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All-rounder balanced amp that can drive Hifiman HE-560 + others

  1. Shoomer
    Hello all, I hope you can help me out. I have a small home studio, it's just for fun at the moment - playing around with making downtempo <120 BPM House and Techno.

    I live in a tiny flat and I don't want to upset the neighbours so most of my work needs to be done on headphones. I have a pair of Adam AX5 monitors - which are great, but I can only use them when the neighbours are out.

    Basically what I need is an headphone amp, just an amp - because the the DAC needs to be ASIO compliant.

    I currently have:

    Steinberg UR22 MK2 Audio interface - It's basically a ASIO compliant external PC soundcard in a box

    Sony MDR-CD900st
    Grado 325e
    Hifiman HE560

    And a pair of Massdrop Sennheiser HD 6XX due next month (Basically 650s)

    What I need is a flat, accurate amp - that will be good for all the above. I've just got a cheap little Bravo 2 valve amp - and it's OK but the HE560's need more power - a lot more,

    I'm looking to spend £500-ish on the amp but might go for more if it's worth it.

    Any advice is welcome. Thanks in advance.
  2. Rhamnetin
    Honestly the best headphone amps in that price range are likely single ended, like the HeadAmp Gilmore Lite Mk2, Mjolnir Audio Dynalos (same amp circuit as the former but comes with a built in linear power supply), and Bottlehead S.E.X.
    Monsterzero likes this.
  3. Shoomer
    Is it just that to get a balanced piece of kit would cost more?
  4. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    If you can spend more, try the Meier Corda Classic FF or Violectric V200
    Shoomer likes this.
  5. Shoomer
    Did I forget to mention that I didn't want to build a kit - Bottlehead. Or that Mjolnir doesn't make amps for planar,
  6. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    Amps for dynamic headphones can work for planars, you just need to look into the specs. Cheaper OTLs deliver power at high impedance (not to mention very high output impedance, even higher than the nominal impedance on planars) so don't get those. Some SS amps deliver most power at 100ohms, so maybe not those either, and some have high output impedance. Practically any other SS amp or transformer coupled tube amp will deliver a lot of power at 32ohms, you just need one that does 1W per channel or more.

    I'd be more worried that the specs aren't listed than that they're labeled "For Dynamic Headphones."
  7. Rhamnetin
    This. Dynamic = planar in this instance.

    Email him for specs. The specs will be a lot like the Gilmore Lite Mk2 (but remember they have an even better power supply), gain is 7.5x.
  8. Shoomer
    Thanks all for the advice. After a few long hours of soul searching I've gone for the Violectric V200 (thanks ProtegeManiac) - just got screwed for about £50 import tax, but I'm excited. I'll let you know how it works out.
    ProtegeManiac likes this.
  9. Shoomer
    Well, the Violectric V200 (thanks ProtegeManiac) has arrived. And I'm loving it. It's a bit of a learning experience - (having to deal with jumpers - I understand jumpers when it comes to PC parts, but this is different) And since we last talked the Massdrop Sen's have arrived.

    Anyway, with the Violectric V200...

    Grado 325s: sound pretty much the same. And I like how they sound. I know it's not for everybody, but I love that bright sound - and they never needed much power to sound at their best.

    Sony MDR-CD900st - Again, they sound just the same. But more than any other's they are designed to be a flat studio workhorse - and they do that very well.

    Massdrop Sennheiser HD 6XX - Well, considering that they're a pretty expensive headphone, I'm not that impressed. Yeah, they sound good with the Violectric, it's just a a little plastic sounding - but at the same time a little tinny - plastic/metal - that the best way I can describe it.

    Hifiman HE560 - Well, **** me. It sounds like being covered in perfectly warm chocolate. With ice cold techno lazers, wrapped in an funk based documentary.

    Seriously. Thankyou ProtegeManiac. I owe you one.
  10. buke9
    Well so many people say the HD-800’s are amp picky I find the HD-650” 6xx’s “ to be more so. If you find the 560’s to be warm Chocolate then it is a warm amp and would not do so well with the 650’s don’t know haven’t heard the amp myself but to say the 560’s are warm it has to be a bit warm.
  11. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    You have to break in the earpads to be a little more compressed as they're too porous, just not too squished, whether from how tight you wear them or from really worn out earpads.

    At this point though I personally prefer the Brainwavz HM5 earpads on my HD600 so maybe that's something you can try later if you keep the HD6XX, although of course the response being different the effects might also be different.


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