Desktop Amp recommendation for Sennheiser HD650s with a PeachTree DAC-ITx
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Hi, I'm looking for some recommendations for a desktop amp that would go well with the Sennheiser HD650s with a PeachTree DAC-ITx and a Macbook source. All suggestions are greatly appreciated. I don't really know how to distinguish a good amp from a bad one, and it's been many years since I've even looked at amps, so I'm hoping you guys can offer some advice. No need for portability, this is my desktop set-up, and I'm open to a wide range of price points.
Thank you in advance!
 
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My opinion the Bottlehead Crack is one of the best amps for a 650 bar none just it was made for it. It is a diy amp so it would have to be built or you sometimes see them for sale assembled but quite a bit more than what the kit costs . Another amp that I have that does a very good job with them is the Drop Cavalli Tube Hybrid . The Schiit Magni3 and JDS Labs Atom amps do have plenty of power to run them and own both but for me the Crack is definitely the best and the CTH in second. I have a bunch of amps kind of a “Gear Slut” and those 2 or what I would pick but just got a couple of more recently and haven’t really gave them a good try yet so there could be a couple of more I could recommend those being the Drop THX AAA 789 and Monoprice Liquid Platinum. The Platinum is my pick over the 789 for my 300 ohm ZMF Verites so it could be a contender as the Verites are a bit on the warm side as well but just not as much as the 650’s. It was a rough day at work today so don’t think I’ll do it tonight but maybe tomorrow or the next day if your interested? This will only be one mans opinion so take that for what it’s worth.
 
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My opinion the Bottlehead Crack is one of the best amps for a 650 bar none just it was made for it. It is a diy amp so it would have to be built or you sometimes see them for sale assembled but quite a bit more than what the kit costs . Another amp that I have that does a very good job with them is the Drop Cavalli Tube Hybrid . The Schiit Magni3 and JDS Labs Atom amps do have plenty of power to run them and own both but for me the Crack is definitely the best and the CTH in second. I have a bunch of amps kind of a “Gear Slut” and those 2 or what I wouuple of more recently ld pick but just got a coand haven’t really gave them a good try yet so there could be a couple of more I could recommend those being the Drop THX AAA 789 and Monoprice Liquid Platinum. The Platinum is my pick over the 789 for my 300 ohm ZMF Verites so it could be a contender as the Verites are a bit on the warm side as well but just not as much as the 650’s. It was a rough day at work today so don’t think I’ll do it tonight but maybe tomorrow or the next day if your interested? This will only be one mans opinion so take that for what it’s worth.
Oh man, thank you so much for the great reply! I'll check these out tonight and write back. In the past, I've had a Schiit Asgard 2, and I gets very hot. I'm wondering if all of these would get that hot? I've never used a tube amp, but I'm absolutely open to one (they look so cool!). Would most of these be a noticeable upgrade to the Asgard 2? If you think I'm chasing diminishing returns and would be better off spending the money on a different component, that would be great to know too! Thanks for all the advice! Much appreciated!
 
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buke9

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Just have to say I’ve heard every Schiit amp (other than the new Magnis and Hel) but haven’t heard a Asgard so truly can’t say for sure but I will go out on a limb and say I’m sure the Crack will sound better and probably the CTH as well. Most headphone amp get hot how much for you can’t say.
 
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Hi, I'm looking for some recommendations for a desktop amp that would go well with the Sennheiser HD650s with a PeachTree DAC-ITx and a Macbook source. All suggestions are greatly appreciated. I don't really know how to distinguish a good amp from a bad one, and it's been many years since I've even looked at amps, so I'm hoping you guys can offer some advice. No need for portability, this is my desktop set-up, and I'm open to a wide range of price points.
Thank you in advance!
If it's just for the HD600 or any other 250ohms or higher headphone: Darkvoice DV336se.

If you might want to use some other headphone later on: maybe look at a Meier Jazz FF.
 
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Hi, I'm looking for some recommendations for a desktop amp that would go well with the Sennheiser HD650s with a PeachTree DAC-ITx and a Macbook source. All suggestions are greatly appreciated. I don't really know how to distinguish a good amp from a bad one, and it's been many years since I've even looked at amps, so I'm hoping you guys can offer some advice. No need for portability, this is my desktop set-up, and I'm open to a wide range of price points.
Thank you in advance!
Budget?
 
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thk3421

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Thank you guys for all the great advice. I'm a little intimidated about assembling the Bottlehead Crack myself. From what I can tell: OTL tube amps are great for driving high impedance headphones like HD650s. Seems like a lot of people have tried the HD6xx and HD650s with the Schiit amps, particularly the Valhalla. I have the Asgard 2, and I'm really wondering how much improvement is really left to get by changing the amp. Perhaps I'm better off by upgrading a difference component?

Regarding budget: I'm willing spend more and would consider much more expensive equipment if the improvement is substantial.

My chain is: Macbook Spotify/Tidal --> Peachtree Dac ITx --> Asgard2 --> HD650. I have so many more questions on optimizing streaming sources, bitperfect output, DACs, headphone upgrades etc., but I should save them for other appropriate threads. Thank you all very much for your advice.
 
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Thank you guys for all the great advice. I'm a little intimidated about assembling the Bottlehead Crack myself. From what I can tell: OTL tube amps are great for driving high impedance headphones like HD650s. Seems like a lot of people have tried the HD6xx and HD650s with the Schiit amps, particularly the Valhalla. I have the Asgard 2, and I'm really wondering how much improvement is really left to get by changing the amp. Perhaps I'm better off by upgrading a difference component?
Non-OTL amps can also drive the HD600 and high impedance headphones just fine, it all depends on how much voltage they can kick out. Which is an easier job that producing current for low impedance, low sensitivity headphones.

The problem in your case isn't power or outright bad distortion but that relative to the usually more spacious presentation on good OTL amps the Asgard is the complete opposite. Tonal balance and dynamics are fine but you still end up exacerbating the small soundstage. Not that that's immediately a deal breaker on any other non-OTL amp, it's just that the Asgard really exacerbates its already small soundstage.

That said it if instead of outright asking what amp you should get (worse if we didn't know what you already had) you now ask what amp to upgrade to or what else you can upgrade, that depends on what you want to improve.
 
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Non-OTL amps can also drive the HD600 and high impedance headphones just fine, it all depends on how much voltage they can kick out. Which is an easier job that producing current for low impedance, low sensitivity headphones.

The problem in your case isn't power or outright bad distortion but that relative to the usually more spacious presentation on good OTL amps the Asgard is the complete opposite. Tonal balance and dynamics are fine but you still end up exacerbating the small soundstage. Not that that's immediately a deal breaker on any other non-OTL amp, it's just that the Asgard really exacerbates its already small soundstage.

That said it if instead of outright asking what amp you should get (worse if we didn't know what you already had) you now ask what amp to upgrade to or what else you can upgrade, that depends on what you want to improve.
Thanks for the useful feedback. I suppose it's not obvious to me what is left to improve, since I haven't listened to any other headphone systems. I had assumed that my amp was the weakest link in the chain, so that was where I started but that assumption may be false. I guess that's why I'm posting in the Help and Recommendations section, because I don't know enough about all the different equipment to make an educated guess at how to improve the system. One thing I'd like to improve (and it may not be the amp at all), is the ability to distinguish between Tidal Master tracks and Spotify. I've done a bunch of side-by-side listening to see if I can distinguish the lossless tracks from the compressed audio from Spotify, and the differences are essentially zero to me. Perhaps my DAC is configured incorrectly? Perhaps my overall level of gear cannot distinguish? Perhaps my ears are just not that discerning? People swear by the bit perfect lossless audio source from Tidal, so I figured I could try to tell, but I cannot. Would any changes in the components fix that? Or is it likely just a configuration issue and/or my own failing ears? Thanks for reading and helping me. Much appreciated!
 
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Thanks for the useful feedback. I suppose it's not obvious to me what is left to improve, since I haven't listened to any other headphone systems. I had assumed that my amp was the weakest link in the chain, so that was where I started but that assumption may be false. I guess that's why I'm posting in the Help and Recommendations section, because I don't know enough about all the different equipment to make an educated guess at how to improve the system. One thing I'd like to improve (and it may not be the amp at all), is the ability to distinguish between Tidal Master tracks and Spotify. I've done a bunch of side-by-side listening to see if I can distinguish the lossless tracks from the compressed audio from Spotify, and the differences are essentially zero to me. Perhaps my DAC is configured incorrectly?
Unless you hooked it up wrong and getting distortion and noise, not likely.


Perhaps my overall level of gear cannot distinguish?
I can tell Spotify from FLAC on most of my music with the HD600 and a decent amp.


Perhaps my ears are just not that discerning? People swear by the bit perfect lossless audio source from Tidal, so I figured I could try to tell, but I cannot.
This is the most likely reason.

For one all my friends prefer Grado and can't note imaging, at least on headphones. Some of them can on speakers but that's because I put them in front of Focal Stella Utopias in an acoustically dampened room.

And then there's what you listen to. Just because it's on Tidal doesn't mean it has a lot in there that will actually benefit from anything higher than regular lossless nor to be easily noticeable to most people compared to 320kbps VBR. An audiophile vocal album is less distinguishable to me in 320kbps VBR vs FLAC than metal, since the compression affects the lower and higher frequencies a lot more, and the former is mostly midrange frequencies. Metal would already have hollow-sounding kick drums that sound too vaguely in the rear long before you start affecting an audiophile vocal track, unless there's something really wrong like noise getting added.


Would any changes in the components fix that? Or is it likely just a configuration issue and/or my own failing ears? Thanks for reading and helping me. Much appreciated!
Since your own perception is still there it's difficult to guesstimate how well you will hear the difference.

Think of it like if we're debating between sticking with a Honda Accord or upgrading to an Audi and using only the butt dyno to claim the Audi slams you against your seat harder and conclude it's safer for overtaking...but then it turns out you don't overtake along narrow highways when you can see any oncoming traffic, making the additional torque on the engine pointless for how you use the vehicle (unless you need to pull a boat, then get a Chevy), so then when you finally take the Audi home you can't really feel it being any better.

Or heck, if you get audio gear with even lower distortion, sometimes you might hear the difference but hate it, because now you really hear the recording with less coloration. That's like upgrading from an Accord to an Audi RS4 and complain about the louder exhaust and stiffer suspension.
 
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I would say your DAC is current weakest link (which is why I suggested auditioning others in your other thread). That said, it could just as easily be that you don't like the sound signature of the HD650. Yes, it's a good headphone... but it may not be the right one for you.
 
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