Jump to content
IGNORED

Headphone amp (+DAC)


Recommended Posts

Hi all, first message on this forum. Happy with my hifi equipment, now I want to push further for better headphone system - but maybe also pre-amp and DAC. Current setup:

 

Computer (Mac or PC): ALAC lossless files

USB cable: Wireworld Silver Starlight

DAC: Cambridge Audio DacMagic

XLR cables: Cairn XLR

Integrated amp: Cairn 4808A (30W class A)

Headphone: Sennheiser HD600 plugged on amp

(Speakers: B&W 804)

 

Now I'm looking seriously at Sennheiser HD700 and HD800. What I'm looking for is a more streamlined chain between computer and headphone first. For example there's that new Oppo HA-1: it's a DAC and a headphone amp. Wouldn't it be appropriate for me, or will I miss another element?

Computer > HA-1 > HD700/HD800

 

Also, would the HA-1 DAC, despite being aimed at headphones, be a better DAC to be used with my speakers ?

Computer > HA-1 > Cairn 4808A int amp > B&W 804

I'm really looking to good overall balance, thank you all for your advices.

Link to comment
Hi all, first message on this forum. Happy with my hifi equipment, now I want to push further for better headphone system - but maybe also pre-amp and DAC. Current setup:

 

Computer (Mac or PC): ALAC lossless files

USB cable: Wireworld Silver Starlight

DAC: Cambridge Audio DacMagic

XLR cables: Cairn XLR

Integrated amp: Cairn 4808A (30W class A)

Headphone: Sennheiser HD600 plugged on amp

(Speakers: B&W 804)

 

Now I'm looking seriously at Sennheiser HD700 and HD800. What I'm looking for is a more streamlined chain between computer and headphone first. For example there's that new Oppo HA-1: it's a DAC and a headphone amp. Wouldn't it be appropriate for me, or will I miss another element?

Computer > HA-1 > HD700/HD800

 

Also, would the HA-1 DAC, despite being aimed at headphones, be a better DAC to be used with my speakers ?

Computer > HA-1 > Cairn 4808A int amp > B&W 804

I'm really looking to good overall balance, thank you all for your advices.

 

The Oppo should do exactly what you want it to and it is well reviewed at. I haven't heard it so can't say first hand

 

I like the BMC PureDAC (which I own) which costs more at $1800. It has less features than the Oppo but is superb (and while I haven't compared directly, I'd suspect it is better.) For headphone use with the BMC you want to be sure and have a balanced cable for the headphones. It has independent volume controls for headphones and DAC output.

 

A lower cost alternative would be the ifi micro iDSD which is coming out in a few weeks. It is tiny but made to be used as a desktop or portable DAC/headamp. It should be very good at $500. iFi has developed a cult-like following (myself included) in a short time by delivering very high value stuff.

Micro – iDSD

 

One thing tho, the Senn HD800 is a rather finicky headphone to pair with an amp. If you are set on the HD800 then use it to evaluate any unit you are considering prior to buying.

Roon ->UltraRendu + CI Audio 7v LPS-> Kii Control -> Kii Three

Roon->BMC UltraDAC->Mr Speakers Aeon Flow Open

Link to comment
For headphone use with the BMC you want to be sure and have a balanced cable for the headphones. It has independent volume controls for headphones and DAC output.

 

Thanks for the reply. Just learnt about headphones balanced cable, surely will give a try later on. Didn't know about the BMC, also investigating the Cambridge Audio 851D that seems quite close to the Oppo.

 

Anybody with experience with HD700 / HD800 high impedance headphone and above mentioned equipment is welcome to comment.

Link to comment

I'm coming back to you regarding your answer. I listened to HD800 paired with Sennheiser's own HDVD800 and decided that's the cans I want. Now I am looking for the dream DAC, "powering" HD800 300 ohms high impedance and also going to my Cairn / B&W 804 in parallel.

 

I think Oppo HA-1 would be good but probably too feature rich for what I want (no need of bluetooth, 24/192, 16/44.1(/24/96) will probably be enough): power stage and balanced circuitry are most critical to me.

 

Therefore I think your BMC PureDAC could be an excellent choice. Did you happen to try it with HD800? I wish to get as many comments as possible, focusing on HD800. Thank you.

Link to comment
Check out the Lehmann Black Cube Linear for the HD800.

 

Thanks. I'll sure give it a try, but that's pure headphone amp, no DAC stage that I can also use with my integrated amp & speakers.

 

Also, I'm realizing I need XLR out for my amp as well as balanced headphone output.

Link to comment
Thanks. I'll sure give it a try, but that's pure headphone amp, no DAC stage that I can also use with my integrated amp & speakers.

 

Also, I'm realizing I need XLR out for my amp as well as balanced headphone output.

 

There is a Black Cube Linear variant that has an internal DAC, but it tops out at 48/16, and the line outs are single-ended on RCA.

 

The Resonessence Invicta has all of the features you've mentioned, but it's almost $5k. The Lynx Hilo (which I own) has all of the features you've mentioned save one, at $2k, and the one it's missing (balanced headphone output) is, IMO as a long-time HD 800 user, the least important.

Office: MacBook Pro - Audirvana Plus - Resonessence Concero - Cavailli Liquid Carbon - Sennheiser HD 800.

Travel/Portable: iPhone 7 or iPad Pro - AudioQuest Dragonfly Red - Audeze SINE or Noble Savant

Link to comment
There is a Black Cube Linear variant that has an internal DAC, but it tops out at 48/16, and the line outs are single-ended on RCA.

 

The Resonessence Invicta has all of the features you've mentioned, but it's almost $5k. The Lynx Hilo (which I own) has all of the features you've mentioned save one, at $2k, and the one it's missing (balanced headphone output) is, IMO as a long-time HD 800 user, the least important.

 

Yes, it seems that only Oppo HA-1 has both 2x XLR + 1x headphone balanced output. I hear your comment for HD800. I heard "a" difference between both but I'm sure if that's worth it, thanks for the feedback.

Link to comment
Thanks for the reply. Just learnt about headphones balanced cable, surely will give a try later on. Didn't know about the BMC, also investigating the Cambridge Audio 851D that seems quite close to the Oppo.

 

Anybody with experience with HD700 / HD800 high impedance headphone and above mentioned equipment is welcome to comment.

 

Haven't heard them together but here is an impression (you may have already found it.)

 

Headphone Bliss: B.M.C. Audio amazes with PureDAC | Confessions of a Part-Time Audiophile

Roon ->UltraRendu + CI Audio 7v LPS-> Kii Control -> Kii Three

Roon->BMC UltraDAC->Mr Speakers Aeon Flow Open

Link to comment

Went to Akibahara area in Tokyo and tested two Oppo HA-1 units. Both excellent, though the two shops environment wasn't as quiet as my home for a perfect test. The sound is simply phenomenal, tested with Sennheiser HD650 and HD800 and Oppo PM-1. Benchmark DAC wasn't available for comparison but BMC PureDAC and a Chord Hugo were.

 

In the end I found the Oppo perfect to my ear, possibly also due to some placebo effect: both classical and jazz samples sounded just right, pop music wasn't as aggressive as some other units I tried.

 

Bought an Oppo, will receive it late August (Japanese specs). Thank you all for your advices.

Link to comment

 

 

One thing tho, the Senn HD800 is a rather finicky headphone to pair with an amp. If you are set on the HD800 then use it to evaluate any unit you are considering prior to buying.

 

Go that right, I own the HD800 and use a Woo Audio WA amp, perfect combination.

The Truth Is Out There

Link to comment

Sorry I forgot to mention: yes I also tried HD800 with both normal and balanced cable to an HDVD800. There was more power to drive the HD800 it seemed, but the sound wasn't spectacular, only analytical. It's a very high level amp but I had at least a good experience with the Oppo.

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×
×
  • Create New...