DT 990 Pro 250 and HD558 good amp pairings
Oct 10, 2015 at 2:46 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 9


Jul 5, 2014
  I just stepped into the beginner stages of the world of Hi-Fi audio last year when I purchased the DT 990 and an Asus Essence ST to drive it .. I thought it was the best thing I've ever heard  (My previous best was $100 Bose and monster headphones) --   I couldn't even stand to go back to lesser headphones after being spoiled by it. I'm wondering if I'll think the same of my current Senns & Beyer if I ever step up to HD800 territory?
  Well, a year in, I still love my beyers - though I'm finding the overly bright sound to be a little grating after a while, causing a bit too much fatigue.  I was just at Frye's Electronics yesterday and made an impulse buy of the Senn HD558 for $130 -- Figuring I might regret it , only to be blown away yet again. The audio has so much more fullness and silky smooth texture to it than my Beyer -- I didn't know if I'd like warmer cans but now I'm figuring out what my tastes are. 
 I still haven't had the perfect amp to bring out the best potential in the Beyer though, so my next step is to pick up a Tube or better solid state amp.  I'd like something that will be a good pair for both of my cans and also have the potential to drive much more demanding headphones I may end up getting in the future. (Possibly Senn HD800 for endgame) .. Here is what I'm looking into,  if anyone has any experience with these pairings, would love to hear your take:
* Schiit Modi/Magni 2  -- I ran out of room in my computer case for the Essence ST , so I picked up a Schiit fulla DAC/AMP usb dongle. Only potential drawback is that I've heard some people say it makes their HD558 sound a bit too muddy.
* Geek Out or Geek Out V2 - I hear it has a tube-like sound, which I think I'll like a lot.. Plus I have a LOT of 192khz audio my fulla won't play, so would be nice to have ability to natively play all my high res audio , with headroom to boot in case I ever get into DSD .
* Burson Soloist SL -- $650 is a lot of money for me but I may take the plunge if it's the last headphone amp I'll ever need and capable of pushing any headphone I throw at it.
I've also considered building a bottlehead crack , but I'm not so sure the 558 will get any benefit from it and I'd like something that will work well with both of cans. I'm thinking the Geek out or Soloist might be a better match since it has variable output, so less likely to overdrive the 558 like I've heard the Schiit gear does.
Oct 10, 2015 at 3:35 PM Post #2 of 9
Budget wise, I'd switch the Modi/Magni to a Modi2/Vali combo. Never owned the 990 but still own my DT880 600 ohm and owned the 558 for some time. For the price, the Vali did an exceptional job of driving both the 558 and DT880 and smoothed out the high end of the DT880's as well.  Vali has enough juice to power most cans out there and is suppose to be a great starter amp for the HD800.
No experience with the Geek Out produce but the Soloist is an amazing all in one unit and it has the stuff to very well be an end game DAC/Amp for most. The fact that its all in one was the only thing that made me go to a Schiit stack instead. I enjoy the idea of being to change a component at a time if need be. With that said, if the Soloist is an option, and you plan on dedicating some time and money into the hobby, switch my previous recommendation to a Bifrost/Vali combo. Bifrost is upgradable and Schiit has shown its dedication to keeping the DAC alive and current. Base Bifrost is $400, Vali is $120, cheaper than the Soloist. Vali isn't as comprehensive of an amp, but it really is a fantastic sounding little tube amp for the money and you can always upgrade later. I should have never have sold mine.
Oct 11, 2015 at 1:34 AM Post #3 of 9
Appreciate the advice .. I wish I had somewhere close to sample the gear before buying! So many great options.. I'm very close to deciding on the Bitfrost/Vali combo -- That way I can try a tube setup without spending an arm and a leg , then perhaps upgrade to the Woo WA7 and Grado RS1 if I like what I hear.  I assume the bitfrost will more than make up for where the WA7 lacks in the DAC department.
Oct 11, 2015 at 2:04 AM Post #4 of 9
Woo fireflies? I've only auditioned them, but if it's in your sights/budget, grab it and don't look back. All in one or not, they did everything right and are an amazing setup.
Oct 12, 2015 at 3:41 AM Post #6 of 9
If you happen to buy a good amplifier like the Burson, plug the DT990s back in and see what you've been missing. The Beyers are not easy to drive, and the lack of proper feeding results in the performance you described. Good luck.

Curious... Do you think the Soloist is a better option for high impedance Beyers over the Fireflies?
Oct 12, 2015 at 10:18 AM Post #8 of 9
Annnnd just caught my mistake for mixing up the Soloist for the Conductor. Sorry about that.
Oct 13, 2015 at 12:20 AM Post #9 of 9
After spending the last couple days reading reviews and watching youtube, I've finally narrowed it down to two options for a luxurious Christmas gift to myself:
Hi-Fiman He500  or the WA7 Fireflies.
I was close to deciding on the Burson, but I think I'll be more satisfied with the musicality of a tube amp.  I plan on eventually getting both the He500 and WA7 but
it'll take me a few months,  Just gotta figure which to go with first. (i.e. which will give the most enjoyment and wow-factor) 

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