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Goddamn it, I had to go and look up headphone balancing. Now I want it.
I am seeing some pretty rave reviews about the Loxjie P20 balanced tube headphone amp. Considering it over the Atom. I am still considering the SMSL SAP II as a cheap setup to power the headphone I have, then upgrade later when I upgrade my headphones.
I made a purchase. It arrived earlier today and I've been using it the last couple hours. I ended up getting the SAP II for now for the short term because I need to do more of my own research into DACs and amps so I can start making purchases that better fit what I am looking for, and I am going to be looking into balancing, tubes, crossfeed effects, etc and start getting some real equipment to suit all that.
As far as what I got. The SAP II fits comfortably on the small space I have on my desk (multiple monitors) and it doesn't get loud enough to drive my SHP9500s to the point of being painful, but it will drive them to the point of being uncomfortable to listen to for any reasonable period of time. So it's more than enough without being too much (I keep the dial at 12:00). It may just be a placebo effect, but it does feel like some of the frequencies are actually clearer. And the surround sound headphone effect is completely untouched.