Choice of three amps for the HD650
Sep 11, 2009 at 3:30 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

n_squared

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Hi everyone. I've recently bought a pair of HD650s and need to get an amp. I'm choosing between the DAC1, the GD Audio Compass and the Graham Slee Solo. Anyone have any experience/options on these? Which would you recommend? Thanks in advance.
 
Sep 11, 2009 at 9:27 PM Post #2 of 14

GLdgShDjKsHT

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solo is the best choice
wink.gif
 
Sep 12, 2009 at 9:50 AM Post #3 of 14

Quaddy

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i personally wouldnt buy a dac1 just for headphone out!
(although, i, contrary to others beliefs have the pre and believe the hp out to be very good)

the dac1 a got a world class dac and makes a solid source in anyones setup and has a 'good' headphone out but maybe isnt top draw when compated to dedicated head amps.

so, if you dont currently have a DAC then get the dac1 as it will provide you with 2-in-one

if you have source/dac get another amp other than dac1 - if that makes sense!

have you considered little dot MK IV SE for the hd-650? this is supposed to match very well
 
Sep 12, 2009 at 2:51 PM Post #5 of 14

mrarroyo

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n_squared welcome aboard and sorry about your wallet. All three of the amps you list have their followers who are quite happy. I have listened to the DAC1 and currently own two Solo's an SRG and an SRGII. As stated above the DAC1 is a reasonably good DAC but not an spectacular on IMO nor is the headphone out an spectacular one either.

One factor to consider is where you are located. Most of us forget about it until the unit we purchase develops a problem and then it takes 6 weeks of travel/customs plus a lot of money to ship overseas. So if you are in the EU I would suggest the new version of the Graham Slee Solo SRGII, if in the USA the DAC1, if in Asia the GD.

Of course this is not based on a sound comparison (I have not listened to the GD and thus I can not comment), if you wish to truly compare you would have to attend a meet where all three units are present or purchase all three compare them and return the two you did not care for.

I should mention that Sennheiser used to showcase their HD650 w/ a Solo amp. Sorry I could not provide more detail, however even if I could your ears should make the call.
 
Sep 12, 2009 at 8:11 PM Post #6 of 14

n_squared

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ok I did not consider this. An inbuilt DAC would be better, as I don't want to buy loads of parts. I highly doubt having a headamp plus a seperate external DAC would be so different to an all-in-one anyway (although there seem to be people raving about the combo of DACMagic and Slee Slogo SRGII....). I guess this eliminates the Slee. On this vein, we are left with the DAC1 and the GD-Audio Compass. If you have any recommendations for a better dac/amp all-in-one, then let me know.
Just out of curiosity (i am new to all this), I am guessing the inbuilt soundcard in my Mac will have a basic DAC anyway, so why do people bother with an external one? Is the conversion simply more accurate?
 
Sep 12, 2009 at 8:31 PM Post #7 of 14

Superfrag

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The quality of the conversion is much higher. I'd also ask you to consider then HiFiMan EF1 .. as tubes go very well with HD650/HD600.
The Audio GD Compass is also a BRILLIANT SS Amp.. but just that tubes will do a more better job musically with the HD650.
 
Sep 12, 2009 at 8:38 PM Post #8 of 14

AtomikPi

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The DAC1 measures very well in its HP section and superbly in its DAC. It's probably a good starting point since you could always buy a fancier amp (or even a balanced amp) later. Some people like to criticize it because it's utterly neutral and they want "smooth" or "full" or whatever; if you don't want neutral don't get it. No offense to the compass, but I don't think it's in the same league as the DAC1.

The m90X should be competitive also, but I have barely listened to it so I'll just put the name out there.

High end all-in-ones aren't that common, really.
 
Sep 12, 2009 at 8:50 PM Post #10 of 14

AtomikPi

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Superfrag /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I think the DAC1 is in a different league than the other options.
You're talking about the Benchmark DAC1 right?



I think the DAC1 is in a different league from the compass (at least the dac section). Yes, I have heard both.
 
Sep 12, 2009 at 9:32 PM Post #12 of 14

n_squared

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im actually a girl. anyway, yeah I mean the Benchmark DAC1. I'm not interested in any options involving tubes, they seem far too problematic. So basically the advice is that I should just go for the DAC1?
 
Sep 12, 2009 at 9:53 PM Post #14 of 14

Quaddy

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another great thing about the dac1 pre, i cant speak for other dac1 iterations, is the fact that not only does it have two SE HP outputs, it has a balanced out as well if you want to try balanced for the first time, i am aware that technically the XLR out isnt advised to run headphones directly from due to its load characteristics but hell i ran my balanced marlk d5000 straight out of it often and for great duration to compare with my headroom balanced drive and to my ears it was mighty fine! - i think this was because of how well each output is specced and implemented by benchmark and how well it all measures - everythings clean as a whistle!

plus, i have gotten rid of all additional amps and gone back to 'basics' and will be using the dac1 pre hp out as my sole amp now, i should have trusted my ears a long time ago.

also consider lavry and grace units for a warmer less clinical ring to whatever you think you will be pairing it with, but the dac1 holds its value and reputation nicely for resale should it not be your cup of tea!
 

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