Searching for Good Headphones & Headphone Amp

I currently use an Audio Refinement integrated amp coupled with Tyler Acoustics Linbrook Monitors. However, as my PhD-aspirant fiancée (in the middle of her dissertation) more often than not needs total quiet in our small apartment (save for when we share listening sessions!), surprisingly I find myself in need of good headphones under $100 (new only) and an headphone amplifier.

For headphone amps, I’ve read good things about Channel Islands at 6moons, but have never bought anything from CI. I don’t need anything overly ambitious, and I don’t want to spend a disproportionate amount on the amp compared to the price of the ‘phones. However, I do need these sooner rather than later, lest I be too long without listening!
You can't go wrong w/ Grado SR80 at $95 new. CI has been getting good reviews, but there is a lot to choose from at its price range, such as Gilmore, Headroom, and Grado amps.
Good luck,
I have a pair of Grado SR-60 headphones, and I have no complaints. In your price range (which was my price range too) I don't think you can do any better than the entry-level Grado products. I suggest that you check out and - they are dedicated to all things headphone.

I can't help you much with the amp. I recently purchased an older Rega Ear, but I have only a couple of hours of time on it thus far. Hope this helps.
You and your Fiancee share listening sessions? Lucky man! Do you two fight over the "sweet spot"...just kidding. Anyway, to try and answer your question, I've heard some really fabulous set-ups from Antique Sound Labs with my Grado's (SR-60@$75.) The A.S.L.'s can be a little pricey go to: @$299.00 US However, this amp has a seperate power supply and triode amp. section! If you are interested in using your fabulous Audio Refinement integrated-A.S.L. also makes a handy little gadget called the "UHC Signature Headphone Listening Device" @$150.00 US (NOTHING will remind you more of your current set-up as it uses everything you have except your Tyler Linbrook monitors with a "step down" transformer to convert impedance. If you want a really good solidstate amp. checkout the modern day classic Creek OBH 21 @295.00 US.
I hope I wasn't too late. Good Luck with your headphone/amp. mission! -Bruce30
The Grado 80s are ok but you may want to look at the $69 Grado 60s which sound warmer and not as bright as the 80s. I've owned the 60s, 80s, 325s, and RS1s. The Grado's are open though so the sound will leak out and other people will hear them. For closed headphones under $100 you can try the Sony MDR-V6 which are pretty good for the money. Also, try the MDR-XD400 which is good too. They are both closed so the sound won't leak.

For headphone amps around $100 your choices are limited. You can try the DIY guys who make nonbrand name stuff. Or try Headroom. I think they make one for around $150.

Hope this helps.
Consider going over to (non-profit) and (commercial) for good information. I own Sennheiser HD-600 and Antique Sound Labs MG HEAD DT OTL MKII Headphone Amplifier and am very pleased. I follow the approach of first deciding what style of phone (in the ear, around the ear, etc.) then how much you want to spend, the manufacturer's approach to sound, and finally the best match for a amp to the phones. It is worth taking your time. I had to jump without listening since I live in a very rural area with no dealers nearby. Good luck!
My Grado SR125 and Musical Fidelity X-Cans v3 make great music together. I've also got a pair of SR60s for computer listening, and they sound great too, but you will need the mini plug to 1/4 inch adaptor for the 60 or 80. The Musical Fidelity amp is a great deal for the $399 list price.

It depends on which concern is greater for you: providing your fiancee with a quiet atmosphere, or gaining the best headphone sound you can. If your goal is to have nice-sounding headphones which don't leak noise, then I'm affraid the Grado's might not be the best choice. I have SR 60s and 80s (someone gave me their 80s...don't ask) and love the sound, but don't love how much noise they leak into the room. If you don't mind in-ear headphones then the shure e3c is a nice choice, but a little over your budget. They make an e2c which I think is good, but think the 50 dollars jump to the e3c is totally worthwhile. These will provide you with an isolated listening experience, and provide your fiancee with total silence. The e3c lets you customize the earplug, and if you use the replacable foam ear-plug style ones, they're really comfortable and totally isolating. If your fiancee can deal with a little ambient noise, then definitely go for the sr-60s. Great sound for the price. The grado amp is good as well, but I think the CI amp is what I'd take if I had the scratch. A friend just got one from amusicdirect and it's a great sounding and looking thing.
I own the CI audio headphone amp and external optional power supply paired with Grado SR-60 and I love this combo. I also lokked at the Grado amp and the Musical Fidelity amp but found the CI Audio more dynamic and easier to listen to with all kind of music as opposed to MF and Grado which worked best with classical or jazz. Personnally I would have gone for the CEC HD-53 but it was out of my budget but if you can afford it, go for it. I also owned an Antique Sound lab but again found it a bit soft and lacking in dynamic with rock music.
I'll definitely second doing some research at You can also find info at A couple of good commercial sites are (headroom) and Todd the Vinyl (and headphone)Junkie. All of them provide really useful information. I know you'll be able to find something that meets your needs.
IVYINVESTOR! Lookin' thru some old threads & found this one again. What ever happened- some of may be curious to learn what you ended up gettin'/how/if you liked it or took any of suggestions? Post a "reply", please, thanks. -Bruce30
It's an old thread but for anyone else still looking at this I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Grado SR80s.

All the Sonys I've ever heard have been garbage, and I've heard a whole heap of them.