I own a pair of HD800 that i run with a Burson Conductor and a WA2 this weekend i had a revelation. I went to the Montreal audio show to try all the top end HP Abyss Stax, Audeze's ,Grado's ects, i came out of there a changed man why you ask because i discovered audio is just hype . I get to the Woo Audio room what do i see a pair of Abyss HP plugged into WA5 i was all excited i said to myself man this is going to be something else ,WRONG what i discovered because this was the first time i actually went to an audio show and listened to all those HP, is that audio deals in subtilitys and they are charging thousands for it what a rip . So this system will be end game for me i am happy to say because for thousands more those HP are simply not worth it .
I would point out that the HD800 aren't exactly cheap. It's not surprising that you didn't find another pair of headphones which blew you away. I would argue that the HD800 are one of the 5 best headphones on the planet (with Stax SR-007, SR-009, Audeze LCD-X, and HiFiman HE-6) and are the best headphones built with a dynamic driver. I thought the blog by Tyll and it's link to The State of the Flasgship Headphones was an interesting look at the top end headphones currently on the market. There are some tracks I prefer each of the other headphones to the HD800 (and other than soundstage I prefer the SR-009 in every case to the HD800 - but at tpo high of a cost for me to justify) . Overall sounds, the HD800 are my second favorite headphones after the SR-009, and are my favorite when factoring in cost, comfort, ease of driving, etc.
The HD800 scales well. I found they sound just fine from something like a DragonFly DAC into a modest amps built around the Gilmore Dynalo design, the Headamp PicoPower, M^3, Bottlehead Crack, even the Objective O2 amp. So I am not particularly surprised tha the Conductor or the WA2 could be an end-game for you.
Since the HD800 scales well, my experience is that a higher quality amplifier will sound better than the more modest amplifiers, and that for me the Headamp GS-Xmk2 sounds better that every higher-quality amplifier I have heard, but it's a game of diminishing returns. Sounds like you have found a performance level that is good for you at a price you are comfortable paying. That's great. No need to continue to hunt. Now rather than futzing with equipment you can make use of what you have, and direct your money to music (or other things in life) which is great,
I would note that while audio shows are useful to let you get impressions, when you are into the diminishing returns level of performance, it often takes more time, and a quieter environment to fully appreciate the differences between better quality amplifiers. For many people, those differences might not be worth the cost difference. For some of us, the extra performance is worth the cost and time.
Edited by verber - 3/30/14 at 6:18pm