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DT880 Amp Choice

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by ninjasquirt, Sep 9, 2011.
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  1. NinjaSquirt
    I'm currently looking for an amp to drive the Beyerdynamics DT880 headphones. The primary candidates I've read up on are the Schiit Valhalla/Lyr, Little Dot Mark III, and the Woo Audio 2/6.
    I would like some advice/impressions from people who've auditioned or own any of these amps and if possible the headphones as well on how well the combo goes together.
    Also, if you have any alternate suggestions that you think will definitely be better please tell me as well.
    If it helps, I'm playing ALAC files from my PC using the HT|Omega Claro Halo sound card as a DAC and I'm looking for an analytical sound with a wide soundstage.
    Thank you in advance.
  2. grmnasasin0227
    Right off the bat, there's a lot of price discrepancies. Can you explain your reasoning, or are you simply after the best pairing possible?
  3. Myxomatosis
    Don't know for the other amps, but I got the DT 880 600ohm with a WA6 (Sophia Princess rectifier + V-Caps), and it's magic :)
  4. NinjaSquirt

    Now that I look at it, there is quite difference in prices. I guess the best pairing possible is always a good answer but mainly it's just because these are the top recommendations based on consensus of Head-Fi members.


    Thank you, considering the reviews for the WA6, I'm not surprised. What genres do you mainly listen to?
  5. captouch
    Which ohm version do you have?  For the 600ohm version like I have, I've heard OTL tube amps are recommended since you need voltage vs current to drive them properly.
    I'm kind of in the same boat (looking for best match), but I don't want to spend more than $300-400.  I already have the Hifiman EF5, which they sound good with, but because I've never tried an OTL tube amp with them, I just wonder whether they could/should sound better.  I also have the NFB-12 (DAC/amp), which sounds only OK to me (DAC sounds good, HP amp is only OK for my cans).
    I'm currently considering the Bottlehead Crack (maybe with Speedball upgrade) as I've heard many good things about it and I think it's great bang for buck since it's a DIY kit.
  6. dyl1dyl
    Depends a lot on your budget, but out of the few you listed above, the woo audio 2, 6 and valhalla would be great with the 600ohm dt880s though the lyr may be pretty good too.
  7. grmnasasin0227
    Just for clarification purposes, if we're talking about the WA6/WA2 comparison, the "proper" comparison is the WA6SE because the 6SE and WA2 are at practically identical price points while the WA6 "standard" is $400 cheaper.

    The WA6 and WA6SE aren't totally comparable.

    As for what to pick I'm a budget-first kind of guy. I'm not comfortable giving ideas unless you're comfortable talking about how much cash you're looking to throw down. This hobby can get very expensive very quickly and it sucks to have someone tell you "get this!" when something cheaper might do.
  8. Graphicism Contributor
    I use a Darkvoice 336i with my 880s and I haven't found anything better.
    Auditioned the LDIII which was poor, WooAudio 2 is on-par with the DV and that should say something considering the pricing difference. Should you find a 336 you will need to upgrade both tubes but we aren't talking more than another $100 tops. Tubes aside the difference between the DV and WA2 is that the WA2 handles lower impedance headphones better than the DV, there is a slight hum with less demanding phones, however if you wan't this soley for the purpose of driving the 600Ohm Beyers you can't beat it.
  9. NinjaSquirt

    Thank you for advice the LDIII. Considering it's price point and your advising against it, I'm definitely ruling it out. I will also definitely look into the DV suggestion. Can you give an impression of it on the 600 ohm DT880s?

    My budget is anywhere under $500 but I'm definitely ruling out the WA2/6SE as it's very over.

    My budget is anywhere under 500. Thanks for your advice. The Valhalla is my top contender.

    I am looking to drive the 600 ohm version. What I've read so far, the Schiit Valhalla is my top contender if the price point of the LDIII is any reflection on its performance. The WA2 is way over and WA6 is just a touch over.
    To all, thanks again for all your input. I've cut down the selection to just the Valhalla, Lyr which I guess makes it a lot easier... Considering the price of the Valhalla vs. Lyr and their reviews, its definitely the Valhalla. I guess this thread can be considered closed unless someone who's heard the DT880 600 ohm and Valhalla combo and wants to give their impressions.
  10. grmnasasin0227
    Why aren't you considering the WA3? It's within your budget and works VERY well with high-impedance cans.
  11. Graphicism Contributor

    Well my impression of the DV 336 with the DT880/600 is that it's the best I've heard to date, great soundstage, depth and impact. I've been through and auditioned an array of solid-state and tube amps and haven't heard a better sounding unit, the WA2 as I mentioned powers the Beyers just as well but you're paying a lot more for it.
    If you're considering the Valhalla with the DT880 I would seek the advice of someone who has heard both the Schiit and the Woo Audio because while they do have a large following I've also heard from those that don't think much of them.
  12. captouch
    Graphicism, you mentioned you added about $100 in tubes to the DV336i.  What specific tubes worked out best for you?

    Also, do you know if the 336i is the same as the 336SE?  I only see the 336SE available from eBay these days.  The La Figaro 336c appears identical in appearance as well.
    Have you heard (either the amp itself or feedback from others you trust) on how the DT880/600's go with the Bottlehead Crack?  
  13. NinjaSquirt

    It is within the range at $495 but after shipping (I assume there's no taxes). It'll be over $500. I'm not doubting its abilities or anything. The Valhalla just offers a lower price ($387 Shipped) brand new, and a 5 year guarantee. Frankly it just looks better (I know it is a very serious mistake to judge by look and just plain up stupid but its a human instinct). As I've read a direct comparison of the two, I just figure the Valhalla would be the better option economically. Also a WA3 review is scarce from my Google searches.
    Thank you for the impressions. Would you say that the Darkvoice has good bass? Because I know that the Valhalla is a little treble focused and lacking the traditional "tube sound." If this is not true of the Darkvoice, I would seriously consider it. Right now my main quirk right now is that the Valhalla is American made and comes with such a good warranty and a lighter punch on the wallet (The Darkvoice is just a little over Valhalla but tube rolling you said would add another $100 making it well overpriced compared to the Valhalla).
  14. Graphicism Contributor
    The Tung Sol 5998 is the must-have power tube for the 600 Ohm beyers, a massive step-up from stock, this in my opinion is what sets it apart from the tube-rolling possibilities of the LDIII. Drivers dictate the sound; 6SN7 Raytheon GT/VT-231 is my favorite for it's neutral yet detailed sound, 6sn7 Raytheon jan-crp getter is similar albeit slightly rounder with more low-end bass. Something like a 6sn7 Kenrad Jan-CKR 6SN7-GT would be a cheaper option for a decent driver tube, not quite as rich as the aforementioned but better than stock and other cheap russian tubes, electro-harmonix etc.
    As far as the different 336 variations go I believe they're all cosmetic but I haven't heard anything other than the 336i, the 336SE found on ebay looks thinner and cheaper to be honest... possibly built lighter for shipping.
    I haven't heard the Crack, like so many tube amps it comes down to the types of tubes you can roll with and might be limited with the crack. I have been interested in building one, possibly with the speedball upgrade for running lower impedance cans. I like the idea of varnishing the wood and painting the top.

    It Definitely has good bass, low and textured just the way I like it. It isn't emphasized like Denons or Ultrasones but accurate and fast. I listen to a lot of electronica which I will say can benefit from a colored sound like that of bass-heavy cans however being a stickler for detail and accuracy I put that first. Tubes like the 6sn7 Raytheon jan-crp Getter I suggested to captouch will give you additional bass should you desire.
  15. Chris J


    That's fantastic!
    I have a La Figaro 336C and am planning on getting a pair of DT880/990 shortly (I can't make up my mind which ones to get).
    Judging by what you say they will be 600 ohm versions.
    Thanks, C.
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