I hear you. I used to have Linn Kans in the '80s and '90s which were 86db/W or something like that with a Naim Nait 1 (16W). The combo was very good even with the Nait's flea level power output. The Kans got better as I moved up the Naim ladder (160, 250 and finally 135s). I'm only a few days into Dave ownership and one day into comparing direct vs speaker amp. So far the differences aren't as pronounced as I expected. My next step is to try an adapter and plug the Abyss directly into the speaker amp. Maybe the Hifiman HE adapter is reducing the chain's potential. Reading an earlier post by Rob Watts (#845 on the Dave thread) he stated that the Dave, which puts out 1.4W at 33ohms, could drive the HE1000 (90dB/mW 33ohms) with ease. Can an electrically savvy Headfier translate the Daves watts for the Abyss TC's 88db/mW at 47ohms?