First amp for 580s - Rega Ear or Pimeta?
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phonatic

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I've had my Sennheiser HD580 for several months - love 'em. But I don't yet have an amp. What should I get - Rega Ear or a Pimeta?
 
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Alex Altorfer

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Phonatic,

Well, I've never compared those two, but I suspect the PIMETA should sound better than the Rega Ear *if you build it with high quality parts*. The Rega Ear is a commercial brand item whereas the PIMETA is DIY, so if you choose the PIMETA make sure you put good stuff under the hood. All I can say from experience is that I love the sound of the Rega Ear, especially after acquiring the Rega Planet 2000. It's fast, clean, detailed, and clear. When I used a crappy source the Rega Ear sounded crappy as well, but that wasn't the amplifier's fault and should also happen with a PIMETA. What source are you planning to use with your new amp?

Cheers,
Alex
 
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phonatic

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I haven't anything too special yet... couple of old Sony PDCPs and a Yamaha CD player, all of which seem not bad under the current circumstances.

Maybe I shouldn't get an amp. :) Perhaps ignorance is bliss?
 
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Alex Altorfer

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Phonatic,

To be honest, the source you use does make a huge night and day difference. When I had a SONY CDP-CE375 redbook changer connected to the Rega Ear the sound was simply terrible. It was harsh, cold, and artificially digital. There was just no bass whatsoever. It was so fatiguing it actually caused my ears to hurt after a few minutes of music listening at relatively low volumes. There came a point when I just couldn't stand it anymore, and that's when I bought the Rega Planet 2000, barely a month after acquiring the Sony. The Planet sounds so beautiful it's mindboggling. It's warm, relaxed, natural, and musically toe tapping. There's no trace of digititis and no fatigue whatsoever. The bass now goes so low on the frequency spectrum it's a total joy. Really, this I have found out from personal experience: "garbage in, garbage out". A bad source will make your amp sound bad, and you might be tempted to blame the amp for it out of ignorance, as I myself initially did. I wouldn't advise you to get an amp without a decent source to pair it with. There's Rega and there's Cambridge and there's NAD and several others that are respected redbook source brands in this forum. There are also SACD sources, which may or may not compromise on redbook playback depending on price, but you can get the cheaper ones modded for you so they sound good with redbook as well. You should go out and audition yourself prior to purchase. Investing on a decent source is not only worthwhile, it's crucial IMHO. Search the forum on the brands I mentioned and read some impressions and reviews.

Cheers,
Alex
 
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phonatic

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Thanks for your detailed comments.

I've heard some good players through some good cans before; Rega Planet, Marantz CD-63 and CD-63SE, NAD, and the like. I'm not so sure that some of my stuff is enough worse to justify NOT having an amp, but your point is well-taken.

I could be deaf. :) Though my hearing tests pretty well. My current system sounds pretty good to me, but of course I'd always like to better it as I go. Unfortunately, I can't be buying a $600 CD player and a $200 amp just this moment, but I could probably swing the amp. Gotta start somewhere, right? :)

What would you do in my position?

Cheers,

phonatic
 
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Alex Altorfer

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Phonatic,

Well, considering that the PIMETA is very well appreciated on this forum and the Rega Ear is very satisfying to my ears, buying either one would not be a mistake IMHO. In your shoes I'd get the amp and pair it with Yamaha player and decide whether you like what you hear or not. If you don't, you can always get a used quality player for less than U$ 600,00. If you like the Yamaha but still feel it's not quite good enough, then you can start saving and buy a brand new source later.

Cheers,
Alex
 
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phonatic

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Thanks for your input! I'm thinking the same thing.
 
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