Best solid state headphone amp under $1000

I'm looking to upgrade my channel island VHP-2 to another solid state amp under $1000. Here are the contenders that I can think of. Let me know if you have compared any of these directly, which is the best in your opinion, or is there another you would suggest.

headamp GS-1
stello HP-100
burson HA-160
PS audio GCHA
lake people HPA V181
blue circle hat peed thingee 1 or 2
rudistor nx-03
graham slee solo
musical fidelity M1HPA
For which headphones? I can only speak for the combination I use, which I'm very happy with: Violectric V181 with Audeze LCD-2's is an excellent combination. You might also try posing the question over at I might include the headphones you are intending to pair the amp with though.
I'm using it with a pair of audio technica ath-m50s, but am thinking to upgrading to a higher end sealed can, most likely Denon AH-D7000 or AT ATH-W1000x.
I have a pair of AKG 701 earphones that I'm using with a Schiit Audio Valhalla headphone amp with VERY nice sounding results. Before this I had a Musiland MD-10 DAC/Headphone amp and the music was very cold, and lean sounding. Seemed like everything had a metallic edge to it. The Valhalla was quite nice for way under $1000. Now the Valhalla is tube based but Schiit Audio does have a SS headphone amp called Asgard that you could take a look at.

good luck with your search.
LLANO S-200 , very dynamic , loads of power , 2 Ohm stable , Tube like mid and highs. very simple two stage gain topology.
Blue Circle, hands down, the best solid state amp I have heard below $1000 and I have heard many of them. It is slightly warm and euphonic sounding but has great bass and wonderful left/right imaging. I would definitely go for the version with the high/low impedance switch.

I would avoid Rudistor...was not impressed at a meet by the sound given the price and have read a number of complaints about poor build quality.

Headamp makes great amps, but they subscribe to the straight wire with gain design approach. Not my cup of tea.
Mcondoon: Which others have you compared the BC amp to? Based on what I've read so far, I've been leaning towards either Blue Circle or Headamp
I have compared it to a Woo WA22 and a Singlepower PPX. As a headphone amp, it is the closest you can get to a tube-like sound but with terrific bass and phenomenal left/right imaging. I think it sounds almost as good as the Woo, which was a lot more expensive.

I listened to the Rudistor and the Headamp at a meet. The Rudistor did not impress at all. The Headamp sounded good but a little dry for my tastes. I don't think you would be unhappy with Headamp. I have not heard the Violectric, etc. If you are thinking of spending $1000 on a headphone amp, I would go with tubes, no questions asked.

I think the Blue Circle sonically is a great amp for the money. It makes music. Some solid state amps I have heard don't. But the Blue Circle is a strange looking amp. The money was put into the circuit design, not a glossy chassis. But I remember the days when visibly beautiful Singlepower amps were all the rage and have learned from my experience with Singlepower that beauty is sometimes only skin deep.
Leaning towards either the headamp, BC thingee, or musical fidelity right now. Has anyone compared these to the Channel island VHP-2, would any of these be a significant step up from it?

Also has anyone ever tried the M^3 or Beta 22 amps? I'm hearing a lot about them over at head-fi, and was wondering if anyone here has any experience with them.
There's some people using headphones on the AT line paired with the burson, and it drives them easily. Is a good amp if you plan to upgrade with power hungry hp's too.
I heard the Lehmann Black Cube a while back with HD650s and really liked the pairing.
The Burson you mentioned on your list pairs well with high end Denons.
Denon AH D700
AKG 701or 702 best value and sound
see rating at
The world of headphone amps can get incredibly deep and technical, incredibly fast and these all headphones are only over ear headphones.

1. JBL T250SI

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