Best Amps For the Sennheiser HD800 - 2017 Edition

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by purr1n, Dec 2, 2016.

  1. Delayeed

    Delayeed Facebook Friend

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    You have set 100% inside windows and disabled all enhancements?
     
  2. kirayamato

    kirayamato Friend

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    yes 100% in windows no sure about the disabled all enhancements and am playing off memory here this was more than a year back
     
  3. kirayamato

    kirayamato Friend

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    ya you are probably right about that wasn't able to check it with an actual dac and I was going on vacation and just wanted something that could pass the time
     
  4. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    So I was thinking about the GOV2 family recommendation. Is that meant as an interim recommendation until you can get one of the other amps on this list, or is that a good enough combo that it would be worth getting an HD800 just to use with a GO?
     
  5. zeissiez

    zeissiez Turn that Schiit down - acquaintance

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    I have an ECBA (PX4/300B version), I like it with the HD800. With a pair of KR PX4 tubes, the technicalities were superb, much in line with top SS amps, with additional benefits of better air, soundstage depth, naturalness and openness. But my fav tube amp for the HD800, is the WA5. While not as "Hi-fi" as good EC amps, it adds thickness and weight to the bottom of the HD800. It totally transforms the HD800 from lean, clinical to full, lush and thick, with excellent bloom and separation, all without sacrificing much of the technical capabilities of the HD800. The treble is a bit shouty, but controllable with proper tuning with tubes, cable and source. I can imagine the ECBA being great match for the Elear, and maybe the Utopia too. I also heard the ALO Studio Six with the HD800, with Hugo as DAC. Soundstage was small, I wasn't sure whether it's because of the Hugo which is known to be pretty intimate sounding or the Studio Six itself. Nevertheless, the combo rocked with the HD800. The sound was punchy, full and energetic. I didn't know HD800 can rock before that. I heard the HD800 with the ATH-5050, which added some nice warmth to the HD800, but it didn't do too well in separation and the price was too high for what it offered. Master 9 is the best SS amp I heard with the HD800, the ultimate transparent combo, supreme in punch, speed and details. I have heard many Schiit and AGD amps, while I find Schiit amps to be more musical, but I think AGD amps tick more boxes in Hifi attributes: micro detail, transparency, soundstage and speed. I think AGD amps deserve to be here. Bottlehead Crack, without speedball, too muddied for the HD800, I don't know how speedball adds to the sound, but Crack w/o speedball is definitely not great. WA22, pretty good with the HD800, particularly if one prefers more bloom in the mids, not the last word in technicalities, but we get euphony in exchange. However the price is too high for the sound, pity, I like the look and the form factor. I haven't heard any of the DNA amps, the wait time was too long, but been very interested. I would also like to hear the V281, which is said to be pairing well with both HD800 and HE1000, impossible???
     
  6. PoochZag

    PoochZag The Shadow knows - Friend

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    HD800 and Mjolnir 2, you can plug one into the other and sound comes out, making it an option as an amplifier. Also if you change the tubes in Mjolnir 2, the sound changes. I'm finished with all that shit, so here are my final thoughts on tubes with respect to the HD800+SDR (+ or - cork) ranked best to worst. Price I paid for perspective.

    These impressions come from the mindset that Mjolnir 2 is intrinsically a bassier amp with great slam, a sense of a thick warm lower midrange, and maybe somewhat of already peaky hot highs. Gungnir Multibit is DAC.

    1. Philips Miniwatt E88CC SQ ($110 lightly used) : Like the LISST with none of that midrange haze. Doesn't add much extra low end, has a very involving, faster, sound with nice smooth treble that isn't obviously rolled off. Very possible I don't take these back out until they die or I go through another dark headphone spell.

    2a. Amperex Orange Globes 1965 Heerlen (~$60 used): Fairly warm, adds a bit of bass and a thicker midrange. Smooth treble but it comes at the cost of sounding quite dark with a loss of air or detail. Kinda makes them more genre specific because of these things. Makes the HD800 very listenable though, even at quite high volumes

    2b. LISST ($70 used): Given the stereotypes of SS I was shocked to find how even and non-peaky the treble sounds with these, especially since I didn't have the above two pairs at the time and hadn't heard the HD800 as tolerable for longer sessions. Very fast, still has the good slam, but not nearly as thick as most any tube. Big con is the midrange has kinda a hazy quality to it, that is more noticeable with the 800 than less resolving cans. It's like sudden hits of instruments are smeared and don't have an precise position in the image.

    ----------Big Gap-------------
    4. Reflector 6H23p-EB (~$70 light use): Hold on to your fucking hat! :punk: Slamming bass with crazy fun, detailed, spikey highs. A nightmare for the HD800 after 4 very riveting songs, but it gives the HD800 so much life short term it gets ranked here anyway (my favorite for darker HD650/Elear/HE-500). Does great with imaging, speed...etc but just too much crazy up top. Apparently they last for 10,000 hours, or 40,000 very short listening sessions. Link to exact ones http://www.thetubestore.com/Tubes/6922-E88CC-Tube-Types/6H23n-EB-6922

    5. Matsushita National PCC88 / 7DJ8 ($70 new) Eh, I'd take it over stock but it doesn't do much better to justify spending the money, or even being able to articulate why.

    6a. Stock- Dry, distant in the upper mids. A little etchy and unrefined in the highs, can get fatiguing after a while. Seems a step behind most other tubes in most ways. They illustrate the Mjolnir 2's characteristics, but that's about it. Most owners are going to have these so no need to elaborate.

    6b. Electro-harmonix 6922 Gold Pins (~$25 light use): A hair more impact than stock, with less of that dry, etchy sound. However I think they're even more fatiguing and haven't bothered wasting tons of time teasing all this out.

    7. Vokshod Rocket 6N23P ($21):
    Bright as the Raisin Bran mascot. Does the HD800 no favors. Super cheap on eBay from Ukraine but one died in 3 months of off-and-on use.

    Perspective:
    I agree with the general SBAF mindset that excessive tube rolling is stupid, and I at least did a good job buying most of these for cheap lightly used over a period of a couple years. However, I am glad I persisted, because finding one of those top 3 really saved the HD800 for me. In retrospect, I wish I would have done more research and just spent the money on the right pair in the first place. Worth noting, I had a hard time teasing out differences between some of these tubes before HD800/HD650/Elear when using things like HE-500 and Ether...:cool:
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2016
  7. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    Has anyone experienced the CSP3 w/ the 800? If so does it measure up to anything on the list?
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2016
  8. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    So given the short window of opportunity to get a BW2 now, and having a Mjo2 at home with the HD800S, should I take the dive or is this more of sidegrade - different tonality but not really an overall upgrade?
     
  9. kirayamato

    kirayamato Friend

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    the black widow adds bass heft and a sweet tone that is pretty unique and welcome on the hd800 but ofc YMMV
     
  10. listen4joy

    listen4joy Rando

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    Few more amps i should think be on this list:

    Woo Audio WA22
    Violectric V281
    Glenn OTL Amplifier
    Audio-Gd Master 9
    EC Black Widow
     
  11. Priidik

    Priidik MOT: Estelon

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    WA22 defo not.
     
  12. listen4joy

    listen4joy Rando

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    it was recommended in the old days (-:
     
  13. ButtUglyJeff

    ButtUglyJeff Stunningly beautiful IRL

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    I liked the HD800 (stock) with the WA22 (stock tubes) when I heard the combo. It may not be the best value, but an enjoyable combo. And I'm not even a huge HD800 fan...
     
  14. Priidik

    Priidik MOT: Estelon

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    World has moved on since there was Lehmann BCL, HDVA and Woo-s to chose from.

    The sound that you get from this combo is not what HD800 is for.
    I'd take Jot (or any other good value amp for HD650) + HD650 any day before it for similar, but better sound.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016
  15. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    With an aftermarket balanced cable is the only way I can tolerate the combo, as yes, it is very glare-y without it. Modi MB helps as well. I am considering other amp options for the 800 though, since it seems to change dramatically with different amps. I may consider tubes again, as I have not heard the 800 with tubes yet.

    Good to see you too.
     
  16. Dino

    Dino Friend

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  17. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    Nope. Life is short.

    Jot/800 has oodles of clarity, which is fabulous when playing classical. With brighter pop stuff or blaring jazz it gets dicey and the glare of the Jot rears its ugly head. I wish I could keep the ultra clarity and lose the glare.
     
  18. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    Wow, no, it really is not, especially if there are strings involved. I shall be boggling for days now. HD800, in particular, is like Kryptonite for that sort of music, especially out of an amp like that. Textbook "wrong tool for the job" stuff.
     
  19. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    Listening to strings now, I like it. Blaring horns can get a little fatiguing though.
     
  20. thegunner100

    thegunner100 Hentai Master Chief

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    Welcome back. Honestly, I'm not really sure if the Draug v2 did anything for my HD800s or not. The SBAF absorber and SD resonator had the most significant effects for me.
     

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