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Hi Guys, I am looking at getting some Sennheiser HD595s and want a best bang for the buck heaphones amp for them. I am looking at 50-70 dollars, but no more than 100. If anyone has any recommendations that would be great.
 

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Do you find that you actually need one? They are pretty easy to power.


Edit: I now see you are looking to get them. You should try them first, you might find you dont need an amp.
 

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Fine set of headphones. I have them myself
Excellent balance of sound unlike most of the bass crazy headphones out there nowadays...


I think they could use an amp, I have heard a little bit of distortion at times while using my iTouch. Not sure while having them connected to the denon avr.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by truwarrior22
Fine set of headphones. I have them myself
Excellent balance of sound unlike most of the bass crazy headphones out there nowadays...


I think they could use an amp, I have heard a little bit of distortion at times while using my iTouch. Not sure while having them connected to the denon avr.
Sennheisers are very very good, but the high end models (595,600,650) are inefficient relative to many others and need an amplifier to work their magic.


I see a lot of people saying they aren't very good, but they are running them from an ipod or other low power source. In that situation I agree they aren't very good.


[edit]

Go visit 32 Ohm Audio in SE Portland. They've got a wall of over the ear headphones at all price points, demo pairs of JH Audio, Westone, etc. and lots of home and portable amps. You can try as much as you want. The best headphone store I've ever seen. Take your ipod with you and you can test with your own music.
 

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I've had a set of HD650s for a long time (sold them recently), and found I really didn't need an amp for most of the stuff I played. Some amps will change the characteristics of the sound somewhat, and give you the illusion that you're getting that last 5%, but if your hp output can already output enough noise for your ears I don't think it's worth it. I kept my tube amp for convenience and looks' sake, but I'm perfectly happy playing music straight from my iphone to Audeze LCD-2s (which I believe are about as difficult to drive as the Sennheisers).


Don't really know what's available in your price range, but if all you need is a little more volume 'Fiio' portable amps should be able to do it with ease, and cost you less than 30 bucks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi guys, thanks for responding, I would go up to Portland to check out that store, but I don't get up there too often. I was hoping to just order one over the net. I was hoping that someone out there knows of a really great unit for under $100 that doesn't have a crazy mark-up just because they put "audiophile" in the products name and charge you $300 -$1000 and even more. Although I am sure those would definately get the job done for me, I just don't want to spend that much. But, SQ really matters to me and I definately want a headphones amp to get all I can out of the sennheisers. If someone could steer me in the right direction that would be fantastic.


I heard those Fiios aren't really neutral...that is they jack up the certain frequency ranges to make them sound better. I want good power that is very natural. Is this possible for under a $100?


Thanks guys.
 

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I don't think a headphone amp is even worthwhile if you're not willing to spend on it... you won't get much if any improvement even over a PMP's headphone amp. Do you really want to spend 90 bucks on something that drives your headphones the same as an iPod would?


My recommendation is the Headstage Arrow 12HE for a dedicated headphone amp... $260 so it doesn't fit your budget. Otherwise you're better off getting a source with a good DAC section, as that has a more pronounced effect on sound quality. the Nationite S.Flo is very good, despite some firmware shortcomings, it has really quality DAC and its built in headphone amp section would murk most cheaper dedicated amps. its line out is excellent if you ever do need an even more powerful amp.


Btw, your 595s have nominal impedance of 50ohms... why do you need an amp for that? Mostly people get amps for impedance around 300-600 type headphones. If you can drive it loud enough without hitting the limits of your source's headphone out, you don't need an amp, you need a better DAC.
 

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Speaking of DAC, a friend of mine just bought the Nuforce udac-2 and said it's very good. The regular version that has coaxial output costs $129, but they also have a version without selling for $99 on amazon.
 

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Greetings,


I too would appreciate some reasonable recommendations for headphone amps, in my case portable ones and preferably with supporting test results.


I came across a pretty elaborate test of the Fiio E5 on head-fi.org, with graphs comparing it to his soundcard, the E3 and the Travagar Colors. You can see the prominent hump in the E3 resulting from the bass-boost, which I havn't fully confirmed but when someone posts a question about disabling it by taking it apart, I assume it's not made to be turned off. Doesn't interest me either.


The E5 has a bass boost that can be turned on and off, and without the boost it tested pretty flat, with the deeper bass rolling off a little bit but not nearly as much as the Travagar. He doesn't say exactly how he conducted the tests but by some identical ripples on all of the devices, perhaps he loaded them all with the same headphones. I have much research yet to do, I may look further into the E5 for myself or into possibly building a cmoy.


As for the issue of needing an amp or not, I agree with the recommendations here to try the headphones out by themselves and see. Many insist they hear negligable or no difference at all between an amp and only their soundcard which is already loud enough. Even portables MP3 players are said to be capable of driving low impedance headphones like the HD595, though very low impedance may result in the bass rolling off at lower frequencies depending of the internal amp of the device. But the HD595 is open back so you may not have any plans to take them out.


My experience: I tested some 250ohm beyers on my netbook, volume levels were definitely good. I was not going to go deaf in a hurry, and I don't want to but that does mean for high listening levels I will have to turn the volume up alot which may increase distortion and/or risk causing some clipping if I max it, so I asked them to bring in the 80 ohm models for further evaluation, hopefully this week.


I also just recieved a Sansa Fuze mp3 player which is said to produce good sound, but I find it quiet. According to other posts, it produces a maximum output of 0.55V compared to the iPod's 1V (not sure if that is peak or RMS). That's a big difference, so it seems to me that reasonable output is very dependant on what you are plugging your headphones into. And from my listening test of the 250ohm beyers I think it is likely I will want to get a portable headphone amp myself if I want to use the 80ohm model or maybe even the 50ohm HD595 with the sansa, especially since I am overseas pining for the wonderful low rumblings of that 15 inch rockford I had in my civic.
 

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Can we assume you need a Headphone Amp to service a Single Pair of Headphones?

Can we assume that this is for in-house use? That is, you don't need something portable and battery powered to carry around with you?

Also, what is your source of sound? Smart Phone, Gaming Computer, Stereo System, Other?

If you search Amazon for - Headphone Amp - tons of them will come up and many of them in your price range. To some extent it is your price range that is holding you back. At under $100, the best you can do are Chinese Clone Amps.

But I don't think I understand the problem well enough to make a recommendations.

Not recommending these products, just using them to illustrate the point -

FIIO Q4 DAC/Headphone Amp - $56 -


Nice if you are connecting to a computer.

FIIO A3, Portable, Rechargeable Headphone Amp - $58 -

Nice for a system on the go to use with a Smart Phone or MP3 Player.

Pyle 4-Channel Stereo Headphone Amp - $25 -

Again, not necessarily recommending these product, but rather illustrating different type and approaches to headphone amps.

Also, in choosing, you need to think about the Input to the Headphone Amp. What is feeding it, is just as important as what it is feeding.

In a straight forward high quality headphone amp, the Schiit hit a pretty high standard -

Schitt Magni 3 Heresy Headphone Amp - $119 -

This is a quality product that does what it does, but I have no way of knowing if it does what you need done.

Steve/bluewizard
 
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