Headphone Amp for HD-650

Garret Jax

Limp Gawd
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Jan 6, 2007
Messages
296
Hi Guys and Gals,

I was thinking of buying the Sennheiser HD-650's for myself for X-mas (I know, it's a long way off :). Right now I have the HD-595 headphones and I plug them directly into my HT Omega Claro+ PCI soundcard. The soundcard is powerful enough to drive the HD-595's, but will not be powerful enough to drive the HD-650's. Thus I want to buy a headphone amp. I'm looking for something between $50 - $200 - a no frills-amp. I can use the HT software on the PC to do sound equalization and the like. Also, it would be awesome if the headphone amp had a volume remote control, but I've never seen that feature before.

What do you all recommend?

Thanks!
-Garret
 

Nokia

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
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1,096
cmoy amp and get a high quality oamp in it.
that should be enough to make them sound good.
 

spaceman

[H]F Junkie
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Jan 7, 2005
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Too many owners and I'm not sure I'm a tube dude (to young to know) :)
Eh, those suckers run forever. Dude that soldered them TRIED. It was his first commercial effort and he did a good job. Ok. I understand being afraid of tubes. They are REALLY easy to use though.

Still I will find another great amp. You need something great to run those 650s. They need TONS of amping to sound their best. Killing me with your budget but I am sure there is something around $200.
 

Garret Jax

Limp Gawd
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Jan 6, 2007
Messages
296
Eh, those suckers run forever. Dude that soldered them TRIED. It was his first commercial effort and he did a good job. Ok. I understand being afraid of tubes. They are REALLY easy to use though.

Still I will find another great amp. You need something great to run those 650s. They need TONS of amping to sound their best. Killing me with your budget but I am sure there is something around $200.
lol Thanks!
 

JonnyBlazexx

Weaksauce
Joined
Aug 22, 2005
Messages
96
I just got my HD650's last Friday. I did quite a bit of research and decided on two amps gilmore lite amp [399.99] or the headroom micro amp [399.99], while they are both well above your price range, you may want to consider it as a "long run" "reach" purchase. I ended up going with the headroom micro amp and i have never been more satisfied with any purchase. originally it was just going to be a stretch to buy the 650's. then i found i needed to get an amp, then i found that the amp i was looking at (99.99) was going to be "ok" but not "great" and i eventually decided upon something that was WAYYY out of my budget. im going to have to cut back on some other purchases for awhile, but i dont regret it at all. It's only been 5 days (but at least 50 hours of listening! LOL) and i still get goosebumps when i hear things that i'd never heard before, in songs that i'd listened to hundreds of times. They are that good. If anything i regret hooking up this amp and headphones to a sound blaster audigy 2. I'd say thats the weak-link in my chain.

As far as a cheaper amp, that should do the trick and sound pretty good (a gateway, to upgrade to a real amp later), i would recommend headroom's portable amp (so even if you do upgrade to a permanent desktop amp, you would still have an "ok" portable amp to use for other cans with say your ipod etc.) headroom total airhead

the amp that i purchased: headroom micro amp. I seriously love my purchase though. I used to use my bose triport headphones all the time, or my shure e4c's when i could be bothered. this set up, as i would hope after spending so much money, is much much better than what i had before.

Goodluck! hope this helped.

Jonathan
 

spaceman

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Head-Fi used amp section is the place to find such amps for less. Both good. I would take the headroom over the gilmore too.
 

zachary80

2[H]4U
Joined
Oct 15, 2002
Messages
2,745
Maybe try to find an M3? Mister X made me one for my hd580s/hd650s, and I really like it. I havent had a chance to try any of the more expensive amps, but that will change in a couple weeks
 

UnknownSouljer

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Sep 24, 2001
Messages
6,174
Come join the dac/amp sensation:
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/review-zero-24-bit-192khz-dac-headphone-amp-pre-amp-269458/

They can be found on eBay. I purchased mine with upgraded opamps.
2x OPA627 on a Brown Dog Adaptor. The adapter mine is using though is the double sided on which doesn't push or mess with the socket. I paid around $220 with shipping.

(Just an FYI this only will work with digital signals from either optical or coaxial SPDIF. However I personally don't consider that to be a limitation, rather it just ensures quality by not allowing a soundcard or an alternate source do the decoding.)
 
Joined
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Messages
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I really not sure if this will help, but I use an Onkyo TX-SR303 to drive my HD-485. It gives them enough power so as not to hurt them, and they sound great. However, my PC sound system is running off of this receiver, and it's sitting right next to my PC. So it might not be a viable solution for you.
 

Garret Jax

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 6, 2007
Messages
296
Come join the dac/amp sensation:
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/review-zero-24-bit-192khz-dac-headphone-amp-pre-amp-269458/

They can be found on eBay. I purchased mine with upgraded opamps.
2x OPA627 on a Brown Dog Adaptor. The adapter mine is using though is the double sided on which doesn't push or mess with the socket. I paid around $220 with shipping.

(Just an FYI this only will work with digital signals from either optical or coaxial SPDIF. However I personally don't consider that to be a limitation, rather it just ensures quality by not allowing a soundcard or an alternate source do the decoding.)
Can you link (or PM me) who you bought from?

Also, thanks to all for the suggestions and keep 'em coming. I imagine other people will find this thread useful. I think there are a lot of people like me who love high quality audio but don't know much about it and don't want to get ripped off. It's like having an appreciation for fine French cuisine, but being completely unable to order at a French restaurant - if the waitress shoots you straight, you'll have one savory meal. If she B.S.'s you, you eat mutton. Yes, that is the worst analogy ever, but I am dead tired and it sounds good to me.


Good night all.

-Garret
 

sdgserv

[H]ard|Gawd
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Jan 26, 2005
Messages
1,034
I ate mutton on flight from New Zeland..never again..

You can try the The CKKIII with a good power supply or the PPAv1 or 2.
Just need some horespower with the 650's
 

sdgserv

[H]ard|Gawd
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Especially the one about the mutton, for me that was the flight from Hell
 

UnknownSouljer

Supreme [H]ardness
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Messages
6,174
Can you link (or PM me) who you bought from?

Also, thanks to all for the suggestions and keep 'em coming. I imagine other people will find this thread useful. I think there are a lot of people like me who love high quality audio but don't know much about it and don't want to get ripped off. It's like having an appreciation for fine French cuisine, but being completely unable to order at a French restaurant - if the waitress shoots you straight, you'll have one savory meal. If she B.S.'s you, you eat mutton. Yes, that is the worst analogy ever, but I am dead tired and it sounds good to me.


Good night all.

-Garret
Lawrence, the guy most buy the Zero from, can provide the OPA627AU's on an adapter and ship it with the Zero, or he'll sell them seperate to you and ship.
His email address: CHAN LAWRENCE lawrencechanbig@msn.com

He's basically just send you a paypal bill when you request something.
 

Garret Jax

Limp Gawd
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Jan 6, 2007
Messages
296
Lawrence, the guy most buy the Zero from, can provide the OPA627AU's on an adapter and ship it with the Zero, or he'll sell them seperate to you and ship.
His email address: CHAN LAWRENCE lawrencechanbig@msn.com

He's basically just send you a paypal bill when you request something.
I found that Zero on ebay for $150 from a seller with 100% positive reviews on nearly 1000 reviews (so I think it's legit). If that's powerful enough to power the HD-650's, I think I'm ready to pull the trigger!

Any reason not to use a Zero for the HD-650's?
 

fss69

Gawd
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Nov 30, 2007
Messages
638
Give the Portaphile a bit of research. I've read nothing but glowing reviews, but at the same time, they've never quite caught on at head-fi like some other amps and are thus overlooked. Maybe the pathetically ugly website has something to do with it. :D

By the way, I have the Gilmore Lite and it's definitely one of the top solid state amps. Very transparent, good detail and excellent "quickness." I'm just mentioning the Portaphile in case you want something a bit cheaper.
 

p997tt

n00b
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Jul 9, 2008
Messages
49
I have tried 3 different amps when I had my HD650: Portaphile V2, Headamp Gilmore Lite and Singlepower PPX3. IMO, the GLite gave the biggest bang for the buck as it isn't that expensive (compared to other home amps anyway) and it really opens up the HD650. I didn't notice much of an improvement when I switched from the GLite to the PPX3, and the PPX3 was 2x more expensive. The Portaphile amp I had couldn't really drive the HD650 well.

I haven't listened to any of the other amps mentioned in this thread so I can't comment on those. But if I were the OP, I would save up a bit more and get the GLite.
 

Retronym

Something big is coming.
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In all honesty, I'd recommend investing in the best source you can afford before worrying about the amp. The amp is necessary, but source is just so much more important.
 

spaceman

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In all honesty, I'd recommend investing in the best source you can afford before worrying about the amp. The amp is necessary, but source is just so much more important.

usually yes. i do agree that source is the most important component in a system. however, this is the 650 we are talking about here. there is a reason why it is reputed to be an expensive can. it takes a good source AND a strong amp or even a balanced setup to get the most out of them. not just my opinion but the general consensus of head-fi.
 

Garret Jax

Limp Gawd
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Jan 6, 2007
Messages
296
So right now my source is my HTPC. I run an HT Omega Claro+ Plus PCI sound card. I use it as my DAC; it's got AD8620BR OPAMPS. Here are the rest of the specs:

http://www.htomega.com/claroplus.html

All of my music is audio CD's ripped to disk in a lossless algorithm (no mp3s) and I also watch DVD and Blu-Ray movies with this setup.

What do you think of that?

I know some amps, such as the Zero, actually are DACs as well. The Zero can take Optical or Coax (which my Claro+ can output) and do the DAC, and amp it as well. So in that case, I have to see if I prefer the Claro+ as DAC, or the Zero. OR I get a different amp recommended in this thread, and use the Claro+ as DAC.
 

Garret Jax

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 6, 2007
Messages
296
ONE MORE Q: I currently own the HD-595's and run them right off of the Claro+ sound card. They sound awesome, which is what made me want to upgrade to the next model up. However, would you all think I'd notice a great improvement from the HD-595/Claro+ setup to an HD-650/Claro+/Amp setup?

The money isn't too big a deal - I can get a deal on the HD-650's from an authorized dealer for $279 after rebate, so as long as the amp is < $200, I'm fine. Also, I can sell me HD-595's to my brother so ultimately, assuming a $200 amp, I am looking at a final cost to upgrade to HD-650/AMP of around $350. So for $350, how much better will the new setup sound? I've never used an amp-powered set of cans, and I've never used a 600 ohm big-boy like the HD-650. Is it going to rock a lot harder than the Hd-595 setup I've got now?

Thanks for all your help, [H]ard boys. I love this site.

-Garret
 

spaceman

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Dude, there are huge differences b/w the 595 and 650s. You may not like the 650s really. I know that sounds weird but the 650 is known for deep bass and lovely dynamics but also for being very "veiled" until you give them the right combo of power and source.

I do not know enough about the 650 despite having owned 2 pairs and 3 pairs of the 600s. That says a lot I hope. Check head-fi out for many more in depth reviews and experiences.
 

Scotch77

Gawd
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Jul 27, 2005
Messages
769
Id recommend the ibasso D2 Boa, the cmoy will give you a maybe 15% increase = useless.

Id also recommend you don't ask here for audio help ask at head-fi. Most people here just repeat something some other guy on another forum said.
 

Garret Jax

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 6, 2007
Messages
296
Hi Scotch. Thanks. Yeah, I asked at Head-Fi too and everyone recommended the Zero DAC for my price range. I ordered it from a dude in Hong Kong and it has just passed US customs so hopefully I will have it soon. I'll write my mini-review of my new Sennheiser HD-650 cans with the Zero DAC and my HT Omega Claro+ sound card in a week or two after everything is burned in and all.

Thanks again to everyone who gave me their advice.

Much appreciated.
-Garret
 

Garret Jax

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 6, 2007
Messages
296
Good Buy, i think the zero is great. Only thing that sucks is the shipping costs.
Ha, you're telling me brother. Something like $40 to ship a tiny little package from Hong Kong. However, because I ordered direct from this guy recommended by Head-Fi, I ended up getting upgraded OPAMPS (OPA627) and some other upgrade I can't recall, and got the whole package, including shipping, for $179.99. I don't know if that's a great deal, but if the Zero performs as well as I think it will, I will be more than satisfied with my purchase. Here's hoping!
 

spaceman

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$180 for a new upgraded zero is a good deal. You need at least that for the 650 to begin to open up. It is a very hardcore headphone and really needs more power eventually. For now? Fine and dandy but there is more sound to be had from them. I actually prefer the 600s b/c they are easier to drive.
 

weazle

n00b
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Jul 30, 2008
Messages
36
Id also recommend you don't ask here for audio help ask at head-fi. Most people here just repeat something some other guy on another forum said.
Your comment is a bit rude and presumptuous IMO. I am a member at headfi and here and I'm sure there are plenty of other members here who are too.

@OP, you said you have never seen headphone amp with volume control. Few stereo amps have volume control because you need to buy a pre-amp for that purpose but all headphone amps have volume control.
 

sdgserv

[H]ard|Gawd
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Jan 26, 2005
Messages
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Your comment is a bit rude and presumptuous IMO. I am a member at headfi and here and I'm sure there are plenty of other members here who are too.
X2
Really guy..what.. you think we just plagiarize :mad:

Anyway...You are going to like the Zero. I don't know if you got the upgrade..You will have a much more robust sound if you did. If not you can do it later..Give it a little while to burn in and that includes your 650s'
Interested to hear how you like it..
 

spaceman

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lol I have 3X as many posts on head-fi as here so ye-haw.

Zero is a great little product. Especially for that price.
 
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