I've been listening to my Alessandro MS2's and Etymotic ER4P's for years, but finally have the financial means to try out some high end german headphones. I briefly considered the HD800 but think I'll go with the HD650's.
Anyway, Is the headroom Desktop a good option for them? I want a DAC too, so the all in one appeal is there. There don't seem to be many reviews of the desktop out there. It is expensive at $850, but I'm not a DIY'er and it seems like it's built well and has all the connectivity I need. I'm not sure what I would gain by going up to the ultra desktop and what I'd lose by going down to the microstack. Any advice, alternatives, or suggestions? I had a 2nd generation airhead many years ago so I've always had a fondness for Headroom gear.
The HeadRoom amp is a nice amp, and should drive your Senns pretty well. I've not heard the DAC that comes with lately, but I've owned several of their amps with DACs (most recent was the Balanced Desktop) and it was very listenable. You can always add a "better" DAC down the road if you like via external input IIRC, and HeadRoom occasionally offers product ugrades for things like the amp electronics and the DACs.
I've always liked the idea of dealing with a well established company located in the US, in the event that something goes wrong...which to me weighs in favor of the Headroom vs the Audio-GD (this isn't intended to start a flame war with the Audio-GD fan club...just my opinion). The HeadRoom is solid state vs tubed (Woo)...both have advantages.
By going to the Ultra, you'll get really fantastic class A sonics. Haven't heard the DAC lately, but I can't imagine that it's anything short of fantastic in my experience. By going with the MicroStac, you'll get sonics that will approach that which you get with the Desktop. It's a little more portable, but not a lot, if that's a consideration, and has a smaller footprint (though you still need to consider the power supplies). The MicroStac will drive your HD650's pretty well (though not as well IMHO) as the Desktop.