Looking for an amp for Sennheiser HD598s
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fusedpro

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I have more or less settled on the aforementioned pair of headphones -- Sennheiser's HD598s. I am still completely knew to this audiophile scene so any guidance is appreciated. From what I know, these phones have a pretty low impedance, making them fairly easy to drive, but an amp can never hurt, right (assuming it is good quality)?
 
As such, I am looking for an amp. I have never owned or thought about owning one up until now, so I know nothing about them (relatively). My budget is far from anything glamorous, with $250 being my limit. I have read that the Schiit Asgard is a great partner for these phones and is just within my price range. The Little Dot mk III also caught my eye. The tubes look very cool, but that aside, I've heard great things about this amp. I have also read that tube amps aren't the best for low impedance phones, so that might be an issue(?). Another con would be that the tubes would have to be replaced as opposed to the solid-state counterparts.
 
On the portable side, I have only really looked into the JDS CMoy or Electric Avenue's PA2v2. These are much cheaper, so that's always nice, and I could use them while out and about. Otherwise, I'm guessing they don't really compare to the two mentioned above but they are still contenders in my book.
 
The source will mill mostly be my computer but sometimes my Zune HD. As for the computer, it has an HT OMEGA Striker for the soundcard. I have no idea if a DAC is needed or not...
 
So, any recommendations or words of advice? It doesn't have to be about any of the above mentioned products either. If you know of something else, feel free to throw it out there and I will look into it.
 
Thanks!
 
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Koolpep

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Great choice of headphones!!

They are superb. I don't know what your budget is but you could go with an icon HDP from NuForce and have amp and DAC in one. The Asgard is definitively a great choice for the HD598, the Valhalla if you like tubes. Both have no issues driving the HD598 to its best.

I would start this way: HD598 and Asgard, then if you feel it's needed get a DAC but don't overspend there. If you use a Mac, use bitperfect for iTunes or Audirvana with lossless or high quality mp3/aac source files. Then the Schiit/Sennheiser combo will sing.

If you somehow feel that there is noise in the sound or the sound is not crystal clear, then invest in a DAC as external sound card.

Or you go with the icon HDP which got very good reviews everywhere, which is very versatile, has optical, spdif coax and asynchronous USB, RCA inputs and RCA pre-amp or headphone output.

I currently use the Asgard as amp, icon HDP as DAC and HD598 at home. Smetimes I use the icon HDP as well as amp directly but somehow I prefer the Asgard.

So long,
K
 
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MalVeauX

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Heya,
 
I can't help but recommend the Little Dot MK III - I use one to power my HD580's (HD600's). It's good for any impedance. Fits right into your budget too. Plus you can tube roll later on to tweak the sound to how you really want.
 
Very best,
 
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fusedpro

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Hi all, thanks for the recommendations so far. I'm still deciding and completely open to recommendations, so keep 'em coming.
 
Question regarding tubes -- how long do they last before needing replaced? I know it's superficial, but I think tube amps look sweet, though if the tubes need replacing frequently that might be a deal breaker.
 
Also, any thoughts on the Little Dot MK II compared to the MK III?
 
Thanks again for your thoughts.
 
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MalVeauX

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Quote:
Hi all, thanks for the recommendations so far. I'm still deciding and completely open to recommendations, so keep 'em coming.
 
Question regarding tubes -- how long do they last before needing replaced? I know it's superficial, but I think tube amps look sweet, though if the tubes need replacing frequently that might be a deal breaker.
 
Also, any thoughts on the Little Dot MK II compared to the MK III?
 
Thanks again for your thoughts.
 
Heya,
 
Tubes can be variable. Some might be 6 months, so might be years. Depends on the tube (some are junk, some are not, some are simply defective, etc). Depends on how you use them too (flipping the unit on, off, extreme temperature change, etc). But tubes are not expensive. They're anywhere from like $5 to $15 depending on what you're getting. You can grab a few and just keep them and roll them or have them as backups. Hell, people sell them used in piles from rolling to find the sound they want. Grab a few and you're set for a couple of years. Don't let tube replacement cost deter you from a tube amp.
 
The LDMK2 can drive most headphones just fine. The LDMK3 is simply the higher performer for a very little price increase, making it a much better value for the money (at least in my opinion). The power outputs at the 300/600ohm impedance is why. If you don't have high impedance phones, it really doesn't matter. You can get the MK1+ for low impedance and be completely fine. But if you at all plan on having higher impedance headphones, ever, get the MKII (upwards to 300ohm) or MKIII (all headphones, all impedance, even low impedance, period). It's a $50 difference to have the ability to push great power through the highest impedance you can get. So, I can't help but recommend taking that extra budget step--it's a future proofing thing unless you know you will buy even more hardware later. Personally I don't want several amps. Just one for home. And one for portability (pocket size). So gotta have one that will basically cover all my headphones well... at least that's my method.
 
Very best,
 
 
 
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Koolpep

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Schiit gives the tubes a life time of 3000 - 5000 hours.
 
A replacement for the valhalla tubes costs $40 (set of 4) or between 20 and 40 for the Lyr tubes. I would call these costs negligible. 
 
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john57

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I just received my LDMK2  amp from David month ago and it is working great with my Sennheiser  headphones, Denon and to my surprise it manged to drive my Fostex T50RP for the most part. The reason I have the  LDMK2   instead of the LDMK3 was smaller size and will match better with the LD 1+ amp sitting side by side. During the hot summer months I put both amps on a laptop cooler to stretch out the life of the tubes. In my opinion the  Sennheiser   seems to benefit more from the tubes than the Denon did. I may look at the HS598 as my next pair of headphones.
 
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