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Best amp/dac for hd 650's?

  1. ultramabi
    Hey guys I'm getting some sennheiser hd650s and need an amp/dac. What would you guys recommend? Also should I get it separately or as an amp/dac combo? Sorry guys I'm kind of new to amps/dacs as this will be the first time spending money on them.
  2. AudioThief
    Well, the HD650s scale very well so the "best" could potentially be extremely expensive. I think for the HD650s you want a lot of power (wattage) but with a low output impedance. The HD650s I believe have quite big jumps in impedance so to really get the most out of them you need a lot of power from your amplifier.
  3. Alexein Aner
    Budget, use, and listening preferences?

    Also, are the HD 650's your end game or do you intend to upgrade in the future?
  4. serman005
    Do you want all in one or separates?
  5. cossix
    If you can give us a budget, it'll be easier to help. For a beginner, I'd recommend a Schiit Stack (Modi 2 and Magni 2). It's very hard not to love how they sound, and for 200 bucks total it's an absolute bargain. Another option in the same league is the O2 amp dac combo unit. A step up from those is the Schiit Jotunheim. I use the Jot with balanced dac module ($500 total) with my balanced 650 and it adds a bit of brightness to the top end which I like. The 650 has a very relaxed sound and the Jot keeps that mostly the same but adds a little extra sparkle and a LOT of separation with the Balanced setup. I wouldn't bother going any higher on the gear than the Jotunheim honestly. At that point it's time to try a different headphone.
    phattio likes this.
  6. ultramabi
    Thank you for your replies, I'm planning on spending 1k or under including the headphones. I was thinking about getting the schiit modi multi bit 2 and the vali2 or should I get the Valhalla 2? Also what would be the smarter choice, getting the jotunheim or getting the amp/dac separately? I'm looking for the most versatile option and bang for buck as I also do plan to upgrade in the future if possible.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2017
  7. cossix
    You could go for Modi Multibit, Jotunheim amp only, and a balanced cable for the 650. Should be about 1k.

    If you want to save 150 bucks you can always just get the Jot with the dac and call it a day, but that sacrifices the ability to easily upgrade. To be fair, the Jot dac is very good and upgrading past that setup will probably only give a very small increase in sound quality.

    Out of everything, I would suggest Jot with balanced dac, balanced cable, hd650. Then you can sidegrade Valhalla 2 when you want to try tubes, and run that from the Jot dac. This way you can have two amp options to suit your mood, and tons of outputs from the Jot if you want to do powered speakers as well. They call Jotunheim a complete desktop solution, and for damn good reason. It's endgame for my 650 and lcd2 and I couldn't be happier with it
    phattio likes this.
  8. ultramabi
    Um sorry for the stupid question but what's the passive phono option for the jotunheim 2 if you know by any chance? And also can I ask where you got your balanced cable? Sorry for asking too many questions.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2017
    Investment $1000 incl Hd650 (ref. $350) so for amp and remaining is ~$650.
    You can try Aune S16. Dont forget trying.
    Other option is DV336SE and change tubes. You can dig in this forum there is existing thread.
    Note :
    1)S16 has balance out. Dv336se doesnt.
    2)hd650 is clearly better in balance mode.
    If over budged so no balance cable order, you can just order 2 XLR-3 connectors from Neutrik (~$10/ pc) then cut 6.3mm TRS jack of stock cable, weld two xlr3
  10. cossix
    Photo is input from a turntable, so I doubt you'd need that :p Also I got mine from eBay, it's CorpseCable. 80 bucks I think. No reason to spend 300 on a cable just because it has a different termination. Mine was hand made from the original stock cable, they just added the XLR termination, so it doesn't mess with the sound compared to stock. It makes a huge difference going balanced and it sounds great :)
  11. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    It's for a TT. While the equivalent of a DAC chip on that is more like the cartridge, it still needs an output stage like a CDP/DAC after teh DAC chip, but more often than not they're not built into TTs. They're either stand alone units or built into integrated amps for speakers. Jotunheim is basically like a receiver, except it's too small and can only take the phono pre or the DAC stage one at a time.
  12. chef8489
    As the op is new to all this you need to read up and research balanced vs single ended headphones before going down that route. Everyone is dragging the op down the rabbit hole and you dont even know the quality of his audio files. Most likely balanced would not be the best option for the op.
  13. ultramabi
    If I were to go a different route what would you recommend?

    Also if I decide on just getting the schiit stack2, should I get magni2 or magni2 uber for the amp? (Is it worth the extra money for the uber version of the magni2?). I heard from somebody that one of the uber versions aren't worth it. Can't remember if it's the magni2 uber or the modi2 uber.

    I'm trying to narrow it down to these options:
    1) modi multibit with magni2 or magni 2 uber
    Or bitfrost multibit with the valhalla2
    Or the jotunheim with balanced dac?
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
  14. chef8489
    First I would ask what quality is your music at? What type of music do you like? Do you already have the hd650 and i not what drover you to that choice? If you are new to the whole hifi and are running from a pc it is hard to beat the modi multi bit and magni2 or vali 2 especially for the price. You can even find the multibit for around 225 on here used in perfect condition. You get pretty much everything the bitfrost offers for much less minus the upgradability. The vali 2 has the benifit of being able to tube roll. You can have it sound similar to the magni 2 with the stock tube or change it with nos vintage tubes or even new Russian tubes depending on what sound you are going for.

    The Valhalla 2 is a straight up tube amp and lots of fun. Only downside to that over the vali 2 is if you have a pair of phones that dont work well with tubes. With the vali 2 being a hybrid and the stock tube you can get a ss like sound.

    The Jotunheim with dac is a great amp and dac if you are going balanced. If not going balanced you are not really gaining anything over the others and with balanced all you are doing is separating the ground and gaining more power. It is still a huge debate on weather you actually gain sonic performance in this day and age or not. Just like with a power cord upgrade. Thats why I recommend you doing research on the subject and if you dont already have superior source of music then it wont make a hill of beans of difference anyhow.

    Where are you located?
  15. ultramabi
    Ty for your reply, I'm not exactly sure what quality my music is at but I listen to everything except for country. Also I chose to get the hd 6xx on massdrop because they seem like a bargain to me. I was also thinking about getting hifiman he400is instead. Is going balanced difficult to do or do you just need the balanced cable? Sorry I'm a newbie regarding this. Also, I live in California, in the U.S.

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