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Looking for a headphone amp that will drive anything... What are my options?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I currently own 4 headphones. Alessandro MS-2 (32ohm), AKG K702 (62ohms), Sennheiser HD-600 (300ohms) and Beyerdynamic DT880 (600ohm). I'm looking for an amplifier with an output impedance of less than 1ohm with enough gain to comfortably drive any of these headphones (and planar magnetics if I decide to get some of those). Does anything like this exist currently?

post #2 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by deniall View Post
 

I currently own 4 headphones. Alessandro MS-2 (32ohm), AKG K702 (62ohms), Sennheiser HD-600 (300ohms) and Beyerdynamic DT880 (600ohm). I'm looking for an amplifier with an output impedance of less than 1ohm with enough gain to comfortably drive any of these headphones (and planar magnetics if I decide to get some of those). Does anything like this exist currently?

The Schiit Magni, $99, output impedance is under 1-Ohms, I would assume the Magni can decently drive 600-Ohm headphones.

The Schiit Asgard II, $250, output impedance under 2-Ohms, should provide more juice for driving 600-Ohm headphones.

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

Bumper cars.. There has to be more than Schiit.

post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by deniall View Post
 

Bumper cars.. There has to be more than Schiit.

Lots more amplifiers then Schiit.

But as you have not listed a budget, no one knows what to recommend (where to start).

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

Ok then no more than $1000.

post #6 of 15
Teac HA-501 may have the feature you need. The damping factor control.
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by deniall View Post
 

I currently own 4 headphones. Alessandro MS-2 (32ohm), AKG K702 (62ohms), Sennheiser HD-600 (300ohms) and Beyerdynamic DT880 (600ohm). I'm looking for an amplifier with an output impedance of less than 1ohm with enough gain to comfortably drive any of these headphones (and planar magnetics if I decide to get some of those). Does anything like this exist currently?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deniall View Post
 

Ok then no more than $1000.

 

Heya,

 
Almost all main stream amplifiers will pretty much drive headphones that have 32 to 600ohm impedances. Simply look at each one and check the output impedance of the unit to see if it's closer to 0ohm. And you're good to go. Your budget allows you to pretty much take your pick of anything on the market right now. I probably wouldn't spend $1000 on an amp to power a few mid-fi headphones though. But then again I know prices are quite different in your neck of the woods.
 
Planar magnetics are a different story. You need to basically exclude them unless you are specifically looking at the HE-4 or HE-6. The LCD2 (and its whole family) and HE500 and lesser brothers are all efficient enough to not warrant needing anything more than what you would already be looking at. There's only a few truly inefficient planar magnetics that are going to need more power than you're likely going to see on most devices. Almost every amp that can push 800mw ~ 1.5w at 32ohm is going to be plenty for your purposes. And most of the entry and mid-level amplifiers on the market do very close to that. I would focus less on the technical measurements of everything, and more on how things sound when paired up.
 
Look into (entry to middle of the road):
 
JDS Objective 2
Schiit Magni
Schiit Asgard 2
Schiit Lyr
Schiit Mjolnir
Matrix M-Stage
Musical Paradise MP-301
Hifiman EF-5

Nuforce Icon HD

Burson Soloist SL

 

Also, consider speaker amps.

 

Very best,

post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by deniall View Post
 

I currently own 4 headphones. Alessandro MS-2 (32ohm), AKG K702 (62ohms), Sennheiser HD-600 (300ohms) and Beyerdynamic DT880 (600ohm). I'm looking for an amplifier with an output impedance of less than 1ohm with enough gain to comfortably drive any of these headphones (and planar magnetics if I decide to get some of those). Does anything like this exist currently?

 

I own a project Ember (garage1217 amplifier) and it works beautifully with my both heaphones : AKG K601 and Alessandro Ms2i, i've made differents listen sessions with friends on their cans :

-Denon AH-D600

-AKG Q701

-Shure SRH-1840

-Hifiman HE500

-Mad Dog from mrSpeakers

-vintage AKG K340

 

Another friend use a project Ember to drive an AKG K1000 and a old K340, and there are one guy on this forum who use it to drive an Audèze :

 

 

This little amp is highly configurable :

- you can bypass input caps to have different sound flavour, this setting act differently depending tube used.

- output impedance : 0.1 Ohms, 35 Ohms, 120 Ohms
- two gain settings with also an influence on the sound (LOW gain more dry and analytical, HIGH gain lean toward warmness and is a little bit bassy

- you can use an enormous bunch of tubes and it's "plug'n'play" (just plug the tube and switch-on the amp)

- this little beast is very powerful

 

you can find lot of review here, just use the search ;)

post #9 of 15

I would say the PS Audio GCHA (they sell used for about $325-$425).

I have been using that one for 3 years now and driven anything I have owned with great success:

AKG K701, Q701, K550

Audio Technica W1000

Beyerdynamic DT880 600Ohm

Denon D2000

Sennheiser HD600, HD650

 

It is the most quiet amp I have heard, it stays dead quiet at full volume (without music playing). No hiss, hum, pops or clicks.

Even with the AKG K550, which are pretty sensitive.

The sound is very detailed with a big sound stage.

 

Raymond

post #10 of 15

Have you looked at/considered the Woo WA7? Should fit your bill.

post #11 of 15

Hi ,

If you like to DIY, for far less than your max budget, I would suggest the M^3 which can be build with variable gain (for example 2-17) and has an output imp. <0.05 Ohms.

I use a M^3 myself and I found it perfect for driving my HD580 and HD800 simply connected to a Marantz CD6004 cd player...

post #12 of 15

If you want it super cheap, solid state, dead quiet and neutral then consider a flavour of the O2 amp.  I own one and it drives my DT-880's and HD-800 beautifully.  Low cost, not low quality; only drawback is that they only have a 3.5 mm headphone jacket on the front so you'l need an adapter.  If you google 'O2 amplifier' you'll end up on the designer's blog which has tons of info.  Just for kicks I tried using it to drive my HE-6 and surprisingly it works reasonably ok but only at (too) low volumes.

 

If you want one amp that'll drive more or less anything, consider the Violectric V200.  It's made in Germany and my current amp for the cans already mentioned as well as the HE-6.  Take a look at the specs: http://www.violectric.de/Pages/en/technical-data.php  It's a little known brand, especially in the US but performance is very good, innerfidelity has a couple of reviews and they were impressed.  

post #13 of 15

Hi There, I have a portable and home amp and am still learning but have 2 suggestions:

 

1.  Look at pre-owned as that will open more choices up.  There was a WA-2 for sale in the used forum around your budget.  The for sale forum has some nice stuff from great people.

 

2.  Look at the RSA Intruder portable amp/dac that can supposedly can drive anything.  I have only tried it with my LCD 2.2's and Shure 846's and it sounds very good IMHO.

 

Good luck!

post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by M Coupe View Post
 

Hi There, I have a portable and home amp and am still learning but have 2 suggestions:

 

1.  Look at pre-owned as that will open more choices up.  There was a WA-2 for sale in the used forum around your budget.  The for sale forum has some nice stuff from great people.

 

2.  Look at the RSA Intruder portable amp/dac that can supposedly can drive anything.  I have only tried it with my LCD 2.2's and Shure 846's and it sounds very good IMHO.

 

Good luck!

 

For the RSA intruder, this from the website of the maker:

 
"Specs will follow…."
 
He does claim that it can drive the HE-6 but the trouble is that without knowing the specs, including power output in various impedances, it's absolutely impossible to judge.  Not saying anything about the quality, only that i'd never purchase an amp without having seen (and preferably read a peer review)  all the specifications.  Especially if it costs 700 USD.
post #15 of 15

Hi, Thanks! Did anyone hear the HE6 with the intruder at CanJam 2012? I would love to hear if it worked.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDcQhXIhChY

 

I think your point about quality/quantity is valid...also a peer review or two.  I would also add to your list personal preference.  If the OP was exploring options, why not consider it? The cool thing about this site is that  you feel pretty good once you make a decision. There are plenty of knowledgeable folks like yourself.  I know I have learned a great deal

 

Cheers!:)

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