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Consensus on <$500 amp with RS1 synergy?

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by jerikl, Apr 11, 2011.
  1. jerikl
    It seems that if you're willing to spend around ~$700-900, the MAD Ear+ gets the vote almost every time. But what about less than $500, and preferably less than $400? What amp, preferably tube-based, synergizes well with the Grado RS1 headphones?
     
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    On a sidenote, I'm finally getting around to upgrading my iBasso D1 / SR225 combination, which has been absolutely amazing. The setup really came together after hiflight's recommendation of the LT6234 / AD746 / LMH6643 opamp combination. Very smooth, warm, tube-like sound and improves the soundstage of the SR225s considerably.
     
    I also have an iBasso D10 with the topkit, and I'm actually not as impressed with it as much as I am the D1. It just doesn't have the musicality that the D1/SR225 combo has. I threw my friend's RS1s in the mix, trying to decide between the D1 and the D10, and it became even more confusing. The RS1s are definitely better, but I think I almost preferred the D1/SR225 combination more than the D1/RS1 combo, and maybe even the D10/RS1 combo. Just more musical. The opamps in the D1 throw a wide soundstage that really helps the SR225s, but becomes TOO wide with the RS1s. The D10/RS1 combo was better in most cases. I was only able to listen casually for 20-30 minutes, and I didn't take notes so this is just off the top of my head two weeks later.
     
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    I've come across the HiFiMan EF2, Millett Hybrid, Little Dot I+, and maybe a few others that I can't think of right now. But what synergizes well with the RS1s? Bonus if it has a DAC, but I'll probably use the D10 as a DAC otherwise.
     
  2. Uncle Erik Contributor
    Grados need a low output impedance from an amp. That's tough to find with tubes unless you have output transformers. Good output transformers start around $200 a pair and you don't want the cheap ones.

    If you have to have tubes, you might want to consider a tube hybrid amp. Some will give you a nice, low output impedance. Otherwise, think about a good solid state amp in that price range. It's hard to go wrong with a nice Dynalo.
     
  3. jerikl
    Thanks Uncle Erik! I was thinking a tube hybrid would be the answer for <$500, but forgot to mention hybrids in the original post. I've heard great things about Grados paired with the DynaLo. I'm up for some DIY, but I'd probably need a guide similar to Tangent's CMOY guide to actually finish the build. A printed circuit board would certainly help. But what are some of the commercial builders who use the design?
     
  4. wae5
     

    I listen to my RS1is powered by the Little Dot MKIV SE amplifier & I'm extremely pleased with this combination. This amp costs about $440 delivered to the US. I believe Uncle Eric thinks this combination has impedance matching problems but it will work well enough for me until upgraditous strikes again.
     
    http://www.littledot.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=820&sid=bbd5bf56bb77d8bb6741a279e49bd99c
     
  5. Happy Camper
    Millet Hybrids
    Mapletree
    Pico Slim
    Grado RA-1
     
     
  6. tme110
    wait for a used MAD

     
     
     
  7. jerikl
    So it seems there's not a consensus on a lower priced amp for Grados.
     
    I have a HiFiMan EF2 on the way -- gonna do some tests between the D1 / D10 / EF2 with the RS1, keeping whichever I like the best, and selling the rest. If it turns out to be the D1 or D10, I'll either be doing some DIY or saving up for the MAD Ear+.
     

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