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Recommended headphone amp for HD650
Recommended headphone amp for HD650
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Old 26th September 2010, 01:58 AM   #1
Pete Fleming is offline Pete Fleming  Australia
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Default Recommended headphone amp for HD650

Hi, I appreciate this is a bit of a "how long is a piece of string" question, but hopefully I can get some help narrowing down some choices.

I decided to upgrade my headphones from older Sony to HD650s. I will use them with an Arcam Alpha 9 CD player, but the headphone out on the Alpha 10 amp has quite a high amount of background hiss (with speakers too, just isn't noticeable. BTW I traced it back to the volume controller/pre-amp). So I've decided to run the second set of audio outs of the CD player to a separate headphone amp.

I ALSO want to use an external DAC on my Mac computer to drive these same headphones. For the latter scenario I'm thinking of a Zero DAC, but I've read the headphone amp is especially crap in this unit, so basically using it just as a DAC to a separate headphone amp.

Sooooo what I'm after is a headphone amp that's to a pretty high standard. I used to be an electronics tech for many years, but with all due respect guys, after all those years at a bench rolling my own from scratch just doesn't have much in the way of novelty value for me! I'd still consider a kit or a basic commercial unit that offered modification potential though. Just wondering what's being suggested at the moment?

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Old 26th September 2010, 03:30 AM   #2
jcx is offline jcx  United States
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Default solid state, op amps, discrete, vacuum tube, hybrid, multiloop...

... Class A, Bridged, dual monobolcks...

Forums - Head-Fi.org Community is an enthusiast site - with a diy sub forum

www.Head-Case.org -the obligatory spin-off "opposition site" of those critcal of head-fi's fanboyism and reputed commercial slant

Headwize is inactive but archived at HeadWize Library - Projects

you can still read/search the design/build threads for several popular diy projects

some diy project collections - now getting dated but useful links:

HeadWize: DIY Workshop > Current DIY Headphone Amp Offerings


DIY projects, kits - Head-Fi.org Community

Last edited by jcx; 26th September 2010 at 03:35 AM.
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Old 26th September 2010, 05:57 AM   #3
Pete Fleming is offline Pete Fleming  Australia
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Join Date: May 2001
Originally Posted by jcx View Post
... Class A, Bridged, dual monobolcks...
Cheers, that's exactly the sort of thing I had in mind. Something reasonably simple, couple it with a passive attenuator and a quality power supply should provide quite a good result. I don't suppose the HD-650 is especially difficult to drive.

I've also been trawling the headphone BBs you mentioned before posting here, but as you say, some of the material there was getting a bit dated. A bare PCB would be "ok", but I would prefer a more complete kit, minus enclosure/attenuator if there's anything decent available?
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Old 5th October 2010, 04:11 PM   #4
howardc1951 is offline howardc1951
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Hi there.
I seem to remember reading somewhere that Sennheiser used one of the Graham Slee products to demo the HD650. They also do kits now. I used to use a Beresford DAC and the headphone amp on that was pretty good and apparently the latest ones have an improved headphone amp..
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Old 29th October 2010, 05:51 PM   #5
qusp is offline qusp  Australia
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the DIY forums at headcase are particularly good value IMO. numbers of great projects there, but unfortunately all the best threads are private and under lock and key. still some great stuff in the public area though. some of the most extreme projects i've seen for headphones at that site that are anything but dated

from here though and a very good option IMO, is EUVLs DAO power jfet follower
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Old 29th October 2010, 10:09 PM   #6
Pete Fleming is offline Pete Fleming  Australia
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Join Date: May 2001
I finished up building from a kit instead of re-inventing anything. I used the Silicon Chip Headphone Amp, then a series of mods to improve performance still further. It works well and I should have it in an enclosure 100% finished in the next few days.

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