Seeking More Headphone Amp Warmth

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by LutherG1, Mar 16, 2018.

  1. LutherG1

    LutherG1 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    229
    Location:
    Cincinnati
    Hi all - on the proverbial search for the sound. Have HD 650 and just got Schiit Asgard 2. Running Onkyo C730 into the Schiit. Strengths for me - very low noise floor, bass adequate and clean, imaging good,does most things well. Gaps for me - when I have tone controls I inevitably prefer bass 100 pm and treble 1100 am to slightly accentuate bass and slightly tame treble. I am finding trumpets and alto saxes - surprisingly - to be fatiguing. I prefer the depth I hear through vintage Yamaha C-80 or CR-2020 but both need some cleaning and maybe more. Questions - is there someway to tame and deepen things? Source? DAC? EQ Device? Different Amp?
     
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  2. JoeESP9

    JoeESP9 ESL's & tubes since 83

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    How about a tube buffer?
     
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  3. cratz2

    cratz2 Addicted Member

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    I think if the 650 is too treble for you, you probably need a different set of headphones.

    I find the 650s to be among the warmest quality headphones that I own and my biggest criticism of them is the treble/highs seem a bit rolled or shelved down a little much for my liking.
     
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  4. LutherG1

    LutherG1 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Location:
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    OP here - thanks for replies. I need to clarify. I LOVE the 650 and find them to have the warm, deep, clean sound signature I prefer. However - and to my surprise - I find the Asgard 2 to be fatiguing despite its strengths. I find myself wanting tone controls for Asgard or wondering if I just do not love the Asgard. I have not found 650 to be fatiguing through vintage integrated or preamp. I got the Asgard hoping that a dedicated preamp would enhance things but I have on initial listen been marginally impressed but bothered by the highs which are very uncharacteristic of the 650 otherwise. I am hypothesizing head amp or CD source - not phones - as the "issue".
     
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  5. ickyfrog

    ickyfrog AK Subscriber Subscriber

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  6. richie60

    richie60 Member

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    Go buy the Grado sr325s and use them for a while. You'll soon go running back to the HD650s!
     
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  7. WobblySam

    WobblySam Well-Known Member

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    It seems from your comments you would like to have some tone controls. Take a look at the Schiit Loki. You can at least try it and send it back if it doesn't do trick for you.
     
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  8. LutherG1

    LutherG1 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Thanks for all replies. I ended up successfully applying some deoxit to old Yamaha C-60 to innards of switches & knobs and some compressed air to amp as a whole - it's working like a champ for now. I find that these things make nice headphone amps. For my ears it's just a tad - maybe 2 - ahead of the Asgard. The C-60 I am told - but not sure - was a pricey audiophile unit in its day. I saw somewhere it had a $799 MSRP. Very non fatiguing, nice depth, nice sound stage, quiet (for now), sounds like music. Of course on the other hand vintage stuff can crap out at anytime and needs TLC. It is just seeming that a modern headphone amp that rivals this preamp may be tough to find under the $350 + price point used. I was able to find the C-60 for $125 about two years ago and then had tech go through it for $80 to repair some solder joints, clean controls, etc. I would still like to find a newer headphone amp or preamp with dedicated headphone stage for $300 or so used that can compete.
     
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  9. LutherG1

    LutherG1 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    229
    Location:
    Cincinnati
    Thanks for Loki info. I am late to the game on Schiit range of products. The Asgard 2 with the Loki may be just the thing I was seeking. Although not too much $$ the Loki nonetheless adds 60% to the Asgard cost. For now I will be sticking with the old school Yamaha C-60 with its parametric eq which I maneuver only slightly off of flat (just a bit extra bass and a little taming of treble). Also has well regarded variable loudness dial which I actually rarely use. A headphone amp with eq in it vs. needing an outboard eq - now would not that be novel? Yamaha is still making good integrated amps with tone controls and headphone stages. Maybe one of those would take me back to the future I am seeking.
     
  10. Catfish1

    Catfish1 New Member

    Messages:
    12
    I have the same phone/amp set-up and totally concur. Very smooth non-fatiguing sound yet still detailed. And plenty of power from the Little Dot for the somewhat hard to drive 300 ohm Senns
     
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  11. Condocondor

    Condocondor New Member

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    I agree with a tube buffer. I have the iTube2 from iFi and let me tell you what--it's fantastic. Best $325 you could possibly spend. Buy from Audio Advisor. You'll accomplish all you're hoping for and more: Better and more bass that is adjustible at the flip of a switch, better sound staging which is adjustible at the flip of a switch, choice of SET, Classic Tube, or Push-PULL, settings. It will absolutely tame your treble, give you your bass and so much more. S/N ratio is 119dB's so the iTube2 will NOT get in the way of your equipment whatsoever. Trust me. This is your BEST move on all fronts.

    http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=IFMITUBE2
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018

     

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  12. iamjaymo

    iamjaymo AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    If you want a warmer SS amp try the Audio-GD R2R 11. It’s an NOS ladder DAC/headphone amp that is low in price, warmish sounding without giving up clarity and a great size for desktop applications. Pairs well with olanars as well as dynamics. Check it out.
     
  13. twiiii

    twiiii Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,922
    Location:
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    I auditioned 650's when they first came out and thought they were a great improvement over the 600 and the bright and austere 800. But that said if I just want to listen to music privately I pull out my sealed 598's and just enjoy. I drive them with the head phone out of my C-34 pre-amp or off my 2505. The pre-amp has 5 band graphic tone controls and other goodies, that I use when the balance of the recording isn't right over the full spectrum. It works for me. The 598's are pretty laid back and for casual listening thats what I like. If I want detail I break out the Stax or Signet electrostatic headphones. Now I have great detail with out the edginess of dynamic headphones. But they are not warm, not at all. You can always make a detailed headset warmer, but you can't make a warm set detailed without adding issues.
     

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