Looking for the integrated amp with headphone out under $2000

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  1. TheGru
    So I have gone through Schiit Ly2/Bifrost combo (liked it, but not loved it with previously owned HD650s), NAD3020 and now Marantz HD-AMP1 and while the last gives me a great sound for my passive Martin Logan LX16s and a Martin Logan subwoofer, the headphone stage simply is not up to par with my Focal Elears. I love the headphones (spent number hours listening to them on better equipment and I stand by that statement) but the Marantz will probably have to go.

    I am looking for possibly all in one unit that will take care of my MLs, sub and Focal Elears in my office (I work from home 95% of the time).

    Would you please recommend some options besides $4500 McIntosh MHA150.

    I am trying to stay below $2000 for the headphone amp (or headphone out)/DAC and 2.1 amp.

    Thank you for any input and suggestions
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017
  2. nordkapp
    Bel Canto C5i. I once owned it.
  3. Monsterzero
    You might consider reading this massive thread...simply add a DAC and youre way ahead of the game(not to mention $ saved)
    GChief likes this.
  4. GChief
  5. TheGru
    Thanks. Reading the thread you suggested. Lots of pages. Lol.

    Now, if I were to go back to Schiit, what would the setup look like now that they have the amp block product in the lineup? Could I be able to use passive speakers and a powered subwoofer? And if so what would the chain look like?
  6. Oscar-HiFi
    Sell the Schiit gear, get yourself a Keces S3 + S125 combo and run an active subwoofer :)

    With that you have a high quality headphone amp/DAC (S3) that is also an excellent pre-amp for the S125 power amp, stacks neatly and sounds incredible.

    You would run the balanced output between the S3 + S125 then use the RCA output of the S3 to the active sub.

    Comes in a hair over $2000

    Last edited: Dec 21, 2017
    TheGru likes this.
  7. TheGru
    Thanks! Interested in other options as well. Anyone else has any other ideas?
  8. TheGru
    Decided to split the setup into headphone/DAC and integrated/stereo amp and DAC for speakers.

    Ordered a Schitt's Mjolnir2 with Gumby, and will either continue to run Marantz HD-AMP1 for speakers or replace it with a vintage or new stereo amp of some sort (one of the smaller Rotels or vintage Parasound comes to mind).

    Oscar-HiFI, thanks for the idea! For some reason Keces did not speak to me ... I had sold Lyr2/Bifrost earlier this year and made up my mind of giving Schiit another try with higher end units.

    Thanks for your input and Happy New Year to all!
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
    Oscar-HiFi likes this.
  9. TheGru
    Got a good deal on McIntosh MHA150 integrated headphone amp to drive my Focals and Martin Logan LX16s with ML Dynamo subwoofer, and decided to cancel the Schiit order. That, I hope, will serve me well for years to come. Can't wait to get it this week.
  10. Monsterzero
    Did you buy it new or used?My brother has the MHA150 and loves it...congrats on a beautiful piece of gear.
  11. TheGru
    I bought it new. Thanks! I hope to finally enjoy instead of upgrading every 200 dollars up and it not making any difference in sound. Decided to drop 1000 extra (on top what I was going to spend on Schiit and Rotel) and be done with it.
  12. Monsterzero
    Yup...my brother went from wanting something inexpensive and simple to a ZMF Auteur+MHA150 in a matter of one week into the hobby.Zero to endgame is six days!

    My only beef with that unit is the pricetag and the built in DAC.I would feel a lot better if the DAC was separate/up-gradeable.
  13. TheGru
    Agreed. There are some McIntosh pieces that have upgradable DAC but it's much more $$ and bigger in size.
  14. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    I don't think you'd find an intergrated amp that can drive a low impedance headphone that well on top of having a subwoofer output.

    I'd much rather go with a DAC-HPamp unit that has a preamp output, then run a splitter from the preamp output to a pure power amp (ie no preamp stage) and the powered sub. Something like the AudioGD R2R-11 and an Emotiva power amp like the BasX A-300, plus get some high quality RCA splitter plugs. You could probably stay under $1,200 with these.

    If you liked the sound of the NAD D3020 with your speakers and its subwoofer output works with the analogue input then you can use that too.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  15. TheGru
    MHA150 does not have a sub output but a powered sub (in my case ML Dynamo 700 is powered) can be plugged into Pre-OUT via stereo cables. I should be getting mine this or next week so I will let you know how I like it. :)

    Thanks for the input.
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