Noob looking for opinions on MG Head and Corda HA
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joealtus

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I have a desire to get a headphone set up and have been diligently researching via every source I can find.

Right now I'm leaning towards Sennheiser HD580 or HD600 as the cans. I want an amp to drive them. The 2 in my price range that seem to be well regarded and good matches to the 580 and 600 are the Corda HA-1 and the MG Head OTL. Obviously they are very different, one being tube and one being SS. My preference right now is toward the tube amp, the MG Head OTL. However, I am concerned about the issue of a crossfeed filter. The Corda has one and it is supposed to be well implemented. How big a difference will that make?
Has anyone done a direct comparison between these 2 amps?

My only headphone experience is with a cheap pair of Aiwa noise canceling headphones that I use to listen to mp3's. I bought them mainly for airplane use. The lack of crossfeed in this cheap setup is not fatiguing, but I've never experienced a crossfeed and am wondering if I'll be missing out on something great.

Thanks.
 
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Budgie

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My opinion- I don't like crossfeed. The effect is not dramatic and the circuits usually seem to alter the tone of the music in a way I don't care for. Some people here love crossfeed however. I would recommend the MG Head and then you can build or get someone to buid for you, a cross feed circuit in a seperate box, to try out by plugging it in ahead of the MG Head.
 
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kelly

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joealtus

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Budgie, good suggestion on the outboard crossfeed. Thanks.

Kelly, thanks for the link.
 
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braillediver

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I’ve got both the Corda HA-1 and MG Head OTL and I’m using the HD600’s. I’ve had the Corda for a month and ½ and the MG for a week and a half. There’s something sweet about the MG Head, we’ve bonded. And tubes if you’re a compulsive collector: Hey I got some RCA, GE, Tung-Sol and Dutch (?) 12AX7’s this morning. There’s feedback and the OTL Transformer jack, 4 options and tube rolling. I haven’t missed the cross feed from the Corda; I’d call the effect subtle. When I listen to either amp I’m impressed.

The Corda HA-1 is solid state so you don’t have to mess with it. The Corda seems to have more depth? Both units are completely quiet. The MG Head seems to have more volume; mine has indents in the volume pot.

I like the solid engagement of the ¼ inch headphone jacks on the MG. And the RCA’s on the back are solid.

The 1/8 mini jack on the Corda lacks the solid feel of the ¼ inch jacks but hasn’t caused any problems, just personal preference. The RCA’s on the back of the Corda are less solid than the MG Heads but more than adequate.

The Corda doesn’t come with a power cord. There is some play in my cross feed switch but it isn’t something that gets used a lot.

The build quality has been spotty for the MG Head from reading posts on Head-Fi but mine is really nicely finished- the feedback switch isn’t really vertical but that’s the only observation. I opened it up and twisted the wires to the power switch.

I haven’t opened up the Corda but from the outside it is clean and sharp. I would think the build quality to be consistently high for the Corda. With the circuit board mounted components there’d be less creative/variable hand wiring.

Each amp is wonderful. I thought the Corda HA-1 was light on the Bass until a real bass note came thru and it just about knocked me out of my chair deep full and rich. I’ve heard things with the HD600’s that sounded like it came from outside, beyond the headphones with both amps. Both amps bring out sounds in the music that I’ve never heard. I don’t find the lack of the cross feed in the MG Head fatiguing in any way. I’d be interested in implementing it in the MG Head in the future.

Either one is a leader in its price range and should sell for more. If I could only have one I’d probably keep the MG Head it’s more fun; it’s got a more appealing tweak factor, the Corda is more business like; it just works and works well.
 
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joealtus

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Good info braillediver. Thanks for the information.
 
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