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So I just ordered Denon AH-D5000 headphones; now I'm thinking about amplification.

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by timestretch, Jan 4, 2011.
  1. Timestretch
    I've been snooping around and I've heard a few things:
    Since they are only 25ohm; even the output on my Zune should sound alright with the Denon AH-D5000s. Of course, a good amp will sound better, but the Denons won't be totally castrated if they don't have an "excellent" amplifier. they are "easy" to drive.  
    That said, since they are 25ohm, apparently some high-powered amplifiers do not pair well with them. Amps designed to work best with 600ohm headphones might not sound all that great with the Denons. Also, I'm told that solid state amps should be a MUCH better choice for these phones than tube amps. 
    I don't know how much of that is actually true, but that's the sort of stuff I've read. 
    So once I get the Denons in the mail, what should I get for an amplifier? Schiit Asgard looks REALLY cool, but that is "back order" so if I want one I'd have to wait.  Little Dot I+ is super affordable (almost too affordable; that worries me) and claims to do low impedance headphones very well, but that is tube and I hear Denons hate tubes.  Fiio E7+E9 thing  gets a lot of talk here, but I am somehow turned off by that idea and would rather have just a plain, discrete amplifier that just has RCA jacks on the back and a headphone jack on the front -- simple and traditional, you know?
    Does anyone have suggestions? I don't want to go too cheap, because then I will worry that my simple pioneer headphone out will probably be just as good, but I don't want to spend much more than $300, either, because I am merely a college student with a part time job. 
    Any ideas?
  2. sonitus mirus
    Try the headphones with the Zune player, and if the volume is adequate, don't expect significant improvements from an amp with regards to sound quality.

    While I normally listen at very low volume levels, my Headroom Total Airhead amp did not have enough power to satisfactorily drive them if I decided to crank up the sound a bit. Since then, I have purchased both a NuForce Icon HDP and HeadRoom Micro Amp, which are able to provide enough kick to put a smile on my face whenever the mood strikes me to jam for a song or two.

    Now, the NuForce has a built-in DAC and my Micro Amp does not, but the Micro Amp is more powerful, and using the Nuforce as a preamp, the more powerful amp is preferred. Although this is not a practical solution for me, and I rarely use this configuration, having since decided to use my Micro Amp in my office at work. The NuForce is very loud, but if the off position is at the 7 o'clock position, the left and right channels do not balance out until roughly 9 o'clock. And while the volume increases significantly between 9 and 11-12, there is little to no increase with the D5000s beyond this volume setting with the NuForce amp, even turning the volume to the 2 or 3 o'clock position for very brief moments to verify these findings.

    The D5000s are efficient, but they don't seem to be as easy to drive as the specifications might indicate. The bass started to clip when turning up the volume with my weaker Airhead amp, or when testing by directly connecting the headphones to my Sansa Clip or HTC EVO phone. The volume level was fine for safe, extended listening sessions, but it was not very satisfying when occasionally turning up the volume for short periods of time.

    I do not know the difference between tube and solid state amps, other than what I have read. Also, I can't say for certain if I can hear a difference in sound quality between any of my amps, but the more powerful the amp, the better I seem to like it. That said, I would seriously consider getting the Audio-gd FUN amp. It has all of the same inputs/outputs as my NuForce, but it is MUCH more powerful and it is cheaper. If you find that you want more volume after trying your headphones with the Zune, I would seriously consider getting the FUN.  
  3. ClassicThunder
    The Fiio E7+E9 thing is an Dac/Amp combo, no point in getting both if you don't want a dac. Alone the E9 and E7 it is as simple and traditional as RCA jacks on the back and a headphone jack on the front.
    Anyways the D5Ks are easy to drive, but they do scale pretty well. I drove them off of the E7 alone for months before getting a E9. The extra power makes a difference but not much. An E9 alone is less that 150$ and drives the D5Ks superbly. If you want to stay portable, you never say but I assume you do since you're using a Zune, I wouldn't really suggest the E7 as there are more powerful mini amps that will make the D5Ks sound better. 
    So I suggest E9 if you don't care about portability, if you do a E7 will suffice but more power will make a noticeable improvement. 
  4. Timestretch
    Thanks for the very helpful responses so far.  
    Oh; yeah. I should add some more information.  
    Portability is not a concern.
    I use a zune often; but that's not for home listening. It is nice to hear some of my headphones out of that jack, though, to see how it compares to out of my "home setup," which is a
    PC with the HT Omega Claro Plus sound card that I've had for a while and always marveled about how markedly superior it was to the onboard sound. For example, my HD595s sound mostly similar between the Zune and the PC, but my old ATH-A700s sound very different between the two jacks. If I get an amplifier, I will plug it right into the line out of the Claro in place of the stereo receiver currently plugged into the line out (I'll use an optical output to feed my receiver for speakers then). 
    http://www.htomega.com/claroplus.html  -- link to my sound card, for those curious. It's old so i'm sure there are better choices today, but it is definitely really cool.
  5. BlackHawk1
    What do you guys/gals think of the NuForce uDAC-2 USB DAC/Headphone Amp with the Denon? Better or worse than the Fiio E9?
    How about the Pro-Ject Head Box II? A Cmoy amp? Schiit Asgard?
    I am also trying to find a good low cost solution. So many choices and confusion... for me anyway.
  6. BlackHawk1
  7. lee730


    Well I can't speak for those other amps you've listed but I use a fiio e7/e9 to drive my dennon AH-D5000's and it works wonderfully. Way more power than you'll ever need. I can't even turn the e9 amp up to half volume without damaging my hearing so good luck man.
  8. shipsupt


    Little dot I+ is a hybrid amp and matches up quite well with the Denon's. You can roll some tubes and op amps, fun. Cheap yes, but a capable fun amp.

  9. rx7mark
    Another option if you have a DAC is something like the new Audio GD C-2 SA which is $300 and is fully discrete should drive just about any headphone. I haven't heard it yet but love my Compass with D2000's.   If you don't a analog source you could get a FUN which is the replacement for the Compass and has a DAC and Headamp  priced at $200-345.
    C-2 SA  http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/C-2SA/C2SAEN.htm
    Fun       .http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/FUN/FUNEN.htm
  10. brydon10
    The Schiit Asgard is worth mentioning. $250 http://schiit.com/products/asgard/
    And of course you'll need a dac to go with it, maybe an HRT Music Streamer II for around $150
  11. mangoegiraffe
    hey i am in the same ship, just got me a pair of the ah d5000s and the grado 325is.... y current amp was only intended to be temporary, to drive my speakers as well as headphones and cost me 80bucks off ebay, but now i think is a good time to at least get a decent headphone amp capable of complimenting both the denons and the grados.... doesnt need to be portable and my budget is similar (under 300$), does anybody have any suggestions, or is the consensus still with the fiio e9? thanks
  12. sonitus mirus
    The Schiit Asgard would be a great addition to your collection, and it pairs well with your headphones.   Depending on your source, a DAC could make for an even greater improvement in sound quality, but I would grab the amp first.   

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