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What makes a $1000 Tube Amp better than a $35 Tube Amp?

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by denon2010, Nov 20, 2015.
  1. Denon2010
    So Amazon sells tube amps for $35, made with Japanese Capacitors etc. People swear by them.
    So i really need to know what about the $1000 amp that makes it better? how does the sound change exactly? And are these changes noticeable in a blind test? by someone 40 years of age and older?
  2. Sefelt103
    Much of what people like in a low cost tube amplifier will be in the cost. In the case of the very expensive amplifier what most will like is the improved sound quality but will also often be things like the subtle addition of colouration, the elegant housing, the perceived durability, enhancements such as bass/treble boost or a 3D sound effect or there lack of. Absolute sound quality is difficult to measure and the public doesn't have any way of accurate measurement and go mostly by what they like ie. the more I like the sound the higher the sound quality, which may not be correct. This sort of impurity within the market reduces the value of very high sound quality/neutral amplifiers and increases the value of colourised and unbalanced amplifiers. Some manufacturers do produce what would be high grade amplifiers and then colourize them and others will take a unit cost of £50 use a 5X multiplier giving retail price of £250 but decide to sell at £1000. The difficulty is in differentiating between cost that goes into upgrading sound quality or cost that goes into aesthetics, marketing and profit.
  3. Denon2010
    ow ok thanks What kind AMP would you recommend? be it SS or Tube for between $100 and $200 US that would equal most $1000 Amps?
    I should point out I don't like neutral sound. I don't know why BUT I once had a ATH M50 and it sounded so horrible I sold it the next 2 days. The Sennheiser HD 555 spoiled me and I don't know why.
    the M50 sounded very boring for some reason and didn't allow me to enjoy the music some say its because they are made for professional monitoring use to pick up flaws and not for music enjoyment.
  4. Sefelt103
    Looking at the frequency response graphs Sennheiser's HD555 is considerably more neutral than Audio Technica's ATH-M50. I still have a HD555 and it was certainly a great budget headphone. If you like non neutral headphones and headphone amplifiers then the world is your oyster, it is neutrality seekers like me who search and search for equipment that doesn't distort the sound. As for a tube amp for $200 that is as good as one costing $1000 then I am not the ideal person to give advice. I used to own a Fiio E9 that I had been led to believe gave a neutral sound but found it to have a 'golden' sort of colouration with a bass and treble boost. A problem you may find as someone who dislikes neutrality is that some of the higher end offerings may be quite neutral. Others may be less so and this makes for a difficult choice. Buying used might be an option as the devaluation on a $1000 amplifier will be considerable.
  5. Denon2010
    Ooh Thanks! yeah I been thinking I will buy a used amp as it would be much more affordable.
    I didn't realize HD 555 was more neutral than the M50, I know the M50 sounded stunning but for some unknown reason I hated it I have no idea how to even explain something like that, one person told me its called sound signature. And that it is possible that I was spoiled by Sennheiser's sound signature otherwise had I used the M50 first I would not have had a problem.
    Offcourse if you think about it, if studio monitors are designed for professional work use then there should be no reason to buy say a Fostex 900 headphone for $1300 USD right? when a monitor can be had for $150? But I don't think its just that I think monitors are not enjoyable for listening to music.
    Have you ever used a studio monitor headphone? have you found it to be lacking in someway? what makes it different from an audiophile grade headphone?
  6. Sefelt103
    Your friend is probably correct in that had Audio Technica' s ATH-M50 become your 'reference' the Sennheiser would have lacked bass and seemed very dull/boring.
    As you probably know studio headphone monitors are designed to give an accurate sonic picture of the recording being made in order that the artist can create the sound he or she wants for their music. So the level of an instrument in the mix must be accurate and its tonality must be clearly shown and distortion of the waveform (as well as distortion of the balance) minimised. Studio headphones will often be closed backed to minimise outside noise interferance, they must be durable and reliable in operation and sound output. They must also highlight any recording defects. These sort of 'work' headphones are different from audiophile headphones. Durability might not be as good, aesthetics are more important and the sound may be distorted by colouration. For consumer headphones the bass/midrange/treble balance may be made unbalanced, the attack/decay charachteristics might also be adjusted. Comfort is important to consumers and durability may not be as good as studio monitors.
  7. Denon2010
    ^Ooh thanks I understand a lot more about monitors now and yeah I really like open back these HD 555 really spoiled me. I guess when my Denon 340 arrives I will hear what they have to offer the price of $50 was hard to pass up, since the MSRP is $300 shows how much **** Denon was on with the price they were calling but past experience with Denon is fabulous I had a D5000 at one point in time. somehow it sounded like open back well similar. And man did I love the design, I can't for the love of god understand why anyone would want these crappy looking beats look alike replacements they made.

    So I guess you are right I am a sucker for aesthetics, wooden cups, comfort, magnesium alloy I would pay premium for those stuff. One thing really suck hard with HD555 is bass it has 0 bass without turning up the EQ super high. My guess is all open backs are like this except Beyerdynamic.

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