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Affordable Headphone amp

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
So I've been looking around and I think I've got my heart set on the AT-HA25D

Any other recommendations are welcome. Will be drivin A700s, ES7s, and possibly ATH-AD1000 or 2000 Air's.

Sound card will be either an Elite Pro or Auzen Prelude.

One last question, Does going Optical to the amp optical provide good sound results or is it better just to stay analog?
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post #2 of 21
I would definitely go with optical, unless the DAC in the Prelude is significantly better than the DAC in the amp. Plus if you do go with analogue you'll effectively be amping the sound twice, not to mention the interference you would get with the internal sound card.

BTW I would suggest for you to check out the Zhaolu D2.5 with the discreet headphone amp upgrade if you are looking for something like the Audio Technica amp. The D2.5a variant with the upgraded amp costs around the same as the AT, while the D2.5c variant with the upgraded amp costs a little more. The Zhaolu would probably give you more freedom in OPAMP rolling as well.
Edited by triggerc - 5/13/08 at 11:39am
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post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Cool thanks for the Recommendation.
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post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shingetsu View Post
Cool thanks for the Recommendation.
Do you plan on using it as a portable amp, or non portable?

Portable amp -mini v3 custom built [110$+customization] pretty awesome amp for the money, portable, yadda yadda, will power your ATH's fine.

here's one used for 100$
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f42/fs...-100-a-325277/

Desktop amp - PIMETA. about 180$, can find them cheaper used.

basically, don't get the ATH amp, for the money, you can get much better portable/desktop amp.
Edited by phospholipid - 5/13/08 at 2:50pm
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post #5 of 21
You will probably be better off with a cmoy amp off ebay [30.00] or building your own which is cheaper, audio techs are known to have the best sound quality without needing an amp. As for sound cards the prelude hands down wins but it is very expensive.
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post #6 of 21
It might be more beneficial to upgrade the source at the current moment, a good amp can come later. A good external DAC like the E-Mu 0404 USB, Zhaolu, and the Zero would be very good, and the build in amplifier in them will get you by until you get a dedicated amp like the PIMETA.
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post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by triggerc View Post
It might be more beneficial to upgrade the source at the current moment, a good amp can come later. A good external DAC like the E-Mu 0404 USB, Zhaolu, and the Zero would be very good, and the build in amplifier in them will get you by until you get a dedicated amp like the PIMETA.
This is what I would do. The Prelude can only take you so far concerning music quality (gaming is a different matter).

An external DAC or professional soundcard is going to serve as a very solid base for the rest of the setup. An amp can only work with the quality being provided by the source - it cannot technically *improve* the sound, only add coloring or bring out certain properties of the signature (which, based on tastes, can make the music better/more fitting to the listener).
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post #8 of 21
A typical upgrade path (in my opinion) should look something like this:

Headphones/speakers -> Sources -> Amplification -> Cables, room treatment (for speakers) and other tweaks

That way you've always got a solid base to work with (and enjoy!) even if there are long period of time before you move up the food chain.
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post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipp View Post
A typical upgrade path (in my opinion) should look something like this:

Headphones/speakers -> Sources -> Amplification -> Cables, room treatment (for speakers) and other tweaks

That way you've always got a solid base to work with (and enjoy!) even if there are long period of time before you move up the food chain.
That's exactly what I did, thanks to Aura for a lot of the advice, of course. I have all of my headphones now as well as the DAC, can't wait for the VHP-2 to come tomorrow (family picture coming).
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post #10 of 21
You'd be better off finding a nice used amp to start off with or building one yourself.

The Prelude is a good step above the Elite Pro
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