One amplifier under 1000 dollars than can power them all?
May 30, 2017 at 9:32 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16

VocaloidDude

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I am tired of seeing people say that a lot of the headphones I want need a good amplifier to power them, but maybe they're right. I have a schiit magni 2 and modi stack. I was thinking about getting the Jotenheim with the dac addition. I don't care about matching certain headphones to certain amps, I do not have that much money. What I do have, I spend on books and audio equipment, because that's what I like. I want one headphone amp that can power them all, like the LCD-2, HE500, HE-6, Sennheiser HD800, or WHATEVER. I just want one headphone amp that I can get and not have to worry about, because headphone amplifiers are a very confusing, obtuse buyers dilemma for me.

I plan on upgrading to a summit fi headphone one of these days. I don't have anywhere I can test it out near me, so I just need to go off of reviews. I think getting an amp before that would probably be a good idea.
 
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May 30, 2017 at 9:40 AM Post #2 of 16

Oscar-HiFi

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I am tired of seeing people say that a lot of the headphones I want need a good amplifier to power them, but maybe they're right. I have a schiit magni 2 and modi stack. I was thinking about getting the Jotenheim with the dac addition. I don't care about matching certain headphones to certain amps, I do not have that much money. What I do have, I spend on books and audio equipment, because that's what I like. I want one headphone amp that can power them all, like the LCD-2, HE500, HE-6, Sennheiser HD800, or WHATEVER. I just want one headphone amp that I can get and not have to worry about, because headphone amplifiers are a very confusing, obtuse buyers dilemma for me.

I plan on upgrading to a summit fi headphone one of these days. I don't have anywhere I can test it out near me, so I just need to go off of reviews. I think getting an amp before that would probably be a good idea.

The most versatile amp I can think of is the iFi Audio Pro iCan, but it's just over your budget.
 
May 30, 2017 at 12:40 PM Post #4 of 16

Nicholas Seltzer

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I am tired of seeing people say that a lot of the headphones I want need a good amplifier to power them, but maybe they're right. I have a schiit magni 2 and modi stack. I was thinking about getting the Jotenheim with the dac addition. I don't care about matching certain headphones to certain amps, I do not have that much money. What I do have, I spend on books and audio equipment, because that's what I like. I want one headphone amp that can power them all, like the LCD-2, HE500, HE-6, Sennheiser HD800, or WHATEVER. I just want one headphone amp that I can get and not have to worry about, because headphone amplifiers are a very confusing, obtuse buyers dilemma for me.

I plan on upgrading to a summit fi headphone one of these days. I don't have anywhere I can test it out near me, so I just need to go off of reviews. I think getting an amp before that would probably be a good idea.

I feel your pain, VocaloidDude. In fact, you sound like me maybe 3 months go. One thing I've learned is that an upgrade path to summitfi via leapfrogging (consumer fi to lowfi, lowfi to midfi, midfi to highfi, highfi to summitfi, etc) is more expensive than just skipping a level or two. I currently have the Jotunheim and have previously owned magni2mod2uber stack, but honestly I'm not sure it would be that much of an upgrade for you. I believe the amp on the Jot is better than the magni2, but the modi is a better DAC than the one in the Jot. If you're sure that you want to eventually go summitfi and hellbent on an amp that will power absolutely anything, you really should consider getting that iFi Audio Pro iCan. It's expensive and ugly as balls, but I agree it's highly versatile. It has lots of in- and outputs, which will allow you to connect more sources and/or pre-amp out to a poweramp or something for speakers.

That being said, I'm personally thinking about getting a Schiit Mjolnir 2, which is about a grand with all the fixin's. It has plenty of power and will power *almost* anything very well. But I mean, do you really, really want the HE-6s? If you're absolutely hellbent on an amp that will power absolutely anything, you can always go with a speaker amp. Zeos Pantera (Z reviews) has a review coming out of the Emotiva A-100 BasX speaker amplifier, which can be had for maybe a couple hundred bucks. Now most speaker amplifiers that have a headphone jack, the high-powered components meant to power the speakers are merely "resisted" down to headphone levels and this makes them sound like crap. And that's how the A-100 is by default. BUT, there is a jumper setting you can change that will actually send the 50W speaker-level power straight out through the headphone jack. Obviously you have to be very careful not to increase the volume too high or you'll blow out your headphones and your ears very quickly, but at lower levels it will make hard-to-drive headphones sound amazing.
 
May 30, 2017 at 1:35 PM Post #6 of 16

Monsterzero

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I Now most speaker amplifiers that have a headphone jack, the high-powered components meant to power the speakers are merely "resisted" down to headphone levels and this makes them sound like ****. And that's how the A-100 is by default. BUT, there is a jumper setting you can change that will actually send the 50W speaker-level power straight out through the headphone jack. Obviously you have to be very careful not to increase the volume too high or you'll blow out your headphones and your ears very quickly, but at lower levels it will make hard-to-drive headphones sound amazing.

Most modern speaker amps have a separate amp for HPs from what is used to power speakers.Also most big box audio equipment is geared towards home theater applications.
Hence why I use vintage receivers to drive everything thats "hard to drive" ,including my HE-6.Vintage gear came with the resistor that you mentioned above,and most sound just as good as dedicated HP amps.

For low impedance HPs I use my Chord Mojo.For less than a grand he could get both the receiver and Mojo,have his DAC and all HPs covered,but ive tried to help OP before,to no avail...He doesnt seem to have the room for a large amp,which is pretty much required to drive the beasts of the HP world. Even the Wells Milo has a large-ish footprint,but thats well above his budget.
 
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May 30, 2017 at 3:07 PM Post #7 of 16

Nicholas Seltzer

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Most modern speaker amps have a separate amp for HPs from what is used to power speakers.Also most big box audio equipment is geared towards home theater applications.
Hence why I use vintage receivers to drive everything thats "hard to drive" ,including my HE-6.Vintage gear came with the resistor that you mentioned above,and most sound just as good as dedicated HP amps.

For low impedance HPs I use my Chord Mojo.For less than a grand he could get both the receiver and Mojo,have his DAC and all HPs covered,but ive tried to help OP before,to no avail...He doesnt seem to have the room for a large amp,which is pretty much required to drive the beasts of the HP world. Even the Wells Milo has a large-ish footprint,but thats well above his budget.
Well I actually don't think he said he was looking for a speaker amp--though he may have said so elsewhere. My point was that for the HE-6s he might even use an actual speaker amp (not a secondary headphone amp in the same unit, but the actual speaker amp). If size is an issue, the Emotiva A-100 is actually fairly compact, not much larger than a large headphone amp.
 
May 30, 2017 at 5:07 PM Post #8 of 16

VocaloidDude

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I feel your pain, VocaloidDude. In fact, you sound like me maybe 3 months go. One thing I've learned is that an upgrade path to summitfi via leapfrogging (consumer fi to lowfi, lowfi to midfi, midfi to highfi, highfi to summitfi, etc) is more expensive than just skipping a level or two. I currently have the Jotunheim and have previously owned magni2mod2uber stack, but honestly I'm not sure it would be that much of an upgrade for you. I believe the amp on the Jot is better than the magni2, but the modi is a better DAC than the one in the Jot. If you're sure that you want to eventually go summitfi and hellbent on an amp that will power absolutely anything, you really should consider getting that iFi Audio Pro iCan. It's expensive and ugly as balls, but I agree it's highly versatile. It has lots of in- and outputs, which will allow you to connect more sources and/or pre-amp out to a poweramp or something for speakers.

That being said, I'm personally thinking about getting a Schiit Mjolnir 2, which is about a grand with all the fixin's. It has plenty of power and will power *almost* anything very well. But I mean, do you really, really want the HE-6s? If you're absolutely hellbent on an amp that will power absolutely anything, you can always go with a speaker amp. Zeos Pantera (Z reviews) has a review coming out of the Emotiva A-100 BasX speaker amplifier, which can be had for maybe a couple hundred bucks. Now most speaker amplifiers that have a headphone jack, the high-powered components meant to power the speakers are merely "resisted" down to headphone levels and this makes them sound like ****. And that's how the A-100 is by default. BUT, there is a jumper setting you can change that will actually send the 50W speaker-level power straight out through the headphone jack. Obviously you have to be very careful not to increase the volume too high or you'll blow out your headphones and your ears very quickly, but at lower levels it will make hard-to-drive headphones sound amazing.
Thank you for your post. No, I don't "need" the HE-6. I just want something that will power any 1000+ dollar headphone I choose. I would settle for an amp that powers those less than adequately, but powers other stuff like the HE-800 or whatever summit fi headphone marvelously. I have not decided on what that headphone would be. I am considering that amplifier, the ican. It would just take a long time to save up for that, I probably wouldn't be able to get that and a summit fi pare of headphones for several months, unless I wanted to have no money left. Even if I did want to spend all my money down to the last penny, I probably would have to wait a while anyways. I suppose it's something I should do though, considering I want the absolute best, and I don't want to have to worry about not having the best sound equipment ever again.
 
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May 30, 2017 at 5:33 PM Post #10 of 16

squee116

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Thank you for your post. No, I don't "need" the HE-6. I just want something that will power any 1000+ dollar headphone I choose. I would settle for an amp that powers those less than adequately, but powers other stuff like the HE-800 or whatever summit fi headphone marvelously. I have not decided on what that headphone would be. I am considering that amplifier, the ican. It would just take a long time to save up for that, I probably wouldn't be able to get that and a summit fi pare of headphones for several months, unless I wanted to have no money left. Even if I did want to spend all my money down to the last penny, I probably would have to wait a while anyways. I suppose it's something I should do though, considering I want the absolute best, and I don't want to have to worry about not having the best sound equipment ever again.
I saw the ifi ican pro on the "for sale" thread here for about 1100, if it's still available. It does the have the benefits of being able to switch between solid state and tube amp, which helps increase the range of headphones it can support.
Someone earlier posted the v200, and mine should be arriving in two days to test it. I'm hopeful, but the amp is expensive. There other Lake People amps that are "reference grade" and cost about half, but with a more neutral presentation. One of them is on Massdrop for 700, the RS08.
But you can also get the Lake People G109 series for around 500 to 700 I think. As other mentioned, the HE-6 is a beast to drive, and from the reviews I've read, the Lake People/Violectric amps can drive them, but you need to go into the higher end models to maximize the HE6s potential.

The Mjollnir isn't a bad choice either, and in one review I was reading, whether the v200 or Mjollnir was the better choice often depended on the recordings and your preference in sound signature. Apparently the Mjollnir can bring out details and treble sparkle, where the v200 can make mids more lush and bass a bit more present.
http://www.headphoneer.com/mjolnir-vs-v200/
 
May 30, 2017 at 5:35 PM Post #11 of 16

Nicholas Seltzer

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Thank you for your post. No, I don't "need" the HE-6. I just want something that will power any 1000+ dollar headphone I choose. I would settle for an amp that powers those less than adequately, but powers other stuff like the HE-800 or whatever summit fi headphone marvelously. I have not decided on what that headphone would be. I am considering that amplifier, the ican. It would just take a long time to save up for that, I probably wouldn't be able to get that and a summit fi pare of headphones for several months, unless I wanted to have no money left. Even if I did want to spend all my money down to the last penny, I probably would have to wait a while anyways. I suppose it's something I should do though, considering I want the absolute best, and I don't want to have to worry about not having the best sound equipment ever again.

Well then I think you have lots of great options. There are really only a few headphones that require extraordinary amounts of power, like the HE-6, and generally I don't think there is much of a correlation between the price of a headphone and the *quantity* of power you need to drive it. Rather, it's about the *quality* of power. Again, in the sub-$1000 price range (which is where I'm currently looking) I'm leaning toward the Mjolnir 2 with both sets of tubes. It looks great and is very versatile. You might also consider looking at Audio-GD's line. The NFB-28 is a great integrated DAC/AMP under 800. It has incredible bang-for-the-buck, as long as you don't mind the appearance, iffy drivers, an virtually non-existent support. I keep going back to appearance here because I personally think that matters. Also, remember to think about your needs for auxiliary inputs and outputs! I like that I can run both a DAC, my AVR, and a turntable into my headphone amp. Good luck!
 
May 30, 2017 at 6:30 PM Post #12 of 16

buke9

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Another one I heard a little while back that was very good was a Airist Heron 5 then there is always a Liquid Carbon great little amp.
 
Sep 29, 2018 at 3:04 PM Post #13 of 16

joeike

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Highly recommend the emotiva basx a-100 I don't even have it in direct drive yet but it drives my fostex TX-O with ease !!
 

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Sep 29, 2018 at 3:59 PM Post #14 of 16

SilverEars

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Ok, ignoring the HD800. You need to find a thread that people discussing about fixing the headphone's response with amps.

Get a used Bryston BHA-1 at lower pricing. It has balanced and single-ended and is a real power-house. You are pretty much set after that.
 
Oct 3, 2018 at 6:39 PM Post #15 of 16

HBen

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a used auralic taurus mk2 or a new mjolnir 2 can be had for around that budget - power all my headphones (except electrostats) pretty well imo :)
 

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