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suggestions for inexpensive headphone amp?

Guest hifichip76

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Guest hifichip76



My Musical Fidelity x-can v8 stopped working and I'm looking for a replacement on a tight budget of, flexibly, less than $500...




I'm looking at Headroom, Musical Fidelity V-can and a few others...Does anyone have any experience with these?


I use a $200 Creek hpa which sounds ok on my Mac Mini with Pure Music (with Kenwood avr's DAC or V-Dac). I need one for both the living room and the bedroom/computer set-up. I may or may not also get another outboard DAC for one of the rigs.


Associated equipment:

headphones-Sennheiser hd-650s, AKG 701s, Grado SR-125's


Denon avr-3901 avr

Musical Fidelity V-Dac

Denon universal players

Mac Mini

Wadia iTransport

Apple TV (toslink out)


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Thumbs up for the V-CAN. I also own an X-CAN V8 (with Little Pinkie power supply), which is warmer and puts out more bass, but still the V-CAN compares pretty favorably. Great deal for $200.


I listen mainly with AKG 701s. My system with the V-CAN is an Airport Express into a Musical Fidelity V-DAC.




A: Mac Mini => Peachtree Nova => LFD Integrated Zero Mk.III => Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 | Musical Fidelity X-CAN V-8 => AKG K 701

B: Airport Express = > Benchmark DAC1 => Rega Brio-R => B&W DM 601 S2

C: Airport Express => AudioEngine A2

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Lots of AKG users here, interesting...


I myself am a K702 user, and am currently eyeing a Naim Headline 2. I am hoping to audition one but the local Naim dealer doesn't have one in yet.


If I get impatient my second choice would be a NuForce Icon HDP, which is under your budget at $449. I hear it has a pretty killer DAC too, for its price.


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Hi there HiFiChip,


An alternate suggestion is to purchase a used high-end line pre-amp with a very low output impedence. These usually drive headphones very well, often offer very good sound quality and are usually extremely well built. All you need is an RCA to Headphone Jack adapter.


I use an Electrocompaniet EC 4 (for example) with absolutely stunning musical results.


Krell, Mark Levinson, Metaxis are 3 examples of suitable low output impedence pre-amp manufacturers to consider.


kind regards,





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Mostly with AKG 702s.


6 moons has been running a series (32 ohm audio) focusing on affordable gear and has reviewed quite a few headphone amps. Worth a look.


On a slightly different note, i also have a ALO audio Rx portable headphone amp with the ALO audio iPod dock connector cable and love to listen to the 702s around the house or on a plane.


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