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Multiple cans, decent "for the money" amp needed

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I'm finally getting back to headphone use after years of things being boxed up. When I last used my cans I had a receiver with a headphone jack. That was about 1000 years ago. Now I have no way to drive either my Yamaha YH-1 or Sennheiser HD540 Reference II, and I may someday want to try something like a Beyer DT880/600.

 

So I know I'm asking an unrealistic question given I'm looking for an amp that could perform well across a range of cans like these, but I'll ask anyway :o. I don't need a combination amp/DAC. The amp will be driven from my Pass XP-20 preamp Tape Out, which will get me music from my 2 channel system that I think would take a pretty high end amp/DAC of its own to match. SS, tube, or hybrid designs all will be considered. I have no bias against any, but what I'm looking for is something open and smooth without smothering articulation, good extension and control on both ends. No tizziness but not rolled off. Will consider a good kit design (I can build stuff like this if the kit is well designed). This will not be for portable use.

 

Price? That's the part that will probably get me laughed off the boards. Remember I'm asking for decent "for the money", which would be no more than $300, new or used.

 

Yeah, I know; I'm a lightweight. Just tell me right off the bat if this is impossible instead of making it obvious how crazy this might sound.:smile:

post #2 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by tony22 View Post

I'm finally getting back to headphone use after years of things being boxed up. When I last used my cans I had a receiver with a headphone jack. That was about 1000 years ago. Now I have no way to drive either my Yamaha YH-1 or Sennheiser HD540 Reference II, and I may someday want to try something like a Beyer DT880/600.

So I know I'm asking an unrealistic question given I'm looking for an amp that could perform well across a range of cans like these, but I'll ask anyway redface.gif . I don't need a combination amp/DAC. The amp will be driven from my Pass XP-20 preamp Tape Out, which will get me music from my 2 channel system that I think would take a pretty high end amp/DAC of its own to match. SS, tube, or hybrid designs all will be considered. I have no bias against any, but what I'm looking for is something open and smooth without smothering articulation, good extension and control on both ends. No tizziness but not rolled off. Will consider a good kit design (I can build stuff like this if the kit is well designed). This will not be for portable use.

Price? That's the part that will probably get me laughed off the boards. Remember I'm asking for decent "for the money", which would be no more than $300, new or used.

Yeah, I know; I'm a lightweight. Just tell me right off the bat if this is impossible instead of making it obvious how crazy this might sound.smile.gif

You're asking for a lot. $300 won't do it, especial if you're used to gear like Pass. Sorry, someone had to tell you. Good luck.
post #3 of 12
A Schiit Lyr will do the job - it's certainly not a Pass - but it will get the job done for your budget. I would also look at the Meier Audio Corda Rock. If you want tubes, then maybe something like the Little Dot Mk III.
post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

A Schiit Lyr will do the job - it's certainly not a Pass - but it will get the job done for your budget. I would also look at the Meier Audio Corda Rock. If you want tubes, then maybe something like the Little Dot Mk III.

I've had a Lyr in my system; it sounds like mud, given the OP's description of his wants and his point of reference. I also own a LDIII with upgraded tubes; it doesn't have the extension the OP is looking for. While I've never has a Rock in my system, I own the Arietta and the Concerto. Neither meets his requirements.

Edit: typo
Edited by Shaffer - 3/23/15 at 12:53am
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

I was afraid this would be the response. Shaffer, I'd like to hear a bit more regarding your thoughts. Is the LDIII like the LDI+ where it has an op-amp output that can be swapped? I've read where some users have (at least with the LDI+) been able to get more of what they were looking for by a careful selection of tubes and op-amps. What is it about the Meiers that you think would make (at least the ones you've heard) unsuitable?

 

What about something like the Meier Audio Jazz? I know it's more than my posted limit, but it seems like something that might work.

 

I guess it might be useful to say that even once I reactivate my headphone side of the world, the great majority of my listening will still be through my two channel system. I don't want my headphone listening to disappoint me, but I also know that for "bang for the buck" I'm not ready for it to equal or better that system (at least for the moment). How far up the chain would I have to go?

 

edit: typo


Edited by tony22 - 3/23/15 at 5:32am
post #6 of 12
I see no reason why the amp would have to match your source. The weakest link will be the phones anyway. Corda Rock is probably sufficient, but Jazz gives you a gain switch and crossfeed. I have both and both are capable of driving my Beyer T1 with ease. Even FiiO E12 can do that. Any excess money would be better spent on higher-end cans.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

headdict, thanks. How would you describe the sound qualities of each of these?

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by tony22 View Post

headdict, thanks. How would you describe the sound qualities of each of these?
As long as they are used within specification they all sound audibly transparent. Rock has a much higher output impedance, but should be no problem unless used with very special phones. The main differences are in features, size and price. I like Jazz for its features and Rock for its compact size.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks. The Jazz is a bit more than I was looking to spend but it seems like a very nice amp.

post #10 of 12
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post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by tony22 View Post

I was afraid this would be the response. Shaffer, I'd like to hear a bit more regarding your thoughts. Is the LDIII like the LDI+ where it has an op-amp output that can be swapped? I've read where some users have (at least with the LDI+) been able to get more of what they were looking for by a careful selection of tubes and op-amps. What is it about the Meiers that you think would make (at least the ones you've heard) unsuitable?

What about something like the Meier Audio Jazz? I know it's more than my posted limit, but it seems like something that might work.

I guess it might be useful to say that even once I reactivate my headphone side of the world, the great majority of my listening will still be through my two channel system. I don't want my headphone listening to disappoint me, but I also know that for "bang for the buck" I'm not ready for it to equal or better that system (at least for the moment). How far up the chain would I have to go?

edit: typo

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post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by headdict View Post

I see no reason why the amp would have to match your source. The weakest link will be the phones anyway. Corda Rock is probably sufficient, but Jazz gives you a gain switch and crossfeed. I have both and both are capable of driving my Beyer T1 with ease. Even FiiO E12 can do that. Any excess money would be better spent on higher-end cans.

FYI: The Corda Rock has a gain switch on the bottom.
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