I'm in the process of moving to a small apartment and am downsizing my system. I want to use this opportunity to balance my headphones since I'll be using them a lot more. I'm looking for a balanced amplifier for headphones that also has balanced preamp out.
My favorite headphones are my akg k701s. I am going to have them balanced. Until now I have been satisfied with how they sound with a KICAS caliente but am looking to upgrade and satisfy my preamp needs at the same time. It seems that the bryston BHA-1, Headamp GS-X and 4 board Beta 22's are popular choices for balanced amps. My concerns are the ability to drive high sensitivity headphones, the quality of the preamp and less importantly the number and type of inputs.
The amp would be connected to a CIAudio DAC and serving as a preamplifier for CIAudios class D monoblocks. It will be primarily driving balanced k701s but I have single ended GS1ks which I like to listen to from time to time.
What I am looking for is a balanced amplifier that will pair with my preferred headphones and can act as a serviceable preamp for when I listen to speakers. RCA input for my phonostage would be cool but not crucial to me. I'm looking to make a reasonable investment in this equipment as I anticipate using my headphones much more than in the past.
Reviews for the usual suspects mentioned above appear generally favorable but I'd really like to hear more opinions and also maybe learn about some alternative options. Ideally I'd like to audition the most promising candidates. Or does anyone recommend any custom builders of beta 22s or any other balanced design?
Thanks for any suggestions or advice.
Edit: didn't know if this belonged here or the amplification forum. I'm a new poster so this seemed like the best place.
Edited by ikaretababy - 11/16/13 at 10:28pm