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Recommendation: Affordable headphone amp with pre-out for phono stage combination

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I'm looking for an affordable (desktop) headphone amp (< $250) which I connect to a phono stage. The headphone amp should have a stereo pre-out to relay the audio signal (with minimal loss of sound quality) to my Dynaudio Xeo's transmitter box. I don't need an integrated DAC.

My headphones: ATH ES-10, Beyerdynamic 990 DT-Pro, Alessandro MS1

It's a pity that there isn't any affordable and good sounding headphone/phono amp combination (Am I right?).
Fiio E9K could be the choice, but I don't need a DAC.

Do you have any suggestions? Thank you a lot!

post #2 of 5
Thread Starter 

Considered signal chain:

 

Turntable > phono stage > headphone amp > jack: headphones & pre-outs: Dynaudio Xeo transmitter (> speakers)

post #3 of 5

not sure if tube-amp if to your liking though.. I was thinking probably Bravo Ocean from Bravo Audio? I only heard this during an audition, but reviews look positive...

 

this is what I am using to drive my DT990 Pro that I am in love with so much: http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=0.0.0.50.7926c9&id=13238136592 (apology for the need for translation if you cannot understand Chinese) and sure that price is a steal!

 

these 2 are line-outs though.. and I am not yet using the latter as a pre-amp, so can't comment on that, although the maker of this in the link actually said it works great as one!

 

but as a headphone amp for my DT990 Pro, SWEET! I swapped the default tube to a RCA Command and it performs even better.

 

hope these help!

post #4 of 5

Why not Fiio E9? It's just an amp, neutral sounding and with two ways how to amplify the signal for you kind of use:

 

1) Pre-out = level of amplification related to gain switch and volume knob

2) Line-out = max amplification all the time

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

icecap, MHOE, thank you a lot for your recommendation!

 

The Chinese tube-amps look interesting. But I concern that the outputs aren't un-amplified or "uncolored".

 

Ah, I see. The Fiio E9K is just an amp. I thought there is a DAC included. But it's optional (E7/E17). The pre-out function is what I'm looking for.

 

I just ordered the Clearaudio Nano Phono Headphone. A very promising phono stage with a headphone jack included. That would be the simplest all-in-one solution without loss in sound quality if I want to listen via speakers. I'll test if the headphone amplification is satisfying. Otherwise I'll check the Fiio.

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