Best Amps for HD800 - 2021 Edition

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by ChaChaRealSmooth, Dec 18, 2020.

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  1. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    I think so with Asgard 3. This would be a better starting amp for HD800 than Magni 3+.

    Phonitor series deserves mention. I don't think it's clinical sounding at all. A nice SS sound that isn't nasty. Only thing is that it's a bit boring, hence pairing with dynamic sounding sources is best.
     
  2. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

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    It’s been long time since I heard HD800s with DSHA-3F And Metrum Onyx but I remember I had great time listening to some soft rock like Ventura Highway etc on it. I enjoyed it so much that I removed my “for sale” ad of HD800s
     
  3. famish99

    famish99 Friend

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    Does bear mentioning you can get the Elekit amps pre-assembled from the distributor.
     
  4. roshambo123

    roshambo123 Friend

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    Noticed Mjolnir 2 didn't make this list, even though it was on purr1n's originally. I have mixed feelings. MJ2 has been my main amp for close to 3 years and it's my main amp not because I never found fault with it, but because I found more faults with everything else I've tried. Pre-Covid, I tried everything at The Source AV and nothing within a reasonable price point was significantly better. I also did a two week tour with Rag 2 and found it completely dead and also bought and sold Lyr 3 which lacked the slam. Right now, I'm planning to try Valhalla 2 out again, but one other amp that sticks out in my memory from my last CanJam was the Quad Pa-One+. I didn't spend much time with it, but recall it had remarkably good bass volume and did some tube magic. Again, my memory might be poor and the Quad has become overpriced at this point. It was a much better idea at $1200 USD rather than $1700, which I would not pay.
     
  5. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Friend

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    What does OOP mean?
     
  6. ogodei

    ogodei MOT: Austin AudioWorks

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    'Out Of Production' in this case

    Snipe!
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2020
  7. aamefford

    aamefford Nothing like chamberpot coffee

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    Out Of Production

    Edit - too slow!
     
  8. ogodei

    ogodei MOT: Austin AudioWorks

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    Apex Hi-Fi shut down in November 2019 so no longer in production. There may be a few Teton units still available at TTVJ, along with one remaining specimen of the single best headphone amp you've never heard, the Pinnacle II Ultra. Gave my Stellaris a run for the money.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2020
  9. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

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    Dem PX4 tubes tho...
     
  10. ogodei

    ogodei MOT: Austin AudioWorks

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    Notice my use of the word 'money' in the comparison. :(
     
  11. Zhanming057

    Zhanming057 Friend

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    If you are okay with living just a little dangerously, for the price of some of those amps on the list you may as well look at some used speaker amps. There are a ton of 6+6 or 8+8w integrates (or 20+20 from say Pass Labs) that will drive the HD800 like a charm with no discernible noise floor. Of course, size and weight are constraints with speaker amps. This is straight from the taps so I won't say there is no risk, but that you do need to be equally careful with high-power tube headphone amps.

    Back to headphone amp world, my two nominations are (1) the Questyle CMA800 especially in dual mono, which you can sometimes find on gray market for ~40% of MSRP and (2) the Mass Kobo 394 which stands on its own as arguably one of the best solid state headphone amps in current production. Both are worth an audition if you find yourself in Asia.
     
  12. bozebuttons

    bozebuttons Friend

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    For those who own the hd800 ,I was listening to My studio t with the High fidelity cables Headphone module the other day.
    Listening to Maroon 5 Red Pill Blues cd,I recommend this Cd for its recording quality
    Even if you are not a Maroon 5 fan the sound shows how good the HD800 can sound
    I used My HD800sdr with the Stephan audio equinox cable.
     
  13. Royaume

    Royaume Acquaintance

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    Can we add the WA6 (-SE) to the list? I remember someone asked about it on the old thread and purr1n said it was actually a good option. It's especially worth noting since therre are very few options in that price range.
     
  14. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    No. The Questyle works tonally, has nice good control and is clear, but it's sucks the life out of good recordings. I wouldn't buy it for 40% off or take for free. Seriously, if someone gave me one for free, I wouldn't even sell it. I'd bury it and play a geocaching game so desperate HF'ers can find it. I'd rather recommend the Schiit Heresy for $99 if I wanted that kind of sound.

    Probably awesome J-Fi, has cool cat logo on some of their gear, but no one has heard it.

    Sure distributors may offer a build or one can have it built. The question is the many options. What type tubes? There are a million tube types, some better, some worse. Any specific bias? SET or Ultralinear? What transformers? I know Ludahl does tend to have a house sound, but does this work with the HD800? What synergies? As I mentioned, if one goes Elekit, they probably know what they are doing or are very willing to tweak and experiment anyway. Sure the other amps have tube rolling options, but the fact is, 6SN7s mostly sound like 6SN7s. Same for 2A3.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2020
  15. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Added.

    Note that Valhalla 2 was removed for specific reasons.
     
  16. likearake

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    So Asgard 3 and Jot 2 are better than V2 for the HD 800? They must be quite different from the previous iterations.

    EDIT and the SE output of the Jot 2 at that?
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2020
  17. skem

    skem Friend

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    Maybe this is an inappropriate addition, but I never liked HD800 until I randomly connected a pair to a Pass XA25 stereo amp. I don’t have experience with any of the other amps so I can’t place it in the rankings—but it was very impressive. If anyone else can try this, please do comment.

    p.s. probably cheaper and comparable in size to the EC Studio that appears on the list.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2020
  18. bozebuttons

    bozebuttons Friend

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    The Pass XA25 takes total control over the HD800 as I own both
    Highly recommended pairing.
     
  19. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    I can see XA25 being really good with HD800 based on my experience using it for the SR1a. However, I think we are really heading to the outer limits here with like an 85 lbs class AB (super high class A) speaker power amps for a headphone that don't need a speaker power amp. I can see the convenience for those with speakers where they can simply use the amp for double duty. The XA25 is deserving of mention, but on the side.
     
  20. roshambo123

    roshambo123 Friend

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    Marv, could you describe your impressions of HD800+SDR on Woo WA33? I get WA33 isn't on this list for obvious reasons (requires 2nd mortgage, value), but I have heard it, and I thought it blew away the other Woo stuff which immediately sounded dimensionless and overwarm. I've never heard EC or DNA though, so I was trying to get a gauge of where those amps and WA33 landed.
     
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