I have been convinced that the 650 is the best closed headphone for my needs (and possibly one of the best closed headphones!). Now the only thing left to decide is what kind of amp to drive it. I have heard much from Jan on the Porta Corda II, but just wanted all opinions. Also, since they are only 75 ohm cans, how good will they sound straight out of a normal jack (specifically the headphone out on a Klipsch Promedia 5.1 system)? Thanks so much in advance!
Herr Babelfish der Übersetzer, he wore a whipped-cream-covered tutu for this title.
Jan 1, 2002
By best amp do you mean best portable amp? You have to be careful asking those kind of questions. "Best" implies a certain willingness to spend exhorbant amounts of money.
Let me state this one generalization--If you don't NEED portability in an amplifier, get a home based one instead. Portability inherits some limitations on the sound quality and is a built in compromise.
I've heard the Porta Corda (original model) and I've heard one that was pretty "tricked out" by KurtW that sounded much better. Still, neither of these sounded remotiely as good as the Corda HA-1 or META42. And in home based amps, I can name a LOT of amps I like better than these two.
If portability is necessary for you, which I'm assuming, the best I have heard so far is the prototype PDAC by aos. As an amp, it is on par with the META42 and Cosmic (all are roughly equal with certain people slightly preferring certain aspects of one or the other) but with the inclusion of a digital to analog converter can improve the crappiest of source, including of course portable ones. If you need portable and you're unwilling to wait for the PDAC, the best commercial amp is the Cosmic Reference ($950) and the best DIY one now is probably the META42 that can probably be made for you for under $200. Contact JMT to ask about those--he's quite the expert at building portable amps. The Porta Corda is a good value for a commercial amp at its pricepoint so if you need something you can take onto an airplane without risking a full cavity search, the PCII is probably the way to go. Otherwise, of course there's better.
I've been listening to my Ultrasone 650 with a modified Corda HA-1 for the past week and really enjoying it.