Desperately seeking sound advise.
Nov 3, 2016 at 2:04 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16

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Hi folks, I'm kind of a noob. I've recently gotten back into vinyl after a really long hiatus(15years). I bought an at lp120 and this should surprise no one but the onboard preamp is garbage. I've been using the preamp feature in my klipsch speakers and it sounds ok. Second wrinkle. I'm looking to kind of take some steps into headphone audio. Out of necessity really. My turntable and speakers have been in my work area in the basement. The place I work with wood. It's set away and fairly well isolated but still finding wood dust on my lp's. I'm moving it all upstairs into an armoire type thing I'm building. I have a toddler I want to keep out of it without supervision. I'm going to hog out the onboard preamp and connect it to a separate preamp, connect that to a headphone amp and those to headphones. That being explained... There's so much gear out there. Which preamp? Which headphone amp? While there's more reviews than can be counted, I'd like an some recommendations based on use. I'm looking for kind of neutral amplification. I'm looking to experiment with different headphones based on music genre, etc. I'd like the headphone amp to be able to drive phones of different resistancesin the $200 to 500 range. I'm considering the Schiit audio Asgard 2 for its robust appearance, versatility and the US build. As far as phono preamp goes there's just too many, all reported to sound amazing. For the preamp I'm budgeting $200. I've been creeping the forums for a few weeks, so much information.....So much gear. So many knowledgeable people. In the quest for solid recommendations this is where I thought I'd get them. Which head amp? Which preamp? Why? Thank you to all who take the time to read and offer their expertise. Good day.
 
Nov 3, 2016 at 3:10 PM Post #2 of 16

Muinarc

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The Bellari VP130 phono preamp also has a modest headphone amp built into it. I had the prior VP129 model and I thought it was a great phono pre.
 
Nov 3, 2016 at 3:31 PM Post #3 of 16

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I've seen the bellari in several weeks places with mixed reviews but nonetheless see it as a favorable option. I am not familiar with the effect tube sound has on musical reproduction. Does it color the sound. I've read the add "warmth". I'm not an audiophile by any stretch and probably never will be. That said I'm looking to start with something neutral. I don't want to use the word reference but there it is. Something that gives me as accurate a reproduction as my current table is able to provide, inside of a budget. Does that one little tune color it? I'm not rejecting the recommendation. I'm fairly ignorant of what the tube will do other than what I've read. Confession: Mostly on Amazon. Hence I'm here.
 
Nov 3, 2016 at 3:50 PM Post #4 of 16

Muinarc

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Not a problem. Tubes can add warmth but so can a solid state (tubeless if you will) amplifier, it really all comes down to the design, and some designers and their customers like a little color in the sound.
 
I completely understand your trepidation since you are starting at the bottom floor of Mt. HiFi. That being said, I didn't find the bellari to be overtly warm and "tubey".
 
If you want to forego the tubes, I'd probably be looking at something like a Musical Fidelity or Pro-Ject phono pre, those are also great low-cost options.
 
Nov 3, 2016 at 4:21 PM Post #5 of 16

Monsterzero

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A cheaper,possibly better and all inclusive option is getting a vintage receiver(pre 1980s)

some have great phono stages and also make great headphone amps too.

I sold off all my vinyl years ago,but im sure someone on this thread can assist you

http://www.head-fi.org/t/537704/calling-all-vintage-integrated-receiver-owners/16695#post_12981955
 
Nov 4, 2016 at 11:09 PM Post #6 of 16

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Currently bidding now on a vintage pioneer integrated, thank you to those with some solutions for me and the guidance to the other thread. I'll have more questions as time goes on as I don't assume this to be my end all be all but thank you for the information.
 
Nov 5, 2016 at 12:42 AM Post #7 of 16

atarione

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Currently bidding now on a vintage pioneer integrated, thank you to those with some solutions for me and the guidance to the other thread. I'll have more questions as time goes on as I don't assume this to be my end all be all but thank you for the information.


I'm a big fan of vintage stereo gear... especially Pioneer
 
however if you are going the vintage route there are some things you'll probably want to check out when (assuming you win the auction) it arrives..
 
one important one is to check the DC offset before risking nice speakers with it... unless it has been professionally restored / refurbished.
 
http://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/amplifier-distortion-dc-offset-and-you.5634/
 
and you'll probably want to get yourself some Dexoit and give the various switches and pots a cleaning .. which will be needed from time to time with these older things.
 
http://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/the-idiots-guide-to-using-deoxit-revisited.207005/
 
Nov 5, 2016 at 2:32 AM Post #8 of 16

Monsterzero

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Currently bidding now on a vintage pioneer integrated, thank you to those with some solutions for me and the guidance to the other thread. I'll have more questions as time goes on as I don't assume this to be my end all be all but thank you for the information.


mind telling me which model youre looking at?

As far is it not being your "end all" set-up,perhaps not for headphones,but if you land a good receiver I thhink you will be quite surprised as to how good it sounds and drives headphones.

I started with a 1200.00 tube amp to drive headphones,traded it away and now use an old Sansui that i paid 110.00 delivered+125.00 for cleaning,light replacement and all the trimmings that go with a nearly 50 year old piece of equipment and Im much happier than I ever was with my "new,pricey stuff"
 
Nov 5, 2016 at 2:34 AM Post #9 of 16

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@atarione, hadn't planned to connect speakers to this at all. I've got a very adventurous/endlessly curious toddler that climbs. Intending this to drive headphones until I reach a point the impedance of the headphones used exceeds the amps ability to drive them. Will DC offset effect that? I'm unfortunately the only person in my household remotely interested in audio....except the toddler. Mp3's and earbuds satisfies everyone else. Another reason for the move to headphone audio. I listen mostly at night and my powered speakers keep the spouse awake. I've done some reading regarding deoxit in the pots and fully intend to do such. Reading the vintage post one gets the strong impression there is some regular maintenance these units require. Really kind of looking forward to a vintage machine. My dad had an enormous pioneer system when I was a kid, so nostalgia played a definite role in choosing/bidding this int. amp.
Does anyone have any ideas what kind of headphone impedance these older machines can drive? The current owner reported the headphone stage sounded "clean" which is good but I don't think he was any more versed as to the power handling vs impedance r/t headphone output. Its a pioneer sa 510. Lower end as far as my internet research can deduce. All information is appreciated.
 
Nov 5, 2016 at 2:45 AM Post #10 of 16

Monsterzero

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Folks over on AudioKarma seem to like it,but yeah it does seem to be a low end model,and digital(bleh)tuner.Made in early 80s,not sure if this is gonna drive headphones like the early/mid 70s stuff,but it might.

Pioneers tend to have a bright sound signature"etched glass" as ive heard it described by others.If youre not heavily invested in this particular model, I might recommend looking at older stuff....

I prefer Sansui which is kinda in the middle of sound sig.,Marantz being the warmest of the "Big 3".

If you give us a budget i can try and recommend a receiver that will drive everything and anything you toss at it(except electrostats)

EDIT: Its also worth noting that Sansui,Concept,Marantz and some Pioneer models not only have a bass and treble adjustement,but mid-range as well,which can really help adjust a headphone's sound,and dont push that "loudness" button...the bass can get quite addicting!
 
Nov 5, 2016 at 3:09 AM Post #13 of 16

Monsterzero

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For reference I own an AKGK340,which for a long time was considered to be the hardest headphone in the world to drive...cant get my Sansui volume past 9 o'clock on it.

My three AKG240 sextetts get to about 8:30 on volume before it becomes head splitting.

My HE-500 also a very hard headphone to drive takes her up to half way before volume is un-bearable.

Unless youre driving an HE-6 the receiver i sent you in PM will drive it ...promise!

and if you do end up with an HE-6 just connect it to speaker taps in back
 
Nov 15, 2016 at 9:34 PM Post #15 of 16

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Got the Pioneer sa510 amplifier two days ago, received my audio technica ad700x headphones this evening as well as a little surprise from my spouse. An onkyo cp1050. Hooked everything up and the phones sound wonderful. I'm to sure how to describe it. My experience has been over ear phones from years ago bought from a big box store that will remain unnamed and earbuds. So I'm at a loss to report the results of my first foray into headphone audio. Immersed is a word that comes to mind. I know the ad700x's are not particularly high impedance, I think around 38 ohm but I drove the phones to ear splitting volume (around 11 o'clock) without and distortion audible to me. Just wonderful sound. However while temporarily sated I know this is just the first of many. The appetizer to a multiple course meal. It makes me curious just how great, great can really get. Thanks to everyone for helping me with advice on this first pitch up Mt. HIFI.
 

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