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Thread: What's the best headphone amp you have heard?

  1. #1

    What's the best headphone amp you have heard?

    Doesn't matter if it is tubed or SS. Personally, Manley 300B is the best I have heard.

  2. #2
    [WBF Founding Member] vinylphilemag's Avatar
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    This was many years ago, but my best headphone (amp) experience was the Stax Lambda Signatures and their accompanying amp. I think the amp is only suitable for Stax's headphone--or earspeakers as they prefer to say--so I guess they wouldn't be very useful as a generic headphone amp.
    Rich Teer, Publisher
    Vinylphile Magazine

    www.vinylphilemag.com

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    VIP/Donor [VIP/Donor] amirm's Avatar
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    Yes, they are proprietary to their transducers.
    Amir
    Madrona Digital
    Founder, Audio Science Review Forum
    Contributing Editor, Widescreen Review Magazine

  4. #4
    Got to hear the tubed version of the Stax amp once. Lovely. Not that the SS version is bad. Just seemed like the tubed version was another step up the reality factor. Just wish I could afford it.

    The part about the Stax proprietary Amir left out is that the amps provide the voltage needed to drive the electrostatic transducers. Not sure but I think it's in the 500 volt range.
    Les

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    Addicted to Best! cjfrbw's Avatar
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    I am not that much of a headphone jock, but I do use the Manley 300b at home with JJ 300b tubes, and it is pretty impressive.
    I have not heard the Stax rigs, but there seems to be an ongoing battle(as usual) about the merits of the electrostats vs. the others, which I suppose comes down to taste.
    I get wonderful results in a second system using my beat up pair of Senn 580's with a Euridice type preamp. Mercury vapor rectifier in the power supply, and a ratshack adaptor on the outputs to enable headphone use. The Euridice is a transformer coupled WE417a tube with no cap in the signal path.

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    [WBF Founding Member] audioguy's Avatar
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    I use a Benchmark DAC. My favorite headphone sound was the Stax and tuber Stax headphone amp. Amazing. My only use for headphones is in calibrating the room/speaker interaction.

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    Member Sponsor [WBF Founding Member]
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    Senheiser Orpheus.

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    I use a DIY op-amp based headphone amp specifically tailored to the impedence and current needs of Grado SR-225s. The amp is powered by a 24 volt DC supply.

  9. #9
    As a Soundlab owner, I have heard Stax, and surprisingly, I did not like it!

    Although Stax had great speed and transparency, it was suffering from the same things that plague electrostats - bottom end weigh/ slam and dynamics (with Soundlabs plagued by these less than other brands).

    I like the Manley much better. Woo Audio 5 is pretty damn good also.

  10. #10
    Addicted to Best! cjfrbw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caesar View Post
    As a Soundlab owner, I have heard Stax, and surprisingly, I did not like it!

    Although Stax had great speed and transparency, it was suffering from the same things that plague electrostats - bottom end weigh/ slam and dynamics (with Soundlabs plagued by these less than other brands).

    I like the Manley much better. Woo Audio 5 is pretty damn good also.
    The Woo Audio 5 also uses 300b. Do you like the Manley better than the Woo? What 300b tubes do you use? I use the JJ's, really like them a lot.

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