Headphone Amp advice

Discussion in 'Hardware Lounge' started by Chris Smith, Aug 3, 2017.

  1. Chris Smith

    Chris Smith Well-Known Member

    I posted about a month ago that I'm getting a pair of Sennheiser 6XX (rebadged 650s) from Massdrop in a few months, ship date around Christmas. I know that I need a headphone amp for them. @Mike B and others here have probably forgot more about headphone amps than I've ever known (since I know very little, it's a pretty good guess!)

    I'm looking for some recommendations of ones I should be researching and if anyone has any personal experience with any of these and could give me their thoughts, I'd appreciate it very much.

    I'd like to stick to around $150 for the amp, could push it to $200 if I HAD to, just don't tell my wife, and bonus points if I can buy it on Amazon because I can use points I have saved :)

    I know that this is one of those things that can be very subjective, and everyone's opinion might be different, just looking for opinions! My primary source will be a Denon DP-300f record player. I'm not planning, at least not now, of hooking any digital sources to them so I'm not worried about a DAC at this time. Down the road I'll add a DAC but for now when I want to "seriously listen" it'll pretty much be my record player.

    Amps I'm looking at so far:

    Solid State
    Schiit Magni 2 and Magni 2 Uber (not sure I need the extras on the Uber, especially because I won't use the pre-amp outs)
    JDS Labs O2

    Schiit Vali 2
    Bravo V2
    Little Dot i+

    Little Dot MKII

    While nothing has been set in stone yet, and I'm absolutely willing to change my mind, I'm leaning away from the Vali, Bravo, and Little Dot i+ which are all hybrid amps. I figured if I was going to try a tube amp, the LD MKII might be a decent bet, or I might just stick with Solid State and go with the Magni or O2.

    What say you guys, any recommendations from this list or suggestions in my range that I'm not looking at?
  2. Mike B

    Mike B Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member Top Poster

    I can only tell you that the Bottlehead Crack works devine with these because it's the only headphone amp I've ever owned.
  3. claud

    claud Well-Known Member Donor

    On your list is a Schiit Vali 2. I have had good service from mine. Its also great with a good and cheap Russian 6H23p for a tube. Have not had any difficulty driving my Senn 600s or my Mr. Speakers Ether Flows or any other cans in my collection for that matter. It also has a high/low power switch for using IEMs or ear buds. I had the original Lyr and the Vali 2 sounds better than it did.
    If you want to spend a bit more money, Schiit has an all tube amp called the Valhalla 2. I have read where it makes a great amp for Senn 600/650.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2017
  4. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin War Zone Member

    Top Poster Of Month

  5. Chris Smith

    Chris Smith Well-Known Member

    I did see that and it looks awesome, but it's a *bit* out of my price range. I figured you'd want to sell them together and even if you would split them, I assumed you'd get more for the Lyr 2 than I could really spend right now.
  6. GHilinski

    GHilinski Active Member War Zone Member

    I have the project unit which is fine as a low cost unit. They make a tube based version which is very nice and affordable. I did a quick abc. The headphone amp against the headphone unit in the NAD 370 was about the same. The NAD 325 BEE phone jack sounded a cut above!
  7. DYohn

    DYohn Well-Known Member Donor

    Get the Schiit and don't look back.
  8. Chris Smith

    Chris Smith Well-Known Member

    Which Schiit would you get with a $150 budget? If I'm not going to use it as a pre-amp, does the Uber make sense, or were you thinking the regular Magni or the Vali?
  9. claud

    claud Well-Known Member Donor

    Ain't no "Uber" to it. Uber is modded out DAC. You need an amp. For $169 the Vali 2 is the best buy.
  10. Chris Smith

    Chris Smith Well-Known Member

    There's an Uber version of the Magni. Along with being a headphone amp it also includes pre-amp outs, a slightly higher output power, but not much, and a different finish, which is what I was referencing. I'm only planning on using the headphone amp part of it so if the amp included pre-amp outs (like the Magni Uber does) I wouldn't use them.

    There's also an Uber and a non-Uber version of the Modi, the DAC, but I'm not looking at them right now.
  11. RJ

    RJ Member War Zone Member

    I have the JDS Labs....I really like it

    Its my first headphone amp, so I don't have anything to compare it to, but I really like it
  12. DYohn

    DYohn Well-Known Member Donor

    I would get the Vali 2. I have never heard a Magni but if you prefer solid state it gets good reviews.
  13. Chris Smith

    Chris Smith Well-Known Member

    So MassDrop is having another sale starting today that's interesting to me.

    The Little Dot MKII full tube amp for $129 and free shipping. Looking at sold listings on Ebay, it looks like I could sell it for close to what I would pay for it if I didn't like it for whatever reason.

    Reading reviews, it gets pretty good reviews and lots of upgrade options if it's something I'm interested in trying.

    Or I might just get the Vali. That one pushes my budget a bit but gets great reviews as well. And has a much better warranty/customer service.

    Decisions, decisions!

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