Looking for <$300 amp for HD600/D2000
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m3ta1head

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Hey all,
 
I currently have a Head Direct Hifiman EF2 feeding my HD600s and D2000s, and it actually does a remarkable job of driving both headphones well (despite the huge impedance difference).  The really intriguing thing is that the EF2 has different effects on both cans-with the D2000s, it tightens up and tames the bass a bit, brings the mids forward, and actually increases the brightness of the high end (which can make certain recordings sibilant).  With the HD600s, it increases bass impact, warms the midrange, and rolls off the high end a bit, making it liquid smooth.  
 
I purchased a Xonar STX recently, and have since been using the DAC on the card, feeding the EF2 amplifier stage with RCAs from the analog output.  As such, I no longer need the internal DAC on the EF2, and I'm looking to upgrade to a dedicated amp for under $300 that will suit both the HD600 and D2000.  Now this gets tricky because many of the tube amps in this price range that are commonly recommended for the HD600 (Littledot mk3, darkvoice 337, etc) are documented as being not so well suited towards the D2000s.  It seems that the D2000 seems to favor solid stage and hybrid amps instead. 
 
Anyone have any recommendations on what I should be considering?  FWIW, I also have the amplifier built into the STX, which is generally pretty well received...I did listen to it with the D2000s briefly and I wasn't impressed-it sounded too cold and analytical to my ears.  Should I be giving the STX amp a fair chance too?
 
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WiR3D

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well opamp roll with the stx and build an impedance decreasing adapter in the link in my sig, and the D2k will shine with the stx.
 
getting an amp to match both will be impossible, they sound way too different, and have too many requirements.
Especially since with the d2k you want to bring out its lovely natural sound, and the hd600 need sum tube amp and silver plated cable messing to make it shine, completely changing its natural signature.
 
Me I wanna buy the yulong d100 for my new D7000... eventually.
 
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fabio-fi

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I've been waiting for users with the Objective amp powering the HD650's...it seems like a good option but im not able to comment on how good they sound. 
 
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KT66

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I use both those headphones at home with unmodded x-cans v1 and sometimes GS Voyager
I love the sound no complaints at all,
 
The Graham Slee range is excellent
 
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m3ta1head

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I've recently been presented with the opportunity to purchase a Melos SHA-1-would this be well suited to both the D2k and HD600?
 
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peace train

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I have no personal experience myself, but the Bottlehead Crack is worth taking a look at.  I'm strongly considering one.   https://www.facebook.com/notes/headfoniacom/bottlehead-crack-first-impression/387463131298390
 
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haejuk

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I did a quick search on the Melos SHA-1, it seems like it could be a good match for Denons on paper, but I didn't see how much power it puts out, nor have I ever heard it.  As for the Bottlehead Crack, it would be a terrible match for the Denons due to its high output impedance (and I also don't know if it could provide enough current into the Denon's 25 ohm load), and I don't know about the HD 600s at all.
 
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WiR3D

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Quote:
I did a quick search on the Melos SHA-1, it seems like it could be a good match for Denons on paper, but I didn't see how much power it puts out, nor have I ever heard it.  As for the Bottlehead Crack, it would be a terrible match for the Denons due to its high output impedance (and I also don't know if it could provide enough current into the Denon's 25 ohm load), and I don't know about the HD 600s at all.
Correct you are. Output impedance is crucial with the Denons. 
 
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peace train

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Quote:
As for the Bottlehead Crack, it would be a terrible match for the Denons due to its high output impedance (and I also don't know if it could provide enough current into the Denon's 25 ohm load), and I don't know about the HD 600s at all.
 
 
Quote:
Correct you are. Output impedance is crucial with the Denons. 
 
 
The following was said by the Administrator of Bottlehead's blog site, "Folks, please use a little care in posting, unless you are sure of what you are saying. The S.E.X. amp will work with just about any headphone. It's the Crack that we recommend for headphones of 200 ohms and above.  And volume is not really a problem in the case of a Crack driving 25 ohm headphones. If the Denons are of typical sensitivity the Crack will drive them louder than you will want to listen. The issue with a 25 ohm headphone will be that the impedance mismatch usually results in less than optimal base."  
 
So maybe the Bottlehead S.E.X. amp would be the safer way to go, however...the AKG K550's having 32 ohms, have been touted to work most excellently with the Crack. And from a post in head-fi, it appears that the D7000's do as well.  After pm-ing the author of that review, I got a resounding vote in favor of the Crack...depending upon the listener's preference, of course.
 
Sources:  
http://www.head-fi.org/t/614323/triple-threat-apex-butte-vs-bottlhead-crack-vs-hisound-rocoo-studio-v
http://www.bottlehead.com/smf/index.php?topic=2357.0
http://www.headfonia.com/bottlehead-crack-otl-addiction/
http://www.headfonia.com/akgs-new-reference-the-k550/
 
 
 
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liamstrain

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In that price range, for headphones with that wide a range of impedances, I'd be looking at Solid state amps. 
 
I think the best for under $300 (without going DIY) is probably the Sheer Audio HA-006+, which is the Dynalo circuit. 
http://www.acoustic-fun.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=62
 
It will handle both those headphones beautifully. 
 
I love my Bottlehead Crack, especially with the HD600. But it does not play nicely at all with my Denons, or other low impedance headphones (AKG  702, Grado, etc.). I have not tried with the 550, but I would be skeptical. 
 
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WiR3D

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Quote:
 
The following was said by the Administrator of Bottlehead's blog site, "Folks, please use a little care in posting, unless you are sure of what you are saying. The S.E.X. amp will work with just about any headphone. It's the Crack that we recommend for headphones of 200 ohms and above.  And volume is not really a problem in the case of a Crack driving 25 ohm headphones. If the Denons are of typical sensitivity the Crack will drive them louder than you will want to listen. The issue with a 25 ohm headphone will be that the impedance mismatch usually results in less than optimal base."  
 
So maybe the Bottlehead S.E.X. amp would be the safer way to go, however...the AKG K550's having 32 ohms, have been touted to work most excellently with the Crack. And from a post in head-fi, it appears that the D7000's do as well.  After pm-ing the author of that review, I got a resounding vote in favor of the Crack...depending upon the listener's preference, of course.
 
Sources:  
http://www.head-fi.org/t/614323/triple-threat-apex-butte-vs-bottlhead-crack-vs-hisound-rocoo-studio-v
http://www.bottlehead.com/smf/index.php?topic=2357.0
http://www.headfonia.com/bottlehead-crack-otl-addiction/
http://www.headfonia.com/akgs-new-reference-the-k550/
A lot of well substantiated information, very nice, but I haveto disagree. It may be smooth, and sound sweet, but the bass response and the micro detail will be lost. of that I am certain. The SEX IMHO would be better, spec wise anyway. As for AKG, They are oddballs of note, I think a lot of there drivers nowadays are just upgrades from the 600ohm K240 monitor driver, in the sense that the K240mkII has a 55 ohm variant. And I'm willing to bet the K550 is a further developed variant knowing how lazy HK can be. and based on my experience, the K242HD (pretty much a K240mkII) has a tendency to display the characteristics of the amp way above its own, so it doesn't really matter what you plug it into, aslong as it sounds good. 
 
But because of the denons poor reaction to impedance mismatches (despite what graphs may tell you) I still wont recommend it with anything with more then 2 ohm output impedance, and it still benefits going down to 1 ohm. 
 
This is my personal experience, I spent a lot of time building adapters, and testing, and testing and testing. And its just blatant with listening tests. 
 
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m3ta1head

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Perhaps 2 separate amps for the Denons/Senns would be the better (although hardly the most ideal) option then?  Anyone have any more insight on how the Melos SHA-1 would fare? 
 
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