What headphones will you be using and what is your budget for a tube headphone amp?
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To be honest, I'd like to spend as little as possible. If it wasn't clear in my first post, I'm being forced into this game a little begrudgingly and would hate to spend huge amounts of money on a headphone rig knowing full well what that kind of improvements I could be doing to my hi-fi setup with that kind of money (if you look at what I have, everything is fairly "budget"). That being said, I can still be convinced otherwise.
I've been lent a pair of Grado SR-125s, and while I understand these are among the low-end of the Grado line, I've been thoroughly impressed by their value (hence the interest in RA-1). I may go for another model, but I understand the range of Grado headphones posses similar characteristics.
On another note, what's stopping me from simply using an RCA-to-headphone adapter and plugging my headphones into the line out of my SP-9? I understand this isn't exactly 'ideal' and there may be impedance issues, but if it isn't 'unsafe' for my SP-9 (I'm not sure if it is), could I potentially eliminate the need for a headphone amp? BTW, I tried this BRIEFLY with a cheap adapter and it sounded acceptable, but again, I'm not sure if this is safe. Perhaps if I invested in a audiophile grade adapter could this work?
Thanks for your input! I will definitely check out the RSA... I've just signed up for a head-fi account.