New to HP:Suggestions for HD 650 Amplifier?
Mar 20, 2009 at 6:57 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13


New Head-Fier
Sep 15, 2008
I've just bought Sennheiser HD 650 headphones (coming in the mail in about a week). I want to buy an amp and keep it down to between $200 to $400.

These are the amps I've come with so far (and I know there are many others):

1. HeadRoom Micro Amp
2. Gilmore Light
3. av123's x-head Headphone Amplifier (I've read about issue with a "hum")

Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

Mar 20, 2009 at 7:13 PM Post #2 of 13
someone will soon say tuuubes

Darkvoice 3xx something often get recommendations. There is also the KICAS/Caliente I am dying to hear more impressions from that is supposed to be a good match. The Graham Green Solo often mentioned for the 650s and there will surely be some 10 more recommendations.
Mar 20, 2009 at 8:50 PM Post #4 of 13

Tubes are generally better for high impedance headphones like the HD650's. I have a Little Dot MK IV SE with my HD650's and I'm very happy with it. I've also heard the Woo Audio and Darkvoice tube amps are good with the HD650, but the MK IV SE was the best price and it's preamp outputs are reportedly the best.

I also had the Little Dot MK V that scaz mentions above. It was pretty good with my HD650's too, but tube amps can provide greater voltage levels which high impedance headphones crave. Solid State amps provide more current which is better for low impedance headphones like the Denon D2000's.
Mar 20, 2009 at 8:59 PM Post #5 of 13
I recently saw a Gilmore Lite in for sale section going for $260.
Mar 20, 2009 at 10:09 PM Post #6 of 13

Originally Posted by peanuthead /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I recently saw a Gilmore Lite in for sale section going for $260.

I'd pick that up in an instant. I would also consider DIY amps like the CKKIII, which, when I heard it, was very impressive for the price it can be had for. You can find one for under $200 in the FS section.
Mar 23, 2009 at 8:00 PM Post #8 of 13
I owned MicroAmp once but currently owning G-Lite for my HD 650.
To me, G-Lite is the better choice for HD 650. Though MicroAmp is a fine piece, it did not make HD 650 bloom. But DT880 sounded very good with MicroAmp.
Mar 23, 2009 at 8:21 PM Post #9 of 13
I'm curious what source you are using?

If you are financially strapped and plan to use computer as source, seriously look at Audio-gd Compass. Compass has enough juice to permanently damage your hearing at only the half way point. There is absolute black silence all the way up almost to full volume. Detailed reviews below of Compass clarity, detail and control, not just massive power. I think you will be impressed and wonder you haven't heard more about the Compass.

Here are my impressions, I also have the HD650, review done with AD900s though. Complete Newbs guide to Compass with huge pictures.

In my review I also posted pictures of the internals for KICAS and Gilmore Lite for comparison to the Compass. While you may not know the SQ when you buy, at least you will know what you are buying and what you are getting.

Peete's review, also has the HD650

Currawong compares Compass DAC to the DAC1, you will be surprised with his conclusion.

Can send Currawong a message, but I'm pretty sure he prefers the Compass to the MK V, but ask to verify. He reviewed MK V vs the C2C recently.

Drosera compares the Compass to Meier Audio's flagship Opera, Compass wins!

Oboe's review using classical music. He uses K701, another amp hungry headphone
Mar 24, 2009 at 2:48 PM Post #10 of 13
Thank you for your responses.

I will not be using any kind of portable player with the HD 650s. Rather, the source will be a Yamaha AV Receiver and an OPPO DV-980H 1080p DVD Player.

I've seen the Little Dot MK V on ebay and I'm considering buying it. I'm also considering the Gilmore Light or the HeadRoom Micro Amp. Regarding the Micro Amp, I'm concerned that it might not be "powerful enough" for the HD 650s (and I say this given that I know next to nothing about headphones).

I've read that therer are "noises" with av123's heaphone amp. When I called them about it they told me that there's a new "B" model produced.

I listen mostly to classical and only occassionally to rock 'n roll.

I value your feedback.
Mar 25, 2009 at 4:24 AM Post #11 of 13
Yes, the initial X-Head had hum issues. Also, I did not find the sound to be at all impressive.

The X-Head has been redesigned, and is reportedly hum-free and sounds much better.

I opted for a Little Dot MkIII, rather than wait for the X-Head repair.......and now I am extremely happy my X-Head had hum issues.
Mar 25, 2009 at 4:47 AM Post #12 of 13
The LD MKIII is a good choice for 650s. I changed the drive tubes to Amperex 6AK5s, the bass is getting much better.

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