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Amp for Grado

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 


I just recently bought my first high quality headphones, Grado Sr 80i. I am so impressed and I love the soundstage and I think that the treble which some people complain about being to sharp is perfect. However, although not a bass head i would like to increase the bass on the Grados with out reducing the treble a little bit so I am considering an amp. I also plan to upgrade to SR225i in the future so  I want an amp that can handle both phones. Can you please give me the pros and cons of the following. My current possibilities are:



-Electric Avenue pa2v2



-Little Dot 1+ Portable Amp



-Little Dot 1+ Tube Hybrid



-Little Dot MK II Tube



 



P.S. I don't want to exceed 140 USD and am open to any suggestions.



P.P.S. Are tube amps portable? Thanks!.


Edited by llamatimelord - 11/14/12 at 2:46pm
post #2 of 51
Interesting question.
I'd like an answer to that question myself.
Consider me an observer.
biggrin.gif
Edited by Chris J - 11/14/12 at 3:06pm
post #3 of 51

Actually SR80 doesn't demand an amp, it sounds good already plugged in directly to iPod

Out of those choice perhaps PA2V2 is your best choice, the tubes will make it sounds smoother and mellower. I didn't know there is a LD 1+ portable amp so i haven't tried it

 

There are some tubes that portable, mostly are desktop though

post #4 of 51

i have had an sr80 for about 4 years and i love it to death. it sounds a million times better with an amp. i paired it with a little dot mk ii and it sounded phenomenal. i say tubes are the way to go with grado. also, you're going to need a dac as well.

post #5 of 51

Wow, lots of misinformation going on here.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by llamatimelord View Post


I just recently bought my first high quality headphones, Grado Sr 80i. I am so impressed and I love the soundstage and I think that the treble which some people complain about being to sharp is perfect. However, although not a bass head i would like to increase the bass on the Grados with out reducing the treble a little bit so I am considering an amp. I also plan to upgrade to SR225i in the future so  I want an amp that can handle both phones. Can you please give me the pros and cons of the following. My current possibilities are:



-Electric Avenue pa2v2



-Little Dot 1+ Portable Amp



-Little Dot 1+ Tube Hybrid



-Little Dot MK II Tube



 



P.S. I don't want to exceed 140 USD and am open to any suggestions.



P.P.S. Are tube amps portable? Thanks!.

 

1) Do not use an amp to equalize a set of headphones, use an EQ if you want some bass boost, there is no harm in that. There is harm in coloring ALL of your music with a colored amp, IMO.

 

2) Both the SR80i and the SR225i are ridiculously easy to drive. Neither needs an amp. The only reason to get an amp is for piece of mind and for an ultra clean signal. To put it simply, if you aren't hearing noise that you want to get rid of and the music is loud enough on your Grados, you have absolutely NO need to get an amp.

 

3) The SR225i have even more of a bite than the sr80i. If you find yourself wanting more bass out of the sr80i.. I'd maybe recommend moving on from grado, or up to something like the ms pro or rs1.. I don't really think you'd be happy with the sr225i. Definitely try to demo them or buy from somewhere that will let you return them if you don't like them.

4) The PA2v2 is a good starter amp, if you just want to try one out. But, be aware that it picks up radio frequencies like no other. You can forget having your cell phone anywhere near it.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by punks15 View Post

Actually SR80 doesn't demand an amp, it sounds good already plugged in directly to iPod

Out of those choice perhaps PA2V2 is your best choice, the tubes will make it sounds smoother and mellower. I didn't know there is a LD 1+ portable amp so i haven't tried it

 

There are some tubes that portable, mostly are desktop though

 

The pa2v2 doesn't have tubes.. Also, tubes don't always make the sound smoother and mellower, that's a large misconception. It depends on the amp and on the tubes used.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cowjuan View Post

i have had an sr80 for about 4 years and i love it to death. it sounds a million times better with an amp. i paired it with a little dot mk ii and it sounded phenomenal. i say tubes are the way to go with grado. also, you're going to need a dac as well.

 

Your sr80 does not sound a million times better with an amp. If you insist it does, what is your source and what is your amp? I say tubes definitely aren't the way to go with grado, you are taking a colored headphone and further coloring it with a tube amp. He definitely isn't going to need a dac as well. That depends on what his source is and the quality of it. If he's hooking up to a good portable player or soundcard, he doesn't need a dac.. or an amp.

post #6 of 51

If you want, a LD1+ is awfully nice but i would suggest you get a DAC if you use you're computer more often than on the go. if you listen to your music on the go a PA2v2 will be a nice addition but honestly an amp isn't necessary. i loved my pa2v2 though and it really added some nice meat to the grado sound. as far as DAC goes my fiio e10 sounds extremely clean and is an extremely awesome if it's price. that being said I'm super biased because all i did was recommend you things i've owned/loved. 

post #7 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melvins View Post

If you want, a LD1+ is awfully nice but i would suggest you get a DAC if you use you're computer more often than on the go. if you listen to your music on the go a PA2v2 will be a nice addition but honestly an amp isn't necessary. i loved my pa2v2 though and it really added some nice meat to the grado sound. as far as DAC goes my fiio e10 sounds extremely clean and is an extremely awesome if it's price. that being said I'm super biased because all i did was recommend you things i've owned/loved. 

Yeah, I didn't mean to hate on tubes so much.. They really can be great. I'm just a solid state fanboy. But, I know plenty of people that really like tube amps, and with certain headphones (stax lambda in particular) I could really see the tube appeal.

+1,000,000 to melvins for admitting his bias :) We are all biased as all hell.

You know.. I wouldn't mind listening to some 225i out of a tube amp, I bet. I actually really like sennheisers out of a tube amp or vintage receiver for certain genre's.. My friend linux will probably pipe in here before too long :)


Edited by chrislangley4253 - 11/18/12 at 9:50pm
post #8 of 51

A nice portable amp to use with Grados and have a boost in the low frequencies when needed is JDS Labs CMoyBB V2.03, I'd recommend getting the 18v option for more current, Grados love high current amps.

post #9 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by willmax View Post

A nice portable amp to use with Grados and have a boost in the low frequencies when needed is JDS Labs CMoyBB V2.03, I'd recommend getting the 18v option for more current, Grados love high current amps.

yeah, and then there is the C421 too!

post #10 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melvins View Post

If you want, a LD1+ is awfully nice but i would suggest you get a DAC if you use you're computer more often than on the go. if you listen to your music on the go a PA2v2 will be a nice addition but honestly an amp isn't necessary. i loved my pa2v2 though and it really added some nice meat to the grado sound. as far as DAC goes my fiio e10 sounds extremely clean and is an extremely awesome if it's price. that being said I'm super biased because all i did was recommend you things i've owned/loved. 

 

I will be going after the same combo in a couple months, as soon as I can get my hands on some RS1i's. I was leaning heavily towards an Asgard, but I've decided to get the LD1+, always wanted a tube amp. I ordered 3 samples of the OPA2107 off TI's website, using my school email, hopefully there's no problem with it. The first tube's I'm going to try will the Voshkods as well.

post #11 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrislangley4253 View Post

The pa2v2 doesn't have tubes.. Also, tubes don't always make the sound smoother and mellower, that's a large misconception. It depends on the amp and on the tubes used.

 

Misunderstanding eh it seems. What i mean by "the tubes" is the tube/hybrid amp that the OP considered of, in this case it's only the LD 1+ and LD MKII, not the other vacuum or hybrid tubes. Yes i know the tubes is not identical to smooth and mellow, for example like Woo Audio's WA6 lively sound

post #12 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by punks15 View Post

Misunderstanding eh it seems. What i mean by "the tubes" is the tube/hybrid amp that the OP considered of, in this case it's only the LD 1+ and LD MKII, not the other vacuum or hybrid tubes. Yes i know the tubes is not identical to smooth and mellow, for example like Woo Audio's WA6 lively sound

:) I wasn't sure if I was misunderstanding your words or not.

post #13 of 51

I am using MiniRA1 that NwAvGuy reviewed and given good remarks.

post #14 of 51

I had an RS-1 and currently have a RS-2. Both did not improve with amps. Actually, the reason why I still keep the Grado is that it sounds good right out of the iPod. 

I checked with various hybrid, tube and solid state amps. IMHO, save your money for a better headphone or for music.

post #15 of 51

Grados definitely benefit from an amp, but not in the way many think:

 

1) Current is what Grados need most.  Not all headphone amps are set up that way.  Most are developed to provide voltage gain.  This goes back many years to when Apheard first designed and built the A47 - essentially a buffered CMoy (more current).  (Chu Moy first designed and built the CMoy to provide voltage gain to Sennheisers.)

 

The SR-80 has been noted for many years as improving in bass response when paired with a good, current-pulse-capable amp.

 

2) There is some truth in tube amps providing a better match for Grados.  Generally speaking, Grados are over-damped and much of the "bite" mentioned in this thread is controlled with amplifier damping factors that don't drop to zero.

 

Grados have been around and mostly un-changed for many, many years.  These are not new revelations.

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