Headphone suggestions for the Nova


I am seeking for a decent headphones to enjoy classical musical (especially symphonies), instrumental and vocal jazz. I initially thought that it was a simple operation : listen to some headphones and pick the one I enjoy…But friends, it tend to be a headache for several reasons :

1)- I could find technical informations about the power of the headphones out of the Naim. What is the maximum impedance they can handles (The Sennheiser HD820 and HD800s are about 300ohms). The Headphone output of the Nova can handle these kind of headphones ?

2)- Someone suggested me to consider investing in a headphone amp…I don’t know a lot about Hifi, but it seems a little bit difficult to do this with the Nova, lots of headphone amp are coupled with a dac but i want to use the Nova’s dac and just use the hypothetical power amp (if needed). Is it difficult to do ?

Ps. Does anyone own one of these reference : Sennheiser HD800s / 820, Fostex 900 Mk2, Meze Empyrean ?

Best regard

Just FYI, a similar thread (not easy to see from title) is here:

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Thank you Suedkiez, i just saw the topic. The main subject if the Atom, but i am not sure the Nova and the Atom shares the same headphones out spec, and “outs”.

Yes it is not the same and there is some discussion about this in that thread, but the Nova’s, though better, is also not a dedicated headphone amp, and so I guess there will be recommendations that you might find interesting.

So far my audeze lcd2c and lcd4 headphones sound fn fantastic. My focal elegra (?) Sound great as well. Old set up was rem adi 2 fs and a cayin ha 1a

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I have HD800s and they work great with the Nova…


@anon49920352 @pslosarc

Thank you for the reply. Do you plug them directly to the Nova ? When I do so, my Sennheiser HD650 sounds very thin and liveless.

I do. Not as good as the 252, Headline (now discontinued), Hicap set up I moved on recently due to a black box cull but still pretty good. Then again I’m an occasional headphone listener these days. By the way I also have the HD650 and HD600s and the Nova is good enough to my ears to show the quality of the HD800s. Has your Nova fully burned in yet?


Meze Classic 99’s. I use them with my Nova and they sound great. Sensible money as well. Lots on this on the Forum if you do a search


Hi, yes the Nova is burnt.
May I ask you if you encounter this problem too : the right headphone speaker is quieter than the right on my Nova (HD650) ?

Thank you for the reply @crispyduck. I tried the Meze Classic a valuable headphone for mobility but it doesn’t suit my taste.

I have the HD800, a Nova and a dedicated headphone amp run off a NDX2. The Nova will run the HD800 fine, but a headphone amp will give more solidity, scale and drive.

I did read that the SN2 is rated for around a 70 Ohm headphone, so the Nova is likely less. If you like the HD800 though, it does sound good on the Nova. You’ll need an adapter fir the plug size though.

As noted by others though, adding a headphone amp of the Nova isn’t practical. So it’s either choosing the headphones you like and run them off the Nova, or invest in a dedicated headphone system :heavy_dollar_sign::heavy_dollar_sign::notes:


No worries!

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Dont have that problem on the Nova, could it be a problem with the HD650’s?

Thank you for the reply Mike,

I understand your point, but this limitation from Naim is truly absurd. I really enjoy Nova’s DAC and it’s “nonsense” for me to invest, more money, to get a DAC that is less good then the one I already own…

I don’t know anything about DAC + Headphones amplification, I’ve just tried the Sony TH-ZH1es, it seems ok but I prefer the sound signature of Naim’s DAC. The amplification isn’t very high, it drives the HD820/HD800s but I didn’t feel it very powerful.

Do you have any suggestions under 1500 euros ?

Best regards


I really can’t say. The Nova seems to drive correctly a Grado SR225 (not very demanding headphones) and the Sennheiser doesn’t show any sign of unbalance when I plug it to the iPhone.

@anon56814208 yes i plug right in the front.

I think you will be able to find a headphone amp that is as clean as can be and dosent not play with the naim sound for around 1500. i have been using a RME adi 2 FS for a while. Its pretty incredible. Can get them used for 900

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I use the Heed Canalot with my NDX2, but you can add a DAC card to the Canalot.

I think it would be easier to get headphones you like with lower impedance that the Nova will drive well.

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Violectric HPA V280, discontinued but still available new for 1500 from some dealers