Amp to pair with Abyss 1266 TC

Hi All,

I’m keen to hear some thoughts on amp pairings to go with the 1266 TC. I’ve narrowed it down to either the Formula S, Headamp GSX Mk2 or GSX Mini?

Does anyone have experience of them with these amps?

Thanks much!

Personally if you have the budget I would go for the formula s if you can out of what you listed, pretty easily good pairing, works well with their sagra dac and upgradable down the line with the powerman. There are plenty of other good options though. That would be a fairly neutral combo, if you wanted to lean warmer smoother more relaxed, the moon 430 ha is pretty nice while maintaining control and doesn’t lack resolution or punch either (a lampizator amber 3 is really fun in this combo). The gsx mk2 is pretty bright and will lean the abyss more a bit lean and analytical which isn’t my preference with those headphones but some do like that (you can make it more neutral and give it a bit toned down treble with like a holo may kte). If you wanted a very studio neutral sound a niimbus us4+ is a nice pick and with a dac like a berkeley alpha series 2 it’s a good studio setup but imo might be a bit dry for casual listening

You can go higher and get more benefit but it gets into the range where these amps are harder to find and would end up costing more than the headphones alone (but it still can be worth). Unfortunately the tube amps I like with this headphone end up being pretty pricey as well as these do tube well with the right amp

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Also do you already have the 1266 and what are you running it on if you do have it, and what do you like and what would you change about it? And if you don’t have it yet what are you coming from? Forgot to ask that

Yeah, I already have the 1266 (on demo, but planning to purchase). I’m running it via a DAC/AMP combo at the moment that I wouldn’t look to change out, but I’m not convinced it has the power to really drive the 1266s to their full potential. I generally prefer a neutral sound signature.

Not heard of that one before - seems more research is warranted into it!!!

Which one is it?

Gotcha, then in that case the xi audio stack is pretty great, and if you grabbed the may kte the gsx mk2 would also be neutral enough (but generally myself I prefer the xi audio stack in this price range). The xi audio stack tends to be pretty neutral but doesn’t sacrifice fun or enjoyment, really great all rounder combo for the 1266 and it def powers it pretty well. The formula s is a bit dac picky so you want to make sure you don’t skimp there and at least make sure it’s on a similar tier if you don’t go for the sagra. Personally I find myself wanting a bit more neutral warm so I tend to use mine on stuff like a viva egoista 845, trafomatic primavera, or a oji special bdi-dc44b g tune (dac depends on how I’m feeling) which are all pretty neutral with a hint of warmth and fun

It’s a pretty great amp, real nice but it’s pretty studio neutral unforgiving, honestly would call it neutral analytical lol

Thanks for the advice.

The DAC is a Mola Mola Tambaqui.

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Oh sweet that’s a pretty great dac, I might be concerned with a niimbus though as that would be pretty analytical and forward leaning there, and also I would really not suggest the gsx mk2 then as that is a super bright combo lol. That should be a good combo with the xi audio based on how it reacted to dacs but I can’t confirm since I haven’t heard that specific pairup myself (heard both but not together)

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Yeah, I love the DAC a lot!!! The built-in Roon is much more useful than I was expecting it to be.

I was certainly leaning towards the Formula S… and like the idea that I could add the dedicated power supply later on. From a aesthetics position, it also works best with the Mola Mola in a “stack”. I’d say I’d prefer the warmer side of neutral too so that’s superb advice on the GSX. Thank you.

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Really is quite impressive :+1:

I recently also got into streaming stuff as well and found out how nice it can be for a living room lol

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I’ve just had a look at your gear lists! Some amazing stuff there…

Off topic, but curious, do you have a favourite setup that you find yourself going back to?

Hmmmmm, I have specific signal chains I might prefer for a specific headphone, but overall I wouldn’t say one of them really always stands above the rest, for me I tend to give things equal time

Gotcha, then in that case the xi audio stack is pretty great, and if you grabbed the may kte the gsx mk2 would also be neutral enough (but generally myself I prefer the xi audio stack in this price range). The xi audio stack tends to be pretty neutral but doesn’t sacrifice fun or enjoyment, really great all rounder combo for the 1266 and it def powers it pretty well. The formula s is a bit dac picky so you want to make sure you don’t skimp there and at least make sure it’s on a similar tier if you don’t go for the

Did you try the XI Audio stack with your Holo Dacs? Just wondering if the Spring KTE -> XI Formula S + Powerman -> 1266 Phi TC would be a nice combo?

Or would you think the Mini GSX would be a better fit than XI and that XI would want a higher end dac?

I have tried the formula s with a spring 2 kte and it was a solid pairing, but the reason I prefer the sagra in this case is the sagra has more body and slam which I value a lot with a 1266, the kte does tilt the combo a bit warmer smoother but still good detail and depth, but I find that it’s a bit impact light and can sound a tad dry compared to the sagra in that combo imo, but personally I would still be pretty happy with the spring 2 + formula s

Probably no if you are going for 1266 at least for my preferences above, also the gsx mk2 is more on the same level as the formula s

I mean all higher end amps will want and benefit from a higher end dac, but I see what you are saying and I might say the gsx is actually more dac picky for a good pairing, but the xi might be a bit more transparent with your dac imo

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I have tried the formula s with a spring 2 kte and it was a solid pairing, but the reason I prefer the sagra in this case is the sagra has more body and slam which I value a lot with a 1266, the kte does tilt the combo a bit warmer smoother but still good detail and depth, but I find that it’s a bit impact light and can sound a tad dry compared to the sagra in that combo imo, but personally I would still be pretty happy with the spring 2 + formula s

Just to confirm would you say the bass impact/slam would still be sufficient with the spring + formula s combo (had you not heard it with the sagra) or would you have been underwhelmed?

I have to say the Diana Phi is compitently driven on the mini but very close to not enough power. I do wonder if there is enough headroom for the 1266 with the mini.

I guess I could call it sufficient, it just wouldn’t have been stand out or impressive to me, if I heard it in a vacuum it would be nice but knowing what other dacs can do in terms of impact would have left me feeling it’s a bit lacking (but imo it’s hard to get true bass grip and control at the spring price range anyways, the sagra gets a bit closer in that regard, but I thought the sagra could sometimes be not as pleasing in the midrange as the spring kte)

From my experience kinda not really, the diana’s are fine on there but the 1266 isn’t going to preform that well imo

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@M0N - I’m curious, have you ever tried the Pathos Inpol Ear at all? Seems to be another well reviewed option with plenty of power! :slight_smile:

I have, personally I thought it was nice but iirc it was a bit expensive for what it ended up being, I think you might be paying for a bit of the style there lol, but a nice amp nonetheless, I did actually get to try it with a 1266 but only a phi cc not a tc. It was a bit more neutral fun leaning, not overly colored but pretty pleasant, although actually it did sound a tad dry for my tastes which surprised me, but these are only from breif demos. I have no idea on what they go for used but if one came up for a good price it would be worth considering imo. Was a fairly big step up from the aurium which I liked when it came out but now feels a bit dated and lacking for the price in current market

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Thanks - I have an Aurium sitting on my desk at the moment, which is what I’m looking to upgrade! :slight_smile: