Need a headphone amp for HE-500s…
Mar 12, 2012 at 6:04 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 96

mbnt

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Hi again.
 
So I bought the HiFiMan HE-500s. and since this is coming out of a Mac pro with optical out, I needed an amp with at least one optical in.  I bought a NuForce Icon HDP, but I'm not really feeling the love from this amp.
 
I'm looking for a somewhat powerul headphone amp with at least one optical in.  I suppose my max budget is ~$800, but if there's something seriously tasty, I'll push it to 1k tops.
 
Please help.  :frowning2:
 
Mar 12, 2012 at 9:32 PM Post #2 of 96

hodgjy

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Do you absolutely require optical?  Asynchronous USB has negated the optical advantage these days.  A wonderful amp-dac is the Burson 160DS, which has both USB and coaxial.
 
Also, do you need an all-in-one unit?  Or, will you be willing to have a separate amp and dac?
 
Edit: I can't confirm the 160DS does asynchronous USB transfer. 
 
Mar 12, 2012 at 10:44 PM Post #3 of 96

mbnt

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Hi hodgjy, thank you for your reply.
 
I currently have an optical cable going out from my Mac Pro into a splitter, so another optical cable shoots to the NuForce Icon HDP, and the other goes to my main stereo's DAC.
 
Optical is my preferred output.  I can totally work with a combo amp/DAC.  My stereo's DAC does not have a headphone jack, which is why I have to go this way.
 
Speaking of the amp/DAC combo, I was looking at Schiit's Asgard/Bifrost combo.  Looks serious, and at a reasonable price point, too!
 
What did you have in mind?
 
Mar 12, 2012 at 10:54 PM Post #4 of 96

hodgjy

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For optical DACs, I was going to suggest looking into the Bifrost, Firestone Spitfire MKII, Musical Fidelity V-DAC II, and the Peachtree DAC it.  Those are smoking DACS that perform way above their price point.
 
For amps, I was going to juggest looking into the Asgard, Burson 160 (non-DAC version), Bellari HA540, and the Heed CanAmp.
 
These amp+DAC combos will get you into the $800-1000 range and will be smoking.
 
Quote:
What did you have in mind?



 
 
Mar 14, 2012 at 9:33 PM Post #6 of 96

paradoxper

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What about the Lyr?
 
Mar 21, 2012 at 10:53 PM Post #10 of 96

wje

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Quote:
Believe it or not, I read a review at, I believe The Absolute Sound, which stated the Asgard was the better amp overall.
And that's what I went with. Asgard and Bifrost for my HE-500s.
 


So, they thought the amp with lesser power was a better option?  I think the HE-500s might have loved the Lyr, though.  However, it's none of my business which Schiit you buy. 
biggrin.gif

 
 
Mar 22, 2012 at 5:31 AM Post #11 of 96

paradoxper

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Originally Posted by mbnt 


Believe it or not, I read a review at, I believe The Absolute Sound, which stated the Asgard was the better amp overall.
And that's what I went with. Asgard and Bifrost for my HE-500s.
 


 


Yea, that is most surprising. Jason only recommended the Asgard with the HE-400. I ended up buying the HE-6. Just waiting for the balanced gear now.
 
How are you liking the 500's with the Asgard? And have you tried it with the Lyr for comparison?
 
 
Mar 22, 2012 at 8:21 AM Post #12 of 96

Chris_Himself

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I will tell you that the HDP is not as much of a step down as you might think they are. It's a damn good DAC for sure. The only flaw in it, is it's power supply. Upgrade to the LPS-1 and you'll hear an immediate difference.
 
The Lyr brings out the warmth of the HE-500 and has a pretty dope bottom end, I'm using the more flat sounding tubes too so the difference will be more immediate with the GE tubes that Schiit supplies as an option... it's just that one of my GE ones died on arrival so I had to switch to some Russian E88CC/6922
 
Mar 23, 2012 at 9:07 AM Post #13 of 96

sregor

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I read in one of the HE-500 thread that the Burson is NOT a good match for the HE-500s. They don't have the voltage behind them to really power the HE-500s that well. Or so I have read elsewhere.
 
My vote is for the Lyr. I ordered one yesterday and will hopefully give a better opinion when I get it in sometime next week (or so I hope).
 
Mar 23, 2012 at 8:21 PM Post #14 of 96

fabio-fi

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Quote:
I read in one of the HE-500 thread that the Burson is NOT a good match for the HE-500s. They don't have the voltage behind them to really power the HE-500s that well. Or so I have read elsewhere.



It does a decent job with them. Not that bad to my ears. 
 

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