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Headphone amp suggestions

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by grafxdesin, Oct 19, 2018.

  1. grafxdesin

    grafxdesin Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    601
    I am looking to get a headphone amp mainly because a lot of time I want to listen to my music but my kids or wife do not. My preamp and power amp do not have a headphone jack so I need a way to listen to my headphones. I am looking to get the Schiit Vali because of the price and tube option. I also plan to put this after my preamp in my system, is this correct?
    How about some other headphone amp suggestions. I want to keep it under $200 for now as see how much I actually use it. If it becomes a main stay to me then I will upgrade. That upgrade may be the Klipsch Heritage headphone amp, love the look of this one.
    Let me know if you have other suggestions and if I am placing this amp is the right place.
    Cheers
    Adam
     

     

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  2. Sandstrom

    Sandstrom Seldom turns out the way it does in the song Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,850
    Location:
    Cincinnati
    I know that Maverick Audio has some nice options (With DAC!) for around that budget and they sound nice. As far as integrating into your system hard to say. I would think as long as you have a tape out or a second set of pre-outs you could incorporate it that way, otherwise I don't know how you would without having to move cables around. I suppose you could get an inexpensive rca switcher to switch between your headphone amp and power amp. Perhaps someone who uses a headphone amp in the way you wish to can offer further suggestions.
     
  3. J English

    J English Super Member

    Messages:
    1,101
    I use a Schiit Magni 2 (regular, not the Uber with pre-outs). It was a steal at about $70 on the 'bay. (A lot of people dumped their 2s when the model 3 came out.) I think the 2 or 3 is an excellent choice for $100 and the 2 Uber or regular old 3 does have the pre-outs you want.

    You can go higher up the Schiit chain if you want the tube experience - as for me, solid state sounds just fine.

    Another option I use - repurpose one of my regular pre-amps for headphone use. I use my NAD 1020 down at work for this purpose - sounds just as good as the Schiit, really. Tons of power of course - I can't get the knob past about 10 o'clock with efficient headphones or my Senn 414s.
     
  4. heyraz

    heyraz AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,905
    Location:
    Long Branch, NJ
    I'm using a Darkvoice 336SE with Sennheiser 650's.
    I had a Schiit Valhalla2 but I much prefer the Darkvoice. The price for each is similar. The Darkvoice is sold by Amazon, which has a great return policy. Schiit's return policy isn't as great, I believe there's a restocking fee.

    I feel there are more more palpable results when rolling tubes with the Darkvoice as compared to the Valhalla2. I also think the Darkvoice is more fun to listen to.

    I run my headphone amp from the "tape out" jacks of my preamp. I do this because the tape out signal comes right after the input selector switch before any preamp circuitry becomes involved. The tape out signal is as pure as it gets. All volume control and amplification for the headphones is done only by the headphone amp.

    If the headphone amp gets it's input from the preamp's output, changing the volume on the preamp changes the input level to the headphone amp. It also adds the preamp's circuitry and noise to the headphone signal chain.

    As I said...using the preamp's tape output to feed the headphone amp is as pure as it gets. 15400005025471694490039.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018
  5. JoeESP9

    JoeESP9 ESL's & tubes since 83

    Messages:
    16,515
    Location:
    Philadelphia PA
    I use a Little Dot MKII. It's an OTL design with multiple gain settings and easy tube rolling. I feed it directly from a Topping D-10 DAC.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    3,107
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Another vote for the Darkvoice 336SE. I'm using one with AKG K712 Pro headphones with spectacular results.

    IMG_20181015_081800-4116x3084.jpg

    If using inefficient headphones (AKG K712 Pro, Monoprice Monolith M1060, Sennheiser HD650 etc) I can also recommend the JLH 1969 Hood headphone amp design on eBay by Breeze Audio. Just spectacular considering its low cost. Very natural sounding.

    Only useful with harder to drive headphones though as otherwise the noise floor is too high with anything that typically will work well from, say, a mobile phone .
     

     

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  7. keilau

    keilau AK Member

    Messages:
    453
    Location:
    Windy City
    If the $200 is total budget for phone and headamp, it would be difficult but not impossible. An used Sennheiser HD-598 and an used Schiit Magni 2 will meet your budget. You can always upgrade later if they become permanent. On the budget range, solid state headamp is a better deal. A tube headamp with output transformer will be very expensive. An OTL tube headamp may miss the damping factor for tight bass control.

    If you already have a higher end headphone, the Audio Technica HA-5000 clones on Ebay may be a good choice.
     
  8. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    3,107
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
  9. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Messages:
    3,107
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Ok, tried one of the Audio Technica HA5000 copies (Breeze Audio)..... While it does have good clean amplification it is significantly bettered by the JLH 1969 Hood based headphone amp I have, which is in turn significantly bettered by the Darkvoice 336SE. This is when paired with AKH K712 Pro headphones. I rather suspect it will pair up nicely to the Monoprice Monolith M1060 headphones which I find a little muddy sounding with the 336SE.
     

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