I followed the previous thread http://www.head-fi.org/t/427946/best-hd800-amp/645 but it is not only relatively old but sort of degenerated into a slanging match so it was virtually impossible to find any answer to the question. Maybe there is another thread on the topic (besides the dedicated HD800 thread) I've missed so apologies if that is the case. Regardless your input would be appreciated.
Also, since then there are a lot more owners of HD800s lurking here now so there should be a lot more experiences to draw upon than were posted in the other thread.
My situation is not good in that living in a lovely, but relatively isolated (from headamps etc) place the downside is an inability to go and "hear for yourself" which is the obvious recommendation and course of action for most. So, can I please ask for what you guys & gals have found suit you best given the following caveats:
* classical music has the best possible quality presently available from digital input to a DAC from a top end Meridian Sooloos system. So forget about any input quality problems, something which haunts so many set ups.
* HD800 headphones with a balanced connection meaning the head amp MUST have balanced out. I presently observe no HD800 problems in either the bass or the top end, or the ambience, something I put down to the top quality input from Sooloos. Or of course it could be that my (unique) brain is registering audio input differently than others do. My age of 77 is not an asset either!
* my prejudice is for SS not tubed and it would take a lot to dissuade me
* despite having spent a small fortune on the main A/V system with hi end amps and electrostatic speakers (used most nights for A/V with my wife) the time has come to get it all into perspective + losses of investments due to the GFC have not helped so the budget must be topped off around the $2000 mark for a suitable balanced SS head amp.
The present NuForce DAC9 fed into the Sennies is most impressive and indicates the potential of the system but I have the felling there are DAC/head amp combos out there which would be even better. BTW the DAC I'm looking at favourably now is the Metrum Acoustics NOS Mini DAC Octave. The head amp which looks impressive is the Headroom BUDA but I'm sure there are others I should consider.
So all opinions/input gratefully received, particularly from HD800 owners who listen to classical music. I appreciate we all have different brains/tastes in musical perception but .........