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Help! Budget AMP worth of Sennheiser HD600, HD800, HiFiMan-500, DT880... ???

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hi guys,

 

So I now have the HD598 and I want to start exploring a bit into a higher tier headphones like HD600, HD800, HiFiMan-500, DT880, etc

 

I don't want to spend $500+ on an amp and yet I want something that is not going to be a joke when powering up those headphones. So my question is ... which AMP is worthy to work with any of those models, under $500 and yet still give them enough justice?

 

Anytime I look at $100 amps VS $3,000 I understand that there must be a huge difference in sound quality.

post #2 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist718 View Post
 

Hi guys,

 

So I now have the HD598 and I want to start exploring a bit into a higher tier headphones like HD600, HD800, HiFiMan-500, DT880, etc

 

I don't want to spend $500+ on an amp and yet I want something that is not going to be a joke when powering up those headphones. So my question is ... which AMP is worthy to work with any of those models, under $500 and yet still give them enough justice?

 

Anytime I look at $100 amps VS $3,000 I understand that there must be a huge difference in sound quality.

There are people that have put down thousands, so they know, and they would say it's a matter of preference.

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

is plugging headphones into my Denon 4311ci receiver going to be the same as any mid priced headphones amp???

post #4 of 17

There's no telling if it would be the same. Is it adequate? probably. I've also wondered the same about my receiver. But I only had the receiver part with no way to play cd's. So for a piece of mind and the ability to hook an amp up to my laptop, I gave in to buying a portable amp.

 

For a short time I had the dt990 600 ohm. My lower tier receiver(Sony str dh 520) was able to get them very loud with the volume not even turned up all the way.

post #5 of 17

I just received my Schiit Magni ($99) a week or so ago, and I am loving it. I have the Sennheiser HD600. Before the Magni, I was using my internal sound card on my PC, which is an X-Fi XtremeMusic. The HD600 sounded great out of my soundcard, but the Magni really opened up the soundstage and improved the low frequencies. I would absolutely recommend this amp; it's cheap, extremely well built, and backed by great customer service and warranty.

post #6 of 17

HD600

HiFiMan-500

DT880 are easier to drive, so any $100-300 amp will be good to start

 

O2 from JDS labs, Ifi ican from Ifi Audio

 

AMP/DAC combo will also be good: Meridian Explorer, Audio Quest Dragonfly

 

HD800 is  more amp picky

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pianist718 View Post
 

Hi guys,

 

So I now have the HD598 and I want to start exploring a bit into a higher tier headphones like HD600, HD800, HiFiMan-500, DT880, etc

 

I don't want to spend $500+ on an amp and yet I want something that is not going to be a joke when powering up those headphones. So my question is ... which AMP is worthy to work with any of those models, under $500 and yet still give them enough justice?

 

Anytime I look at $100 amps VS $3,000 I understand that there must be a huge difference in sound quality.

 

I wouldn't say it must be a huge difference, all depends on proper design and your personal preference. Many sub $500 properly designed amp can rival $3000 in terms of objective measurement. Measurement doesn't tell the full story, but can be a good reference on how an amp will perform.


Edited by JeWorms - 12/15/13 at 2:10am
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

ok, so if I want to avoid buying an amp, upgrading my stock sound card will add noticeable improvement? if so, which card would you suggest?

post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist718 View Post
 

Hi guys,

 

So I now have the HD598 and I want to start exploring a bit into a higher tier headphones like HD600, HD800, HiFiMan-500, DT880, etc

 

I don't want to spend $500+ on an amp and yet I want something that is not going to be a joke when powering up those headphones. So my question is ... which AMP is worthy to work with any of those models, under $500 and yet still give them enough justice?

 

Anytime I look at $100 amps VS $3,000 I understand that there must be a huge difference in sound quality.

Get a nice 10-60w Class A speaker amp and get some resistors based on this webpage. You can thank me later :)

 

http://robrobinette.com/HeadphoneResistorNetworkCalculator.htm

post #9 of 17

For a desktop amp, the Schitt Magni can probably drive most cans, perhaps not some of the low impedance low efficiency power hungry planar mags like an HE-6. Same goes for a FiiO E12 portable amp which I use with my HD600's.

post #10 of 17

I have the 600 ohm DT880s and have the O2 amp/DAC combo from JDS labs. Very flat neutral sound IMO, missing a little something, just not sure what. Maybe a bigger better amp, which costs a whole lot more. The O2 has heaps of power for running the headphones and the internal DAC is a welcome addition.

post #11 of 17

Depends on what sound card you have on board. Computer is a very noisy environment, out board DACs will sound cleaner. If you cannot decide, try direct drive from your stock sound card first and compare this to your HD598. If it sound worse than your HD598 or your volume nob turn to full with still low volume, then consider an amp.

post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 

So...i found some sound cards ... what would these do with my HD598???

 

 

http://www.amazon.com/PCI-Express-Channel-XONAR_DX-XD-90-YAA060-1UAN00Z/dp/B0017DJXG6

 

http://www.amazon.com/PCI-Express-XONAR-ESSENCE-STX-90-YAA0C0-0UAN00Z/dp/B001OV789U/ref=zg_bs_284823_7

 

http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Blaster-Gaming-Control-SB1510/dp/B00AQ5PK6I/ref=zg_bs_284823_12

 

http://www.amazon.com/Xonar-Essence-24-bit-192KHz-Interface/dp/B002UVME88/ref=zg_bs_284823_34

 

is this a better solution than a portable amp? one of those $110 ones.?

Will this really have an effect on my headphones or is it all in our heads?

 

thanks.

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist718 View Post
 

So...i found some sound cards ... what would these do with my HD598???

 

 

http://www.amazon.com/PCI-Express-Channel-XONAR_DX-XD-90-YAA060-1UAN00Z/dp/B0017DJXG6

 

http://www.amazon.com/PCI-Express-XONAR-ESSENCE-STX-90-YAA0C0-0UAN00Z/dp/B001OV789U/ref=zg_bs_284823_7

 

http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Blaster-Gaming-Control-SB1510/dp/B00AQ5PK6I/ref=zg_bs_284823_12

 

http://www.amazon.com/Xonar-Essence-24-bit-192KHz-Interface/dp/B002UVME88/ref=zg_bs_284823_34

 

is this a better solution than a portable amp? one of those $110 ones.?

Will this really have an effect on my headphones or is it all in our heads?

 

thanks.

 

I cannot tell you the difference without data or without actually trying them.

 

 

OK, my point is, as long as you have sufficient volume (like 70% volume make your headphone sound very loud), you don't quite need an amp.

An amp is only needed when headphone is under driven ( not enough volume or sound distorted at high volume[clipping] ). Or you have a very good quality DAC section and line out from your sound card, a better amp will add less distortion thus better sound quality.

 

Lets assume your headphone is under driven, and you bought a $300 AMP only, and connect to your on board sound card. It will sound much better because the power now is enough to drive this headphone (no clipping and sound loud enough and bass felt more punchy).

But if your sound card drives your headphone with easy, an added amp only adds distortions if you don't have a line out. An better amp will add less distortion with line out, and the distortion will be inaudible. In this situation, the sound quality is mostly determined by your sound cards' DAC if your card has a line out.

 

Most sound cards include DAC and an headphone amp already.

How can you get better quality if your headphone is properly driven then? A better sound card or outboard DAC + AMP combo.

 

 

If you choose outboard DAC route, then you need an amp because DACs don't have volume control, or simply get a DAC/AMP together.


Edited by JeWorms - 12/17/13 at 12:42am
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeWorms View Post
 

 

I cannot tell you the difference without data or without actually trying them.

 

 

OK, my point is, as long as you have sufficient volume (like 70% volume make your headphone sound very loud), you don't quite need an amp.

An amp is only needed when headphone is under driven ( not enough volume or sound distorted at high volume[clipping] ). Or you have a very good quality DAC section and line out from your sound card, a better amp will add less distortion thus better sound quality.

 

Lets assume your headphone is under driven, and you bought a $300 AMP only, and connect to your on board sound card. It will sound much better because the power now is enough to drive this headphone (no clipping and sound loud enough and bass felt more punchy).

But if your sound card drives your headphone with easy, an added amp only adds distortions if you don't have a line out. An better amp will add less distortion with line out, and the distortion will be inaudible. In this situation, the sound quality is mostly determined by your sound cards' DAC if your card has a line out.

 

Most sound cards include DAC and an headphone amp already.

How can you get better quality if your headphone is properly driven then? A better sound card or outboard DAC + AMP combo.

 

 

If you choose outboard DAC route, then you need an amp because DACs don't have volume control, or simply get a DAC/AMP together.

 

 

great info ... thank you!

post #15 of 17

I have this sound card in my pc.....http://www.amazon.com/PCI-Express-XONAR-ESSENCE-STX-90-YAA0C0-0UAN00Z/dp/B001OV789U/ref=zg_bs_284823_7  and it worked out very well with my he650's for some time.  A few months ago I purchased a Project Ember hybrid amp http://garage1217.com/index.html and have found it to be at least twice as musical and resolving as the pc sound card.  I run out ouf the rca outputs on the card and have a dac on order.  The sound card sounded quite good but after listening to the Ember, it sounds flat and not very "full".  They are also working on a solid state amp based on the Ember but it will be awhile before it is ready for sale.


Edited by connieflyer - 1/19/14 at 6:23pm
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Help! Budget AMP worth of Sennheiser HD600, HD800, HiFiMan-500, DT880... ???