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Looking to pick up my first ever standalone headphone amp. Would you guys recommend this as a good all-around first amp or should I wait for something else?
Plan to use with TEAC UD-501 and Fostex TH-X00.
Can't speak for you but my 2 cents.
O2 is a neutral amp, meaning its like a USB cable. Its function is to transfer the signal the way it received. Its unlike other audiophile jewelry like tube amps that color the sound (though that may sound pleasing to some). Also don't be fooled by the low price. Original Schiit Asgard (a 250 USD amp) had gotten NwAvGuy (designer of O2 amp) banned from Head-Fi for correctly pointing out a major design flaw that could damage headphones. Its open source design so Bill Of Materials is published online. You are not paying for the marketing and sales overhead either.
Doesn't TEAC already come with a really good inbuilt amp? Why do you want a different amp? If you really want an additional amp you should look at a balanced amp which would at least take advantage of TEAC's capability.
The Gustard H-10 is a balanced amp, which you might be interested in. I have read good things about the amp, but don't have a balanced setup myself. Please do your own research before buying. You don't need redundant hardware.
Balanced/unbalanced signals are electrically the same. The only difference is the voltage level and ground. Its exactly like RCA/XLR scenario. Since XLR (balanced) voltage level is higher, it sometimes gives an impression as a "better" signal. Also, IMO, its another opportunity to sell some shiny, overpriced balanced cables. YMMV.
Well, if you want to attach an amp to TEAC UD-501 which already has a pretty good one it better be shiny! I don't see the point of adding O2 to his setup other than exploration.
My comment was about "balanced amp". This entity only exists in audiophile world. Its nearly-unknown in the pro-audio world (used by professionals who make the music). But hey, each to their own. If you like it, go for it. Just don't go for it thinking balanced is "better".