headphone amp under $350

I need recommendations for a headphone amp. I'd like to max the price at $350. I will likely use it with a Sennheiser HD-580. I listen to classical and jazz. I'm going to be using the headphones at night so I don't disturb (and am not disturbed by) my neighbors.

I'll be plugging my arcam alpha 9 cdp directly into the headphone amp. I want detail without the sound becoming analytical and prefer balanced sound top to bottom rather than something that really features the midrange (or lows/highs).

I haven't heard one yet, but the Perreaux SXH1 is right at the price and is supposed to work great with the HD580/600/650 headphones.
I am using the Creek OBH 11 ($200) with my Sennheiser 600 and I am pretty pleased. What Hi Fi reviews some headphone amps in its latest (January) issue and gives top honors to the Creek OBH 21 SE ($400) over the new Musical Fidelity X-Can and one from Pro-ject.

Regards, Rich
The Grado RA-1 was a very nice match with my Senn 600's and can be had for under $300. I sold it cuz I couldn't use my Nakamichi tape deck with the Grado in-line. Bought a Rega Ear that has tape pass-through and that solved my problem. I sure loved the sound of the Grado though; maybe it's the batteries rather than an AC feed (I should have kept the RA-1 for traveling). One more suggestion: consider upgrading your stock cord on your Senns, the Cardas replacement is a significant step up.

On a related note I built my own headhpone amp lately, and having experimented extensively can confirm that the power supply will make the most obvious difference. I settled on an external 4 amp Hammond switching power supply. Happy listening, Jeff
Either version of the Antique Sound Labs MG-Head, all tube, TONS of gain, or the V2 version of the Musical Fidelity "X-Cans" (has (1) tube, but more of a hybrid-type design, with slightly more speed and detail).

Have used both extensively with HD600's, really depends on your "taste".

Plenty of great choices in this arena! Kinda nice to look into an affordable category, with so many options, for a change, eh?

Good luck!
Go with a "Headroom" amp,they "all" sound great.Will blow away,the one's that are mentioned here.Ron...
Jon can build you Meta-42 based Home headphone amp w/ your choose of components. Jon built one for me recently and I'm very impressed by the amp and the builder. (With an upgraded power supply my amp ran $228 w/shipping inc. However, the price will be slightly more depending on what you wish to add to the base unit. Mine is a base unit.) Jon uses a Sennheiser headphone so he is very familiar w/their sound and would be able to build an amp to best match your tastes. To learn more, www.jmtaudio.com and www.head-fi.org.
Good luck! Bill
I've heard very good things about the ASL. I'll look into the others that were mentioned as well. Thanks.
I auditioned the ASL (v.1) vs. the X-Cans (v.2) with my HD600's, and bought the MF unit for its superior sound (the ASL, much as I liked it, just sounded too 'tubey' [or 'transformer-y' - I believe it was transformer-coupled] in an obviously colored sort of way, even with upgraded tubes, while the MF [also tubed, but direct-coupled] sounded more neutral, dynamic, and faster, though I don't know about the latest versions of each unit). However, the unique, plastic-encased output jack assembly on this v.2 of the MF is just a terrible part - I've been through two of them already and need another one, because the extremely thin, flexible contacts inside deform way too easily over time and you begin to lose one channel, eventually completely. This part, which solders directly onto the PCB, cannot successfully be opened up and repaired (I've tried - it self-destroys), and a replacement is hard to get, so next I'll be attempting to retrofit a conventional heavy-duty, unencased phone jack (something the latest v.3 appears to have switched to, judging from photos of its front panel), though I'm not yet sure I'll find the necessary clearance inside. You've been warned...
Head-Fi has some good owner feedback on nearly every headphone amp available. You might be able to find a direct comparison of the amps on your short list that will help narrow your choice.
Savae your pennies and buy a Berning microzotl. Mine drives my HD-600s perfectly and also has enough oomph to run a pair of Sequerra monitors in my home office (12 x 14). Direct input from CDP w/its own volume control. Should be able to get one for about $500, used. Highly recommended.