You can often find a used battery powered Grado RA-1 for less than $300 on Agon. New for slightly more than $300. I have used with Sennheiser HD-600's to good effect.
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Check out the Perreaux SXH 1 headphone amp. I received mine last week and while it is still burning in it sounds great. Easily drives my Senn 580. You can get it at Audio Advisor for 299.00, catalog price 349.00 just ask for the discount coupon (50.00 off) and they throw in free shipping. Plus 30 day return. I'm not associated with AA. Also quite a few reviews on http://www.head-fi.org/
Music Fidelity X CAN V2 with Amperex tubes to replace the original tubes is great sound for around $350 total.I own this unit personally and the Senn. HD 600's.The only upgrade I desire is the Cardas blue H/P cables at about $200,this would really make these sing!For about $550 this is a very exceptional combo considering the cost!!
Thanks for your replies. I've done some research on the two sites you've mentioned (BTW, great web-sites!), a I've came up w/these impressions. All three cans which I'm considering are all very highly regarded. However, for the $ the AKG-240S has really caught my attention. These can be bought around $100 new @ a few places. As far as headphone amps, the Meier-Audio "Cordia HA-1" caught my eye. The Perreaux looks interesting as well but doesn't have the "crossfield" effects as does the "Cordia." The MF-X Can and the Grado are well-regarded as well, but the Grado uses batteries and the MF uses tubes, which has its +/-'s. I'm using a Kora tube hybrid int. amp so I'd like to go SS w/the headphone amp. My local dealer whom I purchased the Kora from I'm sure could offer a discount on a Creek. I'll be doing some research/auditioning shortly. Thanks for your replies. I appreciate it! Bill
I use Stax SRM1 SS unit with STAX SR5 electrostatic ear-speakers. I found this combo fast and superior to many Grado combinations and very comfortable on your ears and head(wich is very important as well). You can get them used for a-bit above $300 or sell it for the same price if you won't like it. Well worth to try.
After much research, I decided to order a Meta-42 based home headphone amp from JMTAudio.com. Jon's work and reputation seem outstanding from what I could tell. I was sort of leaning towards a Creek OHB-11, but w/the cost of an upgraded power supply(OBH-2)the total cost was more than the headphone amp I purchased (Meta-42 home w/Elpac reg. power supply.) I felt for this money this would be a better choice. Haven't decided on the cans I would eventually buy. I was thinking (always dangerous!) the amp purchase should come first, then after break-in, audition cans which sound the best with this headphone amp. I'll post some auditional comments in the future.