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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.
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  1. AmanGeorge Contributor
    I don't think that a $1,000 amp is a waste on K701s if you like the sound - the K701s are as amp-dependent as any headphone out there, and the fact that they are $270 is, to me, irrelevant - they perform as well as anything up to the $500-600 range, and you should treat them as such.
    For $1,000, the Burson seems like a good bet that people like a lot with the K701. A Woo WA6SE would also be an excellent match. And given what I've been reading, I wouldn't be surprised if the Lyr was also excellent.
    If you love the K701, I think it's totally reasonable to build a strong system around it. I was a very happy K701 owner for a long time, and still think it's an outstanding headphone for the price.
    That said... I wouldn't argue with the folks in this thread who say that $1,000 on a Stax Lambda rig would also be an excellent use of your funds. I got an excellent deal from a friend, $500 for a vintage Lambda normal bias and SRM-1/MK2 amplifier, and sold the HD800 I was using at the time - those Lambda rigs are really outstanding, and I'm sure you can get a used headphone and amplifier for much less than $1K if you're willing to buy used/vintage.
  2. jackmccabe
    You will see much more of an improvement upgrading to a hd800 or lcd-2  than getting an amp.
    Generally speaking people on head-fi massively over exaggerate the differences between amps and you can always upgrade your amplifier later.
    Also amplifiers with headphones make much less of a difference than with guitars, you may not even be able to tell the difference between quite a few headphone amplifiers.
    I would also suggest you take a look at this http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/521988/amp-a-b-comparisons
  3. AmanGeorge Contributor
    Woah - my Head-Fi activity dropped off quite a bit for a while, and it looks like I had missed that thread - outstanding read! Thanks for the link.
  4. JIGF
    With the K701 I'd go for either the Burson HA-160 (best amp I have heard with the K701) or the Schiit Lyr.
  5. estreeter
    Some have reported good results with a (modified) Heed Canamp - I auditioned one (stock) with a pair of K601 a couple of years back, but it was defective. Any sonic qualities were drowned out by an audible hum - the shop owner said he thought it was a wiring fault but I didnt spend any more time trying to find out what a working example sounded like. The Stello DA100/HP100 combination worked well - very clear background - but I came away feeling that the AKGs could use more juice. These are seriously hungry phones.
  6. jaeming
    I just wanted to say thanks for all the help everyone.
    I've gone ahead and pulled the trigger on a Burson HA-160.
    The Schiit Lyr was a close 2nd. I didn't really think I'd go witha solid-state choice but I was intrigued by all I read about this amp. I've learned a lot and I already have a cheap tube amp which I can play with and mod in the future as well.
    I'll be sure to post my thoughts and impressions on the HA-160 in the appropriate thread in time.
    Again, thanks, I've learned a lot and I really appreciate all the suggestions and advice, as well patience for a relative newb like me.
  7. Negakinu
    I'm looking forward to reading your impressions! Be sure to compare them to your tube amp. Let's see how much of a difference is audible. 
  8. jaeming
    I just thought I'd post an update since my gear arrived yesterday:
    As you can see I went for the HA-160 with a seperate DAC instead of the HA-160D. This was because I had already placed a bid on the Hlly DAC and also because Burson had indicated they would soon be releasing a stand alone DAC and I thought I could always upgrade my DAC later. Besides a more modular approach appeals to my nature even though I understand some might argue for a one in all solution.
    Anyway, my initial impressions of the HA-160 are really favorable. Actually I'm blown away. The sound stage is so wide now I felt like there was a stereo expander in this thing. I've only burned it in for about 20 hours so far but it's already the biggest step-up to sound quality I've ever heard through headphones. It powers my K701's at very low volume while still sounding huge. 
    The Hlly DAC was a nice little buy as well. I put the Pre-amp out to my computer speakers and the step up in clarity as compared from my sound card was immediately apparent. I'm running it from USB but I'm going to try the optical in from my old mac mini soon to see if I can hear any difference.
    Overall I'm very happy at the moment.
    I will have to do comparisons with the tube amp later but I already know that the HA-160 is in the lead by far for sound stage and clarity.
    Thanks again to those who suggested and introduced this amp to me on this thread. 
  9. JIGF
    Nice to know you are happy with the gear recommendation you received.
  10. grokit
    Looks good together. Love the old-school TV photo frames too.
  11. classakg
    Damn your silver toy looks good. Definitely it works good with Akg hp's..welcome to the Burson family. [​IMG]
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