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Budget Amp for HD650: Better than O2, E9, Asgard, P4...

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Yup, I'm a picky one. All of the above amps are fine. But I still think I liked my Just Audio AHA-120 (now sold off... sigh) better than all of the above amps w/ the HD650. The dynamics of the AHA-120 were just really good for a portable and I thought I'd have no problem getting a budget desktop better than a portable, since I didn't need an expensive portable amp! I really liked the synergy between the AHA-120 and the HD650. It was a remarkably transparent amp that still had some sparkle in the treble and heft in the bass, while letting the HD650 mids be themselves. It was a winner and now I need to replace it. 

 

I know lots of you haven't heard the AHA-120 but here I am. The O2 was not bad but felt thin and constrained; the E9, Asgard and P4 were all fine, with lots of raw power but were lacking finesse. They all seemed less nuanced than the AHA-120. 

 

I've read a ton of threads. What am I missing? Am I out of options? 

 

Probably looking under $200, with maybe some flex. I've got an ODAC now but I'd be willing to get a combo unit if it were the best option ($300-350). No desire for it to be portable, though am fine if it is. 


Edited by imackler - 8/29/12 at 1:45pm
post #2 of 20

An amp that's under $200 and is better than the Asgard, o2, E9, etc? Just want to make sure I understand.

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sygyzy View Post

An amp that's under $200 and is better than the Asgard, o2, E9, etc? Just want to make sure I understand.

 

Yeah... Am I crazy? I may need to learn to be satisfied if there is nothing else out there. I was hoping in my description that the kind of sound I was looking for would differentiate from the others. 

 

If it includes a DAC, I can stretch my budget as mentioned. 

post #4 of 20

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post #5 of 20

Wow, good luck, seriously. Lovely Cube? Its a BCLinear clone http://alicemagicbox.com/lasercollection/lovelycube.html I think it may match nicely with your HD650 given that it is sennheiser's choice amp for product demos.

post #6 of 20

Do you plan on getting anymore headphones later on? 

post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by IcedTea View Post

Do you plan on getting anymore headphones later on? 

No, not really. I really like the HD650 a ton...and I'm on a tight budget. 

post #8 of 20

hmm... 

 

I like my hd650 with my valhalla, but that's a bit out of your budget. If you can wait a bit and look out in the Sale forums I'm sure you can find some good tube amps at less than retail. I haven't heard the O2 or the E9 so I can't really give you any input on those. 

 

If you think the E9 is good enough for you, I would say settle for those. I believe they're the cheapest out of the three? 

post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by IcedTea View Post

hmm... 

 

I like my hd650 with my valhalla, but that's a bit out of your budget. If you can wait a bit and look out in the Sale forums I'm sure you can find some good tube amps at less than retail. I haven't heard the O2 or the E9 so I can't really give you any input on those. 

 

If you think the E9 is good enough for you, I would say settle for those. I believe they're the cheapest out of the three? 


I thought the E9 was a fine amp. The O2 is too. But I'm hoping for a fantastic amp... 

post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by imackler View Post


I thought the E9 was a fine amp. The O2 is too. But I'm hoping for a fantastic amp... 


You need to adjust your budget or expectations. If such an amp existed it would be all you hear about around here.  I would like a car that goes from 0 to 60 in less than 4 seconds for $15,000. I realize that's not going to happen.


Edited by Radioking59 - 8/30/12 at 12:17pm
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radioking59 View Post


You need to adjust your budget or expectations. If such an amp existed it would be all you hear about around here.  I would like a car that goes from 0 to 60 in less than 4 seconds for $15,000. I realize that's not going to happen.

 

I'm not sure but maybe you're right. I'm looking for new ideas, maybe something I haven't noticed. There are lots of other options in this budget range, especially when you look at a DAC/AMP combo under $400. I was hoping someone would read the OP and say "Hey! I was there and this is what I found..." or "Hey! I felt the same way about those amps and this is what I liked..." 

 

Its fairly easy to read threads that have a litany of cheap amps. The ones I've tried are the ones most often mentioned. I'm hoping to find someone who felt similarly about these budget options and can steer me in a new direction. 

 

The "better" in the title was to get people's attention. Maybe I mean different... More dynamic, more finesse and neutral. 

post #12 of 20

I haven't heard the Asgard or O2 but I used to have the E9, if you mean the Fiio E9 that is, I had it paired with the E7 but found it didn't do a whole lot. I have since tried a few others up to £300 ($500?) and my favourite bang for the buck so far has to go with the Yulong U100 for transparency and power from a desktop DAC/amp. I'm not quite sure how much it is in the USA but it also has a DAC so should come under your budget stretching option. 

 

I also have the ODAC (Epiphany E-DAC) and the Epiphany EHP-O2D, they are nice and smooth (interesting with the Beyerdynamic DT880 - 600 ohm), but the Yulong is more powerful and transparent. 

post #13 of 20

What may work for you is audio-gd NFB-12.1 or NFB-5.2 at the upper end of your budget. They're both DAC/Amp combos. I've been running the 5.2 for the last two months and have nothing but praise for it. This is a Chinese product so I had my reservations until I heard it perform: detail, clarity, finesse - all unheard of in this price bracket, topped up with enough oomph to drive even very fussy cans. 

Haven't tried it with the HD650's yet, but I'm hoping to give that a go tomorrow - watch this space :)

post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PleasantSounds View Post

What may work for you is audio-gd NFB-12.1 or NFB-5.2 at the upper end of your budget. They're both DAC/Amp combos. I've been running the 5.2 for the last two months and have nothing but praise for it. This is a Chinese product so I had my reservations until I heard it perform: detail, clarity, finesse - all unheard of in this price bracket, topped up with enough oomph to drive even very fussy cans. 

Haven't tried it with the HD650's yet, but I'm hoping to give that a go tomorrow - watch this space :)

 

How did the HD650 go with the 5.2? Its a DAC/AMP I'm really interested in now. Thanks for pointing me in a new direction! 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadpatch View Post

I haven't heard the Asgard or O2 but I used to have the E9, if you mean the Fiio E9 that is, I had it paired with the E7 but found it didn't do a whole lot. I have since tried a few others up to £300 ($500?) and my favourite bang for the buck so far has to go with the Yulong U100 for transparency and power from a desktop DAC/amp. I'm not quite sure how much it is in the USA but it also has a DAC so should come under your budget stretching option. 

 

I also have the ODAC (Epiphany E-DAC) and the Epiphany EHP-O2D, they are nice and smooth (interesting with the Beyerdynamic DT880 - 600 ohm), but the Yulong is more powerful and transparent. 

 

Being more powerful and transparent is very promising. Do you have any Sennheiser HD600/HD650 on hand to give an impression? I really liked how the AHA-120 had such great dynamics. I wonder how the Yulong U100 does with them. It seems like a great deal for the price. I'm sitting on the ODAC/O2 and would love to do a comparison, like you have. I've enjoyed your review site, too. Looking forward to how the U100 does against the D100. 

post #15 of 20

The iBasso D7 are pretty good entery level DACAMPs.........

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