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Looking for a headphone amplifier
#1
Is there anyone who can recommend me a good (but affordable) headphone amplifier to connect to my Katana.
When I do some homeworking (1 or 2 days a week), or when I'm sitting at the computer at home, I usually listen to some music, but always with a headphone. At this moment my Katana is connected to a rather old Onkyo amplifier which plays pretty well, but I want to get rid of that amp. It is sitting on my desk under one of my monitors and takes a lot of space. Nothing else is connected, just the Katana.

Now, I have been looking around and I kinda fancy the S.M.S.L. T1 DAC/Headphone Amp. I'm not interested in the DAC part (well, it is nice to have) but merely in the headphone amp part. Does anyone have any experience with this one? Or some good (or bad) reviews?

Thx,
J
--- Bad sound kills good music ---
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#2
The JDS Labs Atom seems to be great value for money at $99 USD before shipping: https://www.jdslabs.com/products/190/atom-amp/
Measurements here: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum...-amp.5262/

What are your headphones? Do they need at lot of power from the amplifier?
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#3
(01-13-2019, 11:40 PM)rhizomusicosmos Wrote: The JDS Labs Atom seems to be great value for money at $99 USD before shipping: https://www.jdslabs.com/products/190/atom-amp/
Measurements here: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum...-amp.5262/

What are your headphones? Do they need at lot of power from the amplifier?

@JST

In regards to buying anything from US/Canada I recall having a rude awakening going back to the time when minuscule headphone amps housed in mints tin boxes were fashionable. I've purchased one such amp from JDS Labs and I had to pay extra for shipping and (ouch) the Customs & Excise and VAT fees... in the end there was a 70% price hike.

Try to focus on something sourced within EU retailers if you want to pay a more reasonable amount of money.... For instance this a 'search' made on Amazon UK:
headphone amp_AmazonUK

Which headphones do you use and what is your budget?
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#4
Thx guys, and Mike, yeah, you're right. But I was already aware of the extra costs.
Last year I bought some Mickey Mouse Earrings for the wifee...it was only $26 (roughly €22.6).
When the delivery guy came, I had to pay him another 20 euros for customs. He told me that, by default, anything (not electronics) over €22 gets at least an additional €20 for customs….expensive earrings. BTW, my wife already lost one… :-(

Anyway, I have 3 headphones and 1 earphone at home:
- Shure SRH1540 (46 Ohm - Over Ear) => Fantastic sound, very comfy
- Sony MDR-1A (24 Ohm - Over Ear) => Most used
- Sennheiser Wireless HDR180 (N/A  - Over Ear) => Great sound but not happy about the wireless part (it uses 2.4GHz...duh!!!)

- Shure SE425 (22 Ohm - In-ear)

Anybody an idea about that S.M.S.L. T1?

Johan

Update: about customs and stuff, I no longer buy in the US. Mostly I buy my stuff on Amazon.de and if you look at this, a lot comes out of China :-)
--- Bad sound kills good music ---
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#5
I agree with the hidden costs of buying from OS. I live in Australia and generally everything from the US ends up being effectively double the price whether you buy it over the net or from a local importer. We jokingly call it "The Australia Tax". I don't know the availability of JDS Labs' products in the EU . . .

Your headphones are all fairly low impedance, so you don't need a ton of power to drive them. I would suggest an amplifier with a low output impedance otherwise it might affect the frequency response of the headphones.

I haven't heard the SMSL T1 but I can see that it wouldn't suit me. That vacuum tube is simply there to add colour (i.e. distortion) -- I like my gear to be as transparent as possible which is why I suggested the Atom.
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#6
(01-14-2019, 08:27 PM)JST1963 Wrote: Thx guys, and Mike, yeah, you're right. But I was already aware of the extra costs.
Last year I bought some Mickey Mouse Earrings for the wifee...it was only $26 (roughly €22.6).
When the delivery guy came, I had to pay him another 20 euros for customs. He told me that, by default, anything (not electronics) over €22 gets at least an additional €20 for customs….expensive earrings. BTW, my wife already lost one… :-(

Anyway, I have 3 headphones and 1 earphone at home:
- Shure SRH1540 (46 Ohm - Over Ear) => Fantastic sound, very comfy
- Sony MDR-1A (24 Ohm - Over Ear) => Most used
- Sennheiser Wireless HDR180 (N/A  - Over Ear) => Great sound but not happy about the wireless part (it uses 2.4GHz...duh!!!)

- Shure SE425 (22 Ohm - In-ear)

Anybody an idea about that S.M.S.L. T1?

Johan

Update: about customs and stuff, I no longer buy in the US. Mostly I buy my stuff on Amazon.de and if you look at this, a lot comes out of China :-)

The valve amplifiers are an acquired taste (the coloration of the sound brought by the valves is uphold by many as the only true audiophile goal...).

Judging by your suggestion I volunteer some quick finds from UK sources:
- Project HEAD BOX DS (Black) £279
- Arcam rHead £168
- Cambridge Audio DUO  £199 (yes, it is a Phono and HP amp)
- SMSL SAP-12 Class A/B Headphone Amplifier  £120

A closer to home (and wise choice): Pro-ject Head Box S2_AmazonDE

A wider choice (again, UK-sourced list): http://www.audioaffair.co.uk/headphones/headphone-amps

I've been using for a few years mainly an Objective HP amp manufactured by a British company, Epiphany Acoustics (now 'out of business'). The amp has been designed by a chap called NwAvGuy (history here: O2 HP Amp and DETAILS ) This chap tried (and achieved) to demonstrate that spending inflated amounts of money doesn't bring neccessarily a matching hi-tech device). He made available over the Internet the product design specifics thus triggering a world-wide follow-up (one of the 'names' being JD Labs amongst others). If you can find a used Objective-based amp I'd say 'go for it... Angel 

Happy hunting!
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