Overwhelmed with info, need help shopping for a desktop amp
Dec 30, 2012 at 6:58 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7

streetpirate

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Occasional lurker first time poster,
 
I have a set of vintage MCS cans that I'm very happy with. I have only done a side by side comparison with some
Bose OE2's and other than total volume my old MCS cans blew them out of the water.
 
Instead of upgrading to some Grado sr60s or sr80s, I'm thinking that I want to try amplifying the headphones I have.
 
I only use them at home so I have no need of a portable amp, and always run them through a receiver.
 
I'm handy with a soldering iron and have built a couple guitar pedals so a DIY kit would be acceptable.
 
From what I can gather, I don't need portability, I don't need DAC, I would like something I can plug into the 1/4" headphone output on my receiver, and want to spend $80-$120.
 
I read 92 ohms across the coils on my headphones and my receiver doesn't have quite the power to fully drive them.
 
 
I hear good things about this Dayton
 
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=300-383
 
 
I also hear good things about the Filo amps, but have no clue which would be right for my needs
 
 
 
Thanks for any advise you can give!
 
Jan 4, 2013 at 2:27 AM Post #3 of 7

flatmap

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Starving student would be a fun project.... and lots of satisfied users.  Might be the way that I'd go.  Have not heard it personally, but you can find a number of accounts on the threads here.
 
The little dot amps can be awfully fun... the mk I starting around $110... but then there's shipping.  Though you might run across a mk ii on the used market .  I think that might be pretty great.
 
The Fiio's are quite nice... though if I recall right, they are battery operated in this price range and charge off off a usb charge circuit.  Someone else should be able to chime in and give you the real info on this; many users here!
 
And in taking the signal from your receiver, you might want to come out of a 'tape out' if there is one.  That way you'll be sure to get the signal from the main amp section.  Not in all cases, but some receivers run the headphone out through an op-amp... and not necessarily the best possible.  Just depends on what you've got.
 
Jan 9, 2013 at 9:22 PM Post #5 of 7

streetpirate

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Thanks for the replies, I was starting to think I'm such a noob that this thread was getting ignored :)
 
The receiver is a Sony str-de897,
 
http://www.crutchfield.com/S-l4NDBdX1wRA/p_158STD897S/Sony-STR-DE897-Silver.html#details-tab
 
nothing in the manual mentions anything about the headphone jack other than that it exists
 
I do have an optical out for md/tape, but logic is telling me that the rca out for tape only functions when the input is selected for tape, and I need the headphone amp to work with multiple inputs without having to get back there and switch cables. I have zero experience with optical audio and other than that I am thinking the headphone jack is the only switchable output (switchable as in it is easy to unplug from the front to have the sound run through the regular speakers) that works with all inputs.
 
all the tube amp kits I have seen seem to start at the $200 range, and for my first foray I've set my upper limit at around $130.
 
From what I've read elsewhere on the forums, it looks like my best bet will be the Little Dot MkII.
 
If I fall in love with this little amp and decide to build a more attractive aluminum/wood case, will I have ground hum issues? I seem to recall that coming up as an issue a few times in DIY amp threads.
 
 
 
wait... how much do I even care if it's a tube amp? Are tubes going to make much of a real difference in this price range other than cool factor and bragging rights?
 
Jan 9, 2013 at 10:46 PM Post #6 of 7

flatmap

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Right, looks like there is no analog tape output.  And this is the receiver
you already own right?  It's not like you're looking to buy a receiver as
well.  
 
Anyway, looking at the specs, it does appear that there is
a set of "fixed-level 2nd zone stereo RCA line outputs,
allowing you send analog audio signals to another zone. "
That should provide the line-out signal you want
to take to your separate headphone amp.  That allows you to
completely bypass the receiver's built-in headphone circuit.
 
In terms of tube vs solid state, both (of course) can be very good.
As a complete generalization, a tube amp will tend to give you
more 'tone color and body'... and sometimes more 'sonic space
and depth of field."  A solid state amp will tend to give
you better bass... and sometimes more drive and excitement.  Both
can have good properties -- depending on what you find most
satisfying and depending on how your headphone responds.
 

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