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I've got a $1000 to blow. Tell me what to buy.

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by jaeming, May 9, 2011.
  1. livewire
    Definitely get the Burson HA-160.
    Buy it new, not used. Some of the early ones had issues.
    I've got the K702's and hearing them through the HA-160 is a (dynamic) match made in heaven.
    All discreet circuitry inside, no crappy op-amps that can distort the sound sig. Sounds as good as it should!
    But then I'm a Stax guy.
    For the same $700 I would also recommend the Stax Basic System SRS-2050.
    If you havent heard Stax, I would try to first before making that decision.
    They arent everyone's proverbial cup of tea.
  2. tim3320070
    Definitely go with my Phoenix I am selling [​IMG]
  3. n3rdling
    $1000 + K702 is well into much better Stax gear.
  4. revolink24

    Yep, or ortho.
  5. moodyrn
    Half of that may get you a vintage lambda srd7 combo which will be also be a huge upgrade from the k701/702 + any amp.
  6. estreeter
    6G Nano+Dark Side of the Moon+RE262+beer - you wont be sorry.
  7. rymd
    If you really want to get a tube amp, buy a bravo V2 just to have that tube, then sell everything for better headphones and a decent amp
  8. Uncle Erik Contributor
    X2 on losing the K-701 and getting a LCD2/M^3 combo. Or maybe a Dynalo.

    I'd avoid the "experimental" new amps from China. The manufacturers tend to change brand names and models frequently. Draw your own conclusions.

    If you want something different, build your own. DIY is the only place where interesting tube combinations and topologies turn up. Commercially, you get super-conservative tubes and topologies built as cheaply as possible. That's not so much being brave as it is stepping into a trap.
  9. WirelessRevo


    Sure is a great way to waste money. haha.
  10. jaeming
    Okay, so a large part of the consensus I seem to be getting here is that Any amp I spent up to a $1000 on would still be limited by my K701's?
    I was interested in another amp but I admit it may be silly to spend $270 on headphones and $1000 on the amp.
    I already have my Xiang Zheng 708b as well. By the way, the new tubes arrived today and I popped them in. The sound difference from the stock Chinese tubes is very notable. 
    The LCD-2's seem interesting. I'm definitely interested in the sound. Though I'm a little afraid they might not be that comfortable on my big head. One thin that drove me away from Seinheisers was that I found them very uncomfortable in the few instances I had a chance to wear them (a few people at my work sport them). Because of my big head, many full-size headphones clamp down on my ears and squeeze my head. I can't stand to wear them too long.
    We have a pair of old Sony MDR-F1's in one of the edit suites at work. They are perhaps the most comfortable headphones I have ever worn. But unfortunately they are so old and abused that somehow one of the channels has a permanent buzz in them which made it difficult to listen to. The K701's are near that comfort level for me since I've padded them - see:  http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/321237/k701-appreciation-thread/1485#post_7452915
    Not that sound quality isn't important to me but if I'm going to be listening for hours on end, it's crucial to have the comfort there. It seems there are a lot of good phones that are uncomfortable.
    I was really interested in the Grado PS1000 as well though it's probably just a little too expensive for my credit card.
    Livewire...the Stax system really intrest me. I'd head of Jecklin Floats before and was really interested in the wide soundstage described. That's the main thing I'm liking about the K701's, is that they have a pretty wide soundstage (in my opinion). Looks like they cost $1750 NZD (about $1400 USD) from here:
    I'll bet I could get them stateside for cheaper though.
    I wonder if I could demo them somewhere locally...because it sounds really intriguing.
    A few mentioned the Burson HA-160. It's not tube but it looks like very good craftsmanship/quality. I don't necessarily have to go tube. I just had a soft spot for them. Brought back memories and such but like I said I have my Xiang Zheng for that :wink: I'm really into photography as well but I'll be the first to admit I use my Digital SLR way more often now than my old Film SLR's. Digital technology has caught up to analog in many way I'll admit.
    I'm going to bookmark the amp for now.
    A few mentioned the M3 (in conjunction with the LCD's).
    Please forgive my ignorance. I hadn't heard of this. It's a DIY amp? I don't know much about it or if my skills are up to it but maybe I'll have to look into it at some point. There are a couple of engineers at work that might be into helping me build something if I asked nicely.
    A lot of other interseting suggestions. Forgive me, I need time to explore them before I comment.
    Uncle Erik, you recommended avoiding the experimental tube amps from HK. While I see what you are saying, I think too many are quick to dismiss some of these. My GF is Chinese and I've visited South China (in a place about 2 hours from HK) for about 7 weeks a 4 years back. I was surprised at some the innovation I saw there. Yeah there was a lot of rubbish, rip-off stuff but I actually saw some real craftsmanship in some things. I visited a guy who made all his own guitars and basses and other traditional chinese instruments. He made his own amps and pickups and other things. He didn't have a company and just sold his stuff out of his home as a side hobby (he was just a labourer for his day job). I bought a small DVD player that would mount in the place of a car-size deck. Not only did it play CD's, DVD's, VCD, MP3's, WMA's etc... It could also play Xvid/Divx mpeg4 movies files, not just from disc but it also had a USB port which the deck could browse for playable files. It had component out and looked cool to boot. And only cost me about $28 USD. My point is, there are interesting things going on there and even though there are so many rip-offs and wannabes, there is also some innovation. But now I'm thinking maybe it's better to wait till I go to China next time and stop by HK and demo some of these rather than ordering blindly.
    Anyway, I've ranted again and I'm going to cut it short here. Sorry if I did not get to every point raised in the thread thus far. I'll go back and re-read later in the week when I'm not working double shifts :wink: 
  11. baka1969 Contributor
    LCD2, HE500 or the HD800 are all good matches for the M^3. I had one on loan for a while and it's not too far off the beta22 in performance. Plus it's a versatile amp. If you like the soundstage of the K70x, then the HD800 is an excellent choice. The others are also top notch headphones. Another good thing about the M^3 is you can roll opamps.
  12. TheHighBuilder

    For around $500 I would suggest this amp.
    It falls in between a portable and desktop, battery operated, and has the USB DAC option, so you can connect your laptop.
    You save the rest for a better can.
  13. jaeming
    The basic suggestions so far:

    3x votes so far for the Burson HA-160 
    I'm also considering the Schiit Lyr even though it only got one vote.
    Headphones w/ amp (I'm including these because the suggestion included an amp):
    3x votes for other headphone with m3 amp (though I have no idea where to get or how to build a m3 at this point).
    3x votes for Stax system (or alternatively Ortho)
    I've decided to bypass the headphone only suggestions for now but I appreciate them and am definitely bookmarking LCD-2's or HD800's for late.
  14. grokit
    I can recommend the K701 and Lyr combo, it's like they were made for each other.
  15. jaeming
    The Lyr is very tempting indeed! Especially since I just spent $90 on a pair of ECC88 Tesla tubes!


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