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Headphone Amp Analysis Paralysis--Advice Sought


Hailey
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I need a headphone amp.

 

My headphones are Sennheiser HD700, although I'm thinking I might sell these and go for the HD800S.

 

My source is an Exogal Comet Plus.

 

I listen to classical music almost exclusively.

 

The headphones are on my head for about six hours every single workday. (It's how I get through my job--don't ask). So the quality of this amp is paramount: I'll be spending more time with it than I do with any human, living or dead.

 

Although I say "what?" a lot, I'm oddly picky about audio sound. Transparency is very dear to me, as is soundstage.

 

The Exogal is fully balanced and the HD700s cords swap out easily so I'm hung up on the idea of a balanced amp. But I can be talked out of it, for sure.

 

I can't spend more than $2k on it and look my barefoot children in the eye.

 

Well, I shouldn't spend more than $2k on it, anyway...

 

Thoughts, anyone?

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I was just going to suggest the Burson V2.

I've been very happy with the V2+, but not using its headphone amp. I read on head-fi that the Burson amp pairs well with HD800, but no experience myself.

 

I understand the V2 is under $1k? Worth considering, me thinks.

 

https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/conductor-v2/

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iFi iCan Pro looks really interesting. Liquid Carbon appears to be difficult to come by.

 

iFi vs Phonitor anyone?

 

I highly recommend the iFi Can Pro. Few products are better built and the multiple variables at your disposal to "tune" the amp to your cans and preferences are second to none. I had the unit for a pre-release demo and was very impressed with it.

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I highly recommend the iFi Can Pro. Few products are better built and the multiple variables at your disposal to "tune" the amp to your cans and preferences are second to none. I had the unit for a pre-release demo and was very impressed with it.

 

Thanks. I've pulled the trigger on the iCan Pro. MusicDirect has a 60 day trial policy so that should be plenty of time.

 

Seems like an awful lot of amp for the money. Wonder where they cut corners...

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Seems like an awful lot of amp for the money. Wonder where they cut corners...

 

They didn't

 

It is an awful lot of amp for the money and I think you will be very impressed.

 

And like you say Music Direct has 60 day policy. While I can't say for sure I think you will like it.

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They didn't

 

It is an awful lot of amp for the money and I think you will be very impressed.

 

And like you say Music Direct has 60 day policy. While I can't say for sure I think you will like it.

 

I have a feeling I will. iFi and I appear to be picky about the same things...

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They didn't

 

It is an awful lot of amp for the money and I think you will be very impressed.

 

And like you say Music Direct has 60 day policy. While I can't say for sure I think you will like it.

 

 

Ok well, iFi iCan Pro is off the table. Apparently Music Direct is the only place in the US that carries it and they are just too obtuse to deal with.

 

So...Phonitor, anyone?

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Ok well, iFi iCan Pro is off the table. Apparently Music Direct is the only place in the US that carries it and they are just too obtuse to deal with.

 

What happened?

 

I've ordered various products from them including an iFi DAC and the process was extremely easy.

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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What happened?

 

I've ordered various products from them including an iFi DAC and the process was extremely easy.

 

Weird billing department insisting that there's a mismatch between my stated billing address and the one reported by my credit card company (there isn't). Multiple emails and a couple of phone conversations with customer support people who sounded like stoners. Finally told them to cancel the order.

 

This experience left me with the impression that it's a strange place. I'll stick with Amazon.

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Weird billing department insisting that there's a mismatch between my stated billing address and the one reported by my credit card company (there isn't). Multiple emails and a couple of phone conversations with customer support people who sounded like stoners.

 

This experience left me with the impression that it's a strange place. I'll stick with Amazon.

 

That's too bad. iFi makes great products.

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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My Liquid Carbon + HD800 combo is a head-fi endgame setup for me.

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They might want to think about broadening their distribution network.

 

Agreed!

 

BTW, it has been my experience that there is little a vendor (Music Direct) can do if the card company has flagged a transaction.

 

Is it possible that the transaction was flagged as possible fraud because it was a fairly large online transaction with someone you've never done business with before?

 

I've had good results in cases like this by calling my card company and telling them the name of the vendor and then placing the order again.

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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If you're into classical, I think you're wasting your time buying an amplifier to drive the very-easy-to-drive HD700's. An iPod could drive them adequately (almost!)

I too listen to a lot of classical, and I never got-on with the 700's. I found them opaque, and I'll-defined, and not at all transparent and appropriate for classical music. I eventually moved to the the 800's, and I've never looked back.

My advice? Get shot of the 700's and invest in a pair of 800/800s. Then take your amps from there.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Agreed!

 

BTW, it has been my experience that there is little a vendor (Music Direct) can do if the card company has flagged a transaction.

 

Is it possible that the transaction was flagged as possible fraud because it was a fairly large online transaction with someone you've never done business with before?

 

I've had good results in cases like this by calling my card company and telling them the name of the vendor and then placing the order again.

 

That's the thing. The credit card company did not flag it. They approved it!

 

It was the strangest engagement I've ever had with an online retailer.

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If you're into classical, I think you're wasting your time buying an amplifier to drive the very-easy-to-drive HD700's. An iPod could drive them adequately (almost!)

I too listen to a lot of classical, and I never got-on with the 700's. I found them opaque, and I'll-defined, and not at all transparent and appropriate for classical music. I eventually moved to the the 800's, and I've never looked back.

My advice? Get shot of the 700's and invest in a pair of 800/800s. Then take your amps from there.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

 

That's the path I'm going down.

 

What amp do you use with the HD800s?

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That's the thing. The credit card company did not flag it. They approved it!

 

It was the strangest engagement I've ever had with an online retailer.

 

Weird...

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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That's the path I'm going down.

 

What amp do you use with the HD800s?

 

I first used the 800's with an Audiolab Q-DAC. Awful, and the sound was anaemic and thin.

I then progressed to a Lehmann Black Cube Linear. This was wonderful, and really made the 800's sing.

I've now got them balanced via a Cardas XLR to a Musical Fidelity MX-HPA. This is good, and an improvement on the Lehmann. BUT it also shows how great the Lehmann really is, and how it has bags of power for the 800's. I think the Lehmann is the best 'bang-for-the-buck' I've heard with the 800's, especially since you can get them used for a song :-)

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I first used the 800's with an Audiolab Q-DAC. Awful, and the sound was anaemic and thin.

I then progressed to a Lehmann Black Cube Linear. This was wonderful, and really made the 800's sing.

I've now got them balanced via a Cardas XLR to a Musical Fidelity MX-HPA. This is good, and an improvement on the Lehmann. BUT it also shows how great the Lehmann really is, and how it has bags of power for the 800's. I think the Lehmann is the best 'bang-for-the-buck' I've heard with the 800's, especially since you can get them used for a song :-)

 

"Used for a song" is a song to me.

 

I'm hung up on balanced topology because I've been told that the balanced outputs on my DAC (Exogal Comet) are superior to the single-ended outputs.

 

The Lehmann is single-ended, right?

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