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Heinstar

Best headphone amplifier & DAC for Sennheiser HD600+650?

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Hello everyone. I own both Sennheiser HD600 and HD650. I've mostly been using HD600 because it seems to sound better with most music I listen to (EDM). I'm currently using the Audioengine D3 for my DAC but I don't have an amplifier. My budget is $1200AUD. In your opinion, what are the best headphone amp & DAC for Sennheiser HD600+650? And should I upgrade my DAC? Thanks for your help.

Edited by Heinstar

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Welcome to the Forum. Good to see the buzz penetrating up into FNQ.

Moving up to a Dragonfly Red would be a cost effective upgrade to the D3. Plug that into a home grown Burson Soloist and your next upgrade would be the Senns.

Should be enough left in the budget to slot an AQ Jitterbug into the chain and enjoy the music. 

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I use a Schiit Vali 2 for my HD650's. After some tube rolling (including the excellent Philips PCC88/7DJ8 - a bargain at the price) I couldn't be happier. I use a Marantz SACD player for DAC computer duties, but if I needed a standalone DAC one I'd go for the Schiit Bifrost in a heartbeat.

 

For headfi I think the Vali 2 - HD600/650 combo is a sensible recipe.

 

 

 

Edited by was_a

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Lehmann Audio linear would be an excellent pairing with your Sennheiser 600/650. Something like Chord HD or EX as a dac would be a fantastic combo.

Neo

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16 hours ago, soundfan said:

IME the Bottlehead Crack was an awesome amp for the 600/650 cans.

A lot of people are recommending the bottlehead crack w/speedball over at head-fi.org: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/best-headphone-amplifier-dac-for-sennheiser-hd600-650.864190/. Other recommendations I've been getting is Darkvoice 336SE.  

Should I get the Bottlehead Crack w/ Speedball from eBay or from official website? From eBay, I can get it for $981AUD plus $117AUD shipping which totals to $1098AUD. If I was to buy it from the official website, it costs $541AUD for bottlehead crack w/speedball and $444AUD for Kit assembly by hifibuilderguy which totals to $985AUD. Plus shipping cost which I don't know how much to Australia, but probably between $30 - $50AUD.

 

Darkvoice 336SE only costs $352AUD plus $26AUD shipping from eBay which is far cheaper.
I can get Schiit audio Jotunheim for $650AUD from addictedtoaudio.com.au
I can also get La Figaro 332C for $457AUD plus $90AUD shipping to Australia from yuking09.com

Which on should I go with? I'm a newb so I really need help. If somebody can give me a good recommendation, I'll happily donate them $20 via paypal.

Edited by Heinstar

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I'd put up a wtb ad here. Some real bargains over the last couple of years in the classifieds.

 

The speedball option is the way to go imo.

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I thought my hd650's were good with a burson head amp, the virtuoso amp/dac - to give you an idea, I sold it here for $600. That is a pretty stunning bit of gear overall in fact.

there is a very cheap Burson amp going in FS last time I looked. You could try it for little money and move it at virtually no loss if you don't like it

I am not a big headphone guy though so I don't have much experience with lots of head amps and headphone combos, although I've had a few

I don't have the hd650's any longer - I wish I had kept the cans as I always wanted to try with the bottlehead (and build one) it's now one of my longish term goals to get that amp, build it, buy more hd650's. I have a feeling it will be "end game" for me!

 

and if you're new here well you'll see the volume of gear that gets turned over is crazy. agree with @soundfan a wtb is a good idea, or just wait, they come up occasionally

 

also btw i don't think you need to offer money for advice here!

Edited by Benny G

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Now that I think about it, BHC loses its value if you pay $450AUD for assembly. And I definitely don't want to assemble and solder (maybe in the future) so I guess I need to go with something else, even if it's not as good as the Bottlehead Crack that's claimed to pair best with HD6XXs.

 

I did a lot of reading and I have heard these names recommended with HD650s: 

  • Bottlehead Crack w/Speedball
  • Darkvoice 336SE
  • Schiit stack (bare minimum to power HD650s) O2+ODAC stack is said to not pair well with HD6XXs
  • Schiit Audio Jotunheim 
  • Schiit Audio Vali 2
  • Schiit Audio Valhalla 2

 

For DAC, I hear a lot of recommendation for Schiit Modi Multibit so I think I'll go with that.

 

For Amp, I'm considering between Darkvoice 336SE, Schiit Audio Jotunheim and Schiit Audio Valhalla 2. Somebody told me that they didn't like how Valhalla 2 sounded with HD650s so it's now between Darkvoice 336SE and Schiit Jotunheim.

It's really hard to choose between both.

 

Schiit is guaranteed to be of good quality and should last long as it's a solid state Amp. In terms of sound, it's supposed to be solid but it lacks a bit of depth. But it's versatile with wider range of headphones and other uses. I can get it for $606AUD directly from Schiit or $650AUD from addictedtoaudtio.com.au

 

Darkvoice 336SE is claimed to be the second best sounding and bang-for-buck tube Amp to pair with HD6XXs right after BHC w/Speedball. Only concerns are the quality control as some units can start smoking. And it's less flexible for other uses than Jotunheim. From Amazon, I can get it for $352AUD or it's $374 from eBay.

 

Also, how do you do WTB ad? Anyways, if anyone is selling their used BHC w/ Speedball for less than $970AUD, hit me up, I'll consider buying them.

Edited by Heinstar

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On 08/11/2017 at 3:13 PM, Heinstar said:

Bottlehead Crack w/ Speedball

Darkvoice 336SE

 

I think the former is a much better choice.

 

I have also found the Liittle Dot IV to be quite nice

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2 hours ago, Heinstar said:

Now that I think about it, BHC loses its value if you pay $450AUD for assembly. And I definitely don't want to assemble and solder (maybe in the future) so I guess I need to go with something else, even if it's not as good as the Bottlehead Crack that's claimed to pair best with HD6XXs.

 

I did a lot of reading and I have heard these names recommended with HD650s: 

  • Bottlehead Crack w/Speedball
  • Darkvoice 336SE
  • Schiit stack (bare minimum to power HD650s) O2+ODAC stack is said to not pair well with HD6XXs
  • Schiit Audio Jotunheim 
  • Schiit Audio Vali 2
  • Schiit Audio Valhalla 2

 

For DAC, I hear a lot of recommendation for Schiit Modi Multibit so I think I'll go with that.

 

For Amp, I'm considering between Darkvoice 336SE, Schiit Audio Jotunheim and Schiit Audio Valhalla 2. Somebody told me that they didn't like how Valhalla 2 sounded with HD650s so it's now between Darkvoice 336SE and Schiit Jotunheim.

It's really hard to choose between both.

 

Schiit is guaranteed to be of good quality and should last long as it's a solid state Amp. In terms of sound, it's supposed to be solid but it lacks a bit of depth. But it's versatile with wider range of headphones and other uses. I can get it for $606AUD directly from Schiit or $650AUD from addictedtoaudtio.com.au

 

Darkvoice 336SE is claimed to be the second best sounding and bang-for-buck tube Amp to pair with HD6XXs right after BHC w/Speedball. Only concerns are the quality control as some units can start smoking. And it's less flexible for other uses than Jotunheim. From Amazon, I can get it for $352AUD or it's $374 from eBay.

 

Also, how do you do WTB ad? Anyways, if anyone is selling their used BHC w/ Speedball for less than $970AUD, hit me up, I'll consider buying them.

The crack/speedball have sold for less than $500 here, IIRC the unit I sold a few years ago went for less.

I hope you don't end up paying up to $970, but it might be a waiting game.

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If you are looking for a quality solid state option the Lake People G109 pairs really well with my HD600s. Extremely low noise floor and low output impedance with 3 step adjustable gain meaning that it pairs well with any headphone/iem.

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Just got myself into this hobby recently. Got myself a Schiit Stack (Magni 3 and Modi multibit) in anticipation of my HD6xx. I think they sound fantastic! 

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Hello Heinstar.

 

I have had experience with:

Audiolab mdac

Marantz HD dac

Oppo HA1.

 

Into various headphones (no sennheisers though)

 

All the above are solid, lovely bits of kit that do the job of conversion and amplification for cans very well. I was/am very happy with all of them.  As well as headphone duty I  use them as a DAC / preamp for powered speakers. All those suggestions can be found within your budget (for the Oppo you'll need to go second hand - wait for one in the classifieds here - it's where I got mine for around $1K).

 

Of the three mentioned, the Oppo is a personal favourite.

 

When I first ventured into this territory I discovered jitter (the contemporary version of wow and flutter or crackle and pop). This was remedied with an optic fibre toslink between my computer and the DAC.

 

In case it helps you or other readers - some Macbook Pro's have a toslink outlet inside the headphone jack. Vast improvement over a USB connection.

 

Happy hunting.

 

audiolab_m-dac_1.jpg

HD-DAC1_B.jpg

ha-1-black-front-hr.jpg

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I’ve owned the Schiit Mjolnir, Ragnarok, Valhalla 2 and currently have the Jotunheim. It’s not as good overall as the Ragnarok and it does lose out to the Valhalla 2 in terms of soundstage and imaging but the Jotunheim is the best bang for buck amp out of the lot, IMO.

 

For EDM, I’d suggest you go Schiit solid state over vacuum tubes. The Valhalla 2 lacks the grip and slam in the bass region that the Jotunheim delivers in spades. Add a Modi Multibit and a balanced cable for the Senns. You come in at budget for a killer rig.

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Great advice.

 

I've not heard the Jot, but I've had a Valhalla 2 and two (much more expensive) other amps, and I preferred the Vali 2 ! It has a coherence and musicality that's hard to beat, and being a hybrid enough slam as well as the tube delicacy when needed. And it doesn't shame my Grado GS1000e headphones, which is saying something.

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I have the Jot with the Built in DAC running a pair of HD850S and LCD-3. Its amazing, but would I see any benefit from using it only as an AMP and getting a separate dedicated DAC like the Gungnir or Biofrost?

 

Of course I would love the Ragnarok / Yggdrasil stack but that would also be delivered with divorce papers which would make the cost of that untenable ;-) 

Edited by thestefster

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I didn't think it was right to make new threads so I'll post my new thread here:

 

I'm looking for a headphone that excels at EDM. Doesn't matter if it's open or closed. Prefer the cost to be under $1000 AUD due to 10% import tax. I currently own Sennheiser HD650, HD600, Darkvoice 336SE and Schiit Jotunheim.

My current setup is Mac Mini > Audirvana Plus > Audioquest forest USB A to B > Schiit Elitr > BJC Coaxial > Mimby > BJC LC-1 > Darkvoice 336SE/Jotunheim.

I'm already very satisfied with the sound quality of rock, rap, hip-hop and pop music on my Darkvoice 336SE with the HD600.

However, I'm not very happy with the way EDM sounds on HD600 and HD650. Plugging it into Schiit Jotunheim helps to bring out more detail and resolution. But even then, EDM just doesn't sound right on HD600/650.

I'm also going to be selling my HD650 soon since I don't like the recessed mids and muddy bass. HD600 on the other hand seems to pair much better with Darkvoice as it plays rock, rap, hip-hop and pop very well due to better mids/vocals.

I've done some research and I'm hearing good things about V-Moda M-100, Fostex TH-X00/600/610/T60RP, HiFiMan HE-560/Sundara, Audeze LCD2 Classic and Beyerdynamic DT-770/880/990 which all falls just under $1000.

Which headphone under $1000 do you recommend for primarily listening to EDM? Thanks.

EDIT: Thanks guys, I've found a solution. Switching my SE cable to Sennheiser CH 650s solved the problem and literally all genres of music sounds amazing now on Jotunheim. Prior to this, I was using the 4 pin XLR balanced stock cable that which I bought from the seller called corpscable ($65). That was a huge upgrade over SE stock cable. However, the CH 650s ($240) turned out sounding even better probably due having a thicker 4 pin connector. But I still think it wasn't worth the x4 price difference though...

Edited by Heinstar

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Following this thread as I have the same HD-650. I was going to use Yamaha s3000 - is this ok?

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Bottlehead Crack. You have to add the speedball!  Makes a difference.  I run mine with the HD600 or Beyer dt880 600ohm.

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