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DT880: considering an upgrade from Cmoy to HA-1

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I've been very pleased with the performance of my current system, but I definitely feel that there's room for improvement. I suspect that a new amp would be enough to make me absolutely satisfied for quite a while.

With a little research, I've found that the Corda HA-1 is perhaps the most consistently recommended (along with the other Corda amps) amp for the DT880s, and based on what I've read about it, I'm fairly confident in choosing it over the similarly priced Gilmore, SinglePower, and Woo Audio amps, which I've also considered.

I'd like some advice on a couple of points:

1. How significant of an improvement should I expect if I upgrade? I'm not particularly looking for details, just a subjective quantification of the difference.

2. I want an amp that will offer the best immediate performance without exceeding the capabilities of my source by a wide margin. Does the HA-1 meet this qualification, or should I look elsewhere?
post #2 of 9
I think the HA-1 is a spectacular value. I absolutely love my HA-1, and not just with my DT880s either, though the DT880 and HA-1 have similar sonic stamps, and the resulting synergy is phenominal. It is a very, very good amp.
post #3 of 9
I think the HA-1 is a great amp, and certainly among the best in its price range.

1. Please take this with a grain of salt -- I'm only making an guess based on my experiences. I think when you first switch over to the HA-1 you will notice a small difference. The bass will probably be a bit tighter -- maybe a bit more meat to the sound. But overall I don't think it will be a mind-blowing first experience. After listening to it for a while, I think you'll notice hearing more detail in your recordings, more natural decay, a perhaps better soundstage. However, I'm not sure you'll ever feel that the difference is amazing, night and day, etc.

2. Like I said, the HA-1 is a great value. There are better amps out there, but you'll pay more for them and the performance increase is not proportional. I've never heard the Music Hall, but I've heard that it's pretty good. The HA-1 won't be overkill.

Edit: Note that all of my comments are in regard to the HA-1 MKII. I've heard the HA-1 (MKI) and think it's good, but HA-1 MKII is improved quite a bit -- it's a lot blacker, there was slight hiss with the HA-1 and some headphones.
post #4 of 9
Corda HA-1 is not made anymore and might be difficult to find. Current is the HA-1 MkII, it is much smaller than the HA-1.

I like my Mk II but cannot compare it to the HA-1. As they bear the same name, they probably sound similar, with a small improvement for the MKII.
post #5 of 9
A basic 9V batt-powered cMoy is lacking. It really cannot drive the DT880's properly and you will not get the sound quality that you paid for. A maxed-out cMoy with a 24v Elpac linear regulated PS, lots of power supply capacitance, TLE virtual ground, and an AD8620 op-amp (most cMoys come with cheapo OPA2134/134/2227/604, AD823, etc) is a definite improvement, but still lacking compared to a good amp like the PPA or Cordas when driving the DT880. The main differences will be (1) the quality of the bass -- faster, more articulate, more authoritative and (2) soundstaging / channel separation. On a scale of 1-10, a basic cMoy might rate a 3, a maxed-out cMoy perhaps a 5, and a Corda HA-1 around a 7.
post #6 of 9
I'd check the for sale forum, I remember seeing an HA1 MkII for good money.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks to all who responded. My HA-1 MkII is on the way from Todd.
post #8 of 9

Be sure to post what you think of it. I'm still deciding between the HA-1 MkII or an SR-71 to go with DT880's.
post #9 of 9
Do not forget to experiment with the crossfeed! This works amazingly well, it really improves the sound staging and makes the whole experience better. It takes some time to get used to it, as your hearing have to adapt but it is well worth the small effort.

I almost leave it always on the "low" position except for chamber ochestra and solo piano where I use "high".

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