Headphone amp recommendations

doggy

Active Member
Hi all.
I don't think I need am amp or DAC using my headphones but going forward I can see myself getting higher impedance headphones.
At the moment I'm using hd599 with a Sony NWA 105 and a hiby r3. The impedance is 50 ohm of my headphones.

I don't really mind if the amp is desktop or portable but I'm edging towards desktop due to the fact I only wear these headphones indoor.
I was looking at the ifi can and the ifi zen amp/DAC v2. Again I don't think I really need the DAC aspect but it may be handy?
My other options would be a fiio k3 or k5 pro.
I don't really know what to pick out of the aforementioned.
My budget would be less than 150.

Any advice?

Thanks.
 

JollyJamma

Active Member
I got a Zen v2 yesterday and I could not be happier. Lovely sound.

I had a Nuprime Udsd and it was fine, just very neutral with no real musicality to it. The Zen v2 is far better and not that expensive.

It's almost like the Zen just works with the data it's given and goes "I know exactly what to do with this" and you get oodles of clearly defined layers to the music.

I also had a game of PUBG to test them and nearly sh*t myself when there was a loud bang from a gun. I got the optional power adapter so it really pushes the headphones hard and you can feel the sound more.

10/10 would recommend.
 

David Alexander

Active Member
While I love the Zen Dac v2 and agree with @JollyJamma that it's a great USB input DAC/AMP combo,

what you would be looking for in the Ifi range would be the Zen Can (£139). You've already got the DAC stage with the platforms mentioned and neither of them outputs to USB.
 

ostewart

Well-known Member
Seems iFi are very popular on here - and with good reason - they are fantastic.

Don't overlook JDS Labs though, the Atom Amp+ and Atom DAC+ is a superb stack for the money too.
 

doggy

Active Member
While I love the Zen Dac v2 and agree with @JollyJamma that it's a great USB input DAC/AMP combo,

what you would be looking for in the Ifi range would be the Zen Can (£139). You've already got the DAC stage with the platforms mentioned and neither of them outputs to USB.
I can get the can new for£111.
I'm wondering if I could connect my oppo phone to it via USB c to 3.5mm?
Sound out of the oppo is poor, even running it through a Cyrus sound key is still crap. Something with a decent DAC would be useful.

Thanks
 

doggy

Active Member
I bought the zen can. I've noticed I need the gain right up for my hd599, I'm surprised, they're only 50 ohms.
Another thing I noticed, if I turn the volume up or down I can hear crackling, is that normal?
 

spinaltap

Distinguished Member
The ‘crackling’ is due to inherently ‘noisy’ USB. This can be mitigated by devices such as…
or..
or..
 

doggy

Active Member
The ‘crackling’ is due to inherently ‘noisy’ USB. This can be mitigated by devices such as…
or..
or..
So it's a characteristic but avoidable?
 

doggy

Active Member
The ‘crackling’ is due to inherently ‘noisy’ USB. This can be mitigated by devices such as…
or..
or..
It's actually not plugged into a usb for power, just the mains.
 

doggy

Active Member
This thing is totally unusable. You get a crackling through the volume then it goes away and you get a dreadful humming through the inputs. I've tried 2 out of 3 inputs and the humming is constant.
 

David Alexander

Active Member
Return and replace. The CAN comes with a power adapter which should mitigate mains issues. Cabling between music source amp and headphones could be the issue so you could investigate these.
 

doggy

Active Member
Return and replace. The CAN comes with a power adapter which should mitigate mains issues. Cabling between music source amp and headphones could be the issue so you could investigate these.
I've tried 3 rca to 3.5mm cables, if you touch the 3.5mm end it hums really bad and doesn't stop until you unplug it from the mains.
Sometimes no sound comes out either.

Using 3.5mm to 3.5mm If you unplug the dap and touch the cable you get loads of hum. Plug it back into the dap and the hum goes away but no sound comes through the headphones. Quite disappointed.
 

doggy

Active Member
Can you try a different computer and see if you still get the same hum?
It's a zen can powered by the mains not a pc.
I got a second zen can today from Amazon. It's the exact same. If I plug a cable into rca or 3.5mm inputs I get a dreadful hum through my headphones. But if I plug a dap into the cables and switch it on the hum goes away. It's some kind of feedback. Equally if I touch the metal of the input cables I get bad feedback.

I've no idea if it's normal or not.
 

JayCee

Distinguished Member
It's a zen can powered by the mains not a pc.
I got a second zen can today from Amazon. It's the exact same. If I plug a cable into rca or 3.5mm inputs I get a dreadful hum through my headphones. But if I plug a dap into the cables and switch it on the hum goes away. It's some kind of feedback. Equally if I touch the metal of the input cables I get bad feedback.

I've no idea if it's normal or not.
It's normal to get a hum with nothing connected if you touch the input end of the cable on most amps.
You shouldn’t get any crackling when adjusting the volume.
 

doggy

Active Member
It's normal to get a hum with nothing connected if you touch the input end of the cable on most amps.
You shouldn’t get any crackling when adjusting the volume.
The cracking only occurs when no dap is plugged in so I assume rogue voltage bouncing around inside.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Samsung S95B QD OLED Review - A Quantum Leap for OLED!
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom