Headline headphone amp

For £350 for both is not a bad price as long as both are fine
I use the hd800s and liked them with a bit more warmth then the headline2 could offer and so went with a second hand violectic V281, a great combo

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I’ve not listened to a naim headphone amp, so my opinion is just that. So counts for little.
Covid aside, I’d strongly suggest taking your cans on a tour of dealers and listening to some amps. £350 might be pushing the budget new.
Lehmann linear was a favourite of mine when I was trawling the dealers. Pre owned they can be had for £450 to £500.
If I had your budget, I’d start and perhaps finish there.
A few us on here ended up with Violectric v281, such as @Dunc. A monster of an amp. Will drive most cans, but a bit north of your budget.
Take a listen to lehmann.

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Well the HeadLine isn’t a headphone amp. You’re misunderstanding how Naim products work. It’s just a functional frontend. HL2/NAPSC, HL2/FCxs, HL2/HCdr, and HL2/SCdr are all different headphone amps. A HL2 on its own does nothing. Just like a 282 on its own isn’t a preamp. So a HL/SCdr should really be thought of as a GBP 6k headphone amp and the HL2/NAPSC a GBP 800 headphone amp.

Back on topic, the NAPSC output is a few volts lower than the output from all the other power supplies. I certainly found my HL2 didn’t wake up with the NAPSC. With a HCdr though it was a superb headphone amp that saw off many others I tried with HD600 and HD800. At the time I felt it was end game.

Of course, now the HL2/HCdr are in storage and I discovered something else that is sufficiently superior whereby the HL2 is unlikely to see the light of day again. But if you can get hold of a second hand olive HC with a good service history and the HL2 as a set for a bargain, I think you’ll need to spend a lot more to improve on that.

If the OP wants to just tick the headphone without crazy money, I drove HD600 with a Rega Ear for 15 years. I think I’d prefer that to any NAPSC powered HL.The Ear punches way above it’s weight and drives HD600 great.


Second hand olive HC with decent service is going to be £400?
Preowned HCdr that’s not due a service is what £1,000?
The OP’s budget will struggle. The napsc might make the HL work, but that’s not the same as work as it should. And yes, supercap could make a HL sound as good as it will get, but…

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Yes - I’m looking at one now. It’s in great condition. But yes, you always take a leap of faith to some degree ! I’m pretty sold on it now. Impressed with level of feedback and involvement on this forum ! Cheers :+1: I have heard better P/S can greatly improve the headline.

I misunderstand what this response relates to ? Apologies I haven’t mentioned a 5k power supply ?

Yes I’ve read about the violetric and the Lehmann recently - perhaps on this forum. But yes I have to draw a line with budget ! There’s a few on eBay.

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Thanks to everyone who’s weighed in on this. Pretty impressive really in terms of response and involvement (or are we all just having a bit of a break from the Christmas routines) !

Cheers :+1:

It was a response to the idea of putting the £5000 supercap to power the £500 headline, that’s all

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Well obviously it needs to be powered, we all know that don’t we? As the headline on its own doesn’t have a power supply

If you have one going spare why not :wink:
You are right though I would not buy one especially.
The same applies to phonostage power supplies.
I also wanted to say that alot of Naim preamps have powered sockets but confess to not knowing if this is feasible with the 102. Works nicely with a 252.

Nice way of putting it. When that was precisely what I did there was nothing else that compared. However, the main point is that opinions on the Headline depend very much on the power supply used. It becomes a very different proposition with the bigger power supplies, which one can of course merrily buy second hand now, as one has to do with the Headline.

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I think you’ve rather missed the point there, but I reckon you’re just in good rhetorical form today :slight_smile:

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£350 seems very good for the two boxes. If you buy it and enjoy it, you could always improve it with a Hicap later. Everyone has their favourite but if you want a Headline then get a Headline. Why not?

I was rather disappointed to read Richard’s comment about the 2 being better, as the original Olive is such a cute little box with its rubber edged volume knob, which would of course match your 102. If it was me I’d get the Olive one just to have it matching. That’s so shallow I know.


Well I really like my headline2 plus hicap2 plus Grado RS1. Great for late night early morning listening…

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Certainly not after any reaction.
I guess if you have a spare supercap then as you say why not, but buying a supercap to use on a headline isn’t really a great way to use the funds, as to start with the headline only want 2 power rails I think, so that leaves 8 left I think in the supercap un used? But even if them numbers aren’t quite right, for a lot less than £5500 you will get a headphone amp that will be far superior.
Nothing wrong with the headline, but it does have its limits

Half of the 5.5k will give one the excellent Atom HE which includes a free streamer then :slight_smile:

Hi Richard moving this on a touch would the headline 2& napsc still be preferential over headline1 and hicap?

Cheers !

I know - it’s first world problems ! Cheers for your thoughts - I too wanted the olive to be the best bet. Where it’s going it won’t be as noticeable as the rest so I’d be happy with either. It’s good to hear knowledge about the subject though and if it does perform better then so be it. Been very useful :+1:

I’m not sure the Headline drives the HD600 that well. The Headline 2 is much better here.in fact a much better headphone amp all-round and no volume pot issues like you can get with the original from the floating pot.