Help me with sub $1500 headamps

Discussion in 'Leaderboard, Overboard, and Deals' started by TheIceman93, Dec 18, 2016.

  1. TheIceman93

    TheIceman93 El pato-zorro

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    Don't get pissed about the double post, I moved this from the Headphone Amp section. Mod's can delete the other thread.

    So I've been enjoying my Mimby+Neve RNHP combo for the past few months but I suffer from a severe case of upgrade-itis. I broke up with my girlfriend so guess what? More money for audio gear.

    I'm looking to get into the $1k amp bracket but I am willing to go up to $1500. I've listened to tube gear (nothing super high end) and I think I prefer solid state but again, I'm willing to consider tube options.

    So far I'm looking at the following options:

    Burson Conductor V2: https://www.bursonaudio.com/products/conductor-v2/
    Violectric V200: http://violectric-usa.com/headphone-amplifiers/hpa-v200
    Lake People RS 08: http://violectric-usa.com/headphone-amplifiers/rs-08
    Cayin IHA6: http://en.cayin.cn/products_info?itemid=91

    Anything else I'm foolish for not considering?

    DAC will most likely be the Bimby (unless its really not much of an upgrade over the Mimby).
     
  2. barelyincollege

    barelyincollege Nice Pit Bull

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    You said you had an Elise on the way in your intro post, right? Is there a reason why you're looking for another amp so soon?

    No snark intended -- it might help people understand what you're looking for in another purchase.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2016
  3. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Friend

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    The Schiit lineup is almost univsarlly better than than the RNHP:
    Valhalla 2
    Asgard 2
    Ragnarok
    Jotunheim
    are all better.

    Speedball Crack kicks the crap out of RHNP. You have so many options.

    You could go Eddie Current. If the RHNP is Winger or Hootie and the Blowfish, then Eddie Current is Slayer in the Eighties.
     
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  4. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

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    Did you mention headphones?

    One thing unclear in the bw2 recommendations: that amp is tuned for the HD600 and modded HD800.
     
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  5. Ringingears

    Ringingears Honorary BFF

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    Been listening to a friends HD600 with the BW ver1 for a few weeks. IMHO, great synergy. Modded HD800 as well. Was very impressed with the Valhalla 2 and HD600. So much so I may be looking at a used HD600 down the road.
     
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  6. Dino

    Dino Friend

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    You may want to keep an eye on amazon warehouse deals. Right now they have several described like this:
    $262.46 Eligible for free shipping.
    Used - Like New
    Item will come in original packaging. Packaging will be damaged.

    I got an extra pair of HD650 with the same description for $250 a few weeks ago. The outer box had a sticker on it, the inner box had a smudge on it and the headphones appear as new.
     
  7. TheIceman93

    TheIceman93 El pato-zorro

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    To be clear about the Elise ... a close friend of mine recently picked up a Kenzie so he's letting me demo his tube rolled Elise for a month to see how I like tube gear. If I like it, he's going to sell it to me for a very reasonable price. I guess I wanted to have a reference grade solid state before I got into tube amps. So yes, the Elise is on the way but it isn't a permanent part of my lineup yet.
     
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  8. TheIceman93

    TheIceman93 El pato-zorro

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    Psalm, I guess we just have different taste in amps. I've listed to a Rag/Yggy and I agree, its a way way better amp than the RNHP. That being said I bought a Jot at the same time as the RNHP because I couldn't decide and ultimately, the Jot went back to Schiit after the 15 day demo. It just didn't do it for me. I felt like I could hear more detail in the Neve and layering was better IMO. Never tried an Asgard or Valhalla so I can't comment on those. My tube obsessed buddy had a Speedball Crack and never really warmed up to it so I never really considered it, that and I absolutely suck at soldering. No DIY for me, I'll just F it up. I would love an EC BW but they are not available at the moment last time I checked.

    Your actually the first person I've read who really disliked the RNHP. Would you say that overall, most solid state amps are a disappointment to you? Are tube amps your jam for the most part?

    Anyways ... I'm leaning towards a Lake People stack at the moment ... RS 06 DAC and RS 08 Amp.
     
  9. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    You plan to move from a Mimby to a generic Delta/Sigma DAC? Is that because you have to unplug and move your gear a lot, or somesuch?
     
  10. landroni

    landroni Friend

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    Does this mean that for you Valhalla 2 is overall better than the Mjolnir 2? Why?
     
  11. TheIceman93

    TheIceman93 El pato-zorro

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    I already have the Mimby so I figured I would try the DAC Lake People designed to go with the RS 08 and use that to compare high end Delta/Sigma vs Schiit Multibit since the consensus seems to be that the Mimby sounds very very similar to the Bimby.
     
  12. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Friend

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    The RNHP is just total crap. It's really fucking bad. The Magni 2U is better than it. Timbre is totaly off, super compressed microdynamics. The only thing it has over the Jot is less glare but I am not a fan of Jot either.
    All delta-sigma is compromised in the treble region.

    Forgot to include it. Even the Lyr kicks the living shit out of the RNHP. Yeah.
     
  13. TheIceman93

    TheIceman93 El pato-zorro

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    Clearly our tastes are on opposite ends of the spectrum. That's the great (but sometimes frustrating) thing about audio. I had a Magni 2U and I sold it after a month. It did nothing for me. Bass was way too bloomy for me, maybe it was the matching Modi U but ya, so far none of the Schiit solid state amps besides the Rag have really wowed me but I haven't really tried their tube stuff. Maybe I'll change my tune on tubes after listening to the rolled Elise for a month.

    I think this proves that you really need to demo gear yourself. Reading reviews can point you in the right direction but you have to trust your ears at the end of the day. Two different audiophiles can hear an amp and one can think, "Wow, this sounds amazing." and the other can think, "Wow, this sounds like fucking shit." To my ears, the RNHP is superior to the Magni 2U and slightly better than the Jot because it doesn't suffer from the same soundstage depth issues that I found bothersome.

    Headphones are the same way. I have a friend who swears that the Fostex TH900Mk2 is one of the best headphones on the market. I heard his and even though I didn't tell him this, I thought it sounded pretty bad, especially for the price. You'd be hard pressed to find many negative reviews of the Elear over at Headfi but after a month of listening to mine, I found them to be pretty flawed when it came to vocal presentation and I ultimately sold them.

    Case in point. Tyll over at Innerfidelity loves the Headamp GSX Mk2, he obviously knows his stuff and is a very respected voice in the community. I have heard that exact same amp described as "crap" on this site by people who's opinion I also respect. So who's right? I have no fucking idea. The Neurochrome reviews are all over the place for example.

    Anyways, I'll continue to enjoy my RNHP for the foreseeable future, its really clicking with my musical tastes. The often maligned Headfi community seems to love it as well so I'm sure I won't have any problems selling it for a reasonable return down the line or maybe I'll work it into my video editing setup.

    Keep in mind as well that I'm nowhere near as treble sensitive as you. I guess thats why I can enjoy Beyer's latest gen without wanting to take a power drill to my temple.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016
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  14. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Friend

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    Quick question: What volume do you listen at?

    The bloom in the current Modi 2U -> Magni 2U stack is from the AK4490 chip which uses AKM's horrible "Velvet Sound" design philosophy to better appeal to lo-fi, high volume gear manufacturers. If you hate bloom, which you seem to, you'll hate everything with that DAC chip. The Magni 2U bass hits slightly harder than neutral but it can't really be described as bloomy. Don't blame a decent amp for your poor other gear.

    I agree 100% on trying stuff for yourself. The RHNP was decent until I heard some distorted guitars and then put on Black Sabbath, who sounded terribly wrong, and then the Kronos string quartet, who were totally butchered and the amp revealed itself to be overpriced solid state garbage sold on name brand alone that's much lower fidelity than many integrated class D solutions in common consumer and prosumer gear.

    Tyll's tastes vary a lot and he's often dead wrong. He said the distorted as hell Philips X2 and the super-veiled Chifiman HE400S were HD 600 killers which was a little ridiculous. The Head Amp GSX mark 2 sounds so awful with tons of added glare, gritand horribleness, it's like a backing track of maracas to your recording. There's really no comparison among $1000+ for how awful and how low fidelity it actually is; it's special and unique like a deformed, sewer dwelling bum with a rat fetish.

    Listening yourself is the only way but you need to swap out and compare to isolate the sound of components. Blaming the Mimby for the Jot is a typical thing I have seen before. Many impressions are bad as people do not know what their recordings are supposed to sound like and what their recordings actually sound like. These people are not critical listeners. To listen critically you really have to use recordings you are familiar with and have a good sense of:

    1. What the instruments and the amplifiers sound like in real life. What is the proper timbre? Do the sounds continue on or stop like in real life? This can be difficult with different micings, electronics, and digital mixing but hey if your electronic/digital/studio trickery music uses EZdrummer/808/Akai samples, they're audibly those samples on neutralish monitor speakers, but your cans are makign them not sound like EZdrummer samples, then the cans/amp/dac/something is lofi and needs to be isolated and destroyed. The problem has to be fixed and sometimes the problem is everything. Do not fall for upgraditis, money = quality, hype trains, brands, Jude, Tyll, basshead, Chi-fi, head-fi "metalhead" thread, or objectivists.
    2. How the recording actually sounds. What are the relative instrumental levels? How are the different instrumental tracks panned? Do they have depth? Listening on speakers is much more revealing of this than on headphones. Planar and estats are incredibly lo-fi for this. They basically don't count and fail miserable even when compared to cheap Koss clip ons. Many people do not know or even like how their recordings actually sound. TV static distortion is TV static distortion. Rap claps are heavily clipped and compressed snare samples that you don't dare play on treble spike cans or brittle tweeters yet people still think they're actual claps, the drums aren't patched up, the whole band was bashing it out the room together, you name it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016
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  15. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    The most useful polite suggestion I can make is don't spend money on this stuff right now, even if you want retail therapy for your personal woes.

    The stuff you are poring over is soon to be regretted mid-fi sidegrade/downgrade fare (even if it is more expensive). It's all a bit Head-fi, blindly buying random stuff like that.

    You may not welcome this response, but it is offered in the spirit of "most of us have been there".

    I shan't labour the point, and will try to butt out of this thread somewhat now, but I hope you get where I am coming from.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016
  16. TheIceman93

    TheIceman93 El pato-zorro

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    In my defense, Schiit does recommend the Magi/Modi combo as a pair. The AKM version is clearly a flawed DAC but the Multibit didn't even exist when I had the Uber Schiit stack so I never tested the Magni with anything other than the matching DAC. Even now, you seldom hear people recommend that amp with any of Schiit's multibit offerings. Maybe it is super underrated and needs to be fed with a much nicer DAC. Maybe and Magni 2U and a Mimby combo is really all you will ever need and spending anything more on a solid state set-up is just burning money needlessly.

    And to answer your first question. I would say my listening volume is average to slightly louder than normal. This is just based on what other people have said listening at my volume.

    Its also tricky to know what a track is supposed to sound like when your only point of reference is the gear you have owned. I guess you would need to hear the recording session in person to have some idea of what the instruments are supposed to sound like. I'm not a musician so maybe I miss a shit ton of stuff when I listen. Maybe what I think a cymbal is supposed to sound like is totally off. I have no idea. All I know is that my main test albums have been noticeably improved with the vast majority of my component upgrades. Maybe its the placebo effect, maybe I took the Blue Pill.

    I wouldn't say that most people aren't critical listeners. I certainly think that I am. We all connect with different sound signatures so when we hear someone else's curated setup, it sounds different for sure. Sometimes its better, sometimes its worse. Sometimes its neither, its just different. Audio is so annoyingly subjective.

    Since your ears are obviously super fine tuned for your listening preferences, what sub $1500 Amps and DAC's do you consider purchase worthy? Hell, what headphones are you rocking?
     
  17. TheIceman93

    TheIceman93 El pato-zorro

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    I agree with you completely but half of the fun of this hobby is trying out new gear, evaluating and and sharing your findings with others. If I wanted to stop at what sounded "good" to me, I would have stopped three amps, two DACs and two headphones ago. Thats the great thing about the Headfi classifieds. You can pick up like new stuff for a healthy discount and sell your old stuff to put a big dent in your new purchases.

    Sometimes I wonder if I enjoy the gear more than the music itself. I can't help but think this kinda applies to me in some way:

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. The Killer Piglet

    The Killer Piglet Rando

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    I think it's a bit of a feed-back loop. The left brain ocd nerd dancing with the right brain bohemian. One leads, then other, and occasionally they find equilibrium.
     
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  19. SSL

    SSL Friend

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    I suspect that it is at least underrated. I have the Modi 2U with the previous gen AKM chip and I still feel that it is somewhat holding back the Magni 2U.
     
  20. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Have to agree with not fucking around with side grades. Yggy or Gumby, or equiv. imo.

    Amps have a lot of variability. Personally I'd get the best headphones you can and tailor your amp around that.

    And I have yet to come across any HiFi that sounds exactly the same as an instrument or guitar amp. Maybe some prestige Tannoys, they made piano sound great. But ultimately hifi, imo, is what sounds enjoyable and connects on an emotional level. Sounds cliche as hell but it's how I see it!
     
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