With headphone amps that is. This is not the first time I have posted about this in various forae, but I am just totally convinced now that for me at least, these things are one of the biggest rip offs in hifi. My source is an EMU 0404 soundcard, my headphones Beyerdynamic DT531 and my headphone amp is the Headsave Classic with AD8620 opamps. Also at my disposal is a Rotel RA-01 stereo amp which has its own headphone socket. I had not listened to my headphones at all for quite a long time... why was this I wondered? So I decided, being in a mood for some tunes last night, to listen to them. The sound was sweet, and 'nice' but the sound for me was uninvolving - where is the bass? Where was the warmth? So I decided for old time sake to plug them into my amp, and again this morning. Doing this has made me realise what I liked about these headphones in the first place: warm, bright, punchy and musical. In fact, despite me having had many headphone amps in the future, and therefore knowing the Headsave to be one of the better amps I've had, there was not one single area that the Rotel sounded worse than the Headsave to my ears, on my equipment, with my music etc. I was expecting to hear a muddy, muffled sound in comparison. It simply isnt. It manages to sound more inviting, warmer, with a more fleshed out but still just as punchy bass (which is good because it almost seemed like it was absent before). I have tried around with various interconnects with the Headsave, but nothing really gave me the sound I wanted. I appreciate that for many people, they might well prefer the sound of a headphone amp - it is arguably a cleaner sound, and will happily spend hundreds for that last few percent. I appreciate that other headphones will appreciate a dedicated amp more, and I appreciate I am probably in a minority on this - but this is my 6th headphone amp now, all of which were used with various headphones, and I have not personally been impressed by any of them. Some would blame the quality of my source and/or headphones, but I really dont think it is this - the soundcard sounds much better than most people probably imagine who hadnt heard it, and even if it was, surely if there was an improvement to be had, then it would still be there to hear... or perhaps I'm just deaf. It does however, prove one thing to me: At best, headphone amps really are a "last few percent" upgrade for those who have a good quality speaker amp with a headphone socket.... and in my particular case, I have often preferred the sound of the speaker amp, no matter how against the grain it happens to be The only other possibility is that the headphones I've got, which are quite an old design, are perhaps designed for speaker amps in the first place, hence why they sound too thin on a proper headphone amp. I have to say that I have had headphones that subjectively do seem to have benefitted, so what I am saying is not the be all and end all. Everyone hears different, and I respect this, and all headphones and systems are different. What I would say though, is carefully audition these devices if you can before you buy, because depending on your kit, your music taste and your hearing you might find the same. For me at least, I am done buying any more headphone amps.