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So, after owning a pair a few years back and never really getting them to sing, i'm onto my second pair of HD800s now. This time I'm going to invest in some amplification that might do the headphones justice. 

 

The thing is - it's really hard to find a clear winner for these cans, as everybody has a completely different opinion. 

 

I'm wondering what people are driving their HD800s with, or what combinations they have heard that have wow'd them.

 

Budget is around $1000, can be an AMP or an AMP/DAC (but must have optical or coax input if DAC), balanced is preferred but essential, no preference for tubed or solid state. So far I am leaning toward the SPL Auditor or DNA Sonnet 2

 

The shortlist I've come up with is as follows: 

 

- Violectric V200 

- SPL Auditor 

- La Figaro 339

- DNA Sonnet 1 or 2

- OPPO HA-1 

- Burson HA-160/D

 

Any thoughts on the above?

 

PS. if you are selling something which might be appropriate then shoot me a PM. 

Edited by heman_
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I would like to suggest one of the Sennheiser headphone amps, both are exceptional, and both are on sale, and both are equipped to handle a balanced output. I think I paid $974.00 for mine, and it's v

Honestly I think for anything less than $2k just grab a Schiit Valhalla 2 + some decent tubes and be done with it. Once you get over that you can start looking at DNA / Eddie Current. Personally i run

Dont sell your stax system. Made that mistake myself...

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I wasnt happy period. the only amp have heard do a decent job on them is senns own amp. 

 

http://en-au.sennheiser.com/headphone-audio-amplification-hdvd-800-acoustic

 

everyone will have a different opinion ...its way goes :D only way of knowing for sure for your self is go have a listen ...

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So, after owning a pair a few years back and never really getting them to sing, i'm onto my second pair of HD800s now. This time I'm going to invest in some amplification that might do the headphones justice. 

 

The thing is - it's really hard to find a clear winner for these cans, as everybody has a completely different opinion. 

 

I'm wondering what people are driving their HD800s with, or what combinations they have heard that have wow'd them.

 

Budget is around $1000, can be an AMP or an AMP/DAC (but must have optical or coax input if DAC), balanced is preferred but essential, no preference for tubed or solid state. So far I am leaning toward the SPL Auditor or DNA Sonnet 2

 

The shortlist I've come up with is as follows: 

 

- Violectric V200 

- SPL Auditor 

- La Figaro 339

- DNA Sonnet 1 or 2

- OPPO HA-1 

- Burson HA-160/D

 

Any thoughts on the above?

 

PS. if you are selling something which might be appropriate then shoot me a PM. 

 

None of the ones in the list will drive the HD800 properly (synergy wise) and to its best.

 

But only 3 of the list stands out above the rest.

 

The DNA Sonnet, Auditor (Phonitor without SPL/Crossfeed function) and the V200 (which is only the lush side). 

 

If I were you I would save up for a Dynahi/Dynalo (DIY designs), EC BA or the Super 7, Auralic, Stratus or one of Pete Millets designs. 

Edited by DefQon
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I'm driving my HD800 (modded with rug liners only) with Schiit Yggy-DNA Stratus on main rig and GO720-Schiit Vali 1 on second rig. With the main rig, I prefer this combo to AMR777-BHSE-009 that I listened a few months ago, for my preference of sound signature (with vocal, pop, classical and trip hop). I had HD800 for about 3 years. Recently, I sold LCD-X and bought HE1000. Though I listen to HE1000 a lot nowadays, I still think that HD800 as my primary headphone and HE1000 as secondary headphone.

 

If someone didn't like the analytical signature of HD800, I think other headphone (such as audeze or hifiman edition-X which I auditioned today) might suit better. Regardless a good amplification, the analytical side of HD800 will still shown. And I didn't really like an amp which curb the analytical (or technical side) of HD800. 

 

Before DNA, I used to have Burson Soloist, Woo WA6SE and Violectric v100. From those 3 amps, I rate WA6SE higher. Soloist had a slight hard (or metallic) timbre with HD800, and violectric sound dull with it. I also tried V200 which imo didn't improve much from V100, a bit on lifeless side, and prefer WA6SE from it. I also heard the original Zana Deux which on classified, and I think it's a good amp for HD800. The other great amp which I heard with HD800 would be Cavalli Liquid Glass, though for the price, I would rather go to Stratus, actually.

 

And on another note, the reason I like Vali was it remind me a lot of WA6SE for a fraction of its cost. The impression on the net was that Vali 2 and Valhalla 2 improve to Vali 1, but never heard those yet.

 

Hope it help.

Edited by Jsgraha
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A lot of good suggestions - but I don't really want to spend more unless it is really necessary. HD800 is going to be my secondary bedside table rig, I'll still have my STAX setup as main (or at least that is the plan) 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm driving my HD800 (modded with rug liners only) with Schiit Yggy-DNA Stratus on main rig and GO720-Schiit Vali 1 on second rig. With the main rig, I prefer this combo to AMR777-BHSE-009 that I listened a few months ago, for my preference of sound signature (with vocal, pop, classical and trip hop). I had HD800 for about 3 years. Recently, I sold LCD-X and bought HE1000. Though I listen to HE1000 a lot nowadays, I still think that HD800 as my primary headphone and HE1000 as secondary headphone.

 

If someone didn't like the analytical signature of HD800, I think other headphone (such as audeze or hifiman edition-X which I auditioned today) might suit better. Regardless a good amplification, the analytical side of HD800 will still shown. And I didn't really like an amp which curb the analytical (or technical side) of HD800. 

 

Before DNA, I used to have Burson Soloist, Woo WA6SE and Violectric v100. From those 3 amps, I rate WA6SE higher. Soloist had a slight hard (or metallic) timbre with HD800, and violectric sound dull with it. I also tried V200 which imo didn't improve much from V100, a bit on lifeless side, and prefer WA6SE from it. I also heard the original Zana Deux which on classified, and I think it's a good amp for HD800. The other great amp which I heard with HD800 would be Cavalli Liquid Glass, though for the price, I would rather go to Stratus, actually.

 

And on another note, the reason I like Vali was it remind me a lot of WA6SE for a fraction of its cost. The impression on the net was that Vali 2 and Valhalla 2 improve to Vali 1, but never heard those yet.

 

Hope it help.

 

WA6SE would be great, but out of price range. Have you heard HD800 with the WA6 or WA3? 

 

I'd forgotten about Schiit because I don't really like their branding...but I guess the Mjolnir 2 and Vali 2 is worth a look. 

 

None of the ones in the list will drive the HD800 properly (synergy wise) and to its best.

 

But only 3 of the list stands out above the rest.

 

The DNA Sonnet, Auditor (Phonitor without SPL/Crossfeed function) and the V200 (which is only the lush side). 

 

If I were you I would save up for a Dynahi/Dynalo (DIY designs), EC BA or the Super 7, Auralic, Stratus or one of Pete Millets designs. 

 

Have you heard the Sonnet, Auditor and V200 with the HD800? Care to go into greater detail for the V200 and Auditor? Must admit, I've always wanted a reason to buy the Auditor

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I'm driving my HD800 (modded with rug liners only) with Schiit Yggy-DNA Stratus on main rig and GO720-Schiit Vali 1 on second rig. With the main rig, I prefer this combo to AMR777-BHSE-009 that I listened a few months ago, for my preference of sound signature (with vocal, pop, classical and trip hop). I had HD800 for about 3 years. Recently, I sold LCD-X and bought HE1000. Though I listen to HE1000 a lot nowadays, I still think that HD800 as my primary headphone and HE1000 as secondary headphone.

 

If someone didn't like the analytical signature of HD800, I think other headphone (such as audeze or hifiman edition-X which I auditioned today) might suit better. Regardless a good amplification, the analytical side of HD800 will still shown. And I didn't really like an amp which curb the analytical (or technical side) of HD800. 

 

Before DNA, I used to have Burson Soloist, Woo WA6SE and Violectric v100. From those 3 amps, I rate WA6SE higher. Soloist had a slight hard (or metallic) timbre with HD800, and violectric sound dull with it. I also tried V200 which imo didn't improve much from V100, a bit on lifeless side, and prefer WA6SE from it. I also heard the original Zana Deux which on classified, and I think it's a good amp for HD800. The other great amp which I heard with HD800 would be Cavalli Liquid Glass, though for the price, I would rather go to Stratus, actually.

 

And on another note, the reason I like Vali was it remind me a lot of WA6SE for a fraction of its cost. The impression on the net was that Vali 2 and Valhalla 2 improve to Vali 1, but never heard those yet.

 

Hope it help.

i agree on a few things. I found the v200 a bit ho hum. Maybe a different story if using balanced interconnects between amp and Dac

I really enjoyed my soloist amp even though leans on the brighter side. Very good detail. I had it with an arcam irdac, slightly warm and nicely lush in nature, and these pair up great. Very versatile combo. As burson audio has updated their soloist sl recently, including dropping price, there may be a new soloist soon. Either way you can buy direct from burson and they may well still offer cheaper (direct) prices. But it needs a little warmth in the dad for me when you're dealing with the hd800

The irdac has just been upgraded to a dac/amp (could well be interesting) last week at CES so that may cause the current irdac to drop in price soon. You could well get a second hand soloist and irdac for $1000. I did. And really enjoyed it until it was time to upgrade to the wa2.

I never like the ha 2 when I demoed it twice.

Good luck

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A lot of good suggestions - but I don't really want to spend more unless it is really necessary. HD800 is going to be my secondary bedside table rig, I'll still have my STAX setup as main (or at least that is the plan) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WA6SE would be great, but out of price range. Have you heard HD800 with the WA6 or WA3? 

 

I'd forgotten about Schiit because I don't really like their branding...but I guess the Mjolnir 2 and Vali 2 is worth a look. 

 

 

Have you heard the Sonnet, Auditor and V200 with the HD800? Care to go into greater detail for the V200 and Auditor? Must admit, I've always wanted a reason to buy the Auditor

v200 was boring and soundstage too small. Takes away what the hd800 is for me - detail and clarity.
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I have a Luxman P1, very happy with it.

Sorry, should have added that this amp, and several of the others will fit into the budget if buying used. 

I would recommend buying used as it is much better value for money.

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I would suggest used, and start a wtb thread otherwise your just falling into the the trap I'm afraid of just whet started out not to do ie running with an amp that doesn't do justice to these. In hitch case will lead to disappointment

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WA6SE would be great, but out of price range. Have you heard HD800 with the WA6 or WA3?

I'd forgotten about Schiit because I don't really like their branding...but I guess the Mjolnir 2 and Vali 2 is worth a look.

I'm afraid I haven't heard wa3. As far as I know, it's an otl design. I heard its big brother wa2 though, just using stock tube. I would categorise it as an amp which limit hd800 technicality. It's quite sweet on its mids, and slow during quick transient. Maybe an upgraded nos tube would help, but I would never know.

I heard wa6 years ago, and I remember my impression was a decent amp. But from memory, I might prefer my current schiit vali. The downside of vali was on mid-treble which might a bit elevated. But it still a slightly warm amp. It had a good layering on its stage. It also had a raw presentation which might be bad, but very engaging. I wish I heard its upgrade (vali2) and valhalla 2. It seem the upgraded amp had a good reputation, and plus, can be improved by tube rolling.

If you happened to be at either Syd or Melb, I would recommend to go to a2a. Auditions would be best, I think.

Hope it help.

Edited by Jsgraha
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I would suggest used, and start a wtb thread otherwise your just falling into the the trap I'm afraid of just whet started out not to do ie running with an amp that doesn't do justice to these. In hitch case will lead to disappointment

 

Yeh I will do this. Just wanted to get an idea of what I was looking for first. 

 

I'm afraid I haven't heard wa3. As far as I know, it's an otl design. I heard its big brother wa2 though, just using stock tube. I would categorise it as an amp which limit hd800 technicality. It's quite sweet on its mids, and slow during quick transient. Maybe an upgraded nos tube would help, but I would never know.

I heard wa6 years ago, and I remember my impression was a decent amp. But from memory, I might prefer my current schiit vali. The downside of vali was on mid-treble which might a bit elevated. But it still a slightly warm amp. It had a good layering on its stage. It also had a raw presentation which might be bad, but very engaging. I wish I heard its upgrade (vali2) and valhalla 2. It seem the upgraded amp had a good reputation, and plus, can be improved by tube rolling.

If you happened to be at either Syd or Melb, I would recommend to go to a2a. Auditions would be best, I think.

Hope it help.

 

Interesting. I'm based in the ACT and only in VIC for a month or so each year, but I might try head down to A2A. 

 

Is there a difference between the Vali and the Valhalla amp? The Valahalla does interest me because it seems to be a really popular amplifier. 

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Interesting. I'm based in the ACT and only in VIC for a month or so each year, but I might try head down to A2A. 

 

 

Or you can go to Sydney. They now have a store in Sydney, and apparently got a fair amount of gears there.

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Is there a difference between the Vali and the Valhalla amp? The Valahalla does interest me because it seems to be a really popular amplifier. 

 

Vali 2 is a tube hybrid. While I can't tube roll my vali1, apparently we can tube roll vali 2. Valhalla 2 is an OTL, but it seem have a low gain switch for high efficient HP. I seem remember one on our classified. 

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Have you heard the Sonnet, Auditor and V200 with the HD800? Care to go into greater detail for the V200 and Auditor? Must admit, I've always wanted a reason to buy the Auditor

 

 

Haven't just heard it, owned all 3 and many more. The Sonnet and Auditor are good out of the bunch, the V200 ain't bad also (more suited for the LCD series IME).

 

I'd shoot for the Eddie Current Balancing Act or Super 7, Donald North's Stratus or Kevin's Dynahi/Dynalo/Dynamite amps.

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For whats it worth, I listened to some HD800s recently powered with the Oppo HA-1 and was blown away. I then listened to some HD700s, which I used to own, and hated them after hearing the HD800!

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[...]

 

The Valahalla does interest me because it seems to be a really popular amplifier. 

 

The best I've heard the HD800 was from a Schiit Ragnarok. Versatile SS amp with a very smooth presentation and outstanding transparency. It's outside of your budget though.

 

I've "down-scaled" to a Valhalla 2 and am very content. Whilst the Valhalla 2 doesn't quite reach the lofty heights of the Ragnarok, it's a damn impressive amp considering the asking price.

 

The Valhalla 2's defining quality is how transparent it is and how well it scales with nice tubes. The stock input tubes are decent. Staging is good and the presentation is engaging and energetic. There's a slight hardness to the leading edges though, which could be fatiguing to some listening to the HD800 for extended periods. 60's Herleen factory Amperex Bugles are my preferred tubes. With the Bugles, the soundstage becomes less constricted. Staging isn't cavernous, but there's more air and sparkle, more space between elements and micro-details abound from various points. All this whilst maintaining coherency and presenting a natural tonality.

 

It helps if your music is of good quality and that you have a decent dac feeding the goods downstream.

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The best I've heard the HD800 was from a Schiit Ragnarok. Versatile SS amp with a very smooth presentation and outstanding transparency. It's outside of your budget though.

 

I've "down-scaled" to a Valhalla 2 and am very content. Whilst the Valhalla 2 doesn't quite reach the lofty heights of the Ragnarok, it's a damn impressive amp considering the asking price.

 

The Valhalla 2's defining quality is how transparent it is and how well it scales with nice tubes. The stock input tubes are decent. Staging is good and the presentation is engaging and energetic. There's a slight hardness to the leading edges though, which could be fatiguing to some listening to the HD800 for extended periods. 60's Herleen factory Amperex Bugles are my preferred tubes. With the Bugles, the soundstage becomes less constricted. Staging isn't cavernous, but there's more air and sparkle, more space between elements and micro-details abound from various points. All this whilst maintaining coherency and presenting a natural tonality.

 

It helps if your music is of good quality and that you have a decent dac feeding the goods downstream.

 

I think I might have to audition the Valhalla 2 when I get the chance.

Edited by heman_
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Anyone mentioned the Bottlehead Crack + Speedball.

 

I know it (Crack) is brilliant with Sennheiser HD600 and HD650 cans and I imagine the HD800 cans would sound great with the Crack + Speedball too.

 

Only trouble being, you would need to build the Crack yourself or, (as I did) buy an assembled unit.

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Crack + speedball with good tubes is really good combo with hd800 but there are better. Dynahi is the best match hd800 I've heard yet but its diy. Auralic Taurus is close second. I tried the first version and was quite impressed

Edited by mloutfie
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On a seperate but related topic - what is the general consensus - does the HD 800 benefit from balanced connections, or is it amp dependant.

 

Any balanced amps around $1000 worth mentioning? I once (2007 or 2008) ran HD 650's straight out of the balanced outputs from my then Lavry DA 10. Very impressive sound quality IRRC.

 

BTW anyone heard the HD 800s or whatever it is called? 

Edited by andrew_stenhouse
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balanced does makesa difference to my ear. The Aussie dollar kinda kills the whole amp affordability. But for under $1000 audio gd nfb-6 would be my go to balanced amp. But its pretty much on the same level as crack+speedball

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Actually I forgot an amazing portable amp I used to have which is actually a balanced amp. Ray Samuel's rsa intruder. Amazing sound from such a small amp. It's dac actually pretty good also

Edited by mloutfie
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On a seperate but related topic - what is the general consensus - does the HD 800 benefit from balanced connections, or is it amp dependant.

 

Any balanced amps around $1000 worth mentioning? I once (2007 or 2008) ran HD 650's straight out of the balanced outputs from my then Lavry DA 10. Very impressive sound quality IRRC.

 

BTW anyone heard the HD 800s or whatever it is called?

On the Auralic Taurus, the Hd800 sounded better to my ears run balanced. I should note though that the balanced cables I used (Aurealis and Cardas) would have likely contributed to the improvement over the single ended cables I used. The benefit was bass improvement, bigger soundstage ( hard to believe) and increased detail portrayal.

Not sure any Aus retailers have the hd800s in stock yet ! Addicted didn't know when it would be available in late Decmber, and they seem to be pretty efficient on new models availability.

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On the Auralic Taurus, the Hd800 sounded better to my ears run balanced. I should note though that the balanced cables I used (Aurealis and Cardas) would have likely contributed to the improvement over the single ended cables I used. The benefit was bass improvement, bigger soundstage ( hard to believe) and increased detail portrayal.

Not sure any Aus retailers have the hd800s in stock yet ! Addicted didn't know when it would be available in late Decmber, and they seem to be pretty efficient on new models availability.

 

Thanks Ray - very helpful. I love the soundstage on the HD 800. Superb.

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I use the Schiit Mjolnir with mine, super happy.

It's the original SS, but there's a Mjolnir 2 which is hybrid.

It's widely considered as very nuetral, and if anything highlights the analytical side of the 800's.

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Okies, so following on from @@Steve M. 's recommendation (thanks Steve :thumb: ), I picked up one of these today:

 

Elekit_TU8200DX_Photo_Main.jpg?itok=3nY7

 

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/TU-8200-GLX-KT88-BUILD-AND-TESTED-/272013615591?hash=item3f554661e7

 

ATM am just using the head out of my MBA, and it sounds terrific playing DSD > 24/96 via A+. Chord Mojo arrives tomorrow and will use that as a dac.

 

I replaced the stock EH 12au7 with some NOS Mullard CV 4003's (accept no imitation) and it sounds .... bloody brilliant as a head amp. It taps off the main driver tubes, will drive ANYTHING and, with the Mullard's, is suited to a headphone on the more ...errr... accurate side. Soundstage is HUGE. Tone fantastic and, well, it just makes you tap your foot.

 

On hand I have some of the new Beyer DT 1770 Pro's (with the T2 driver) - very good by the way -  and my trusty and much loved Sony MDR 7506 studio cans. It is a match made in heaven with the brighter Sony's. The already darker flavour of the Beyer's is accentuated by the Mullard's, whereas the Sony's just love the warmth. 

 

I haven't tried it with the HD 800's yet, but I expect it to synergise exceedingly well. Will grab a pair shortly. 

 

I offered $1000 + delivery for the amp, which was accepted. It arrived a couple of days ago double boxed, and in perfect condition.

 

Overall I would say this is on par or slightly in front of the Crack + Speedball. Different excellent, if that makes sense.  Plus you can use this to power your speakers - 12 wpc UL 

 

Review is here: http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/elekit-tu-8200dx-vacuum-tube-headphoneintegrated-amplifier

 

and here: http://www.wallofsound.ca/audioreviews/elekit-tu-8200-dx-integrated-amplifierheadphone-amplifier-kit-review-by-tim-smith/

Edited by andrew_stenhouse
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2heman_, if you are interested in Violectric highly recommend take in attantion some very interested full clone of A200, Accurate Audio Studio A200. in value 1000$ + you will grab it with V800. That will be great value setup as for the money.

Sent from my m2 note using Tapatalk

Please find link on some review http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sdkgv4iVa44

Edited by artist777
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Honestly I think for anything less than $2k just grab a Schiit Valhalla 2 + some decent tubes and be done with it. Once you get over that you can start looking at DNA / Eddie Current. Personally i run the ECP Audio Torpedo 3 (DIY kit) and don't think anything would really be an upgrade until i hit the DNA Stratus. Ive tried the whole Schiit range / Taurus / Ear / Woo / EC / Cavalli etc. The last time I went to A2A they sat me down on a V281 and a Headamp GSX2, both were awful pairings (I'm not saying they're bad amps).

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IMO best sounding ever solution for HD-Sennheiser series and HE-4, 6(HiFiMAN) is ultimate combo FluxLab SolidOne, before I think that mine OPPO HA-1, Master-11 Audio-GD + Master 9 amplifier is best, but I was wrong))) Solid One that is unic soltion, my friend grab it after Auralic Vega + Master 9, also it extrimely good with high level bookshelf acoustic 

2.5 k$ but it cost every cent

 

CAPUsilitel-Flux-Lab-Solid-One_new338493

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IMO best sounding ever solution for HD-Sennheiser series and HE-4, 6(HiFiMAN) is ultimate combo FluxLab SolidOne, before I think that mine OPPO HA-1, Master-11 Audio-GD + Master 9 amplifier is best, but I was wrong))) Solid One that is unic soltion, my friend grab it after Auralic Vega + Master 9, also it extrimely good with high level bookshelf acoustic 

2.5 k$ but it cost every cent

 

CAPUsilitel-Flux-Lab-Solid-One_new338493

 

Looks very nice but I'm out of my budget. 

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