Those of you "in the know" please include observations when using Grado phones, as well. Also how about using extension cords vs. long IC as per sound quality? Sorry to intrude on your thread, Ccerny. Charlie
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I considered these two and ended up with the Headroom Home for the Sennheisers. Costs a bit more than the other two, but I like it a whole lot. Unfortunately, however, I never managed to compare the three, so my opinion may not be worth all that much in the end. IMHO, though, don't rule out the Headroom gear, I think they're onto something.
I highly recommend the Audio Advancements Ear Max Pro for the Sennheisers...I have no experience with the Grado. This is a very cool looking tube (3-12ax7's) amp that is great with the HD-600's. I have owned the Headroom and Grado and to my ears the EarMax was substantially better. I got mine on e-bay.
Here is a weired twist ... For Less money if you look hard you may be able to find a H.H. Scott 299 D intergrated tube amp which has a great headphone section that "It just sounds right." & the impedence to drive the Senheisers. Melos sha gold & Mesa Tigris cant drive em . or go for the ear max . xcan2 is also a good piece for the money I also owned a xcan .
If you are going to use Grado phones you may also want to consider their Headphone amp. I own the Grado amp and a pair of RS 2's and I am very happy with the combo. The added advantage of the Grado is that it operates off of 2-9 volt batteries and is thus portable. I have never undertaken a comparison of Headroom, McCormick, Creek, ect., However, you should check out back issues of TAS for a point of reference. I believe this past summer they reviewed 3 tubed amps, albeit high cost units and the McCormick, Headroom and Grado amps. They generally bombed the Headroom, which was the "Max" unit. They liked the McCormick and thought the Grado to sound as good but a better value given the cost. God bless you if you have the time and resources, but trust your own ears. Many people have like the Headroom units. Also, Stereophile has also reviewed the Headroom, Melo's, Creek, and others in the past. This may also be a good starting point. Bottom line is, I didn't do much comparing and decided to drink from the well Joe and John Grado dug and I haven't looked back at this value reference system. I think you too might enjoy them if you give them a listen. BTW, I get around 50 hours of play with the Grado's before I need to change batteries.
Amity HPA 2L is the best solid-state high-end dedicated headphone amp for normal headphones that I know. It is puristic Class A with only one transistor, and fully double-mono with two volume knobs one for each channel, a high-quality built in power transformer, and high-quality gold RCA inputs for one component. It should cost between $300 to 400 new. I bought mine for $75 used. It is built in a small town in Germany, and I do not know if it is sold in the USA, but it is well worth seeking out. (--What I would really like to see is a tube headphone amp with two 300B output tubes. The closest you can get to that is the Manley 300B preamp right now (it has two headphone outputs).)