Feb 15, 2017

Headphone amps

I am thinking on buying the Sennheiser 650s and I would love to get some opinions on which amp to get.

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How much do you want to spend? HD650 is beautifully scalable. They can perform decently on lowly USB DAC/Amp combos and will still perform much better on legit high end amps.
The Sennheiser 650s don't really need an amp to drive them. They're easy enough to drive even with mobile devices which leads me to conclude that your interest lies beyond just simply amplifying the signal to acceptable levels. At this point the conversation becomes very subjective as headphone amps that do more than just amplify are colouring the sound you're listening to in some way, shape, or form. Whether the colorization is acceptable or not is ultimately up to personal preference and no one's opinion will satisfy your inquiry until you hear it for yourself. All anyone here can do is inform you of the differences in the technology to guide your puchasing decision.

Solid Sate Amps are great for amplifying without colouring the sound. If you just need a boost in amplitude, these are the way to go. Most just do the job of amplification and nothing else. These tend to have a colder sound although with anything, it's not always the case.

Tube amps tend to colour sound more than solid state. It usually makes audio signal sound warmer with a slight increase in the mid and low-mid for amps with vintage style tubes. The cool thing about tube amps is, you can easily switch out the tubes to get a different sound, making them a lot more versatile. You can achieve a very analytic cold sound with these amps and the right tubes (usually Russian tubes are more articulate and cold sounding).

Between those two technologies, the only other things to consider is price point and the inclusion of a DAC. I suggest getting a tube amp and then play around with switching tubes out for different sounds. It's the more expandable than a solid state amp.
Thanks, I will look into it.
The purpose of an amp is not just to boost the amplitude but also to deliver sufficient power to maintain that amplitude.

You cannot get reasonable sound quality from HD650 without a fairly potent amp. I wouldn't recommend anything weaker than the venerable O2 which is still too weak imo. Yes, you can make them loud enough with a mobile device, but they will sound horrible because the output amp in the device is too weak to force the needed current through the headphone to get to the voltage it is trying to drive.

As with all things audio, sufficient drive capacity is still going to mean subjective differences in sound, as are the $350 headphones at the source of the question here. If you can't tell that you need a decent amp to drive the HD650, you probably can't tell the difference between the HD650 and the HD202 and are better off spending that extra $330 on something where you will really get some value from.
check out some schiits. It would be awesome if you could provide the price point you are looking for BUT for me, I use by HD6xx with Darkvoice amp.

I know you said "amp" but if you are looking for a dac as well, oppo ha 2 or oppo ha 2 se both have exceptional dacs plus you can use them for portable use. Let me know if you need any help setting things up or whatever you need
Hi there

Well the hd650 is a very nice headphone I own a pair I would agree with marmalade schiit stack would be more than enough to power them. Another option would be SMSL M6 which I used at one point sounded great with the hd650.
While I don't own a pair of 650s, I do own a pair of 598s, and believe I have tried a pair of 650s. Also from my experience Sennheisers generally seem to have a similar sound signature. Personally I've used my 598s with a Schiit Fulla 2, and a Schiit Vali 2, both with a Schiit Modi 2 DAC (although I did try them with just the Fulla 2 at first) and I would highly recommend them. So far I have been really impresssed with Schiit's amps, though I've only used them with Schiit DAC sources... so yeah.
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