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New amp for this setup

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi guys,
I've been doing a lot of trolling reading up on a new amp. Still need some advice from my fellow head-fiers.

I have an HD650 and RS1i running out of a DAC19DSP/Little Dot Micro Tube combo. I quite enjoy the combo, but am wondering if I can do better?

Read up on Little Dots, Schiit amps and Audio GD's. On a budget of anywhere between 150~400$ which amp will drive both these cans most in the mist enjoyable fashion. I am a rock/metal/country listener.

Thanks!
post #2 of 15
Thread Starter 
Any recommendations guys? There is a huge range of amps - Little Dot mk3, mk4, the Schiit range, and I am thoroughly confused!
post #3 of 15
Audio-gd NFB 15.32... Never heard it but that is the one I would go with for a Solid State amp just from the reviews alone.
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hi TrollDragon,

 

So you are recommending I stay away from tubes. Any particular reason?

Will there be a noticeable difference between your suggestion and the Micro Tube that I already have?

post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vandal View Post
 

Hi TrollDragon,

 

So you are recommending I stay away from tubes. Any particular reason?

Will there be a noticeable difference between your suggestion and the Micro Tube that I already have?

 

I believe he meant that if you were to go for a solid state amp, the NFB-15.32 has good enough reviews that you should seriously consider it. 

post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vandal View Post
 

Hi TrollDragon,

 

So you are recommending I stay away from tubes. Any particular reason?

Will there be a noticeable difference between your suggestion and the Micro Tube that I already have?

Sorry it was late and I was on the mobile browser.
 

Your DAC is probably quite good, a little dated chipwise but still quite good.

 

The tube amp is the issue, the 300Ω HD650's would work fine with the LD MK III & IV as they are OTL tube amps made for high impedance headphones, it's the 32Ω Grado's that will not work thier best... Your current LD is a hybrid amp (Tube & Solid State) so it works great with Low Z headphones.

 

One of the tube amps that is highly recommended for Grados is the Mapletree Ear HD, with both a High Z and Low Z jack it will drive both cans quite nicely.

 

Mapletree Audio (The last amp on that page.)

https://hollowstate.netfirms.com/#headphone%20amps

 

Head-FI Review

http://www.head-fi.org/t/538081/grado-ps-1000-mapletree-audio-ear-hd-centrance-dacport-xonar-st-impressions

post #7 of 15

The Audio gd NFB-15.32 has not line in, so it cannot be used with the DAC19DSP - which by the way should be good when fed through spdif

Lake People G103-S is an SS option with low output impedance and in your budget:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/620082/lake-people-g109-g103-thread

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks again guys, TrollDragon that's a lovely amp but at 760$ I can't afford it frown.gif

So I should consider a tube amp as well. Ok. Any more sub 400$ options?
post #9 of 15

Youre stuck in tube Bermuda triangle... HD650-$400-RS1

 

Nothing exists that meet all 3 criteria, without mods or compromise.  Since tube amp makers in this price range ONLY offer OTL circuits with small output capacitance, its going to be the RS1 thats out in left field, and not sounding very good.

 

If you can up your $ figure to the ~$700 range that will get you into transformer coupled circuits where the WA6 and Mad Ear+ enter the triangle.

 

Alternately in that price range you can DIY a transformer couple solution for your RS1, which is what I had to do.

 

IMHO a Tube hybrid is your best bet... tube amplification with solid state current buffering.  The LD1+ comes to mind immediately, lots of tube and OP amp rolling options in your budget too.  but I dont know how much of an upgrade it is over the micro tube hybrid you already have.


Edited by kramer5150 - 3/31/14 at 11:48am
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
So a tube hybrid like the Schiit Lyr?
Won't this do the trick?
Love the look of the Woo Audio 6. Would it do justice to the HD650 amd RS1i? And oh crap its tubes are uber expensive frown.gif

Wish I could afford more. I could increase a bit to afford the Lyr, but not sure if its equally good with both.
post #11 of 15

The Schiit Lyr would work fine for both headphones! 

 

Stock tubes are always not the best, so you can enjoy the chase of some fine "Siemens CCa Holy Grail Tubes" off eBay, a few more $100's in tubes later you will have an amazing sounding amplifier. Stock tubes sound good out of the box but there are always "Better Tubes" available. After that is all added up you are approaching Woo / Mapletree pricing... then you would still have to roll tubes for them as well. :D

 

If you want a nice cheap solution and can do a little DIY the Little Dot I+ can be had for $116 and the default configuration tubes are cheap to roll. If you check into the Little Dot Tube Rolling Thread and scroll back 250 pages, you can see how the progess evolved and what the guys are doing with external power supplies and 6SN7 Octal tubes.

 

The Little Dot amps with good tubes can equal or better many higher end tube amps.

Welcome to the Tube Amp Rabbit Hole.

:beerchug:

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Good lord 449$ for a pair of vacuum tubes. Companies are really milking audiophiles aren't they?

Don't know if I have the patience (or the pocket) to tube roll. For me its more like pay, plug in, and let the great sound flow. But that's an informative thread sir, I just read through 5 pages on my way to work.
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vandal View Post

Good lord 449$ for a pair of vacuum tubes. Companies are really milking audiophiles aren't they?

Don't know if I have the patience (or the pocket) to tube roll. For me its more like pay, plug in, and let the great sound flow. But that's an informative thread sir, I just read through 5 pages on my way to work.


Yes indeed they are, the more "Rare" and in demand tubes are, the more they can get for them on eBay...

There are many great sounding $10 tube to be found and enjoyed as well. :)

:beerchug:

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

Good lord 449$ for a pair of vacuum tubes. Companies are really milking audiophiles aren't they?

Don't know if I have the patience (or the pocket) to tube roll. For me its more like pay, plug in, and let the great sound flow. But that's an informative thread sir, I just read through 5 pages on my way to work.

 

The prices of tubes aren't exactly decided by their manufacturers anymore. Well, that's the case for most NOS tubes at least. I've seen tubes go for way over 500 a pair on eBay. However sometimes that same pair of tubes will also pop up for ridiculously cheap prices. 

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hi Guys,

 

I feel an update is in order.

 

Besides trolling Head-fi and numerous other sources - 6moons, cnet, numerous other opinion-based sites, I also mailed several manufacturers, including Schiit, Little Dot, and Audio-GD. My experience with all of them, in terms of queries answered, was quite good, perhaps Mr. Kingwa from Audio-GD was the most detailed in his responses. Being an owner of Little Dot (Micro Tube) and Audio-GD (DAC19DSP) products, there was a slight leaning there.

 

The questions I faced are:

1) Tubes or Solid State

2) Balanced amp to be used single ended for now, or single ended (with no turning towards balanced ever)

 

While I haven't pulled the plug, I am strongly leaning towards Solid State, because I find I like nuances, I look for sound-staging, and at times am an analytical listener. So one decision down.

 

Mr. Kingwa recommended 2 amps - the NFB-6, and the SA31SE. I won't get into the details, but even though single ended the NFB-6 makes 1/4th the power it does balanced, I feel like giving it a try. Better still, even though my DAC19DSP isn't balanced, he confirmed that I would enjoy true balanced output from the NFB-6 with this DAC if I used ACSS interconnects (which I will be using). Of course, either way, it's overkill for my RS1i's, and should drive them extremely well, with 1800mW @ 50ohms (single ended).

 

Of course, when (and if) I do buy this amp, I will definitely post my impressions, with updates, and my thoughts on both HD650 and RS1i (as well as Audio Technica A900 and SR225i, which I also own).

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