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Entry/Mid-level Amp for HD800: Need advice or suggestions. - Page 3

post #31 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieMcC View Post

Just try and get a listen to a Bottlehead Crack with your HD800 prior to parting with serious money.
I really want to but unfortunately I don't think I will be able to do that around here. Just getting used gear around here is pretty hard to do. I don't know what people do with their old equipment when they upgrade around here.
post #32 of 46

Many on Head-Fi opt to sell their gear to other members wishing to upgrade their own setup or provide gifts for others. 

 

As for the Crack--well, as I have never spent serious time with one, my impressions are likely to be flawed. In the short twenty minutes I had with the Crack, I found it to be a fun amp that does well to cover up any blemishes revealed by the HD800. Though slightly less detailed than the M8, which is more than double its price, the Crack succeeds in providing what can only be described as a sweet and smooth sound that can do justice even to the harshest of recordings, such as Karajan/Berlinerphilharmoniker albums produced by EMI in the 60s/70s. If I were to furnish myself with a new desktop rig, the Crack would, without a doubt, be near or at the top of my list for home amps for its affordability and awesome (in the traditional sense) sound. 

 

I am a proponent of the "wire with gain" amplifier theory and usually strongly advise against the use of valve amps for their technical deficiencies, but know my tastes aren't for everyone. The Crack isn't the best amp, but just works for damn near everything. I threw my entire, and admittedly rather eclectic, music collection at it and it never failed to produce a gloriously euphoric sound. If portability were not a major concern of mine, I would definitely be a Crack addict.

 

-Kenneth

post #33 of 46
Thread Starter 
Kenneth, you're not making this easy for me. Thanks. smily_headphones1.gif

If none of the amps that I demo today makes me say GO then I will definitely consider taking a chance on the Crack without auditioning. Do you think the E17 or E18 will serve adequately as a dac to the Crack?

I am heading to the HP shops at this very moment. If anyone has any last words, I'll keep an eye on this thread as I demo the HPs and amps.
post #34 of 46

Just plug your HD800 into whatever you can, there is no better way.

post #35 of 46
Thread Starter 
I'm in a shop now and there's a tube amp by Line Magnetic, Mini 218 1A. Anyone heard of this?
post #36 of 46
Thread Starter 
The tube amp is also able to drive speakers.

They had a dac made by the same company. It had the option to change between transistor and vacuum tube. When on vacuum tube, the speakers sounded very nice.
post #37 of 46

You initially just asked for us to recommend some entry/mid-level amps for the HD800. We gave you some entry-mid level amp recommendations for the HD800. If you are, as I suspect, the kind of guy who sets budgets but always ends up saying, "f*** it; go big or go home," don't settle for the voodoo tube DAC and woefully overpriced amp. What you need is a DAC/amp that will serve you well now and give you a platform to build another system on in the future; get this http://www.benchmarkmedia.com/dac/dac2-hgc

post #38 of 46

This should be something easy to find for a demo a Marantz NA7004 network player $399.00 it has a dedicated headphone amp section and while not the best head amp out here it might suit you to start with. The dac section (which can be used as a stand alone dac)  I rate highly is reported to be the same dac section found in their   $2500 reference Pearl CD player Marantz have been making high end kit for a long time. It sounds rather good paired with my BHCrack and I am in no rush to change. The network player also has a whole lot of other handy features like Airplay internet radio etc etc if your running I devices or ITunes controlling itunes from your phone ipad or pc is easy just press and play.

 

The BHC is a much better amp but I could live with the Marantz's headphone out again if needed, I used it for a year prior to building the BHC.

 

It has had mixed reviews but I think now though most of the reported issues have been dealt with via firmware updates. Now discounted to $399 it is roughly half its launch price and should be easy to find for a demo. I have no issues with mine.


Edited by JamieMcC - 1/5/14 at 11:59am
post #39 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatmanSize48 View Post
 

You initially just asked for us to recommend some entry/mid-level amps for the HD800. We gave you some entry-mid level amp recommendations for the HD800. If you are, as I suspect, the kind of guy who sets budgets but always ends up saying, "f*** it; go big or go home," don't settle for the voodoo tube DAC and woefully overpriced amp. What you need is a DAC/amp that will serve you well now and give you a platform to build another system on in the future; get this http://www.benchmarkmedia.com/dac/dac2-hgc

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieMcC View Post
 

This should be something easy to find for a demo a Marantz NA7004 network player $399.00 it has a dedicated headphone amp section and while not the best head amp out here it might suit you to start with. The dac section (which can be used as a stand alone dac) ...

 

This would have definitely been something I would have considered but unfortunately everything has been purchased. I need to leave for work now so I'll come back to fill in the details later today. I did go off track on my mini spree though. Thanks to everyone that provided me with some guidance here. :)

post #40 of 46

Enjoy our new purchase!

post #41 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rayzilla View Post
 

This would have definitely been something I would have considered but unfortunately everything has been purchased. I need to leave for work now so I'll come back to fill in the details later today. I did go off track on my mini spree though. Thanks to everyone that provided me with some guidance here. :)

go BIG or go home!!!!!!!!! :D

post #42 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatmanSize48 View Post
 

You initially just asked for us to recommend some entry/mid-level amps for the HD800. We gave you some entry-mid level amp recommendations for the HD800. If you are, as I suspect, the kind of guy who sets budgets but always ends up saying, "f*** it; go big or go home," don't settle...

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FatmanSize48 View Post
 

Enjoy our new purchase!

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by money4me247 View Post
 

go BIG or go home!!!!!!!!! :D

 

Once again, I want to thank all of you that took the time and effort to post some ideas and advice for me. I hope no one is offended by the fact that the only part in the end that matches up with my opening post, was the fact that I purchased the Senn HD800. I stayed true to my word on that but the rest of my purchases were WAY different than anything I ever imagined even just prior to yesterday.

 

Here's what happened. The main HP stores here do not open until noon and 1pm. My plan was to hit up the second choice store at noon when it opened and then go to the store that I thought I was going to buy from after that. I heard about some shops nearby that sold used portable equipment so I thought I would check them out first, just in case they had something I could consider. In that area, I was informed that there was this one building that had stereo equipment. It has 20 floors with one shop on each floor. It turned out that every floor was a stereo related store except for maybe 2 or 3. There were shops that sold nothing but cables, some with loads of speakers, some with nice amps for home stereo, etc. (need to go now, back later to continue) ....

post #43 of 46
Thread Starter 

Now back to my search....

 

Correction, the building had 21 floors and I couldn't believe how many different cables there could be. Only a couple of the shops had anything suitable as a headphone amp. I took the elevator to the 21st floor and just walked down the steps stopping off at each floor but unfortunately it was still before 1pm so many of the shops were not open yet.

 

When I got down to the fifth floor, I walked into a showroom that had some more reasonably priced equipment. The store mostly sold tubes and tube amps. I asked if he had anything that I could use as a headphone amp and he showed me the Line Magnetic Mini 218 IA. How would I describe it? It was within my budget and, well... it looked kind of cute. Not exactly how an audtiophile would describe an amp, but hey, I'm not really an audiophile so.... lol. The metal looked pretty rough/industrial but as time went on, it kind of grew on me. I had my Ed8 with me, which I use as my primary portable. I didn't think it would be the right HP to use for testing. I said it would be best if I came back to the store later in the day after I purchase the HD800 (or TH900 at the time still). But we gave it a listen anyway. He said that this amp can run speakers no problem so he hooked it up to a set of speakers that were about 18x36 inches. The sound coming out of it was quite amazing given its cute appearance. This got me thinking, "hey... maybe one day down the road I may consider setting up a pair of speakers in the room. Suddenly this became very appealing to me.

 

But the more amazing part was when he hooked it up to the Line Magnetic 502CA dac. Wow!!! This dac has the option to switch between transistor and vacuum tube. When it is set to vacuum tube, holy-moly! So rich and full and deep. Prior to this moment, I never once considered spending anything more than one to two hundred on a dac because I never thought that they could make such a difference. I thought it will all go to the amp. Suddenly I had to do some creative thinking to get the dac into my purchase. To make a long story short, I managed.

 

The store had the amp ready for me to take home. The dac is available in all black, brushed copper front with silver elsewhere, or all silver. I was going to go black so I could have it right away but I decided to wait a few more days to get the silver so that it matches the amp.

 

Here are a few links to the pieces that I purchased and I would recommend that you guys consider them too.

 

Here's a quick review on the dac:

http://www.witchdoctor.co.nz/index.php/2013/06/line-magnetic-lm-502ca-vacuum-tube-dac-review/

http://www.mcleans.info/shop/productDetails.do?productId=225841

 

And here's a little bit on the Mini 218 IA amp:

http://audioshark.org/amplifiers-8/cool-tube-gear-line-magnetic-680-page2.html#.UsniHWQW1Kk

http://pitchperfectaudio.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/abcdefghijk-lm-n-oh-yeah/

 

Feel free to ask me any questions.


Edited by Rayzilla - 1/7/14 at 3:33pm
post #44 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rayzilla View Post
 

Does anyone have any experience pairing any of the following amps with their HD800? I would like to hear your thoughts on:

 

  • Adding other Audi GD models to the list, such as NFB-10ES3, Compass 2 and NFB-10.33 (I think I prefer the Sabre over WM)
  • Darkvoice/La Figaro (any model since they are all within budget)
  • Little Dot MK VI or VIII (getting a little out of my budget but I would like to hear any experiences)
  • Vali is a strong consideration if I decide to go temporary)

 

I will be going to the HP shop tomorrow and most likely walking out with the HD800 (otherwise less likely TH900), Shure SE425, new pads for my RS2, and maybe an desk amp if I am satisfied with what they have available at the shop.

last night listned to hd800 on the lafigaro 339 and a Gungnir dac for the first time.  (Prior to this was just using it with dragonfly on a laptop using Spotify to breakin)   It was really really good on classical everything you want it to be.   I listened to some jazz it was also really nice but on a old Miles davis album there wasn't much sounstage width actually it imaged dead center only.  It was the recording as other jazz the soundstage was wide/deep.  The hd800 really lets you know whats going on in a record good or bad and makes it very apparent either way.

post #45 of 46
"...on a old Miles davis album there wasn't much sounstage width actually it imaged dead center only."

Could you have been listening to a mono recording?
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