Nov 4, 201671558 views

Recommend AMP / DAC for the HD 6XX

Does anyone have a suggested AMP / DAC for the Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 6XX?

Thanks everyone for the suggestions, after review I ended up getting the Schiit Modi 2 and Vali 2!
ivelin.tenev, Alexander Sangster, and 40 others

on a budget go for the mayflower objective 2 odac it has a dac and an amp for 200 or if you are a gamer and want a lot of options like connecting a mic and bass boost for games and music then go for the arc by mayflower
loxjie p20 run balanced.
Chord Mojo (using that at home)
Magni works for me

I was wondering where you got that stand that your equipment is on looks like exactly what I need for my equipment
Sure thing fanatic, I found it on amazon, it was around forty bucks, it is a sturdy little rack though. Obviously I think it looks good too :)

I recommend Topping D70 DAC with the THX AAA 789 amp for reference, and a Dark Voice tube amp for when you just wanna change it up. Don't forget to buy a XLR balanced cable from Periapt, while you're at it.
Yes indeed, a very nice combination, i have the Topping D70 + THX789 as well, highly recommendable! Very High End Sound for "Little" Money.
I partly chose the D70 because it's flatter, and more linear than the ESS DACs.
SCHIIT FULLA 2 - Love it
Most people have covered the combo, I can drive it directly with my LG V20 with ease, or adding my Fiio A5 on-the-go. For home use I have my modi/ Multi -> attenunator -> buffer stage (can be LM4562 or Muse8920, a heatsink is sticked on top which makes it harder to see) -> attenuator -> Asgard 2 or opamp rolled gustard H10 or X7s
My experience as a 6XX owner has been that more power = better results. The low end fills in more (in a tasteful/classy way, not a rumbly/thumpy/beats-by-dre way) when supplied with an abundance of watts. Straight off my phone < straight off my laptop < Small Portable Fiio Q1 DAC/AMP < Schiit Jotunheim single-ended connection < Schiit Jotunheim Balanced XLR output The Jotunheim is rated to (a lot) more power output over it's XLR output then it's single-ended. Once I got a 3rd party XLR cable for the 6XX from Periapt, and used that with my Jot, the low end frequencies that I had thought were missing with the 6XX suddenly showed up, and these became pretty versatile "all-around" performers, not just "great for jazz/vocals/easy-listening" headphones....
+1 Useful
I see the OP has made their decision but I'll add my option anyway. A while ago I was looking for a way to interface digital sources with my existing vintage stereo and in a way that supports remote volume control for family friendliness. I decided on an Essence HDACC as it supports HDMI audio extraction which is just a convenient way to handle AV sources. Turns out the thing has a decent headphone amp that has impedance matching settings up to around 600 ohms. The HD6XX phones are 300 ohms so that's all good. I don't need to go buy another thing, the HDACC does a decent job. What do I think of the product? Well, I am not sure. Sound quality seems about on par with my 1980s AMC CD8a CD player at that digital resolution. That may seem an indictment on the HDACC however, that player is magic. I selected it as being the most expressive and musically dynamic across the whole spectrum. In fact it is the only one I could find at the time that had the whole spectrum covered in this regard and I haven't come across anything substantially better in all the years since. It may be old tech but extraordinarily exceptional IMO. The Essence HDACC will handle a wide range of HRA which the CD8A will not. It does concern me though that the HDACC is not grounded and the supplied power supply is switch mode. I queried this and was told they are designed to work together and I should neither ground the unit nor upgrade the power supply..... Not sure what to make or that. It should be noted that HDMI typically does leak RF profusely and that makes me think it should be grounded. This seems to be true of every HDMI installation I have seen. Anyway, the HDACC gives the HD6XXs a great sound so I am not about to change it over anytime soon. HDACC is superseded by a newer model which sells for around US$600. You might find the older one for around US$400 but its a digital audio control center, not just a simple headphone amp and mine has proved very useful indeed. Personally I think you'd have to go to another level in phones, like say the Focal Utopia before upgrading the head amp from this level. Just an opinion though.
I don't like how they advertise their DAC as an "upsampler" which "makes all your music sound better" by upsampling it to 24/192. Nope. I'm afraid the opposite is true. Music always sounds better when you don't monkey around with it. Upsampling is not as bad as filtering, but you can't make sound out of nothing. You can't take a 16/44.1 and magically add the missing sounds back into it. It doesn't work like that. I feel like they are misleading people with their advertising, and I wouldn't want to support a company like that. I hope you'll excuse my saying so. Now, go back to enjoying your 24/192 music. p.s. They also advertise that their product "plays Blu-ray discs via HDMI". So, tell me... How do you insert a blu-ray disc into an HDMI port?
Yep, I don't disagree with your comments about up sampling. However, it's a user selectable option (users choice). So, that seems like refusing to buy a car because it has handling modes you don't need. Ken
I will soon be purchasing these headphones, I was wondering what type of amp / DAC I should get. I'll be using the headphones more for gaming and also listen to music like EDM,Lo-Fi, rap hip,hop. So I'm trying to get more low-end from these headphones. Also I don't know the difference from an amp and a DAC if someone could explain it I would be thankful.
"DAC" stands for "digital-to-analog-converter." It's the device that receives a digital file (FLAC, ALAC, MP3, AAC, OGG, etc) and converts the 1's and 0's to an analog waveform that can be used to make a transducer (speakers or headphones) move in and out and produce sound.... Amp is short for "amplifier". It amplifies the analog waveform created by the DAC and provides the power to drive your speakers or headphones. These are 300-ohm headphones, so these aren't easy to drive... they'll need stronger amplification than a lot of other headphones. In my experience, as you increase amplification power, you'll get better and better results with these headphones, particularly in terms of bass. My Fiio Q1 is only rated to 190 mw into 32 ohms (or 75 mW into 150 ohms). They don't even show a rating at 300 ohms. When I try these headphones with the Q1, they can get pretty loud, but the sound is "thin" and the low end just isn't there. But my desktop amp (Schiit Jotunheim) is rated to 5000 mW (per channel) at 32 ohms, and 900 mW (per channel) at 300 ohms, when using a balanced XLR cable I bought from Periapt.... and with that amount of amplification, these headphones sound much fuller and are much more impressive. The base response on these still isn't as big or articulate as my Fostex TR-X00's or my Audeze LCD-2C's, but it's a lot better when being driven at 900 mW then it is off any of my less-capable amps... Hope this helps.
DAC stands for Digital to Analog Converter. It's what turns your bits and bytes into audible noises. The amp just makes things louder by adding power. More power helps headphones be able to convert the electric waves into soundwaves more efficiently. This can help the magnetic drivers make the bass sound more thumpy and pleasurable. It can bring out the highs and make them sparkle, instead of hiss. So, it can be helpful even if your current setup is already "loud enough". That said, every time you add another part into the equation opportunities arise for the introduction of noise, distortion, etc. So, a bad DAC or amp could have a negative impact. That's why I recommend you spend the money on a good one, with rave reviews. Even if you have to be placed on a waiting list for 6 months. You'll be a lot happier in the end, and if you take care of it, it could provide you a lifetime of enjoyment. You'll certainly appreciate it a lot more, in the long run.
Loxjie p20 balanced tube amp. And a ifi nano black label using line out for the burr brown dac bypassing the s balanced amp inside the ifi bl. These are the best bang for buck items ive found.

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Ifi line out is balanced. Using 3.5 mm jack 4 pole balanced to balanced x2 xlr 3pin male the headphone cable must be balanced male xlr 4 pin. Loxjie is only balanced via its xlr connections or channel 1 in and channel 1 out. Finding a 4pole 3.5 mm jack balanced to x2 xlr 3 pin is hard. I had mine made by oidio sound which is a uk company

Loxjie p20 balanced tube amp. And a ifi nano black label using line out for the burr brown dac bypassing the s balanced amp inside the ifi bl. These are the best bang for buck items ive found.

Bottlehead Crack w/Speedball upgrade. (Fantastic headphone amp for the price, and fun to build...but you have to be willing to build!) For DAC, if you can get a good price, check out SMSL M9 and M10 (which actually have their own amps, though I use the unamplified output on my M9 into my Bottlehead Crack.)
I didn't just go into buying an amp or DAC for 1 headset, but for every headset I own. I started with an inexpensive Topping NX4. Portable with great reviews, lots of power and a great battery. I've used it with my ipods (3.5mm) and Samsung note 8 USB C. (It sounds better when you can use the USB input.) Update I now have used it with my laptop using lossless FLAC files and I can't hear much of a difference between that and the phone streaming hi res files. Anyway, it's more than enough for: Beats executive (1st headset I ever bought), 1 more triple driver (seriously amazing... maybe my favorite), Status audio cb1 (don't laugh they're dope and inexpensive), and all my IME's (tons, too many to list) This portable unit came up short however when powering these headsets. Sennheiser hd6xx Hifiman he4xx AKG7xx (I'm on the fence with the Beyerdynamic DT... options) but whatever I pick, it will be their high ohm version. So I bought a Emotiva x-100 and added the jumpers for the headset jack to get the full power of the amp. I won't power the top headsets with it (it can easily blow them), and you can hear that power hum but these bottom cans come alive! My setup goes: Source (player, ipod etc.) At 80% Nx4 used as volume control (from 30% to...) Emotiva at 70% (knob set and I don't move it) It's worked beautifully for any headset that's high ohm or tough to drive. And now regardless of what I buy, I'm sure I have more than enough power to get them to shine. Im now looking into a better digital player so the source will give me the best sound.
I use it with my LG V30 and it sounds great! :)
Thoughts on Fostex hPa4- BL for Sennheiser HD 6xx ?
I'd just get an atom. HPA4 has a tiny amount of power if you want planars.
Ditto on the Atom. I've had one for several months and am quite pleased. It gets solid (even rave) reviews from many enthusiast and pro web sites, especially at the price point. It's my first hp amp, however, and I have no basis for comparison. Anybody have more experience with it and other amps?
Hello everyone! So I need some help with these amp/dac combos. I'm currently looking at the Schiit Audio Magni amp for the HD 6XX (haven't purchased yet). I already have a Focusrite 2i4 Audio Interface that I got for a good deal back when I got JBL LSR30X powered speakers from here. So I guess I'm wondering if I can use the Focusrite 2i4 as a DAC alongside the Magni amp to power the HD 6XX.
before you buy anything from schiit, check out I bought from them schiit bifrost multibit, kinda regreting it, i ended up with topping DX7s from massdrop, much better and refined. I use it to drive 6XX, Amiron, AKG 7xx and superb.
Or you could check out SBAF and find the opposite advice. Its no secret that Amir has a personal hatred of Schiit audio. His cherry picking of measurements and sleight of hand in their interpretatuon is terribly misleading. Learn to interpret the graphs yourself and steer clear of his "interpretations". Also you should find a more reliable professional not a hobbyist. AtomicBob on SBAF is a prime example. I strongly suggest you compare the two dacs with your own ears instead of going on Amiss commentary.
I’m stuck between what amp/dac combo I should get. I’m thinking the Schiit stack or the JDS Labs Atom + Topping D10. Any other suggestions? What’s better? Ive never owned or has experience with any dac or amps so I probably wouldn’t be overly critical between them.
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I spent about $350 full retail on my setup in my comment above. And it's options for both portable and home use. Check it out!
Dual mono is balanced, "balanced" is not necessarily dual mono. As someone irrationally obsessed with this topology thought I would throw that clarification out there. Own the UD-501 and can attest to it's performance, mated to a Cayin iHA-6. The L/R channel of my stereo are Emotiva monoblocks. I find I get better low level listening out of these designs and imaging that gets a nice boost as well.
Hey guys I'm just getting into this and I'm looking for a dac\amp under 400$ I just got the Sennheiser 6xx and I have planned to buy some akg7xx and maybe hifiman4xx if they ever come out again lol, anything helps thanks!
From doing my own research as well as getting suggestions from others I noticed a lot of people like the schiit stack (Modi + Magni) as a really good starting DAC / AMP. It comes out to just under $200 USD without tax or shipping.
See my post above. Literally how I drive every headset you mentioned and for about $350 total. Plus it's portable and home use!
I paired mine with a Schiit stack and it sounds wonderful. Great price/performance ratio for all components.
Ifi nano black label via 3.5 balanced out trrs to 2 xlr 3pin in on the loxjie p20 balanced tube amp. Balanced modded xlr 4 pin headphone cable to hd6xx. Cables supplied by oidio sound, a quality gem company i found for all cable needs. I say this because getting a 3.5 mm trrs to 2xlr cable is hard very hard.
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The ifi nano bl has a iem match for low ohms 3.5mm jack. The line out 3.5mm at the back is for ifi as a dac only and to a dedicated or seperate amp for power.
Just some food for thought: a “proper” speaker setup often contains a DAC/Record Player, then a PreAmp, then a Power Amp, finally the speakers. Double amping has been a part of audio chains for a long, long time. More food: all DACs include some form of amping during the creation of the analog signal, it’s just some don’t have a variable output. With a line out, really you’re just bypassing a potentiometer, resistor relays, or other method to control the output volume, but it’s still going through an “amp.” A clean DAC output (with a low distortion amp component that doesn’t bottleneck the system’s performance) connects to a very high impedance amp input (think thousands of Ωs on those amp inputs) because it’s the “easiest” kind of load for a voltage-operation amp.
DAC: Schiit Modi 3 ($99) Amp: JDS Lab Atom (solid state amp, $100) or Little Dot MKII (tube amp, $120 in Massdrop) with tubes (Voshkod 6ZH1P-EV and Russian 6H6P-I) Atom is cleaner and the bass is tighter and more impactful. Little Dot is more fun, sound more like you are listening in a real concert. I like to listen music with the Little Dot and watch movie and gaming with Atom.
I bought the CTH+SDAC from Massdrop to use with the 6xx. It sounds superb, lots of power, lots of strong, honest bass, and at the price it's really hard to imagine anything better.
EarStudio ES100 This little thing is and has been my favorite. I use it now more frequently than any of the five other DAC's I own.
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will try to find a colleague with the proper lightning adapter to test this out (my work mobile is an iPhone.) For personal use I'm all Android, iOS has some pretty limited BT codecs and the lack of expandable memory is a dealbreaker for my purposes.
Yes, you can use an ES100 with an Apple Camera Connection Kit (sometimes shortened to CCK, I have the USB 3 model that also has another lightning port for charging your phone) connected to an iPhone. If you get the smaller USB 2 CCK, it shouldn’t be too awkward on the go since the ES100 is pretty small and light too. I don’t know if you can still use the EarStudio app when connected with USB though, haven’t tested that. However, Bluetooth codecs sound so good these days you might have a hard time hearing the difference with an Apple Music or Spotify stream. If you have a junk USB cable (like the one that came with my printer, which still works fine for that purpose), the wired connection might actually sound WORSE than just using Bluetooth!
I think you made very good choices. I also have the Vali 2, chosen specifically because I've never had any tube equipment before, and I wanted to try some tube rolling. With an adapter, you can get into the 6SN7 family of tubes, considered by many to be THE classic tube for rolling. Because so many of them were made, you can still get great sounding versions for reasonable money, and there is plenty of info/advice on the internet about how various 6SN7s sound. I also tried 6F8Gs (the forerunners of the 6SN7) and I actually prefer them in general (takes a different adapter). I love the amp and think it's a great value, but beware - if you decide to try tube rolling, Ebay becomes a very dangerous place. For DACs, I started with a Dragonfly Black, because it's the cheapest way to try MQA. I just recently got a Modi Multibit (Xmas gift). The Dragonfly is impressive for the price, but I'm finding the Modi to be a more engaging listen.
Before you put the $ on gear, do yourself a favor and try a good cable such as the Moon Audio blue dragon or the silver dragon if it’s within your budget
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If you’re investing in the DIY route, silver solder is a better conductor than tin/lead. Double Helix makes good stuff. The stock Sennheiser cable isn’t bad either, you have to get really good stuff to get a better sounding cable, but it’s easier to find crap cables that will make it sound worse!
Lol cables.
The Parasound Zdac2 works for me.
an AudioGD R2R DAC + DarkVoice 336 fitted with TungSol 5998 power tube is the best match i have heard so far for the HD6xx without going into big money combos
I'm using Audio-GD NFB1-AMP for my HD6XX, K7XX & LCD2C. It drives all 3 cans effortlessly. All via balanced connection except for the AKG. Planning to mod it soon. DAC by Audio-GD as well, the R1.
I previously ran it from a Schiit stack (Modi Multibit + Vali 2)but I felt that it didn't really do the 6XX justice. My current amp/dac that I run it through is the Sony TA-ZH1ES. I hear it pairs well with OTL tube amps, but to my surprise it sounds great with my "Tazzy", esp when run balanced.
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It was surprising at first pairing, I didn't think they'd pair well given that Tazzy is a SS amp. But it just sounds so perfectly balanced, hard to describe. Take my general impressions with a grain of salt because I've swapped out the stock pads with the Dekoni hybrids, but going across from the stack to Tazzy, I noticed much better bass extension, the "Sennheiser veil" being completely obliterated (a testament to how underpowered they were from the Schiit stack I suppose), and slightly better treble extension, although the somewhat dark, warm core characteristics still carried over. the Dekoni pads definitely made it darker than stock form, but personally it's not something I mind.
Hmm, sounds like Sony understands the flavor I like in SS amps. I also enjoy the Cavalli Liquid Carbon and Sennheiser HDV 820 amps, Cavalli was right to call his amps “Liquid” and the Sennheiser is in this same vein. I’ll let you know if I pick up the Sony DAP. I appreciate your description, well-seasoned though it may be (and who likes their steak cooked completely plain anyway?)