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Hi guys :) Would this amp be too much to use with the Massdrop x HIFIMAN HE-350 ? or will it be a definitive improvement ?
Yeah what value would this bring to the Massdrop x HIFIMAN HE-350 for a newb to amps/quality focused headphones?
From what people have been saying regarding the 350s, from a few reviewers I have quite a fair bit of respect for, they are categorized as being a little harsh on the treble - which is understandable for their price range.
Tube amps have been known to tame the highs on headphones that overly emphasize them and I know this to be true for a fact because I own Beyerdynamic T90s which have been described as "treble murder" by a lot of people as well as HD800s and the Darkvoice does sweeten them up and make the sound more pleasant to my ears. It's not a super tubey sounding amp but it does relax the sharpness of super high quality headphones, so I am assuming it will have a similar (though maybe not as relevant) effect with the Hifimans.
It's mostly preference, depends on what sort of sound you like/are looking for. A DAC/amp combo will invariably make them sound better as I'm sure Hifiman have done a great job (I own several of their planar headphones), whether or not you want a tube amp (over solid state) that costs 2x+ their price is up to you. The Darkvoice is very good and I find it difficult to believe you'd ever be disappointed with it if you do purchase one.
OTL (Output Transformerless) tube AMPs aren't really for low impedance headphones like the HE-350 or TH-X00. OTL AMPs have higher output impedance and put more power in the higher OHM range so you need higher OHM headphones. If you want tube amps for low OHM headphones then look for Transformer Coupled Tube amps (More expensive though) which will have lower output impedance and put the power in the lower OHM range. Or get a hybrid solid state tube amp, which are lowered price.