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otrman
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Joined: Nov 29 2015 - 8:22am
Pairing Headphones and Headphone Amp

I am a new guy on the block but was an avid Stereophile reader during the time I was putting together my system in the 1980s which includes a fairly large speaker system, active crossover, and rear channel ambience speakers. I will soon have to move to smaller quarters where I will not be able to play my music at the realistic levels I have enjoyed in the past. I have a pair of AKG 240s that I have used for occasional listening but believe I should upgrade.

My CD player is a Magnavox 650 with the Musical Concepts enhancements costing around a grand in the early 80s. The transport is awesome and will play just about any standard CD you through at it, including ones with minor blemishes or slight scratches. As part of the upgrade process I am considering I did try a couple of the newest including a Marantz 6005 which burped on many of my older and well used CDs. I have been told that the Mag has one of the best transports ever.

I have been to my dealer who has suggested Grado RS1e for headphones, $699 and the Cambridge DAC Magic Plus for $499.

My listening tastes range from baroque through the late 1800s, small group jazz, big band, etc. I am not into current rock or metal. My interest in rock peaked in the late 60s.

I would like realism, good soundstage, openness, lack of significant coloration, etc.

Any recommendations on selection and pairing would be greatly appreciated.

Otrman

geoffkait
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Pairing headphones with amp

I should imagine the most important, in fact I would say critical, thing to take into account whatever headphones and whatever headphone amp you wind up with is that, depending on which headphones you decide on, the amp is up to the task of driving the headphones properly. For example Sennheiser 600s being a relatively high impedance load as the amp sees them require around 3/4 of Watt to drive them with authority and 1 Watt would even be better. The point being that if you skimp on the wattage for Sennheisers or any other headphones with similar requirements wattage wise you will achieve the headphones' full potential. This is why I like hybrid tube headphone amos, since they tend to have a relatively high output compared to pure tube designs at the same price point. Of course with companies like Woo Audio, you can select what you need from a wide range of offerings, mostly or all of them pure tube designs. Highly recommended.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

dalethorn
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Unless you are well-used to

Unless you are well-used to headphones - Grado being a good example, think carefully about comfort - it's as important as the sound. The larger fully-around-ear** headphones like the Sennheiser HD600, AKG K712, Beyerdynamic T90 etc. are the safest bets, while Grados rate low on comfort for the average user.

**Beware the term "over ear", which doesn't assure a fit without pinching the ears.

otrman
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Headphone DAC Pairing

Yes, I have been using headphones a lot as I have a pair of AKG 240s from back when they were manufactured in Austria. As I said I have to prepare for extensive headphone listening.

I have the Grado RS1e on loan for audition and have listened to them for about 12 hours over the space of a week and seem to like them. Since I want a chair side volume control I have been researching an Amp/Dac combo and wonder what you folks might think of as a good pairing. My dealer has suggested DAC Magic Plus.

Any opinion on that scenario? Do you have any suggestions or recommendations.

Otrman

dalethorn
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Massdrop has a Grace DAC/amp

Massdrop has a Grace DAC/amp for $500. That would be my first choice.

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