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Nov 4, 201656206 views

Recommend AMP / DAC for the HD 6XX

Does anyone have a suggested AMP / DAC for the Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 6XX?

Thanks everyone for the suggestions, after review I ended up getting the Schiit Modi 2 and Vali 2!
LuckyLuke575, sabin1001, and 32 others

Ifi nano black label via 3.5 balanced out trrs to 2 xlr 3pin in on the loxjie p20 balanced tube amp. Balanced modded xlr 4 pin headphone cable to hd6xx. Cables supplied by oidio sound, a quality gem company i found for all cable needs. I say this because getting a 3.5 mm trrs to 2xlr cable is hard very hard.
DAC: Schiit Modi 3 ($99) Amp: JDS Lab Atom (solid state amp, $100) or Little Dot MKII (tube amp, $120 in Massdrop) with tubes (Voshkod 6ZH1P-EV and Russian 6H6P-I) Atom is cleaner and the bass is tighter and more impactful. Little Dot is more fun, sound more like you are listening in a real concert. I like to listen music with the Little Dot and watch movie and gaming with Atom.
I bought the CTH+SDAC from Massdrop to use with the 6xx. It sounds superb, lots of power, lots of strong, honest bass, and at the price it's really hard to imagine anything better.
EarStudio ES100 This little thing is and has been my favorite. I use it now more frequently than any of the five other DAC's I own.
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I think so but I would need to double check. I've never used it in this way and don't own any apple products.
will try to find a colleague with the proper lightning adapter to test this out (my work mobile is an iPhone.) For personal use I'm all Android, iOS has some pretty limited BT codecs and the lack of expandable memory is a dealbreaker for my purposes.
I think you made very good choices. I also have the Vali 2, chosen specifically because I've never had any tube equipment before, and I wanted to try some tube rolling. With an adapter, you can get into the 6SN7 family of tubes, considered by many to be THE classic tube for rolling. Because so many of them were made, you can still get great sounding versions for reasonable money, and there is plenty of info/advice on the internet about how various 6SN7s sound. I also tried 6F8Gs (the forerunners of the 6SN7) and I actually prefer them in general (takes a different adapter). I love the amp and think it's a great value, but beware - if you decide to try tube rolling, Ebay becomes a very dangerous place. For DACs, I started with a Dragonfly Black, because it's the cheapest way to try MQA. I just recently got a Modi Multibit (Xmas gift). The Dragonfly is impressive for the price, but I'm finding the Modi to be a more engaging listen.
Before you put the $ on gear, do yourself a favor and try a good cable such as the Moon Audio blue dragon or the silver dragon if it’s within your budget
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The Parasound Zdac2 works for me.
an AudioGD R2R DAC + DarkVoice 336 fitted with TungSol 5998 power tube is the best match i have heard so far for the HD6xx without going into big money combos
I'm using Audio-GD NFB1-AMP for my HD6XX, K7XX & LCD2C. It drives all 3 cans effortlessly. All via balanced connection except for the AKG. Planning to mod it soon. DAC by Audio-GD as well, the R1.
I previously ran it from a Schiit stack (Modi Multibit + Vali 2)but I felt that it didn't really do the 6XX justice. My current amp/dac that I run it through is the Sony TA-ZH1ES. I hear it pairs well with OTL tube amps, but to my surprise it sounds great with my "Tazzy", esp when run balanced.
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It was surprising at first pairing, I didn't think they'd pair well given that Tazzy is a SS amp. But it just sounds so perfectly balanced, hard to describe. Take my general impressions with a grain of salt because I've swapped out the stock pads with the Dekoni hybrids, but going across from the stack to Tazzy, I noticed much better bass extension, the "Sennheiser veil" being completely obliterated (a testament to how underpowered they were from the Schiit stack I suppose), and slightly better treble extension, although the somewhat dark, warm core characteristics still carried over. the Dekoni pads definitely made it darker than stock form, but personally it's not something I mind.
Hmm, sounds like Sony understands the flavor I like in SS amps. I also enjoy the Cavalli Liquid Carbon and Sennheiser HDV 820 amps, Cavalli was right to call his amps “Liquid” and the Sennheiser is in this same vein. I’ll let you know if I pick up the Sony DAP. I appreciate your description, well-seasoned though it may be (and who likes their steak cooked completely plain anyway?)
i use a schiit stack of Magni 3 and Modi multi-bit and can't be happier. 350 bucks well spent.
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i'm using a 1 meter gold plated USB to USB B and it works great.
Gold plating is a great way to keep the connectors on a cable free from corrosion, and it can be applied so thin that the low conductivity of gold isn’t much of an issue. Copper and silver are great for the core of any cable (silver is the best conductor on the periodic table), but chrome and gold are great corrosion resistant materials to use on the connector ends!
my sound is "objective"...maybe...mayflower o2 dac/amp..."look" good with new massdrop hd58x...and too with my 1/4century old good warm-up and light tuned original hd580..
DarkVoice is a good tube amp to try. I have a Geshelli Enog DAC (not the balanced DAC)!
I'm pairing my HD6xx with iFi micro iDSD BL. To me, sounds great.
First, buy a balanced cable before you decide on an amp. For mobile use I bought this cable with a 2.5mm TRRS connector (it was $20 then, but now it's $25): Second, buy a balanced amp/DAC. I personally own a FiiO Q5 for mobile use and feed its line out into a Massdrop THX AAA 789 for home use. They both work great with Sennheiser headphones. The main goal here is to remove background noise -- I find Sennheiser drivers to be particularly sensitive to noise and the balanced cable does wonders.
I agree a cable upgrade can improve the sound (and possibly shield better from EMI noise), but I’ll just add that many other factors can also introduce noise and need to be sorted first. I’m quite fond of the sound of my FiiO X7, which is basically like your Q5 plus a music player, but I’m not in love with the music player aspect, haha. The FiiO + am2a amp module isn’t noisy with my HD 6XX, but with IEMs I would probably prefer to get the low power amp module. I don’t have the THX AAA 789, but I have found the FiiO’s line-out to be great for feeding full-size desktop amps, and a THX engineering sample AAA amp I heard at a CanJam was stellar and low-noise/distortion as well! You’ve got a really great setup there!
Thanks. I chose the Q5 over a dedicated DAP because I hate getting stuck in yet another unstable (and often proprietary) file system and music player (e.g., X7). The Q5 does an amazing job on wireless too. Per my experience, a balanced amp/cable can completely transform headphones (HD-600s), greatly improve them (Focal Elex), or do nothing at all (Audeze LCD-2C). My take away is that drivers can do strange things with the background noise: Sennheiser generates hiss while Focal exaggerates dynamics and glare. Trial and error to determine the impact. Regarding the HD-600s:
  • On mobile I use the standard FiiO balanced out (module 3A) and it reveals about 98% of their potential. They tend to get fuzzy, plasticy, and lose dynamics once the other bottlenecks are gone.
  • Running the Q5 line-out (3.5mm TRS) into the 789 reveals 100% of the HD-600s potential. This amp is a very slight improvement over the Q5, as the HD-600s are pretty much tapped out. The 789 is still a big improvement for the Elex and HiFiMan HD-560s.
I love my HeadAmp Pico DAC/Amp. It pairs really well with HD650, and its portable. You can go HiFi on a desk, in your bedroom, or in the bathroom while taking a schiit.
I am using a Simaudio Moon 180 Mind as a renderer going in to either a Simaudio Moon 100D DAC or a Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100 fed into a Darkvoice 336 SE. Sounds great on good recordings, sounds terrible on poor recordings, very unforgiving.

I have the Schiit Audio Modi and Magni combo. $99 a piece. Easy setup and great sound. Easy choice.
I think it sounds great on the wa22
I have a set of HD6XX on the way as well. My current set-up is: Spotify Premium (iPhone) > AAC Bluetooth connection to Radsone ES100 > plugged to the back of a Topping A30 amp i think this current setup should work for my Senn HD6XX and see no immediate reason to upgrade.
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With the iPhone 7, you’ll use AAC codec to connect. ES100 supports AAC, aptx, aptx HD, LDAC (Sony), and regular SBC Bluetooth. Your laptop most likely has aptx, and also AAC if it’s an Apple.
Wanna buy my FiiO E10k? I have too many audio products, haha. AAC encoding (which iPhone supports, and Apple Music files are natively encoded in) is also quite good and can contain all the information of a Spotify Premium (or Apple Music subscription, but that should be obvious 😉). Apt-X encoding is embedded into the physical Bluetooth chips and may or may not be included in the integrated audio system on any given laptop, but many laptops do support it including all Mac laptops from the past few years. You can also buy Bluetooth dongles with Apt-X HD for a fairly cheap price (I have a Creative Labs USB dongle I use with my PS4) to add the feature, and install 3rd party apps to EQ or enhance audio. Lastly... the Radsone EarStudio ES100 and devices like it are made up of components including the Bluetooth receiver, a DAC to convert the digital signal into analog for amplification and ability to be listened to, and of course an Amp stage as well. These DAC/Amp components would be used instead of what is inside a phone or laptop. I don’t have the ES100, but I do have the similar (but more geared at providing more power for fullsized headphones) Bluewave GET, and the GET includes the option of a USB wired connection option. If the ES100 has this same option, then the device functions just bypasses the Bluetooth component and acts like a typical wired DAC/Amp combo unit.
For a long time I used dragonfly red + hd650. Recently I got a Schiit magni 3 and the result is so much better. I'm not very experienced but for me magni3 is good enough for 650 and probably for 6xx
I have the Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 6XX on the way and this is my first experience with high-end headphones. I have a decent high-end audio/speaker system and I would like advise. Will I get the best sound connecting these headphones to my Modwright tube modified Oppo BDP105 or do I need a separate headphone amp and/or DAC?
iDSD Black. Simple, sweet and perfect.
Black Label? Mini? Nano?
I have the black label mini. It's dead silent, and more power than I could possibly need. Take a look at the comparison against this schiit. Ifi takes it across the board.
I have an combo of Topping D10 and Arcam rHead and it sounds fantastic.
Audio-gd nfb11.28, best buy for me tbh to pair with hd6xx. i use my m40x with it too.
Confirm that. Own nfb11.28 - best one. For some hard staff use fiio e09k.
I am using LOXJIE P20 balanced tube headphone amplifier. It is very affordable, and the sound even with the low cost Chinese tubes it came with is great. I plan to upgrade the tubes later, but so far I am really enjoying this little gem. There are a few good reviews on this headphone amp on the Internet.
I drive my HD6xxs with a Centrance DacPort HD...plenty of power to drive them...I also use an AudioQuest Jitterbug between laptop and DacPort...the DacPort is powered via the usb port...
I use the Chord Mojo with the HD6xx and they sound really good. I have also tried with AudioEngine HD3 and D3, but they don't have enough power to drive the HD6xx properly.
I have the Bottlehead Crack OTL tube amp and can’t recommend it enough! It is a great kit and even better amp that is matched to these headphones. It. Has a dead quiet background with no hum for sweet tube sound!

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Just a tip: Add your name to their newsletter, and they will notify you when they have a sale. I paid a total of $307 for the Crack plus Speedball upgrade (plus $8 for the bottlehead name plate).
Thanks, will do
I use a balanced headphone cable from my 6xx to a littledot MK 3 SE. I also ordered the THX AAA 789 for my downstairs setup. I would think either amp would work with a separate DAC.