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Burson Conductor vs Sennheiser HDVD800: Amp/DAC for HD800

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi, guys... I've been a longtime reader of the forums, and I could now use a little advice. I'm about to replace my Burson 160D, and I've narrowed down the replacement to either the Conductor or the Sennheiser HDVD800. I will be using the amp/DAC connected to a Mac via USB to drive my HD800's. I've been reading through the main threads for each amp (I've made it through 100 pages of the Conductor thread).

My understanding is that the HDVD800's amp is a better match for the HD800's, but the DAC isn't great. The Conductor's amp isn't quite as well matched (still a good pairing), but the DAC is better.

Please correct me if what I've gleaned from these threads is inaccurate, but operating with these understandings, I'm struggling to make a decision. I will be using whichever unit I purchase as an all in one solution, so I have to consider performance as a whole.

I listen to a broad range of material. Tonight alone, I've bounced from Tool to Nickel Creek to The xx to Coleman Hawkins.

I know that the versatility of the Conductor is one of its strong suits and the HDVD800 is engineered specifically with the Sennheiser models in mind, but I only own the HD800's. It's possible I could get the LCD-3's in the next year as well, but it's far from a certainty.

With all of this in mind, what would you suggest I do? Is the improved matching of the HDVD800 significant enough to counter the better DAC of the Conductor? Anything else that should play a role in my decision?

Thanks for any guidance!


Edit: Oops... I should have read the large box at the top of the page and posted in the Help and Recommendations forum. Apologies, mods.
Edited by burkerg - 5/27/14 at 8:52pm
post #2 of 6

Given it's price point, i'd consider seriously the conductor. It has a better performance for your money, the DVD800 didn't impress me at all -and i know a few other guys share the same opinion. 


The folks from Australia seems to be improving each Dac module they release, the 9018 implementation sounds very organic. 


I admit the Sennh amp/dac it's beautiful aesthetically. :cool:

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input!  I am admittedly not nearly as far into the HDVD800 thread as the Conductor thread, but most of what I've seen has been pretty glowing, while a significant portion of the Conductor thread is devoted to discussing how to avoid using the USB input.  I'm continuing to read both threads, but I'm glad to know there are some conflicting opinions on the HDVD800.  I'm looking forward to reaching some debate in that thread.  Would you mind elaborating on what you disliked about the HDVD800 or point me to where I can read your thoughts, if you've already shared them?  Thanks again!



Edited by burkerg - 5/29/14 at 8:22am
post #4 of 6

Just to elaborate a bit.

Both unit amps section are awesome with the HD800 with some slight differences, but i will focus on the DAC part of the HDVD800: its clearly inferior to the conductor's 9018 dac. On most recordings some microdetails are missing, it's muddy and congested. Not what i expect from a unit on its price range :( i also had some troubles when playing high rez files (24/192) i believe sennheiser needs to fix that issue. 


I know some guys commented on a few issues with the previous conductor Usb module (tenor), some even recommended getting usb interfaces to get the most of it. They recently released the C-media usb board which not only sounds better but fixes all the compatibility problems. 


If you want a headphone amp specifically for the HD800, get the DVA600 instead and buy a dedicated Dac. If you want a universal amp/dac/pre combo: you will love the conductor which is a good value for what you paid. :)

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks very much for the additional thoughts!  I really want an all in one system, so I'm avoiding the DVA600.  I read a review of the DVD800 from right around its release that mentioned the trouble with 24/192 files (I think the reviewer also mentioned 24/176), and I wondered if Senn had addressed the issue.  Guess not.  I'm definitely leaning toward the Burson.  I've enjoyed my 160D, and it seems the Conductor improves upon it in every way.  Thanks again for your help!



post #6 of 6

senn's hdvd800 is not worth that much money to buy. i think senn fail this time, buy the burson conductor.

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