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

  1. #21
    [WBF Founding Member]
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    [Technical Expert] Bruce B's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    Seattle, WA
    I just remembered something. I had an Alesis Masterlink modified by Chris Hoff at B-P-T. The biggest surprise when I got it back was listening to the transformation through headphones. This was the full mod done by him and remember it as one of my "eureka" moments!
    Bruce A. Brown
    Puget Sound Studios
    Stereomojo reviewer
    Seattle, WA

    Even a blind squirrel gets a nut once in a while!

  2. #22
    Addicted to Best! Lee's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    I heard my Grado RS1is on the Peachtree Audio Nova headphone jack today. Very nice sound.

  3. #23
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    Oct 2011
    Half Moon Bay, Ca
    The VTL IT-85 is the best headphone amp I've yet heard, followed by a balanced Beta22. I've had a Cary 300sei and a Manley Stingray here as well, but prefer the VTL.

  4. #24
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! flez007's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
    Mexico City
    I liked what I heard at the Bottlehead booth at RMAF!
    ​No lies, no surprises

  5. #25
    Addicted to Best! cjfrbw's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    Pleasanton, CA
    Thought I would follow up since this thread popped up again.

    I have acquired a couple of Stax headphones, a traditional Lambda normal bias, a new Lambda SR 507, and an older SR 3n/5n, all great headphones.

    I soldered the leads of a type 7 Stax transformer adapter to a standard banana jack headphone jack, and use the Manley as a Stax amp as well as a conventional headphone amp.

    I also acquired a couple of single plate 5v 182b/482b amp tubes that work greaat in the Manley, and I can rotate them with the 300b for a different flavor. The 182b/482b aren't as spacious as the 300b, but probably have the cleanest headphone presentation through Stax headphones that I have heard, also with a lot of "single plate" DHT magic.

    BEST is a matter of taste and definition, but they sure sound good.

    In Santa Cruz, I have turned the AC heated 26/300b Hogan amp into a dedicated Stax amp with another 7 type Stax transformer adapter, also to wonderful effect.

    I will be taking the Manley 300b preamp to the Head Fi meet on the peninsula Feb 11, 2012, and will be able to compare to some other types and let the attendees hear the Manley.

  6. #26
    Addicted to Best! Lee's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by flez007 View Post
    I liked what I heard at the Bottlehead booth at RMAF!
    Me too. Also good was the Woo Audio WES amp with Stax 009 phones.

    On the portable side I have an ALO Audio Rx II Tactical Edition. It has really improved my sound and resides between an iPod Classic and my new Grado RS-1is.

  7. #27
    Some very interesting ideas regarding headphone amplification here

    Mo better here

    Last edited by Phelonious Ponk; 01-16-2012 at 06:20 AM.
    In high-end audio, you can't even fight an opinion with the facts.

  8. #28
    Senior Member airbearing's Avatar
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    May 2012
    Munich - Germany
    I am using a Grace m902 with my Ultrasone Edition 10 - usually I am very fond of tubes but this combination is wonderful.

  9. #29
    The best SS headphone amp I have heard is C.E.C HD 53N.
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    The best tube amp is Trafomatic Audio Experience Head One.

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    I also like the headphone output of the great Antelope Audio Zodiac Gold DAC.

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    Bartimex Audio - High-end audio equipments

  10. #30
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! WLVCA's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    I'm using a small speaker amp to drive headphones with good success - an Emotiva a-100 mini-X.

    Speaker taps out of the amp to balanced headphone cables. Using three phones - HiFiMan HE-500, Sennheiser HD650 and AKG K-701.

    Also have a Burson HA-160 headphone amp.
    Pigs get fat. Hogs get slaughtered.

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