A Headphone Amplifier thread

Sorry but I owned a SN2 for a couple of years, I thought the headphone out was average at best. I also owned a Hugo 1 at the same time, and it wiped the floor with the SN2. I only own Sennheiser Momentums, which are an easy load, and it was quite obvious within seconds how much better the Hugo was. Last night I listened to the headphone out of my new Hugo TT2, with the same headphones, and it was spectacular. Only problem is, now I need to upgrade my headphones to get everything the TT2 offers.


I auditioned the Sennheisers but didn’t find them to be as good as the planar Oppo PM2s.

I suppose the TT2 could sound better than the SN2 but my point was that with a nice 2 box system (NDX2 and SN2) there is such a great headphone amp included that you wouldn’t need to spend on more boxes.

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I assume it’s the battery in the Pono that’s failing? If so, there are inexpensive replacements available and you can even DIY - the internet shows you how.

I love the combination of Ponoplayer and HD600s in balanced mode (its even very good in SE mode, but just that much better in balanced). It is just so effortlessly musical in a way that i just haven’t managed to find with the many other DAPs I’ve owned and tried. I think that the design of the output stage may well be the reason. Charles Hansen of Ayre did a fantastic job here, and what a shame he is now gone.

Until Naim come out with a DAP I have bought a NOS Ponoplayer as a spare, just in case…


can anyone explain balance connections and why they are/are not useful?


Not sure the link is ok, but it’s an application note (not a sales link) from Benchmark (makers of studio DACs now widely used in consumer / home space)… a clear and understandable explanation of balanced versus unbalanced connections in (audio) electronics, @BruceW


Regards, alan

I have one of these on demo - a Mytek Brooklyn Bridge. It’s a complete network / DAC / Headphone amp so it’ll be interesting to see how it performs in my headphone system against the Streambox / Sony 1Z that I normally use.

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The link works and I will digest it later


@sevs – well, sometimes life is too short for extensive A/B comparisons. :grinning:

Did you ever have a chance to listen to the HD800S. I am using these as I write this, and listen to Brahms Symphony No. 3 (Jansons/Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra). Simply gorgeous! :heart_eyes:

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Good luck – I tried, but too much for my “stomach”. Back to focussing on music… :grinning:

Yes, and once/if I recover from recent misfortunes I will get me HD800 to be driven by Naim Uniti Star.
My all-time favorite Brahms is under Bohm but mostly because I grew up with those LPs. I envy you! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

This is what I am going to do, thank you for confirming my worst suspicions about the rest of DAPs!!! Some look like jewelry, some priced so high they just MUST sound spectacular, but none so far managed to beat my rather cheap and ugly Pono, at least to my ears. Yes, a few weeks ago I replaced its battery, and now pray that Naim will enter the field of portables.If Ayre could do it, why not Naim?

Or should we start a Kickstarter Campaign for Naim portable player? :grinning:

at least in Pono player, when it is set into a “balanced mode” then second amp, otherwise dormant, kicks in. The end result is similar to bi-amping.

What have you compared to the Pono ?

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Sorry to hear that you had recent misfortunes— I hope all will be fine soon gain!!

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Whatever is out there during the shows, usually A&K, Fiio, etc… As I said, Questyle had my attention for a bit longer than other beauties.
For my daily use I have half-dozen iPods (iModded and not) into Ray Samuels h/p amps (Hornet and RS-71), owned hi-res HiFi Man DAP when it came out, but could not stand its software glitches and threw it away, and, of course, iPhone with Beyerdynamics/A&K amp.
Since I was not a fan of ripping my CD collection, my main interest was in portable CD players, not DAPs. Here is my collection before it started overflowing the desk space:


I can see at least three there I have, your missing one of the red round Iriver ones, the was always my favourite, I’ll have to hunt it out again.

Wow, what a collection!

Yep - that is some collection :sunglasses:

I heard this paired with the new HeadAmp GS Mini at CanJam NY. Quite an enjoyable setup. I will be curious to hear your findings.



Gregg – the Bridge is proving to be very good and a good match with my Z1R phones. A few tweaks in the menu (HP only, Analogue volume control) and it really sings. It betters the 1Z when the 1Z is running as a USB DAC and is certainly on par with the 1Z when this playing from memory. It integrates nicely with Roon as a simple plug and play solution and I’d have no hesitation in getting one. Not tried wireless but have it plugged into my ‘audio’ network – Nucleus and Cisco 2960.


I thought I’d give the USB input a try using my Streambox S2 Ultra the same I use with the 1Z at home and for me this is better than the network connection. Via Ethernet, all is good, but the USB connection (via Chord C USB) has more drive and is even more fun to listen to. I’ve swapped back and forth a few times now and the results are consistently in favour of the USB connection so if I do go down the Mytek route it will be the Brooklyn DAC+ rather than the Bridge – ok it’s not one box but the Streambox is very small and can be tucked away. Summary, I could live happily ever after with the Brooklyn Bridge but need to hear some of the competition first.

Next on the list is the Hugo TT2 which I should have later this week to demo. I’m tempted to give the DAVE a try but fear this may lead into too much temptation…


PS - That HeadAmp GS Mini looks rather tasty. That coupled with a Chord Qutest…:grinning:

You have started something now…
The Iriver SlimX IMP-400 (sold 1999-2002)
…20 years in the loft (the mp3 cd-rw inside is dated Nov 1999 a Neil Young mix and for some reason the theme from Buffy the Vampire Slayer!) insert batteries and it works and sounds rarther good!

(phones Fidue A83 from 2014)

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