Help! I am so confused....
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MoodyDragon

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I am a newbie here though not new to good sound!

I bought a HD650 some days ago planning to be just as decisive and buy an amp to go with it. I do not really have a budget, and am targeting the USD 1500/- but can go higher as well (or lower).

Now I am all confused with the variety and options available. I would prefer a tubed unit, but that again is not a must. Absolute good sound is


Bottom line: I want detailed musical sound that is NOT harsh or bright. I dislike bass humps (but appreciate good clean deep bass) and love music that is life like. I listen mostly to Jazz, Classic Rock and Instrumentals.

My other components are:
Senn HD650 (with cardas cables)
Sony SCD-1 SACD player
Interconnects I will buy once I decide upon the amp.

Can you please help me with some considered advice? I am marooned in Pittsburgh and so dont really have many options to come to a 'gathering'

Thanks in advance!
 
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gpalmer

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Sounds like a SinglePower Supra to me, you might want to search for some of the impressions that have been posted.
 
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smokey

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MoodyDragon,

I LOVE spending other people's money!


If you can live with used off of Audiogon, the Cary SLI-80 is an excellent choice, and they come up for sale fairly often. If you don't have a local dealer, check with Kevin at Upscale Audio. He'll really deal on these amps, usually as open box units.

Another choice is the Moth Si2a3. There was a huge thread on this a while back IIRC. Do a search.

If you really like tubes, and the pure tube sound, try to find an old Wheatfield HA-2.

I'm sure others will suggest Ray Samuels stuff, however, I've not heard any of his amps.

Finally, since they are a sponsor, check out the Headroom Max. This is the exact opposite of the tube sound however.

Good luck!
 
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fredpb

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If I had $1500 to spend on an amp right now, there would be a Headroom Max in my life,
 
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GlowWorm

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I second the Si2a3. Havn't had the pleasure of hearing one, but I remember Tuberoller being blown away by it. I saw one come up on Audiogon awhile back for $1500, but thats pretty rare.
 
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sacd lover

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I dont think you even have to spend $1500 to get a superb amp. The singlepower mpx3 is a neutral, transparent, highly resolving tube amp that has great bass for $775. The mpx3 is very close to the supra and has the type of sound signature you describe. The singlepower ppx3 is a more traditional rich sounding tube amp, that I am only mentioning because its so engaging to listen to; and its only $465.

As for solid state the gilmore v2-se for $850 has a signature that could be described almost exactly like the mpx3, although they sound different. The mpx3 with stock tubes is actually the brighter sounding amp between those two. The gilmore leaves nothing to be desired in regard to sound quality and has more features and flexibility. The gilmore doesnt have that certain something a good tubed unit has in the midrange, but the gilmore has better dynamics and never gets bright. The v2-se is the best solid state amp I have heard. I owned a headroom maxed out home, and the gilmore has more transparency and refinement, with a much more natural treble reproduction than the headroom amp, IMO.
 
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agile_one

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I am extremely pleased with the Rudistor RP5 Reference for HD650's. The RP5 is a hybrid amp - tubes in the preamp section, mosfet's for output. Operates in Class A, and is very solidly built.

Most importantly, though, it is absolutely spectacular with HD650's. I've heard 650's with a MAX, Stealth, Prehead, HR2, Headmaster, Supra, and others, and the RP5 is best to my ears. To be absolutely clear, the MAX, Stealth, HR2, and Prehead are the only other amps I've owned and spent considerable time with. The Supra and Headmaster were at two different gatherings, so I don't have as much to compare by.

The reason the RP5 sounds so great to me with the 650's is that it just tears away all of the so called veiled sound, and makes the 650's sing. It's become obvious to me that the 600/650's need a very powerful amp to perform at their best, and that power must be clean and pure. The RP5 delivers what the 650's need.

<Edit> I should add that my preference for the RP5 over the other great amps referred to above is specifically with the HD650's - it just seems to be one of those "magical" combinations of amp + cans. With other headphones, I prefer the Stealth overall, with the MAX (current model with stepped attenuator) a close second. </Edit>
 
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Demolition

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Here's another vote for the SinglePower MPX3. I listened to TrevorNetwork's MPX3 the other day and was impressed with the detail and realism that it provided. Very good with female jazz vocals in particular.

I might have to buy one of these for myself some day.

D.
 
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Hirsch

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I agree with the recommendations for a Singlepower amp. Either the MPX-3 or the Supra sounds like it will meet your needs. The circuits are very similar. The MPX-3 runs a slightly higher plate voltage at lower current, which can lead to a more dynamic sound. The Supra runs a lower plate voltage at higher current, which extracts detail in the extreme, but might not be quite as dynamic. Differences between these amps are subtle, and will be highly influenced by your choice of tubes. I've found that I can maximize the performance of the amps by optimizing the tube set I use for a particular headphone. I often switch tubes if I decide to switch headphones. It's not necessary to do this, but it's one way to squeeze just a bit more performance out of the amp.
 
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cosmopragma

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The RKV II is a great tube amp for your Senns.
You can get one from head-fi sponsor meier-audio.
I had the opportunity to listen to a RKV and the similar Senn HD 600 cans(and AKG K1000) a few weeks ago, and now I'm saving for this amp.
The best is that you don't have to worry about aging tubes since this amp is autocalibrating and this way perfect sound during the whole life of the tubes is guaranteed.
 
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