Your lucky day. Go to monoprice, search tube amplifier and there you will find, for $150, a small tube amplifier with a headphone jack. I've purchased one. Find out what value is all about. Be sure to share, and write the first review. Yes, the good things in life can sometimes be very inexpensive.
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Buconero, I checked out the amp on monoprice. For that price it might be fun to own one. What is the tube compliment? Was not listed in monoprice. Have you driven speakers with this amp, or just headphones? As for the functions I am looking for in a headphone amp, I am not sure it will fit.
ZD,I am sure the AYre is a fine product however I am looking into the Oppo as my budget is, $500-$700, new or used. Also the Audeze Deckard. Possibly the MarantzHD-DAC1. A friend of mine owns a SChiit Vahalla which I will try out. Am sure there are others to be considered.
I am taking my time with this quest as I haven’t thoroughly deciphered how I want to approach this. Considerations run from a stand alone amp with separate DAC to an all in one DAC, amp, pre. Also, I realize that it is the amp/headphone combination that makes for the best sound. I own a MF V-DAC II and can’t help think it is as good of DAC as any to be found in a Headphone amp in my budget. I also own a MF V-link which would serve an older DAC lacking async USB. However, an all in one product might serve me well in my secondary system, which gets moved around.
Back to my considerations, I am looking forward to other’s suggestions.
OK, after much consideration I have decided to look for a used stand alone headphone amp and use a separate DAC. My thinking is that I will get more AMP for my $$$ and greater flexibility with this approach. My budget tops out ~ $600 for the amp (again used).
Any suggestions for an headphone amp that one feels is better than the Creek OBH-21 (original version) within my budget?
If you live in the US, give The Cable Company a call. They have a lot of headphone amps/dacs in your price range. If you take advantage of their demo program, they'll send you a box full of demo units so you can try them all at once. They also sell your Creek, and will be able to make some comparisons for you.
I bought Oppo HA-2 headphone amp recently and it sounds amazing. It has asynch USB, SPIDIF, DSD an analog in/out. I use USB. Sounds better than my Benchmark DAC1. D/A converter IC is SABRE 32-bit. It has lithium battery and can be used with a phone, but I’m using it as stationary unit only (next to my computer).
I purchased a used Schiit Vahalla tube headphone amp here on AG. I will use it with a Music Fidelity V-DAC II and MHDT Paradisea+ DACs. Currently to drive my AKG 701Q headphones. One day I what to try a Audezen headphone however not sure the Vahalla does well with phones having ~30ohm impedance, as do the Audeze models.