Best Amps For the Sennheiser HD800 - 2017 Edition

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by purr1n, Dec 2, 2016.

  1. famish99

    famish99 Friend

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    Tubes all the way. If you're willing to up the budget do it; I no longer feel the need to upgrade amps once I got the Af.
     
  2. Elnrik

    Elnrik Super Friendly

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    Eddy Current Black Widow 2.
     
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  3. Priidik

    Priidik Friend

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    To squeeze all out from HD800, yes you want totl tube amp. An EC will keep the gear hunting bug away.
    There are options @ 2,5k, but I don't think anything beats an used EC that uses 2A3/300B/45s or a Stratus.
    To be fair, I feel at this level the headphone will be the bottleneck.
     
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  4. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Friend

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    I really prefer them with tubes as well.
     
  5. iFi audio

    iFi audio MOT iFi Audio

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    ...and so do we most of the time.
     
  6. itsikhefez

    itsikhefez Rando

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    Wow thanks for all the quick replies. A few takeaways for me here is that it’s worth skipping the 1000-1500 range if I want a longer term piece, and tubes all the way.
    I forgot to mention that my source is the TPA Buffalo3 9038Pro, which I prefer over my previous Ayre Codex, Bryston BDA-2 and others.
    A few follow ups:
    1) Is there a big step up from ZDS to Af?
    2) Also seems like a Studio Jr is planned, anyone have an idea of pricing?
    3) Bought new, DNA Stratus is 3k vs 3,2k of Af. Any thoughts on the better buy?
     
  7. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    I highly second this. Also relatively budget-friendly!
    The only disadvantage is that BW2 is discontinued and only rarely pops up in the used market.
     
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  8. dubharmonic

    dubharmonic Friend

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    Anyone know why more aren't being produced? Considering how many new expensive amps are being introduced this year, there would seem to be a market.
     
  9. Griffon

    Griffon 2nd biggest asshole on SBAF

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    IIRC @purr1n said BW was a major money hole for EC.
     
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  10. Mdkaler

    Mdkaler Friend

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    Care to describe how the BW2 is better than Lyr 3 with HD800?
     
  11. Elnrik

    Elnrik Super Friendly

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    Everyone send Craig an email asking for one, maybe he will do another run? Dunno.

    As for why, I have no clue. All I know is I love mine.
     
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  12. itsikhefez

    itsikhefez Rando

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    Most of the initial replies were leaning towards tubes.. so curious what the BW2 brings to the table that makes it a better choice? Only reason for me to not consider it atm is because I have 2 other SS amps
     
  13. famish99

    famish99 Friend

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    The transistors are out of production and were hard to source.
     
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  14. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    BW2 adds a bit more warmth and lushness to HD800.
    Also, while Lyr 3 reproduces micro-dynamics and micro-details more accurately (or -ish) imo, I love the way how BW2 reproduces vibrant and hard-hitting dynamics. Regarding the amount of information, the two amps are in the same ballpark.

    Overall, better synergy (to me). But it's also a matter of preference and taste.

    My "general" reply to your original question is also another vote for "high-performing" tubes.

    BW2 cannot be an answer because:
    1. BW2 is way different from 99% of SS amps (at least among I owned or auditioned).
    2. It's not a product that you can buy whenever you want.
    3. If you spend Af-level money on tubes, they will probably sound way better.
     
  15. Olias of Sunhillow

    Olias of Sunhillow Rando

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    I currently use a Rogue Audio RH-5 with my HD800S. Lovely combination. The RH-5 is somewhat uncommon and only comes up on the used market occasionally, through there is currently one available at that site that begins with A.
     
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  16. itsikhefez

    itsikhefez Rando

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    I have actually been "watching" that unit for a while. It has some really useful features, such as the remote and balanced preamp (which I would need for my active monitors).
    Do you have experience with any of the other mentioned amps for comparison?
     
  17. adydula

    adydula Rando

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    Bottlehead Mainline......over my Vahalla 2 and BH Crack w/Speed..
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
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  18. Olias of Sunhillow

    Olias of Sunhillow Rando

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    Unfortunately, I haven't used any of the specific amps you mention above. I have used a TON of amps in the past, but I've kind of slowed down on my gear sampling in recent years.

    For what it's worth, the SS and tube amps I have used with the HD800/HD800S can be categorized as such:

    A: Overemphasizes the inherent flaws in the HD800/S, making them close to unlistenable: Schiit Gungnir (original), Burson Soloist, Gilmore Lite, Schiit Lyr (original), Violectric V200
    B: Attempts to fix the inherent flaws in the HD800/S, and in the process eliminates some of their magic: Woo WA2/WA6/WA6SE, Cavalli Liquid Fire, Consonance Cyber 20, Mapletree Ear+, Grace m903
    C: Just right (or close to it) with the HD800/S: Rogue RH-5, Audio-GD Master 9, Ampsandsound Kenize (borderline category B/C), Bryston BHA-1, Eddie Current Super 7, Schiit Ragnarok (borderline category A/C)
     
  19. allegro

    allegro Friend

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    I have added input transformers and different tubes to my 32/300 ohm Kenzie which in my system improves the base Kenzie SQ significantly. The input transformers improve bass slam. The Telefunken input tube increases sound stage width and depth with an extended open treble and very natural midrange while the Tung Sol 1626 work with the Telefunken to take the Kenzie SQ up several notches. The Tung Sol are known to sound better than the alternate 1626 tubes and have accordingly become hard to find. They do pop up once in a while on eBay.
     
  20. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I like this approach. Very clear. I would add that V200 is kind of both. Fixes some flaws, overemphasizes some others. If I ever post a 2019 update, I will copy this approach.
     
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