and Shanling SCD-T200 with my HD600 recently, and the latter had the deep bass response of the USB DAC but without sacrificing the stage width and depth (at least for what's audible of that from an HD600).

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocPMD View Post

Mac Book Pro with iTunes and lossless tracks from CD's ->
Schiit Bifrost DAC ->
Schiit Lyr ->
HD800's.

Have you thought about using a Lehmann Audio BCL (£750) to drive the HD800's?

Doesn't help wi the DAC part of your quandary but I understand that the BCL was part-used to develop the HD800 and certainly is a good a good match for them.

DAC wise, I've heard good things about the Audiolab M-DAC (£599 and thinking of getting one myself actually) and Arcam's rDAC is good at £325.

I'm in UK so not sure what availability for the above brands/models will be like across the pond as I'm assuming you're in the US.
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