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Amp for ATH-AD2000, Dac for Stax

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by seraphjei, May 5, 2010.
  1. seraphjei
    I'm buying an ATH-AD2000 soon, but I no longer have an amp to pair with it. The Canamp has long since been gone. Are they any particular amps that have good synergy with these phones? I have heard the hifiman EF1 and EF5 doesn't sound to shabby with the AD2000s. My budget is within a 150-400 dollar range.

    I'm also looking for a DAC as well to eventually be able to run a Stax 2050A setup from. Similar budget of around 150-400 dollars.

    I may end up buying the hifiman EF2 to keep me satisfied until I have enough to buy a decent stand alone dac and amp.
  2. Ra97oR
    For AD2000, I will recommend you not getting a tube amp and get a more powerful (better power at low impedance) SS amp instead. The budget is not exactly high but I would recommend the Terminator amp as it have plenty of power to drive Audio Technica and is made to do so.
  3. sonq
    I've heard the AD2000 sound pretty good on ZD; treble sounds transparent & well extended, but tonally just a tiny touch thin. I guess you may want to avoid amps or DACs that are tonally "thin" sounding.
  4. seraphjei
    If I do go the SS route, there is little doubt that I would lean toward a GS-1, or Dylano based HA-006+. The Terminator looks interesting but I can't seem to find any place to purchase it, or it looks like a DIY amp. I don't mind a nice DIY project, but I'd prefer to do that down the road. I just need a nice starting place to sort of get a feel for what the AD2000s need.
    As for the Zana Deux. Maybe someday....someday.
  5. Ra97oR
    Dynalo is known to work well with AD2000.
    Terminator not a well known amp, but base on the concept of HA5000, and I found its one of the best cheaper amp that really does drive the AD1000PRM well (AD2000 driver, so it would do AD2000 well too)
    HA5000 is just one of the best choice ever for Audio Technica phones, I will take that over GS-1, if you are only planning to drive Audio Technica phones.
  6. seraphjei
    I've opted to buy a Sheer Audio HA-006+, since it's a mere 280 dollars, it's kind of hard to pass up. As for the DAC, I may end up buying a Keces DA-151, or something similar. Any other ideas for a DAC within a 500 dollar budget?
    I'm still planning on buying the Stax 2050II system, as well as the SA5000 from sony, and possibly an 325i or RS2. The main reason I want to keep my equipment inventory simple for now is to have a good baseline to upgrade. I have a feeling I need to get a feel for the kind of sound I want, and that may take some trial and error. 
  7. wavoman Contributor
    I agree with the comments that a good SS amp is a better choice for the AD2K than the EF1 hybrid.  I have tried both -- this is from direct experience.
    My AD2K is magic with a Beta 22 built by Ying at YBM Audio.  Guests at the NJ micro meet made the same comment -- never heard the AD2K sound so good!
    Ying is very busy now but he might be able to build one for you.  Mine was balanced (in an out -- I had the AD2K balanced and re-cabled by Alex at APS) but I frankly don't think that makes any difference.
  8. Asr
    If you get the HA-006+, make sure to opt for the lowest gain possible. The AD2000 is a very sensitive headphone and responds a lot to even minor volume adjustments.
  9. seraphjei
    So the default gain of 11 is far too much for the AD2000s? I was going to use the HA-006+ for my multi purpose amp, driving higher impedance phones down the line, i.e. the HD650s if I ever get them. So would a lower gain actually matter that much in the long run for more power-hungry phones?
  10. Asr
    Let's just say that I would expect lots of frustration to ensue from trying to use a gain of 11 with the AD2K. A low gain is more useful than high gain unless you're driving 300+ Ohm, inefficient headphones - provided the amp has sufficient power for such headphones, like the AKG K340 for example. Low gain is actually fine for headphones up to around 300 Ohms. I used to own both the AD2K and HD650 simultaneously and never needed to switch over to high gain for the HD650 to achieve a sufficiently loud volume with it (my gain-switchable amp at the time was the HeadAmp GS-1).
  11. JimJames
    Can yu do a quick little comparison between ath ad2k and the stax?
  12. wavoman Contributor
    Wow an 8-year-old thread comes to life! Head-Fi alerts sure work, I got an email about this! I love my ATH AD2K and still listen to it all the time, especially for classic album rock. While many would disagree with me, I think it renders electric guitar licks even better than my button Grado RS1's. The Who, The Doors ... nothing better for these. See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me ...

    But Stax makes the best HPs in the world with the right amp, even better than my beloved Orpheus (except for wide sound-stage choral works, especially live recordings, where nothing can touch the Orpheus). My 007's and a Kerry-built BHSE with vintage late-breakup Mullards and OMG the sound is amazing. I understand 009's are even better, only heard them briefly at meets.

    My knowledge is as old as this thread -- I have not purchased anything in years, and do not listen much at meets ... I go to meets to drink, see old friends, drink, gossip, eat, drink, and look at the girls. Oh there are no girls. Did I mention drink? Luckily Kerry knows what bars to go to after the meets to see the girls. We talk about curves. Frequency-response curves that is.

    Sorry I can't help more. My advice -- buy used Stax phones and used amps designed for Stax (not necessarily Stax brand) and never look back. Spend good money on good tubes and good source material. Do not believe the people who tell you hi-res sources make no difference, Nyquist blah blah (and anyway they don't really understand Nyquist, they only think they do ... if Nyquist were actually true then telephone calls would last forever because the bandwidth of a telephone line is limited and the Fourier transform of a function with finite support on the real line has itself infinite support -- but when my ex-wife hangs up on me the phone call is definitely over), hi-res files typically come from better-mastered sources and that's the difference, the time and care in mastering. When people doubt me I let them listen to my flacs of Hotel California and Enter Sandman, both of which came from DVD-A's, and then they believe. I have been accused of having access to the master tapes -- which I don't. In my fantasy life I am good buddies with various members of the Eagles and Metallica, but unfortunately not in the real world.
  13. JimJames
    Thanks for your answer! An do you have any recommendations for amping the stax 300 other than the amp they come in a bundle (srs-3100) with? An what about maintenance, I've seen that you can be screwed if dust gets in the driver, and I'm not willing to buy a 40€ plastic bag to prevent that...
  14. wavoman Contributor
    Any used tube amp that supports Stax (with the right connector, PRO or Regular) from any manufacturer ... never heard a bad one, Buy used!

    I have maybe 7 pairs of Stax and never had a dust problem. I do not cover them in any way. I do keep my Orpheus HE90 in a box that costs $5 from a hobby store, really any box with a flip top, and put a little foam on the bottom so the earpads don't get flat in one place. My Baby Orpheus, like my Stax, just sit out. I am next to a construction site, so there is a lot of dust. What can I say? I think smoking would be a lot worse. For the stators, and you!

    You are gonna love Stax, I promise.
  15. JimJames
    Ahh that's good to hear then, thanks for your helpful answers. I am basically interested in stax after hearing the mighty Orpheus playing Mahler's 1st symphony; listening to the first movement just felt like I was there, in a great auditorium listening to great musicians... so I am desperately looking for some of that glorious transparency that maybe only electrostats can bring?

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