New amp needed, $300 is all I have.
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Ymer

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Today I got home with my Marantz PM44-SEF integrated amplifier and as I tried it's headphone out I was horrified.

It's not inferior to my Creek OBH-11. Not inferior AT ALL. That's a shock. I had heard that the OBH11 wasn't all that good and not much better than an integrated amp's out... but I never believed it. Now I'm truly shocked.

The audio out in my integrated even bests the OBH11 in some areas.


So here I am, looking for a new amp. All I can spend is $300.

What should I look into?

Currently I only have Sennheiser HD580s but I plan on buying a pair of Grados soon (either 225 or 325).

Thanks in advance.
 
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acs236

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I'd recommend the Corda HA-1 MKII, which I believe is still on sale by Todd for $300.
 
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gpalmer

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Gilmore Lite fits right into that price range and really shines with the 225.
 
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Ymer

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That Gilmore sure is pretty. Gotta love brushed alluminum, even though I don't like Silver. :X

But the real question is... is it a REAL improvement over this silly Creek?

Apparently at this price range I don't have many options... maybe Perreaux, Meta (or Pimeta, I'm not sure), Musical Fidelity X-can V3 ... and I can't think of anything else.

I think the Corda HA-1 MKII would be an incredible improvement, but apparently the sale is over


Thanks again!
 
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dd3mon

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Cheap PPA sounds like a good idea to me.
 
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fewtch

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ymer
That Gilmore sure is pretty. Gotta love brushed alluminum, even though I don't like Silver. :X

But the real question is... is it a REAL improvement over this silly Creek?



Well... I've got a $110 Headsave MiniMe (MINT circuit board) that I feel is a significant improvement over the OBH-11. The problem with the OBH-11 is fairly low quality parts and a mediocre op-amp (NE5532), as well as high output impedance that colors the HD580 so they aren't anywhere near neutral. Also the buffering stage (apparently just a couple of discreet transistors) is sub-par compared to a design using a good sounding chip, particularly if the buffers are 'stacked'.

At the risk of offending other OBH-11 users (which I've done in the past), almost any other "audiophile-grade" amp is probably going to sound better, unless you have a thing for the OBH-11's colorations.

I'd take a look at a maxed out PIMETA like the offerings at Headsave.com... at $300 you're almost into PPA territory. In this price range, the best bang for the buck is imo in the DIY-type amps... you get no real 'bragging rights' or fancy looks like with commercial gear, but just an excellent sounding amp put together by hand by a skilled builder.
 
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Ymer

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I've been listening through the Marantz's audio out all day ... and it's definitely more detailed and neutral than it is with the OBH-11, as impressive as that might sound. The bass is slightly muffled in comparison to the Creek though, but coming from an integrated amp's headphone out... it truly is shocking.

Either way... It's getting hard. Choices, choices, choices...

I think thus far the Gilmore Lite and the Maxed Out PIMETA are the best ideas, but now to know which one is THE best idea...

I think the best question is, which one works better with the HD-580s. Later this year I'll be buying either a Grado SR-225/325 or a Sony CD-3000, so working well with a large number of headphones is also an important factor.

Please keep on helping me
 
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rayofsi

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misterx offers a basic PPA configuration for somewhere around $300
 
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Ymer

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Is the PPA the epitome of cheap headphone amp goodness? I'm a little behind.

Is it better than either the Gilmore Lite or Maxed Pimeta?
 
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Alex Altorfer

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Tarso,

I couldn't recommend you the Rega Ear if you plan to use it with a variety of cans, as it's more of a high impedance can friendly amp. I believe Fewtch is giving you sound advice. If you get a Pimeta or PPA (and manage to sneak it in without paying our killer duties
) you'll have a darn great amp. I've never auditioned those amps but based on all that's been said here they are definitely winners.

Oh BTW, I see you PM'd me. I'll reply. Just been busy.


Cheers,
Alex
 
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gsferrari

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MG Head OTL/DT MK-1/2/3 (used if possible) are amazing amplifiers with the Sennheiser HD-580/600/650 headphones.

Beautiful tube sound for less...

Also - the new Woo Audio amplifier seems to be making waves...I will be doing a review on this amp in the near future.

Right now - I would recommend the MG Head with confidence.
 
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Ymer

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But, but... the Gilmore Lite is so pretty!


But gotta keep my current cans in mind, the HD580s. The best amp to match it is the ideal choice, up to $300 of course


Alex, estou esperando. Estou realmente pensando em comprar um Rega Planet.
 
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HiGHFLYiN9

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You could get an entry model PPA from ITZBITZ for $350 http://audio.campcreations.com/ Can't beat that deal.

EDIT: Sorry to entice you with something slightly above your budget.
 
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cpw

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Does portability interest you?
How about a Headroom Total Airhead?
CPW
 
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rayofsi

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the PPA should sound better depending on the source and your other system components.
 
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