Want versatile amp under $500.
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3lusiv3

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I've started to look at amps after hanging out here for a while. The options are a bit confusing after reading through a lot of posts. I want a heaphone amp to use with my laptop and possibly an external DAC in the future but first the amp.

The amp has to be able to drive anything from the AT A500's to Senn HD 650's with authority. It can't cost more than US$500 and will be used at home in Australia (we have 240 volt power). I listen mainly to hip-hop, but also will also use it for TV, movies, jazz and funk. No classical music.

What do you guys recommend? The PPA looks like a good option? Maybe one of the Headroom amps? CORDA HA-1 MkII? LaRocco PPA? Perreax SXH1 (US$445 over here)? Musical Fidelity X-Can v3 (US$410 over here)? Any others? What's the under $500 bargain out there that kills evrything else for the price?

Thanks

Edit: Maybe the Rudistor RP3 or RP4?
 
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sacd lover

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If you want to try tubes the singlepower ppx3 is a great amp for the money. It can be built for 240volt and its $465. Speaking of built, the build quality is superb and so is the appearance. For information www.6sn7.com
 
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3lusiv3

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sacd lover
If you want to try tubes the singlepower ppx3 is a great amp for the money. It can be built for 240volt and its $465. Speaking of built, the build quality is superb and so is the appearance. For information www.6sn7.com



Yes, I was looking at that one as well. Tubes worry me because I don't know much about them and they look fragile. I always associated tube amps with classical music for some reason. Do tube amps go well with modern music that has a strong beat and bass?
 
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Sugano-san

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Quote:

Originally Posted by 3lusiv3
The amp has to be able to drive anything from the AT A500's to Senn HD 650's with authority. It can't cost more than US$500 and will be used at home in Australia (we have 240 volt power). I listen mainly to hip-hop, but also will also use it for TV, movies, jazz and funk. No classical music.


Maxed-out Larocco Pocket Reference.

Costs less than 500 US. Looks sexy and is not too big. Is incredibly powerful and has a deep deep bass. Comes with rechargeable batteries. You can recharge them with a generic 240 V power supply and listen to clean battery power. You can take it on the road and use it with portable sources. It has a bass boost (on top of the already inpressive bass) that you may really enjoy with your hip-hop music. It works very well with jazz and funk, and I see no reason why it should not work well with TV and movies.

Highly recommended with HD 650s.
 
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Definitely give XP7 with the AD797 opamp a try.
 
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I second ampgalore's suggestion of the xp-7. I had both but found the xp-7 to be just a little bit better in terms of its compatibility with both my ipod/E5 and HD650/CDP. Both are built like tanks. In terms of size, the PR has an advantage. You can opamp roll with the xp-7.
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by 3lusiv3
Yes, I was looking at that one as well. Tubes worry me because I don't know much about them and they look fragile. I always associated tube amps with classical music for some reason. Do tube amps go well with modern music that has a strong beat and bass?


This amp does. I listen to mostly rock and blues and it has excellent speed and timing. The amp has a very powerful sound and is very musical. The ppx3 has the unique ability to rock and be non-fatiguing at the same time too. As far as the tubes, the 6cg7 tube used in the ppx3 is a small inexpensive tube thats rugged and long lasting. Check out the ppx3 tube rolling thread for some comments on the 6cg7 tube. Do a search for the ppx3 and there is quite a bit of information. I have had mine for several months and I couldnt be happier.
 
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Another solid state contender in that price range would be the PPA, you could get a nice one for that much.
 
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If I wanted to keep the cost under $400 I would probably go for a PPA, but is the PPA as good as or better than the others mentioned (Headroom amps? CORDA HA-1 MkII? Perreaux SXH1? Musical Fidelity X-Can v3? Rudistor RP3 or RP4? singlepower ppx3? xp7?)? If a $400 PPA is as good as or close to these others I may go for a PPA.

Edit: The advantage I see with a Perreaux or X-Cans is that I can just walk into a shop and buy it; no shipping costs from overseas.
 
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PPA is nice, but you can also look for a nice used Corda HA-2. I think the used one can be had for around $450-$500. Of course since you are located in Australia, Perreaux SXH-1 would be an excellent choice (slightly warmer sounding amp than Corda HA-1/HA-2). If you get a Perreaux, be sure to get version 0.5 or higher since 0.3 appears to have a problem (hum) with low impedance cans (your ATH-A500).
 
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gpalmer

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If it were me and I was buying one (based only on those I have tried at least briefly) it would be a three horse race. This is not to denigrate the other options that have been mentioned, I just don't know them and therefore do not have an opinion on them.

I have a feeling the PPX3 is probably the best sounding of the lot, but you have to be willing to accept the downsides of tubes, like limited availability of NOS tubes and warm up time before it sounds it's best. OTOH, the PPA is very, very similar to a Gilmore V2 in sound and I know SACD Lover has compared them extensively and found the PPX3 to sound better.

The XP-7 could get expensive to run without a power supply, since as I recall the manufacturers recomendations are to use alkaline batteries and the $500 doesn't include the power supply unless you find someone selling used that has no idea of what the value is.
I might be wrong on the use of alkaline batteries instead of rechargables, but that seem to be what I remember. This does also offer the option of portability and sound quality is excellent.

The PPA is an excellent amplifer and due to it's solid state design is low maintainance just plug and play. It's very neutral, probably more so than the XP-7. Since it's available from several builders, the prices for this amplifer have remained low and it wouldn't be eating batteries.

I haven't heard the Perreaux, but many folks liked it's presentation. Some preferred it to the Gilmore V2 though that was not universal. Since the Gilmore V2 and the PPA sound so much alike, I would draw the conclusion that you might or might not like it better. Probably depends on whether you want neutrality or warmth. I would check to make sure it's under 500 though after their recent price increase. I am not clear if this was a US only or a world wide price increase. The other thing that seems to follow this amplifer around is a lot of repairs, there was a thread about how many Perreaux owners had had problems with the amplifer and the number was really high. This was biased somewhat by the number of folks that had the 0.3 to 0.5 update but still semmed rather high at best.
 
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Thanks for the replies.


Thinking aloud:

The PPX3 ($465 + shipping) is probably the one to go for. Seems like the best value of the lot and something I would be proud to own.

A standard PPA would be a round $400. The PPA seems like a good choice but a great one would end up costing $600. Perreax SXH1 (US$445 over here) is a possibilty. The Musical Fidelity X-Can v3 (US$410 over here) is very tempting because of the price and because I can just walk into a local shop and buy it. The XP7 is too expensive. The Rudistor RP3 or RP4 seem good on their web site but i can't find much info on them.

I may be able to get the Musical Fidelity X-Can v3 for US$380 from a local shop. This has the advantage of having a local supplier, no extra cost for shipping, it comes ready for 240 volts, fits nicely with my Musical Fidelity X-A100R speaker amp. But will it do the job well enough?
 
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Quote:

If you get a Perreaux, be sure to get version 0.5 or higher since 0.3 appears to have a problem (hum) with low impedance cans (your ATH-A500).


AFAIK the Aussie edition of the SXH1 v0.3 does not have the hum problem...
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by 3lusiv3
Yes, I was looking at that one as well. Tubes worry me because I don't know much about them and they look fragile. I always associated tube amps with classical music for some reason. Do tube amps go well with modern music that has a strong beat and bass?


I listen to mostly industrial and electronic and the PPX3 does excellent with it. As sacd lover mentioned, the 6CG7 tubes used by it are inexpensive. They are also readily available and has some current production tubes (Ei) that are quite good. The best thing about the PPX3 is that it lets you listen to the music and forget about the equipment.
 
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