Speaker amps for headphones

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by operakid, Feb 1, 2013.
  1. Sonic Defender Contributor
    Yes, and as well engineered and designed as some amps are, in reality, even average, but still adequately designed and decked out amps are going to sound quite good and unless there are major sound signature differences by intent, most amps will be hard to tell apart in level matched, blind listening. That isn't to say that a very expensive amp isn't worth it, heck if somebody can afford it, that is fine, but for those who can't, don't despair, the differences really aren't as noticeable as we might assume simply from price differences. Point in proof, my NAD rig is pretty nice, but the humble little Mojo frankly delivers most of the quality. While not a full equal, the Mojo despite costing significantly less still delivers quality and highly satisfying audio, and that is just a tiny device that sits in the palm of my hand!
  2. Rossliew
    You have hit the point there, mate! I have had my fair share of run-ins with high end gears and more often than not, i've fallen back on my low to mid-tier rigs that sounded the most fun and exciting to my ears. So much better bang for the buck yet i don't deny the TOTL stuff do hold their own in the grand scheme of things and that would mean a full upgrade to TOTL levels for the entire chain..i, too, have the Mojo and on occasion use it as a desktop DAC but i like to roll Dacs so i don't stay with any single one for too long LOL.

    Now, i'm curious as to how a Sansui AU555A sounds like with my cans...
  3. jelt2359 Contributor
    Good choices! The Utopia is very pinpoint but could do with a bigger soundstage and the F7 certainly helps there. On the other hand the Phi has no problems with soundstage size but overall has good grunt and heft, can see why you'd pick the Pass to further enhance that effect. The Pass has a big, powerful sound, with just the type of bass @Rossliew likes, actually.
  4. Sonic Defender Contributor
    We all do, and no worries, glad if I at all helped. Let us know what you do end up doing.
    Dorisandjess likes this.
  5. Sonic Defender Contributor
    So many nice vintage devices out there to enjoy. Not sure as the signal to noise looks high on the Sansui, but I'm just speculating so why not give it a try? My brother has been collecting vintage 70s and 80s gear and he has this amazing Onkyo integrated that was fully recapped (except the power supply I think). The thing looks beautiful and has that nice big sound playing through our Pioneer HPM 100 speakers that we have had since the 1980s that are still going strong!
    ruhenheiM, Dorisandjess and Oregonian like this.
  6. Rossliew
    How's the comfort/weight factor with the Phi? And yes I love my bass or rather my mid bass thump.
  7. Rossliew
    Am still mulling over the sansui. I'm pretty much very satisfied with the Nad such that I really don't see the need for another piece of vintage gear (sounds like what we always tell ourselves before we start buying stuff again hahaha).

    Having said that if I do come across a nice condition Pioneer receiver (one of those SX series ones) I'd jump all over it :)
  8. jelt2359 Contributor
    You like too much bass, last I checked you also like the T2 type of enveloping bass lol.

    The comfort/weight factor of the Phi is just as "good" as the Abyss. My hd800 is extremely useful for when my session starts getting longer and my neck hurts.
  9. Rossliew
    I used my NAD3020 as pre-amp into my Carbon and boy, oh boy, does this wake up everything! The bass hits harder, there is more air around the instruments, more holographic imaging yet treble remains smooth and clear. Don't need no planers now :p

    And it seems to sound like the 007/BHSE combo i auditioned on Friday...
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2017
  10. Jozurr
    The J2 is a terrific amp that I use with my HE-6. The synergy is very good.
  11. posedown
    Anyone using a Teac AI-101 DA?
    Is it enough for the HE-6?
  12. Sonic Defender Contributor
    Did you ever try the Teac for the HE-6? If so how did it handle the load? Teac makes some nice gear that flies under the radar mostly so I expect there aren't many people who could offer you feedback. Cheers.
  13. Dawnrazor
    Recently got back into audio and bought the Monolith m565 and the Schiit Vali2. Source is a cics memory player with a Lynx L2b.

    It was pretty good but the Lynx has balanced outs and the M565 has two 2.5mm jacks so I could go balanced all the way. I had a Halo A23 power amp just sitting around unused so I figured lets try it.

    Man am I glad I did!!! I bought 2 of the Rolls PM52 head taps. 2 allow me to run balanced and not have to worry if the A21 has common grounds. Bananas to two mono 1/4 plugs into the two PM 52s and 1/4” to 2.5mm cables out to the headphones.

    Zero noise and way way better than the Vali2!

    Anyhow here is a pict


    Anyhow its a non diy option and at around $50 each its affordable. And if you do have common grounds the Rolls has a stereo input so with single ended cans you could just use one of the PM 52s
  14. DJ The Rocket
    I've had a mixed bag trying various equipment in this way. I have a Kenwood tuner I bought new 20 years ago, and it sounds great driving headphones off the speaker taps: I've used a Q701, DT880, HE400, HE500, LCD2, and Alpha Prime this way.

    But when I look to upgrade, all the amps or tuners I've tried--at pawn shops, from people I found on craigslist, my dad's nice Harmon--has sounded horrible. Sometimes it's obviously a cheap pot channel tracking issue, but the few with digital volume controls have had the same problem: the bass sounds wildly distorted and out of control, even at very low volumes, sometimes but not always in one ear only. Sometimes the problem goes away at a very high but not ear-bleeding volume, other times I reach my volume limit before the amp settles down.

    What is going on here? Why is my entry level Kenwood tuner so much better than every Onkyo, Pioneer, Technics, Harmon, etc that I've tried? It's seriously limiting my options here. I really want to invest in a Marantz 22xx series, but buying anything sight unseen is out of the question for me.

    Can anyone suggest DIY builds suitable for headphones? SS only, under $200 not counting the enclosure, something like 12-15 watts (@8 ohms).

    I saw a discussion about Nelson Pass earlier, and I know people DIY some Firstwatt models. But aren't the Firstwatts the oddball designs outside the scope of Pass Labs, that don't necessarily even aim for strict transparency?
  15. Dawnrazor
    Never heard the Firstwatts as my speakers were 4 ohm 86db so it was a non starter. But i had the x-150 and Pass knows what they are doing with amps

    No idea why you had the hit or miss experiences. I think it comes down to the power supply and whether the amp is a common ground amp.

    Also afaik the resistor values used can make a difference. What values did you use? I just used 2 of the Rolls Pm52 boxes so i could run balanced

    I only have the Halo here and it works magnificently.

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