Amp for HE500's... AND... HD650's, AD2000's, RS-1's, and MD5000's - Mission Impossible???
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Gradofan2

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[size=medium]I realize the answer to my question may be buried in many of the posts related to the HE500’s – but, I’ve read them all, and don’t recall a good answer.  [/size]
 
[size=medium]Looking for some help in identifying a SS or Hybrid amp that is <$1,000, which drives both my low to moderate impedance dynamic phones, as well as my HE500’s… WELL![/size]
 
[size=medium]Let me save some of you some time… I already know typical headphone amps will not drive the HE500’s well (e.g. WA6 SE, Millett Hybrid MiniMax, etc.).  I’ve got them, tried them… and I know.  This is not open to debate – so, let’s avoid that… just don’t respond if you’re “defending” either the HE500’s, or any conventional headphone amp. [/size]
 
[size=medium]And… oh yes… forget about trying to “convert” me to the LCD2, or HE6, etc. – I’m not interested, they’re not “my sound.”  Again… just move on. [/size]
 
[size=medium]Though, I would acknowledge the Millett Hybrid MiniMax driven by my Monarchy M24 Tube DAC / Line Stage in combo drives the HE500’s superbly – their sound is simply no better than most of my other phones, especially the HD650’s and AD2000’s, which are equally superb!  So… why keep the HE500’s, if these other phones sound just as good, or perhaps better – unless, there is an amp that will elevate them significantly beyond these great dynamic phones.  [/size]
 
[size=medium]Also, I already know the Lyr will not drive both conventional dynamic phones and the HE500’s well – that’s based on “testimony” from the highest and most knowledgeable levels.  The Lyr has way too much power to mate well with low to moderate impedance dynamic phones, the noise floor is too high, and you have no usable range on the POT.  So… that’s not open to debate either – just move on.  [/size]
 
[size=medium]So… I’m looking for a SS or Hybrid amp, with about 1.5+W and <1 ohm impedance, with high current output, preferably with class A operation.  [/size]
 
[size=medium]I’m not sure what that leaves… not much, I know… but, surely something.  [/size]
 
[size=medium]I’ve kinda focused down to the EF5 (though that may not be class A operation), and maybe something from Audio-gd.  Though, there may be something else, I haven’t focused on yet.  With regard to Audio-gd, I am not interested in any of their DAC units in combo with their Head amps.  I’ve already got one of the best DAC’s available at any price.  [/size]
 
[size=medium]I suppose a Beta 22 might fit the bill – but, that’s more than $1,000.[/size]
 
[size=medium]What about the M3 – does it have enough power to elevate the HE500’s?[/size]
 
[size=medium]From my research, I rather suspect, I’m down to the EF5, and the Beta 22, and maybe some of the Audio-gd amps – though, those with sufficient power to drive the HE500’s to their optimum, suffer from the same limitations as the Lyr, except some of them do have adjustable gain, which helps some, but colors the signal a bit.[/size]
 
[size=medium]And… maybe… there is no “all-in-one” solution – my demands may be unrealistic.  It just may be that only a dedicated amp is sufficient to elevate the performance of the HE500’s (e.g. Lyr, Audio-gd something, or integrated speaker amp, like a NAD, etc.).   If that’s the case, then I may not be an HE500 kinda guy – I may be too inflexible / frugal to make that investment for a nominal improvement in their sound.     [/size]
 
[size=medium]Thanks for any incite you may be able to provide… but… please let’s avoid the “defensive debates.”[/size]
 
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deadlylover

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An overbuilt M3 should have more than enough power, it's something like 1.8W into 33ohms.
 
Even moar power is available if you want it in balanced configuration. I personally don't see the point though, these are silly amounts of power anyway, but whatever floats your boat man. I'd just try something cheap and cheerful like a dynalo and see how that pans out.
 
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Happy Camper

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Check out the amp experiences for the 6s. You wouldn't need as much power but the 500s do use it. They are advertized as being more efficient than other HEs, just not enough for most headphone amps (as you have experienced). A speaker tap should be experienced before moving them on. I thought tubes were going to be the sweet spot but wound up with ss amps for better performance value.
 
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Gradofan2

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RE:  the "overbuilt M3" - what is that?  Is it just an M3... or... is it a modified M3, with greater output?  And... the point is... driving the HE500's to their optimum, which hopefully, will be significantly better than my other dynamic phones, and better than my current Millett Hybrid MiniMax drives them.  I should note... I'm very skeptical, that they can reach that level - just based on the Headphonia review. 
 
RE:  the amps for the HE6's - I have reviewed most of those threads also... and... I don't recall anything but speaker amps, and high powered amps, such as the Lyr - which don't really mate well with my other phones.  That's back to a dedicated amp for the HE500's - which I want to avoid. 
 
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I have the HE-500 for the exact same reason as you mention (sound signature) and my experience that they need som more power than initial thought off on different fora. My Burson 160D is OK for the HE-500, and more sensitive cans. However, the Violectric V200 has better synergy (and power) with the HE-500. The V200 is on the borderline of your stated budget, but based on you initial post and requirements to find ONE amp that technically can meet the HE-500s need and the rest of your portfolio of cans, I would strongly advise you to do some assessment of the V200. E.g. take a look at Violectric's home page and technical information.
 
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Gradofan2

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Quote:
I have the HE-500 for the exact same reason as you mention (sound signature) and my experience that they need som more power than initial thought off on different fora. My Burson 160D is OK for the HE-500, and more sensitive cans. However, the Violectric V200 has better synergy (and power) with the HE-500. The V200 is on the borderline of your stated budget, but based on you initial post and requirements to find ONE amp that technically can meet the HE-500s need and the rest of your portfolio of cans, I would strongly advise you to do some assessment of the V200. E.g. take a look at Violectric's home page and technical information.

OK... I didn't realize they were priced at about $1,000 USD - I thought they were much more expensive.  Yes... it would seem that is a very good option. 
 
Why not the V181 - isn't it pretty much the same amp, except it offers a balanced output jack?   OK... I've seen the reviews and understand the V200 is just a bit beefier in the PSU and has a much higher damping factor to help control the drivers... and... it appears to use discrete, direct coupled mosfets.
 
Upon review ot the various reviews and the specs the V200 (or the V181) seems to meet all the requirements - perfectly!   I think my search has ended - seems like a "no brainer."
 
Thanks for educating me.
 
 
 
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PM me for a builder for the beta22 that should fit within your budget. It will probably be a three channel single chassis but will still sound terrific and will be an excellent build.
 
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zenpunk

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The Meier Concerto should just fit your requirements. The HE-500 sounded superb with it but you might have to push the volume close to max if you listen to uncompressed or classical recordings. I experienced no clipping or distortions even when pushed that hard.
 
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I'd say EHHA rev A would be worth looking into, if you can find a builder it would cost way less than 1000.  The mosfet version sounds fantastic with the AD2000, it's the first time I really loved that phone.  It also sounds great with grados and it's regarded as a great ortho amp, the only exception would be the HE6 because they are so power hungry.  I'm not sure about the HD650, but I imagine it would be a good match because the EHHA is so neutral and fast, and speed is the one thing missing from the HD650. 
 
Another thing that came to mind are the Maple Tree amps, which are supposed to be good with Grados so I'd assume the AD2000 and HE500 would work as well.  Though maybe not the HD650 so much. 
 
 
 
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Buy two $300 Dynalos and balance them. You might be able to commission that for $400.

That would be a Dynamid, or Gilmore Reference. Back In The Day, it used to be considered one of the finest amps available. I don't see why it wouldn't still be an excellent amp.
 
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Gradofan2

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I'm giving the EF-5 a try to see what it does for the HE-500's - it was priced right and readily available. 
 
The HE-500's do sound great with this amp - as you would expect.   And... so do most of my other phones, except for the MD5000's - they become too harsh and strident. 
 
With only 2 hrs on the amp, it still sounds a bit hard in the upper mids, lower highs.  That may soften with burn in. 
 
The HE-6 OCC cable also has helped improve the sound.
 
And... while the HE-500's are impressive... perhaps, just a bit moreso, than my other phones... I'm still not certain, they're $500+ more impressive - the "new version HD580m's do sound superb, also.  The most significant difference may be the slightly more weighty sound of the HE-500's, because of their mid-bass hump.  Too some this may make them too "thick" sounding.  I'm still trying to decide, if I do - I tend to think, I might like the upper bass to sound tighter, as on my "new version" HD580m's, AD2000s, and RS-1's. 
 
So... I'm trying to decide whether their sound is worth trying the v200 for... or... if the v200 might elevate them even moreso, and tighten the bass up a bit.   
 
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I suggest a Beta 22 (either 2 or 3 channel) with Sigma22 PSU, set to a gain less than 6. My 2 channel Beta 22, at gain 2, drives my Beyer T1s and LCD-2s very well at 12 o'clock volume pot position (~86db normal listening level, I can also use ES3Xs custom IEMs with said Beta22 at 9 o'clock).  To my ears, with LCD-2s, Beta22 is noticeably better than my previous M3.     
 
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Gradofan2

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Quote:
I suggest a Beta 22 (either 2 or 3 channel) with Sigma22 PSU, set to a gain less than 6. My 2 channel Beta 22, at gain 2, drives my Beyer T1s and LCD-2s very well at 12 o'clock volume pot position (~86db normal listening level, I can also use ES3Xs custom IEMs with said Beta22 at 9 o'clock).  To my ears, with LCD-2s, Beta22 is noticeably better than my previous M3.     

Yes... no doubt the B22, or V200, would help... but... I don't know if they would help enough, and I don't have the patience to wait and try those. 
 
They would have to eliminate the thick, syrupy sound of the bass and lower mids... and... I'm skeptical that they might do that. 
 
 
 
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Isn't the EF5 known to have those sound characteristics?
 
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