I'm liking my current set-up a lot:
Amp: Zana Deux
HP: HD 800 ..using unmodded but looking at the Anax mod....looking to get the DHC Complement 2 cable
Definitely comes within your budget.
Wyred4Sound DAC2 with the DSD and se upgrades.
Balanced Amp of your choice (I use a Headroom Balanced Desktop Amp with PSU for space and anti tube office reasons, although no longer sold)
Senn HD800 (I found that using them balanced makes them more lively)
After a lot of tries, this is my end game setup at my office, using the macbookpro on my desk as a source. I am on the list of BHSE in construction for my home unit...
Yes and yes, though in the very early stages and may never see actual commercial release.
I didn't mention the L-2 as its sold out for now, but if you do manage to get your hands on one used -> modded HD800's that is indeed in the upper echelon of what you can get near that price.
Honestly, buy a plane ticket for $300 and come the SoCal meet on March 22! You will get to audition just about everything and there is no substitute for demoing equipment. But if that's really not feasible, I would focus on finding the right headphone first and then building a system around that . Good Luck!
The rig that I will probably settle for the next several years as my reference system:
$1500 Bel Canto Reflink USB->SPDIF converter (70 femptosecond jitter)
$1300 Violectric V800 DAC (115 dB real dynamic range when used with Reflink, resampling set to OFF)
$2500 Zana Deux SE with P&G pot option (can actually deliver the dynamic range provided by Reflink & V800)
$1400 Sennheiser HD800
I measured many performance attributes myself in my sound lab. Additionally this system has 109 dB channel isolation to maximize the imaging possible with the HD800.
This system is $6.7K leaving $800 for an additional headphone such as a T90 or even a T1 when on sale.
Sorry I've been absent, but we have been on a cruise since Sunday (and internet access is WICKED PRICEY and SLOW on the ship). I am now committed to proceeding in stages so as to avoid taking interim, ultimately costly steps that end up only proving to be a distraction from what I fervently believe I want, which is the 009. I loved every minute I spent with the 007, and not a soul has suggested that the 009 wouldn't be a step up.
So, as I think I mentioned earlier, I am going to start with the DAC, probably the Aurlic Vega, but will consider a couple of alternative DACs. I am not going to move on buying the 009, as the real issue is finding an amp. I wish Headamp were an alternative, but it sounds like the wait time is highly unpredictable.
Someone earlier in the thread mentioned commissioning a suitable amp. Anyone know of any definitive suggestions in that regard? Alternatives? If you have an idea or suggestion, but would prefer a more discrete environment, please pm me.
I'll be home Saturday night.
Great hearing from a couple of old acquaintances, especially jjcha! Yes, I was an idiot for getting rid of my Stax rig!
I used to have a super thick portable CD player that I would just stick in a hiking backpack.
I don't know how many will post in this thread, but there are those of us who prefer the SR-007 to the SR-009. I'm one of them. The SR-007 has a more natural tone to me.
I wouldn't consider it a slam dunk you will prefer the SR-009 to the SR-007.
If you're looking for that inner details galore, then you might want to stick to Stax -007/009 KGSSHV/Electra/BHSE w/ any decent DAC. Or like other's
have suggested HD800 GS-X, ECP, EC S7/BA w/ any decent DAC.
HE-6 and a speaker amp could do it, the rest of the field won't cut it.