A not-exhaustive* guide for helping listeners get the best synergy for the HD800** *The reason why this list is not exhaustive is that we HAVE NOT heard every amp. Conceivably there are other amps that work very well here. **This list is a work-in-progress and will be updated to reflect this Thread for the 2017 Edition thread here (this list is definitely still worth perusing and has lots of good information) My Personal Take on the HD800: I have heard various HD800 headphones. To be honest, even with extensive mods, SBAF mod, SDR mod, any combination of mod, etc, the HD800 never quite jived with my tastes. However, under good synergy and the right mods, I do find it to have very significant sonic merit and think it still does deserve its reputation and place. Other members of this forum have commented that the HD800 does not respond to EQ well (the data definitely exists to back this line of reasoning). This is because the early reflections inside the housing, the large ribs, and mounting structure of the cups, combined with the driver's angling towards the ear and its suspended nature cause some very interesting (and measurable) effects on the FR and harmonics. I do NOT like the HD800 stock because of the FR oddities, and thus this guide, like @purr1n's original guide, will assume that a SDR mod will have been used at the bare minimum (or some similar mod). In a personal sense, @tommytakis kindly let me borrow his HD800, which had both the SBAF and SDR mod (as well as a few others), and I found this iteration of the HD800 to be the most enjoyable to listen to for me. I do not discount the other mods; just haven't heard them. General Amp Guidelines: In general, solid-state amps will just not work well with the HD800 (there are definitely exceptions like the BHA-1 and as this list grows, these exceptions will be added). There is a reason for the "tubes or bust" attitude that many have when it comes to amp pairings for the HD800. With that being stated, tube amps that are overly warmpoo, slow, and thick will not be considered worthy of being mentioned on this list. The goal here is max synergy: emphasizing the HD800's strengths while mitigating the weaknesses. We do not want to turn the HD800 into an early production Audeze, even if we're talking an A-grade unicorn LCD-2r2. One key note about this list: this list will ONLY include amps that are currently in production and somewhat easily obtainable. Yes, some OOP amps will be fantastic, but recommending them here is akin to saying "hurr hurr look at this amazeballs amp that you can't have, sux 2 be yoo." Amps under $500: Schiit Asgard 3: This is a good, inexpensive solid-state option without tubes. Not the most slammin' or incisive, but mellow, which softens the HD800's edge. However, nuanced enough to take advantage of what the HD800 does well. Start here. EC ZDT Jr/Laconic Night Blues Mini: An older amp by now, but just like other good gear, withstands test of time. Somewhat tubey and bloomy, but transformer coupled and decent speed, resolve, and dynamics. Bass is a bit wooly and blurry. A fantastic budget choice. SW51*: Again, needs SBAF + SDR mods. Very neutral, somewhat punchy. Absolutely a wonderful amp. Garage1217 Project Horizon 3: This is a tube hybrid like Vali 2. Simplistic design that works well. Slightly better clarity and microdynamics compared to Vali 2, and priced right. With the stock tube, more on the neutral side, but can be tube rolled if desired. Schiit Lyr 3: Somewhat laid-back compared to the more forward Schiit amps of the past. Good resolve, less tubey than ZDT Jr, and better bass. Provides a lot of power. Schiit Jotunheim 2: Nexus tonal richness and Continuity plankton with midcentric tonality is very good for HD800. Think of this as the solid-state version of the Lyr 3 somewhat. No Man's Land Amps: Woo WA6SE*: Needs SBAF + SDR mods. A wonderful choice around the $1k range and the entry into better and bigger transformer coupled tube amps. Don't get the special USAF mickey mouse ears rectifier from Woo or Sophia Princess 274B shit for HD800 use. Use a decent vintage or semi-vintage 5U4G instead. More Expensive Amps: Bryston BHA-1: One of the few SS amps that work very well with HD800. Very good stage. Somewhat of a faster sounding amp, but not quite as grippy as something like a DSHA-3F (which the 3F is a terrible amp for the HD800). Definitely worth it if you can find one used for around $1k-1.5k. Total rip off at new retail prices. DNA Starlett: By now this amp needs no introduction. Uses cheap tubes, but the sound is anything but cheap. Characteristic DNA sound; somewhat wet, richly harmonic, and tasteful tube bloom, but undeniably extremely technically competent with utterly fantastic resolve and mids-to-highs that aren't matched by any other amp in this price point. DNA Stratus/Stellaris: Stratus is a bit better than Starlett. Stellaris is in a class of its own, but is mega-expensive due to next-level OPTs where Donald is passing costs along. Absolutely incredible amps with the price tag to match. Eddie Current Studio B: This is a Studio Jr in a Balancing Act chassis. Needs no other introduction. Absolutely a fine amp and worthy of its hype. Just keep in mind this is a limited amp and will not be available forever. SPL Phonitor:* Actually works with the HD800 with SDR / SBAF mods. Don't expect miracles; however a competent sound that isn't nasty solid state. Pair with vivid or exciting DAC. Luxman: For solid state, any headamp from Luxman works with the HD800. Expect to pay a decent amount, but used is a much better way to go. Other Amps, Some Really Good, But Not Listed for a Reason: BH Crack: Best with HD6xx series, but never seems to be quite as magical with the HD800. A90/D90 Topping: High end Topping is hot garbage and doesn't sound any better than their lower end stuff. On the lower end, JDS, Geshelli, and Schiit sound better. Please stop asking about Topping. Their entire lineup at their respective prices underperforms in terms of sound quality. And WTF are you doing on SBAF if you subscribe to the ASR way? Schiit Valhalla 2*: Good if SBAF + SDR mods are used, or similar. However removed for 2021 because of veil and and dry somewhat prickly highs - there simply are better options available now. Feliks: Not into the philosophy of sky high output impedance into changing the HD800 into a TH900. Besides, resolution isn't the highest on these amp. Better off with Horizon if one wanted OTL sound. Plus, it's expensive with eroded value since they've raised their prices. Vioeletric: Lower end 200 model tonally works with HD800, but why make the HD800 into a murky low-fi headphone. V281 is nice, but BHA-1 and Ragnarok 2 are better suited to HD800 for much less. V281 is a great choice if you are in the EU though. Just have SDR / SBAF mods ready, unless you are OK with bright. ECP DSHA 3F: Great for Focals and many other headphones. Not great with HD800. Apex Teton: Great with HD800, but seems an awful lot to pay for a tube amp without output transformers. It's very good actually with HD800, but geez, pay off your car first before you buy an OTL which limits your headphone options. Woo WA234: Dual volume knobs and garish design. Really you can do better in terms of function and sound for much less. This is a cod-piece to show off. Woo WA33: Not bad sounding, but just like the WA234, you can do so much more for sound for less (much so in case of the eye-watering expensive Elite edition). AKA, just buy a Stellaris. VIva Egoista: Name says it all. It's good, but not that good. The 2A3 version is better. The 845 has more power, but bigger DHTs just sound don't as good. Elekit: If you can DIY and control the parameters of your build such as OPTs, bias, caps, you wouldn't be in this thread. Sennheiser HDVD800: Get a Magnius or A90 for less, which we don't recommend anyway. Gear like this is why all DACs sound the same. Any other random TOTL amp: Probably great, but not necessarily so for HD800. Anything OOP: Yeah, right. We are trying to help folks here not make their lives more neurotic. EC Black Widow: See above.