Hi. I wanted to see if we could get a current list of amps that are known to work well (have synergy) with the DT-880 600 Ohm that are say, under $500. I expect most of them to be tube amps. I know there have been exhaustive discussions about this already (and I think I've read them all), but the trouble is half of the amps mentioned either aren't made any more or seem impossible to find. I'd love to get some updated information of current or readily available amps. (For the future searcher, it's April 2014).
[If you care to read all about what led me to decide on the 880s, here's my first ("introduction") post: http://www.head-fi.org/t/713839/introduction-my-headphone-search-dt-880-amp-recommendations-for-2014#post_10447410 . It didn't get many looks over there, so I just lifted the amp questions and pasted them here.]
Personally, I'm looking for help finding an amp that will impart specific characteristics: Great synergy and tamer, silky sweet highs and thicker lows. I imagine the soundstage can take a hit if need be since it's already so expansive. And yes, I guess I'm looking for an amp that will color these phones a certain way, so I'll get this out of the way now: If I'd been able to audition a pair that sounded exactly like I wanted them to, then I would've bought those instead . Auditions were hard to arrange and of the models I tried, there was just too much I liked about these 880s that it outweighed the negatives, i.e., slight thinness -- they lack upper-low/low-mid thump and are sometimes overly bright.
I do really like these Beyers the way they are, especially the openness, but I think they have more potential. For example, I love the detail of the highs, but I'd like more silk. If you're familiar with Donald Fagan's, "The Nightfly" (often cited as a reference in pro audio), then you'll understand when I say that I feel that the 880 is kind of like that album: light, pristine, impressive, detailed, clinical, but not always the most "fun" to listen to.
Here are the usual suspects that keep coming up in my research. Some of these aren't in production any longer and I can't find them used. If there are new amps in contention, please pass it on. I need help because I really don't have a way to audition these amps. I'd prefer not to spend more than $300, but amps approaching $500 would be considered if they're really that much a cut above.
Dark Voice 336SE (or 336i but hard to find) (consensus is tubes should be upgraded)
La Figaro Dark Voice 336c (is the consensus the tubes should be upgraded?)
Little Dot I+ (saw at least one comment about it not being a great match)
Little Dot MKII
Little Dot MKIII
Little Dot MKIV
Schiit Valhalla (said to be a little bright, so that scares me away from this one)
Build a Bottlehead Crack
Musical Paradise MP-301 MK2 or MK3
Audio-GD amps or combos with Wolfson WM8741 (e.g., model NFB-15.32)
Ming Da MC66-AE
Musical Fidelity V-CAN II (discontinued)
Earmax Pro (no idea where to find)
AudioTailor Jade (no idea where to find)
Woo Audio WA3 (top of the price range but if it were that much better should be considered)
So far the Dark Voice 336 is my top contender. Really wish I could line them all up and compare. Apparently I just missed the SoCal meet.
Anything I've missed, or any I should remove some of these from the list?
Edited by ccash - 4/17/14 at 2:11pm