Nov 10, 2018

Desktop amp/dac for Sennheiser HD800S ?

Under $850. Was originally looking at Bitfrost and Valhalla 2.
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gotmoosefur and ltopper
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6


I have the HD 800 S's and I really liked pairing them with a Modi Multibit and the Valhalla 2. It sounds really, really good, especially for string music and classic rock. Honestly pretty much every genre sounds good though since it's such an even sound profile, it doesn't really highlight lows, mids, or highs which I quite like. I really like Schiit audio, I find most of their stuff to be at an excellent price for the quality. I was recommended against getting the bifrost multibit due to the performance of the modi being pretty good, but from actual users I've read the bifrost has a slight edge in performance and can be upgraded later (however the modi looks much better under my monitor than putting my Valhalla 2 on top of the bifrost, think about your layout too). Finally Valhalla 2 is advertised as working with IEMs and pretty much all headphones, however I find it best for headphones. Both shure SE846 and Etymotic had a hum, I'm guessing from the tubes but it may be the 3.5 to 6mm adapter since it was the first time I used it. You can really only hear it when volume is super low and I've never heard it on my 800 S's or 6XX's. Also I recommend people read Schiit audios documentation, their website is pretty dang funny
Are you looking at having more headphones then just the HD 800 S? If so, I'd recommend against the Valhalla 2 (and OTL tube amps in general; these are really good for high impedance cans but not so great when it comes to more sensitive stuff). Otherwise the Valhalla is a solid choice. If you wanted to save some more money you can always go for the Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid. It's currently a combo unit and honestly, both parts sound pretty awesome (I only listened to the DAC and amp when they were in separate boxes and not together, but I do like both). If you can stretch your budget, the Woo Audio WA7 Fireflies is absolutely amazing with Sennheiser headphones in general and is good enough to work with most gear. Did you want a balanced system or SE (or do you not care)?
dcha12
If I add another headphone, it'll be a planar.
Mcr240
Definitely wouldn't recommend an OTL then. Most OTL amps don't have the voltage/current needed to drive planars well. Tube hybrid amps will still work depending on specs. I used to own a LCD-2 which sounded great out of a Woo WA6 SE. I don't own either of those two anymore though, so just working off memory.
Bottlehead Crackatwoa and upgrade it continuously.
Topping D50 and THX 789. If you want balanced (I assume not, since Valhalla 2 is SE-only near as I can tell), Topping DX7s is one of the better ones at a reasonable price.