Street price on the BHA-1 is around ~$1100 here. Used you can buy one everyday for ~$900.
I wouldn't put this next to the GS-1...ok, let's go with $800-999.
But the Mjlonir comes in at $749, and I'd still go with that for the LCD-3s.
The problem with the Leben CS-600 or the 300 for that matter is that some exhibit a low level hum when used with high sensitivity cans. Mine exhibits that issue and therefore is worthless as a headphone amp with the ANV3000. I bought the amp for speaker use anyway and my low sensitivity Harbeths present no problem at all with the sound being exquisite. The finish is purposely designed to be "vintage" looking and "purrs" hi-fi all the way. I paid $6495 (no tax) about a year ago and dealers will not discount them. It is the TOTL Leben integrated.
The EAR HP4 has been around for years and was the best headphone amp available when I was in the market back in 2005. I paid $3373.00 including tax which includes a 20% discount. TTVJ lists the amp for $5695.00 today. I do not believe there is any controversy regarding the fact that the HP4 is considered a TOTL headphone amp. Pairing the amp with the HD-650 was musical nirvana at the time. It sounds exquisite with my Audio Technicas but believe it to be a bit underpowered for the LCD-3 with apologies to Jacal01 (great avatar by the way!).
I believe the HE-6 is best powered from the taps of a speaker amp with apologies to Ray Samuels. I use a 55W tubed BAT with upgraded valves along with a Calypso Signature linestage rolled with NOS Philips Holland and Mullards. Paired with my TOTL Marantz Reference Series SACD player makes for an incredibly enjoyable musical experience. Obviously, when discussing speaker gear, the sky is the limit but I would venture to say this rig is closer to TOTL than most rigs in use by members of Head-Fi that are fanboys of the HE-6. BTW, all of my gear is powered by PS Audio Premiers.
To my knowledge, nobody on HF as ever heard a 15W into 8 ohms Bakoon AMP 11-R. With a $4500.00 (with a 10% discount) price tag, that might be the most influential reason why. Currently it is TOTL although soon to be replaced by the AMP 12-R which I believe will retail for $7995.00. Keep in mind that this is an integrated amp so it is able to serve double-duty. As a headphone amp only, I listen to it with the LCD-3. The synergy is amazing and if my math is correct the cans are receiving 2 1/2 Watts from a high current amp. For any of those interested in professional reviews, Srajan praises it to high heaven using Audeze cans and there is also a review available translated into perfect English by a seemingly very knowledgeable Polish audiophile. He also loves Leben BTW as well.
I had not seen the specs on the HPA-21 and now that I have, I also question whether it has sufficient "juice" for Audezes which Macedonian Hero has been screaming about for what seems like ages now. However, from the correspondence I have had with Soo In of Bakoon, and the fact the amp was designed using the LCD-3 and is a high current amp, coupled with the fact that Audeze has now entered into a partnership with Bakoon and the CEO of Audeze is on record praising the synergy, I would be surprised if the amp does not create the "magic" although those on record here on HF will never admit it.
Hopefully, Tyll and Skylab will clear up the controversy.
You wisht. That would make it a no-brainer, wouldn't it?
Nobody said it would be easy. And this is our moneysink of choice.
Not necessarily to the point, but how does that SET mantra go... "If the first watt of amplifier power doesn't sound good, why would you want 199 more of them?"
Most obviously you have not heard it, sir.
And price is really not the point in contention, anyway, regardless of some of the more miserly types lurking about. I think that there is a tangible sonic advantage gained with the current driven output technology, although there also may be some associated disadvantages to be worked through, with varying degrees of success. Obviously, the battery power was one cost effective way to surmount some of the difficulties. Thermal steady state may be another.
Bottom line, I continue to be pleased, if not smug, with my choice, in blissful ignorance or no.
I would imagine if you were to contact Darin over at Jaguar Audio he would send you an HPA-21 for an audition.
Looking forward to your review Rob. Oh and I noticed you sent it back (didn't want to buy it)?