Obtainable Headphone Amplifiers: $999.99 - $1999.99

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Luckbad, Aug 23, 2017.

  1. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    I know quite a few people here have experience with amps in this range. Most of the summit-fi headphone amps tend to be over $2000, but a lot of us wish upon a star that we can pay half and get all of the performance. This is a pipe dream, but maybe we can help steer people toward or away from known quantities with a list.

    Ground Rules:
    • You should be able to find these commonly under $2k New, fully assembled
    • These should be available to purchase now, not discontinued
    • If it's an all-in-one or multi-function unit, the headphone amplifier section alone should be worth $1k+ and the total cost should be under $2k
    Once we get enough input and samples, I'll separate the units into categories and include prices and product links. If impressions are available from a trusted source, I'll include a link to those impressions, and the amp will be categorized as "Recommended" or "Not Recommended." Anything that's listed based on speculation or randos rather than trusted impressions will be in its own category.

    For now, I've just gathered a big list of amps with the help of the community and will start looking for trusted impressions. If you know of any, please send me a link.

    WARNING
    • This list has not been sorted for value.
    • Some of these amps are horrible or overpriced.
    • This is NOT currently a list of recommended amplifiers.
    Tube
    • ampsandsound Kenzie (Ice-man positive impressions)
    • ampsandsound Leeloo
    • ampsandsound Mogwai (@Luckbad likes it, @gbeast likes it)
    • Analog Design Labs Svetlana 2/3
    • Apex HiFi Sangaku (hybrid)
    • Auris Audio HA2-SE
    • Cayin HA-1A MK2 (hybrid)
    • Cypher Labs Sustain84
    • Decware Zen Triode
    • Dragon Inspire IHA-1
    • Elekit TU-8600 300B SET Amp
    • ENIGMAcoustics Athena A1 (hybrid)
    • Feliks Audio Euforia (Note: Recent price increase might push it beyond $2k for some)
    • Fosgate Signature (hybrid?)
    • Icon Audio HP8 MKII
    • iFi Audio Pro iCAN (hybrid) (@Torq likes it)
    • Linear Tube Audio MZ2
    • Mapletree Audio EAR+ HD (< $1000)
    • Mapletree Audio SugarMaple (< $1000)
    • Schiit Mjonlir 2 (hybrid, < $1000)
    • Schiit Sagaheim (Hybrid: Jotunheim + Saga) (@atomicbob likes it, @Luckbad likes it)
    • Schiit Saga + Vidar (Hybrid, Caution: Speaker taps, only for bonkers cans like HE-6)
    • Woo Audio WA2
    • Woo Audio WA22
    • Woo Audio WA6-SE
    Solid State
    • Audio-GD Master 9
    • Auralic Taurus MKII
    • Bryston BHA-1
    • Burson Audio Soloist (Noted as terrible by @PacoTaco)
    • HiFiMAN EF-6
    • iFi Audio Pro iCAN (hybrid, can be run solid state)
    • Lake People RS 08 (TheIceman93 positive impressions)
    • Luxman P-200
    • M2Tech Marley
    • Meridian Prime
    • Neurochrome HP-1
    • RME ADI-2 Pro / ADI-2 DAC (@Cspirou)
    • Schiit Ragnarok
    • Sennheiser HDVA 600
    • SPL Phonitor 2
    • SPL Phonitor E
    • Trilogy 931
    • Violectric Audio HPA V200 (David De Lucena negative impressions)
    • Wolf Ear Audio Natayo
    The Chopping Block
    • Eddie Current Black Widow: No longer available
    • EMAC 535SE (unavailable?)
    • Lynx Hilo (all-in-one--amp section worth $1k?)
    • Earmax Sliver Edition: Components can't possibly be worth the asking price. Friend, feel free to correct me.
    • Cavalli "Super Hybrid/Mini Crimson" (Not happening now that Cavalli retired)
    • ECP Torpedo III (hybrid, nearly unavailable new)
    • Bottlehead Mainline (DIY only)
    • Crackatowa (DIY only)
    • Glenn Studio OTL (virtually unobtainable, very long wait)
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2018
  2. DigMe

    DigMe Geekus Imperator

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    FYI - @Erroneous mentioned to me a retailer who may still have new stock of BW but I forget which retailer. Maybe he will chime in if he recalls the convo.
     
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  3. Melvillian

    Melvillian Friend

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    There's the Dragon Inspire IHA-1 that I haven't heard much about. It's $1599
     
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  4. ButtUglyJeff

    ButtUglyJeff Stunningly beautiful IRL

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    Is used an option? If it is then a ZDS or a Liquid Crimson come to mind as options (At least they hopefully will be for me)
     
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  5. zonto

    zonto Friend

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  6. MrTeaRex

    MrTeaRex His head's not fat, he's my brother!

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    For solid-state, the Bryston BHA-1 and Neurochome HP-1 are good options in this price range. Neurochrome is DIY, but @tomchr also sells fully-assembled HP-1's on his website. There are plenty of impressions in the HP-1 thread (including my own).
     
  7. Lou Casadonte

    Lou Casadonte Friend

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    I'd throw the lynx hilo out there with usb input which you can get for 1850 new. Sounds incredible. I run it with balanced out through my beyerdynamic t5p's gen 2.
     
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  8. TheIceman93

    TheIceman93 El pato-zorro

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    I'm using the Lake People RS 08 which goes for $1k new but I bought it for $730 ish on Massdrop which is what it should cost directly from Violectric USA. I really like mine, super clean, tons of power. However it is very clinical and I ultimately added a tube buffer before it to add some flavor and fun.
     
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  9. ibzrg1570

    ibzrg1570 Almost "Made"

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    EMAC 535SE might be worth looking into, although pricing has shifted up a bit since launch and I believe the second run is sold out with no details yet on when the next batch will be available or if price will increase again.
     
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  10. m17xr2b

    m17xr2b Friend

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    From Europe I have to say I'm quite impressed by the Trilogy 931 at 900£. It drives the HD800 and LCD-4 with ease, has excellent build quality and a small footprint.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
  11. bengo

    bengo Friend

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    @Luckbad "Baby" Phonitor e could also be included at $1499 in the U.S.
     
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  12. smithyy

    smithyy Rando

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    The Elise by Feliks Audio has been very well received everywhere you look. Said to be great value at $850.

    The Euforia is their totl amp at $1,400.

    For us non-Americans they seem like a good solution without being hit by 25% in customs fees.

    In fact, I'm looking to pick one up soon because there really aren't many other options available to me.
     
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  13. TheIceman93

    TheIceman93 El pato-zorro

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    Cavalli's super hybrid is coming out soon around $1.5k. My impressions of the Can Jam prototype were very positive.

    There is also the Cypher Labs Sustain84 at $1.2k.

    @gbeast reviewed the Auris HA2 which is around $1.7k.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
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  14. Mdkaler

    Mdkaler Friend

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    And the Ragnarok is showing its age.

    edit spelling
    edit 2 @bengo you missed the point...
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
  15. bengo

    bengo Friend

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    Of course. Because new > old.

    If you actually have heard the Ragnarok with your own ears, and you also heard something newer which you think sounds better at a similar price, please enlighten us.
     
  16. TheIceman93

    TheIceman93 El pato-zorro

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    The Cavalli is not called the super hybrid, that's just a name I made up because I couldn't remember it. I think the semi official name is the Mini Crimson. I think Jason at Source AV said it was coming to market later in the year, possibly early 2018.
     
  17. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    And it's definitely not the Massdrop thing?
     
  18. ButtUglyJeff

    ButtUglyJeff Stunningly beautiful IRL

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    correct

    ...and FYI, I think this list is getting noisy. Just because it exists, doesn't mean it deserves existing on this list. Maybe only consider recommending if the recommender can back it up with some experience?
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
  19. tomchr

    tomchr MOT - Neurochrome

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    @WolfEarAudio has a couple of amps in the $1k-2k space as well.

    Tom
     
  20. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    Yep that'll be in a phase or two. Still in data gathering mode, then I'll have amps that have impressions from trusted ears in their own section.
     

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