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Best amp to go with the Sennheiser HD800 - time to revisit this question

post #1 of 95
Thread Starter 

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 .........

 

TIA

 

John

 

 

 

 

post #2 of 95

I think there's a more recent thread on this. The poster ended up with a DNA Stratus as I did for my HD800 but that's a tube amp. Anther great tube amp which is commonly used with HD800 is the EC ZDSE. Commonly recommended SS would Beta 22, GS-X, BHA1, among others.
 

post #3 of 95
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by third_eye View Post

I think there's a more recent thread on this. The poster ended up with a DNA Stratus as I did for my HD800 but that's a tube amp. Anther great tube amp which is commonly used with HD800 is the EC ZDSE. Commonly recommended SS would Beta 22, GS-X, BHA1, among others.
 

Thanks - I'll follow up your suggestions.

 

Easy to go even more insane chasing all this!!!!

 

John

post #4 of 95

SPL Auditor/Phonitor

post #5 of 95
Balanced Beta22
post #6 of 95

I'm going to ignore your balanced requirement and suggest the Luxman P-1 or P-1u.

 

And I guess there's the newest Luxman with balanced outs, but I have not heard that yet.

post #7 of 95
Mu sugestiion is M2Tech Vaughan

This is the best combo dac amp i Ever heard For HD 800
post #8 of 95
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rudi0504 View Post

Mu sugestiion is M2Tech Vaughan
This is the best combo dac amp i Ever heard For HD 800

Thanks.  But what a price!!!

 

John

post #9 of 95

It's gotta be better than a Starving Student...

post #10 of 95

For balanced inputs/outputs:

 

Tubes: Woo Audio WA22 - simply magical with the HD800s

 

Solid State: HeadAmp GS-X - my favourite ss amp with the HD800s

post #11 of 95

I too am a SS guy, and the Luxman P-1 is definitely the best pairing I heard.  The GS-X was also good, but to me, clearly not as synergistic as the P-1.  I also have heard it on the SPL Phonitor (did not like at all) and the Violectric V200 (ok), two other purported good matches.  The HD800 surprisingly also pairs very well with the Anedio D1 dac/amp combo if you are looking to save a little money (somewhere along the lines of the V200 pairing).  The D1 is discontinued but has been replaced by an updated D2.

post #12 of 95

I love the HD800s on my Balanced M^3 sounds wonderful.  I have a 4 ch. Balanced βeta-22, I also had the GS-1, BHA-1 and I have the GS-X coming.  I prefer the Balanced M^3.

 

 

Balanced M^3 Done by Ying at YBM


Edited by preproman - 12/5/12 at 10:24am
post #13 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacedonianHero View Post

For balanced inputs/outputs:

 

Tubes: Woo Audio WA22 - simply magical with the HD800s

 

+1. Heard this together with M-DAC at a meet a couple of weeks ago. Made the HD800s sing!

post #14 of 95
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input everyone - most appreciated as I see this topic has been done to death and people must be getting sick of responding to it.

 

Wow I've gone cross-eyed researching all this and have been numbed by just how much great gear is out there.

 

My initial self imposed budget was around the $1000 mark for a DAC & another $1000 for the head amp but the realisation was that this would probably not get me anything markedly better than the NuForce DAC9 already here, and it does a fine job.  Not that price is the ultimate judge of what is good and what is mediocre but a well designed and executed balanced set up is not cheap for parts or labour.

 

Yes I have been gravitating towards the b22 until I spotted the M2Tech Vaughan which is getting a great reception here  http://www.head-fi.org/t/614399/new-high-end-m2tech-vaughan-3-in-1-dac-head-amp-pre-amp-just-arrived-yesterday

 

Not completely decided yet and it blows away any concepts of sensible budgeting with the law of diminishing returns coming in with a vengeance. Yet I've spent a frightening 6 figure sum on amps/speakers etc but find they no longer yield the AQ I want and are outshone by the Meridian Sooloos to HD800 headphone path with the NuForce DAC9.  So,  bite the bullet?  I'll mull over this for a day or two and could be giving myself a rather nice Christmas pressie!  But then again I could come to my senses.  Possible?  Yes Gods I'll go mad unless a decision is made soon.

 

John

post #15 of 95

After trying 4 highly recommended SS amps (TTVJ Fet-A, Dynalo, others)-I was still ready to give up on the HD800. Then my Zana SE arrived and changed all of that. wink_face.gif

 

-Daniel

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