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I apologize for my ignorance, but I am a little confused, here. The hd650/hd6xx have warm signature sound. Tube amps have warm signature sound. So, warm hd650/hd6xx + warm tube amp = too warm. Is't that overkill? I really don't get it. Can someone explain why the hd650/hd6xx love tubes? Wouldn't be better to match the hd650/hd6xx with a solid state amp?
Depends on what the listener wants to hear. Not all tube amps are overly warm and can be "flavored" to preference by trying different tubes. Many "tube amps" are actually hybrids as well, which sound more like solid-state. Some people prefer solid-state, which is why you see many recommendations for the Schiit Jotunheim.
I'm wondering about this matching requirements too. How should one match a dac with an amp and a headphone? If one is warm, does the other need to be cold? Or does a warm headphone need another warm component?
Personal preference. You can mix & match components however you want in order to balance them out or to accentuate certain traits. Try not to think too deeply into it.
Solid state amps and a good transparent DAC aren't supposed to color the sound at all. So if you want it the way the artist intended, pretty much anything will work. If you want to color it, tubes will work. That's really all there is to it. Every blind test done shows people can't tell a difference beyond that. This hobby has an immense amount of snake oil.
Get the Schiit Stack and be done with it, or a Jotunheim. Then the headphone itself is by far the most important part of the chain. HD6XX is a great one to have. It's probably around the point of major diminishing returns, you can be perfectly happy with just that and the Stack as your endgame, and the whole thing will cost you under $500. I think it's closer to $400 actually.
If you want to color the sound, still get a DAC, the Schiit Modi is fine, and then get a tube amp, Bottlehead Crack with Speedball is a fantastic choice, and will cost you around $500 or so total. So around $800 total with these headphones for your end game.
What do you think of the O2 amplifier?
They're great too. Maybe preferable (some better connection options). There are probably more options, but Schitt and JDS Labs are well known for their value.
What's the story on Woo Audio. Are you familiar with their amps?
Did you built your own bottlehead crack? I'm looking for a builder who can help with that. lol...
Some folks on reddit says they can't hear a difference between Fulla2 and Jot with their HD650. I suspect I might be one of them. So does that mean Fulla2 would be the endgame for me? Now that would be an extremely economical endgame. lol...
The WA7 fireflies look incredibly tempting...
They must be inexperienced or using easy to drive headphones that don't benefit much from an amp. The HD650/6XX are best with a relatively powerful amp and the Fulla 2 doesn't output enough power in the 300 to 600 ohm range to really drive high impedance & lower sensitivity headphones to their potential.
Fulla2 could definitely be end game for you if you're only intending to run headphones in the 32 ohm and under category. You'll need a bit more power to run something like the sennheiser hd6xx/650.
Thanks this is very useful info. How to tell if a particular dac/amp or even a DAP has enough power in the 300-600ohm range to drive high impedance & lower sensitivity headphones to their full potential?
Take for example from this spec sheet ( http://www.fiio.net/en/products/65/parameters ), if it stated power output as " ≥28 mW（300Ω / THD+N＜1%) ", will this suffice?
The other interesting observation is the Balanced out power output of ≥26 mW（300Ω / THD+N＜1%) but Output impedance at ＜3Ω (32Ω loaded) , is this worst off? This means more noise for higher sensitivity IEMs (with ideal being 1Ω), but won't affect lower sensitivity headphones like HD6XX?
The HD650 uses what, 200mw? It's easy enough to drive. The Magni, the O2, pretty much any decent amp in 2017 outputs that power cleanly. Heck I'm pretty sure you can drive it from a USB DAC/AMP too.
Not the Fulla 2, which is what I was talking about. Only 40mW at 300 ohms. It might get "loud enough" but the sound quality will suffer. Keep in mind that the HD650/6XX has a nice impedance hump up to around 500 ohms below 200 Hz.
Fulla 2 Specs from Schiit's Website:
Maximum Power, 16 Ohms: 550mW RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 32 ohms: 360mW RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 50 ohms: 230mW RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 300 ohms: 40mW RMS per channel
Fair enough. That's why I suggest the Magni 2, it's the same price but it should have enough power to drive pretty much everything except some of the planars (really HE-600 or something). One of the cool things about Schiit is they actually do list the power output, it's hard to get that info out of a lot of other vendors. That's one reason people have so much trouble matching amps and such. If the numbers were out there to compare it would be a lot easier.
I would argue against that. True, a lot of snake oil, true headphones are the most important part of the chain. But good tube amps wont color the sound much more than solid state, and they bring other good qualities, soundstage, transparency, plankton, ect. HD650 pairs excellent with the schiit valhala 2.
I have the Modi 2 Multibit which is excellent paired with my Valhalla 2. With my HD 700s, I'm in Audio heaven! Thinking seariously about the 6XX as they would fulfill a need in certain genres.
I will never give up my DAC/amp
combo even if I get one
of Schiits top of the line DACs.
The Modi MB is the same as the Bifrost MB with the exception of the outward power supply, that's it! That is even according to powers that be at Schiit. I think they are the best truthful audio business on our planet.