Yesterday, i went to my local audio shop with my HE-500's to listen to HP amps. They had two amps in stock that were capable to drive the 500's.
2-Firestone Audio Bobby
My intention was to find an amp for the 500's because my Peachtree Grand Pre was not capable to power the 500's.
I purchased the 500's after listening to them plus a few Grado, prev versions of Denon, Sennheiser, with a friends equipment, which included a Burson amp.
Thinking that the headphone amp in the peachtree would be sufficient and it wasn't. I have @100 hrs on the 500's.
Store had a cambridge cd player setup to use my cds and I was able to swap out the amps. I started out with the Burson /500's and thought this made a huge difference but still did not did not sound like I remember with my friend's setup. So as I talked to the store associate he suggested listening to other hp for comparison sake and I thought why not. (mistake :) ). So before I changed the amp I listened to a set Shure SRH-1840, Denon AH-d600, Grado RS1-i, PS-500 and PS-1000. I did not like any of those over the 500's. Then I reached for the Audeze LCD2. I was familiar with the name and rep from reading forums. They were out of my price range (500's were at my price limit) so I never considered them. Well let me tell you, the smile on my face and foot tapping that proceeded to occur as the music of Chick Corea just emanated from those cans. That was the sound. Then I played some Grateful Dead, Melody Gardot, Hot Tuna, Diana Krall, and ended with some Gentle Giant. The LCD2's sounded incredible. This was a problem because the 500's were just not the LCD2's.
So before I succumbed to the fact that I bought the wrong headphones. I swapped out the Burson with the Firestone Bobby (I had never heard of this company before but the store associate showed me some of their other smaller products and just asked me to give the amp a shot. So I did. I repeated the above process for all the cans just because I had time and was enjoying the experience.
Basically the same thing happened except the both the 500's /LCD2's sounded more open and even more musical?. I don't know the technical nomenclature but they sound even better.
The Firestone had a few bells and whistles that the Burson did not have like a tone /gain adjustment and the ability to run balanced. Now I know I don't fully understand all the tech but when listening to say Melody Gardo and switching to Gentle Giant I was able to adjust the "configuration" and actually hear a difference. I can only assume that at some time in the future if I went balanced it would only sound better.
The other difference between the Burson and the Firestone was the volume control. The burson had the heavy detends and you could hear the "clicking" as you adjusted the volume. Where as the Firestone had a very traditional feeling to the volume control and it did not affect the sound.
When I discussed this with my friend he stated how much tech is in the Burson and why the volume control was the way it was. He did not try to push me into the Burson but was surprised by the fact that I enjoyed the Firestone that much more. He has not heard or read about this company before and is anxious to hear it if I buy it. He has always helped me by saying "its your ears, your music, and your money". He always laughs a little when I talk about my 2 channel system I put together because he calls it Frankenstein. Peachtree Grand Pre, Emotive XPA-2, Totem Rainmakers, Dell laptop, and a Furman Elite-15.
So, here is what happened. I bought the LCD2's and have held off buying the Firestone Bobby until I could look into Firestone Audio.
I know I said that the 500's pushed my budget but it is amazing how you can justify spending money on the essentials for a happy life.I will be selling the 500's to my friend for his girlfriend.
If anyone has experience with the Firestone Bobby, info or an opinion, please share it with me. I am saving now.
Sorry for the long post but it was a very interesting experience for me.