AKG K1000 Headphones & Cayin Integrated Amps
I posted the following on www.head-fi.org (a web site focused on headphone discussions) with virtually no reaction. I am hoping to get at least a few comments on Audiogon before I made the leap.
I have the AKG K1000 headphones. I have been using them with a vintage Marantz 2285B receiver until I had the time and confidence to buy something better. I am actually quite pleased with the sound as I think the natural warmth of the Marantz works well with the K1000 which some might call lean. Nice warm mids, plenty of power and bass, but a bit flabby on the low end and not enough detail and speed for my taste.
Solid state Nelson Pass designed amps seem to be the hot choice for the K1000, but not necessarily for me. For my big rig with speakers, I have gone through many Pass amps so I am familiar with the sound and I am a big fan - Aleph 0, Aleph 2, XA160, and currently X350.5. The First Watt series of amps, also designed by Nelson Pass, are also highly recommeded for the K1000. Did not try the K1000 with the Alephs while I had them, but my guess is that comments elsewhere on their synergy is probably spot on.
I am also a big tube amplifier fan having used several great amps with the big rig too - Joule Electra, Conrad Johnon, Audio Research, Cary, etc. Love the warmth and detail of tubes.
Bottom line, for the money and based on all the rave reviews, I am very interested in the tube based Cayin line of Intergrated Amps for my K1000. As my next step with my headphone rig, I really want to keep it simple and use a tube Integrated Amp - not necessarily solid state. My gut and ears tell me that the K1000 needs tubes but maybe with a few caveats (see below). Cayin seems like an excellent option but I see very little K1000 and Cayin discussion on head-fi other than on the Cayin HA-1A headphone amp, which I feel might be underpowered in the long run for the K1000 (see below).
Baed on many many posts, my understanding is that the K1000 requires plenty of current - ie. wattage is not necessarily the key. Thus the great synergy with the solid state Pass Labs Aleph models and the First Watt (Pass designed) F1, F2, F3, etc. From a different perspective, there seems to be a concern over some excellent sounding tube amps with both low wattage and high wattage specs but maybe not enough current for the K1000.
So....since I want to go with tubes on this adventure, I am wondering if some of the higher watt Cayin tube integrated amps might do the trick. Again, I don't know much about their current and dampening capabilities. Actually, I am looking for much more than adequate sound. I am looking for magic. Need your help!!!!
I am guessing that this post might generate plenty of comments (the more the merrier regardless - send them all), I am desperately looking for real world experience.
I am especially interested in the Cayin KT88 and 6550 tube designs whcih might have a chance to meet these requirements for watts and current. Specifically the Cayin SA-88T/6550, SA-88T/KT-88, and even the SA-70T and SA-50T/EL-34.
Just for grins, I am also currious if anyone has real K1000 experience with the lower powered 300 tube based SA-300P and their new behemoth solid state CAYIN H-80A integrated amps. Sorry - guess I am all over the map on this one, but I am really interested in the Cayin line with a preference for tubes.
Remember that the K1000 headphones are actually connected to the speaker terminals on the amp - not the headphone jack. They are virtually small speakers - another reason for the high power and current.
Lastly, the reason for the need for power and current is that I listen to music on the loud side. Much louder than most normal folks. I listen to all kinds of music - but I love my rock n roll on the loud side with powerful tight bass. Hope this helps.
Thanks in advance for your patience and support. There are plenty of great K1000 combos out there. Just hoping that some have tried the Cayin.