Suggestions for my first Headphone set-up.
Jun 12, 2009 at 4:31 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 4


100+ Head-Fier
Apr 8, 2009
To head straight to my questions, just scroll to the bottom (Sorry, I type a lot).

I'm currently using a pair of Shure SE530's and a Cowon S9 as a source for my portable system, but I find I'm seeking even better quality now.

For my home system, I was thinking of buying speakers, but I'll be living on residence next year, and I don't think speakers are such a great idea now.

It looks like headphones, but I'm not sure where to begin looking, or even where to end (budget wise)!

I've listened to HD 650's, and they were very impressive, but I can't help but be intrigued by the HD 800's. However, I doubt I'll be able to find a pair to audition. Paying 1500 dollars (I live in Canada) for a pair of headphones I've never heard is pretty impulsive in my opinion.

Along with the 650's, I also auditioned a pair of Grado SR60i's. Not really a fair comparison between the two brands, but I definitely found them a little warm. From what I've read, this is common with Grado headphones, which is just not my kind of sound. Right now at least, I seem to value imaging and clarity above all else.

From reading on the forums, it seems the HD 800's are pretty amp specific. People seem to find them pretty dead with solid state amps as well. The Grado's appear to be more forgiving, but again, it's not my kind of sound.

I have a Marantz CD5003 on order, but the supplier is having a lot of problems getting it (thankfully I haven't paid), so I might cancel that, but it's definitely the best CD player I've ever heard under $500. I was thinking I could buy a pair of HD 800's, and use the CD5003 and my ancient Sansui 881 Receiver to power them until I can find a nice headphone amp.

So my questions basically are:

Can a decently priced amp (500 or under) drive a pair of HD 800's effectively?

If not, what headphone would you recommend that does not require such expensive amplification?

The problem is, that I really don't want to spend tons of money on an amp AND the headphones. Logically, one would probably suggest getting a cheaper pair of headphones and a better amp, but later when I had the money I know I would regret not getting the best, since these will be my only headphones for a long, long time.

My questions are a little ludicrous I know, but any input or criticism is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Jun 12, 2009 at 4:35 PM Post #2 of 4
I don't see why not.

Check Audio-gd's C2C upgraded version. That's a beast for well under your $500 budget. I see no reason why that beast can't drive the HD800s. It's the ONLY single ended headphone amp available using KRELL's current transmission technology btw.

Don't let the elitism of some people dissuade you from purchasing what you want. I believe a lot of it Fanboyism loyalty to HeadAmp, Ray Samuel and the like.

C2C Upgraded Beast Only $380!

Jun 12, 2009 at 4:54 PM Post #4 of 4
Thanks, I was thinking of the high end forum, but I think the price of equipment there is too much for me. I'm sure the people there would find an amp that is a third the cost of the headphones absolutely blasphemous. Also, I've read quite a bit about the HD 800 on this forum, but it is mostly from people with the coin to pay for extremely good amp set-ups.

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