Headphone amp combo ideas?


I have been always fascinated by headphone amp combination and the level of pleasure getting the hobby to such a personal level.

But i have to confessed that i had never own any headphone amp, i am up to discover the unknown and certainly open to suggestions.

thanks
junglern
IMHO, Stax are the best you will find. Try them first and it may save yo a lot of time. Not cheap, but worth it! I'm sure you will get many other opinions. Good luck in your search.
I really like my Beyerdynamic T1 with matching A1 headphone amp. I auditioned many headphones and amps. Another good amp is a used Musical Fidelity x-can (e.g., V3).
STAX. Without a doubt!
With due respect to the members of this Forum, you'd be far better off at a specialty site like Head-Fi Head-Fi
A head amp is much like a power amp.....it needs to be matched to the headphones you are using.
Because of the low power requirements generally......there are a preponderance of valve head amps available but if you're using electrostatic head-phones or some planar-magnetics.....you may need more power than the 2-3 watts commonly available?
You'll find all the information you need on these sites.
Good luck.
Red Wine Audio Isabellina (with a tube upgrade), the new version, if you like natural sound with great soundstage and ambience. End of the search for me.
With all due respect to Head-Fi, there are members here on Audiogon with every bit as much experience with headphones as the members on that other site. Who...you ask? Me, for one!
Podeschi, have you managed to try the Naim Headline with the Beyerdynamic T1? If not, don't bother to reply.

Thanks.
Headline looks cool - never heard it before. I imagine Naims pace and punch would be a good match. It's specs show it should easily drive 600 ohm T1s. Nice thing about Beyerdynamic A1 head amp is I bet they voiced te T1s with it, it has two inputs and an output.

Headline specs:
Suitable for headphones
8 Ohms to 2 KOhms

Frequency response
-3dB @ 10Hz & 72kHz

Power output (into 8 Ohms)
560mW per channel

Max output voltage
3.7V rms into 2kOhms

Voltage gain
+13.5dB

Dimensions (H x W x D):
57 x 121 x 187mm
Thanks for the response, much appreciated. It is good to hear the Headline can drive the T1s. Just a bit wary on the combination as the Headline doesn't seem to be a very popular headphone amp amongst regular folks.

The Beyerdynamic A1 looks nice and appears to be high-quality, a natural partner to flagship Beyerdynamic models, but I'm considering the Headline as I have an unused NAPSC power supply unit(sitting around for more than 1 year now) that can be used to power the Headline.

Thanks again for the post.
Not to be armchair qb, but if it was me I would sell the naim PS and put it toward an A1 which can be had new for $700-800.
04-29-12: Podeschi
Headline looks cool - never heard it before. I imagine Naims pace and punch would be a good match. It's specs show it should easily drive 600 ohm T1s. Nice thing about Beyerdynamic A1 head amp is I bet they voiced te T1s with it, it has two inputs and an output.

Headline specs:
Suitable for headphones
8 Ohms to 2 KOhms

Frequency response
-3dB @ 10Hz & 72kHz

Power output (into 8 Ohms)
560mW per channel

Max output voltage
3.7V rms into 2kOhms

Voltage gain
+13.5dB

Dimensions (H x W x D):
57 x 121 x 187mm

Noting that this headphone amp outputs 0.56W/ch into 8 Ohms, I do not see how this amp can effectively power a 600 Ohms headphone. It will run out of voltage swing very quickly as the power supply rails are not large enough in terms of voltage.
I also note that it outputs 3.7Vrms into 2KOhms. So, if you had a 600 Ohms headphone your max line output voltage would be linearly scaled 600Ohms/2Kohms * 3.7Vrms = 1.11Vrms. Maybe 1.11Vrms is enough to drive a 600 Ohms headphone? Maybe not.....

OTOH I see that there are a multitude of power supplies available for this headphone amp such as NAPSC, FlatCap XS, HiCap, SuperCap. If you got the "correct" NAIM power supply to match up with the "correct" headphone then I could see how this amp could be "Suitable for headphones 8Ω to 2KΩ".
I think that there is something hidden/not obvious re. this headphone amp in that, I feel, that one cannot take any headphone & any powersupply & be successful. It might cost you a bomb (the power supplies are EXPENSIVE!!) to successfully drive a 600 Ohms headphone.
If I were you I would not take the "Suitable for headphones 8Ω to 2KΩ." at face value.....
IMHO. FWIW.
Bombaywalla, you raise a good concern about voltage swing capability, considering the 600 ohm impedance of the T1's, but I don't think that your analysis is quite right. Consider that 0.56W into 8 ohms corresponds to about 2.1 volts. Surely the amp will be able to put more voltage into 600 ohms than into 8 ohms.

Within the limits of the amp's current capability, its output voltage capability will scale down as load impedance decreases based on the relation between the load impedance and its output impedance. It can be calculated from the two sets of figures (3.7V into 2K, and 560mW into 8 ohms) that the output impedance is about 6 ohms. That is essentially negligible with respect to 600 ohms, so the voltage capability into 600 ohms will be close to 3.7V. That corresponds to about 23 mW.

The specs for the T1 shown here indicate a sensitivity of 102 db/mW (which is typical of many headphones). 23 mW will therefore drive the phones to an SPL of almost 116 db.

For most listeners that would seem likely to provide enough margin so that non-linearities (and consequent sonic degradation) that may occur as the amp's voltage swing limits are approached will not come into play. But if material having very wide dynamic range will be listened to, such as well engineered minimally compressed classical symphonic music, which IME may for some works reach peaks of about 105 db, I would be hesitant to go with that combination.

Best regards,
-- Al
That's why I kept it simple and bought the matching A1 headphone amp.