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Amping HD600's on a budget.

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hello! Thanks for your time, this is my plight:

 

I have an HD558 and i pair it with a Fiio E7K with my laptop as the source.

 

I plan on getting the Sennheiser HD600's this winter, and i am aware that my Dac/amp combination is probably not very efficient for it.

 

I have read up on combinations, but i am by no means an expert... so if you were once in this position, please let me know how you solved this dilemma.

 

My ideas right now are getting a Schiit Modi, which seems like a reasonable Dac for the price, and then i have been thinking of combining it with a Fiio E9K. 

 

I know i could just get an E9K and pair it with the E7K i have, but the Dac section of it leaves a little something to be desired. Or maybe i'm wrong, and it's the HD558 that is not as revealing a headphone as i thought.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

P.S: Budget is $200

post #2 of 10

Try plugging the HD558 into a stereo receiver, see it improves the sound (like the bass).

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hmm... i am not informed on stereo receivers, are they preferable to PC and USB Dac/amp setups? On sound quality of course, because i can't imagine them being more convenient.

post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suguru103 View Post

Hmm... i am not informed on stereo receivers, are they preferable to PC and USB Dac/amp setups? On sound quality of course, because i can't imagine them being more convenient.

The receiver should bring out the best in the HD558

So plugging the HD558 into a receiver might tell you if the HD558s are the limit or the if E7K is just under powering the HD558.

post #5 of 10

Your FiiO E7K is not going to cut it with Senn HD600's.  It only puts out 36mW at 300 ohms (the impedance of HD600's).   You need something with a lot of voltage swing to power high-impedance Senns.  That's not usually something portable - unless it uses two 9V batteries in series.  A desktop is called for, instead.  It's pretty difficult for batteries or PC-based power to be able to provide the voltage swing that high-impedance phones need - maybe + or - 12V or more.  You can make it on some portable amps if you have + or - 4.5V or greater (like a Mini3), but the Senns will do better with MORE.

 

"Amping HD 600s on a budget" is an oxymoron.  HD600's will accept some of the highest quality amps in the world and continue to present improvements at every stage of amplification performance.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

Well that is very sensible. I would like to just get an E9K, and pair it with the Andes for when i get the HD600.

 

But i have read that the Modi is a noticeably better Dac than the Andes... and that the Magni it is brighter, more open and has better detail than the E9K. I usually like neutral to slightly warm sound, but the HD600 is already kind of mellow-neutral, so i'm seeking to balance it out with the aforementioned combination.

 

Thanks for your help and suggestions!

post #7 of 10
Assuming you keep your E7 as a DAC (for now), you could try an O2 (works well) or a Little Dot Mk. III (HD600s have a high impedance and work particularly well with OTL amps). The LD is a little more expensive, but there is a ready supply of second-hand units, many of which have upgraded driver tubes (look for Mullards or Voskhods).
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJG888 View Post

Assuming you keep your E7 as a DAC (for now), you could try an O2 (works well) or a Little Dot Mk. III (HD600s have a high impedance and work particularly well with OTL amps). The LD is a little more expensive, but there is a ready supply of second-hand units, many of which have upgraded driver tubes (look for Mullards or Voskhods).

 

Thanks for the suggestion! I had looked into tube gear before, and i had at one point considered the Aune T1 because of the rave reviews it had gotten. However i have gotten a little apprehensive on tube gear because of the way it colors the sound. 

 

I like a little bit of warmth, however the HD600 is a headphone that is already warmth by itself... wouldn't adding a tube amp color it in a very noticeable way? As in a "great for some genres but not neutral enough to cover everything else kind of way?"

 

How has your experience with tube amps been compared to solid slate?

 

Thanks!

post #9 of 10
With the Voskhod driver tubes, the sound signature is not excessively warm. In fact, it is fairly neutral. Where a good tube amp excels is in the midrange. Even a fairly modest amp such as the LD will have excellent transparency, detail and articulation.

If you listen exclusively to electronic music, however, I would look to a solid state amp at this price point.
post #10 of 10
Not all tube amps sound warm and syrupy. Not all solid state amps sound neutral. That's a myth I wish I could kill.

Save your pennies and get a Bottlehead Crack. I won't go on and on and on about this combo. Plenty of people have already don't that. I've tried the HD600s with dozens upon dozens of amps, from $200 up to $2,500. The Crack is the best I've found for the HD600s. And the Crack is a fast and detailed amp.
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