DAC, amp & headphones 1k

I would like to put together a small 2 channel tubed system
for my wife . At present it would use a cable box for the source using either a digital audio out or optical audio out connection . I would like the cable box to feed a DAC and then go to a headphone amp and a set of good headphones . I do not want to use any speakers at this time .

Of course I want the best sound that I can give to her but keep the cost down to $1,000 total . While the DAC and amp can be used I would prefer new headphones .

I have done some research and found Sennheiser HD650 and AKG 701 headphones to be the most recommended .

Amps and DACS seem to be seperates and also combined units . Either would be fine for now .

She prefers tubes to SS and was instrumental in choosing my first tube system consisting of a Cayin A88T integrated with Reference 3A Di Capo i speakers . She prefered these speakers to Von Schwiekert and Usher . I would like to get her something with good extension , dynamics , detail and musicality .

She has always prefered 60's , 70's and 80's pop . I would like to introduce her to blues , jazz and the standards as well .

I would like the amp to have at least two inputs so that I could add a CDP later should this take off for her . Right now it will be just the CD quality music channels from our cable service .

Any suggestions ?

Thank you .
I have Denon AH-2000, my friend has Senn HD650. We compared these headphones in the same system. The conclusion is that Denon D2000's famous bass cannot be beaten by Senn HD650. But, on the other side, Senn HD650's famous midrange cannot be beaten by Denon D2000... You choose, but models are real hi-end amount headphones.

If you choose HD650, I recommend a tube headphone amp WooAudio WA3. If you prefer D2000, take a look at WooAudio WA3+. Both combinations are real killers.

Be careful with AKG phones, they have a very specific sound which many will find not to their liking...
You may like this:

Cayin Audio has released a new integrated headphone amplifier with a built in DAC called the iDAC-1, priced at $795. Like Cayin's HA-1A integrated headphone amp, the iDAC-1 is tube powered, though it uses two 6N1 tubes rather than the HA-1A's two EL-34s, 12AX7 and 12AU7. The iDAC-1 is rather unique in that it uses two different DAC chips, a TDA1543 for the first set of analog outputs, and a PCM2706 for the second set which can be controlled by the volume buttons, allowing the iDAC-1 to act as a preamp.
The Benchmark DAC-1 is known for having a great headphone output- $600 used and a very "safe" investment. I would go to a site such as Head Fi for the most complete research...
Thank you for these suggestions .

Ironmine... are you in the U.P. ?
Can you describe the "very specific sound" of the AKG's ?

I have read where the Senn's need more power than what is normal for headphones . Is this true ?

Keep'em coming please .
I have visited the Headfi site and find it a little daunting . I was hoping to narrow , at least one area down , so as to take the research in one direction only .

Thank you .
I have the 650's and both the Benchmark and Antique Soundlabs Tube Headphone amp - both sound awesome; better soundstage depth with the Antique SL, warmer, more romantic sound. I do enjoy both very much. On my earlier post, didn't realize the Cayin was USB only (DAC).

The Senns don't seem to be power hungry in my setup-very easy to drive, great extension and bass is great.
I second the DAC1 - it ain't tubed though - so no added warmth - but if you are going to hook it up to a jittery cable box then the DAC1 has a good reputation for handling jitter.

If you want to block out background noise or you do not want to disturb others then I love the Senn HD 25-1 II Pro - these are extremely dynamic and are magic with even a poor quality low power source like a portable player.
Benchmark DAC-1 - really superb headphone amp with two outputs.The headphone capability of this product is not a afterthought .This replaced my long time EAD DSP-9000 Pro in my main system.
The nice thing with these is that there are a fair number floating around used and reasonable demand for them as used pieces - so if it wasn't what you wanted - reselling would not be much of a challenge.No small thing - Benchmark (the company) are a pleasure to deal with -even on small stuff like EBU to S/PDIF adaptors.
If looking at used - make sure you get a stock unit - the modded units may sound better ? - but are harder to resell.
Shadorne ; good info...I had not considered either aspect !
Have you ever compared the HD-25's to the 650's ?

Why offer headphones that allow the sounds to travel into and out of the units for audiophile listening ?

Thank you .
Why offer headphones that allow the sounds to travel into and out of the units for audiophile listening ?

Because open earphones generally sound best (Although, I believe Denon make an extremely good pair of cupped headphones). The only reason to use cupped earphones is if you don't want to disturb others or if you are in a noisy environment like a car, bus or airplane. You will find that you listen at much lower volumes if you can cut out background noise - this is why pros use HD 25's everywhere - from soundmen at clubs/concerts to sports casters reporting at a noisy sports event.

I use HD-25's on the electronic drum set. I use AKG 240's for critical listening to music. The AKG's, however, are 600 ohm and they don't sound their best unless you use a really good headphone amp like the DAC1 while the HD-25 pros are awesome with the crap amp in my drum kit or the analog out of a Mac computer. I'd still place open headphones (AKG) ahead of the HD-25's for overall sound quality though (provided you got the right headphone amp)
I had a Musical Fidelity X-Can and a pair of Grado 325's that I thought was absolutely spectacular. I let the pair go for $400. You could probably get the combination of DAC and amp from Musical Fidelity and the Grado RS-1's for <$1000.

Space efficient, attractive and great sounding in my opinion.

I don't know what is "U.P.". I live in Russia.

AKG sound is very airy and no bass, that's what many people say in head-fi.org. If you are in doubt which phones to choose, I recommend you to go to this website's forum, there are thousands of head-fiers from all over the world discussing every tiny nuance of headphones, headphone amps, etc. It's not daunting, you just need to use "search" function smartly. For example, type there "HD650 AKG" and choose "titles only" and specify that you want to search through forum "big headphones" only and you will find many discussions comparing HD650 sound to AKG models, etc.

Yes, senior Senn models do require a lot of hi-quality expensive amplification, otherwise they sound mediocre.

Always pay attention to the impedance match of headphones and headphone amps! For instance, cans with 25 ohm impedance and cans with 300 ohm impedance have absolutely different requirements in terms of amplification. That's one of the reasons I chose April Music Stello HP100 preamp/headphone amp, because it has low gain/hi gain switch, so I can use it for almost any phone out there. By the way, it has two inputs, just like you want, but it's SS.

By the way, Jack Woo from WooAudio can modify his amps to suit his clients' requests, if they want more inputs/outputs in their models.

If your wife likes deep bass, take a closer look at Denon D2000 or higher models. It's really like having a subwoofer in your headphones. I even performed the so called "Markl mod" to tame its bass little bit...