Atom vs Zen for HD600’s?

First post here and I’m new to the audio world :sunglasses: so I bought some Grado SR80e’s about a month ago and I love them, different from my AirPod Pros and a little more detail in the high end. I decided to get some HD600’s because they’re in every thread and seem to be a pretty decent choice. I don’t plan to get too deep into headphones so I figured I was okay with just these, only I’m now conflicted with what kind of amp and dac I should use with it!

Everyone has recommended the atom or zen stacks (if that’s what you call them), I’ve heard of Schiit too but that’s a little too expensive for me but I’d be willing to pay it if it’s worth it. I’m mostly looking for whatever can give more detail to the 600’s, I listen to classical music as well as alternative rock so I’m mostly seeking good hitting drums and high end detail. Having the vocals very audible is a big bonus too. I’m a huge fan of soundstage and being able to hear every sound in a song. I’m not a huge fan of bass, for reference my Grados feel perfectly fine in terms of bass and I’m happy with it.

What do you guys think? I like the Atom aesthetic but they don’t have a balanced output as far as I can tell. Zen looks ugly as shit but seems to have better quality. And then I haven’t seen much info on Schiit stuff so I’m confused on what to go with here, trying to only spend money once so any input is appreciated!

the Zen. the HD600’s love a warm amp and the Zen is warm while the Atom is rather neutral. in fact, for the HD600’s, perhaps you would consider a proper tube amp for them? something like the Little Dot Mk II?

I’d be down to get the zen dac but would the $130 base model be enough to get it to sound decent? Also not that it matters much but what does it mean for an amp to be a tube amp? The MKii is within my budget so it doesn’t matter but I’ve seen it thrown out there a lot and I’m unsure what it even means lol

absolutely. the Zen DAC is my daily driver and I’m loving it! seriously consider getting balanced cables for your headphones. they will benefit immensely!

Most definitely I will! Any specific brand that are best with the 600s or would any generic one be fine? Also I appreciate the help! I’ll be buying my Zen Dac and that MKII today :smiley: it’s hard to find info on these things so thanks!

hey Leo! we’re very fond of Hart Cables as the owner is a member here and started the business of cable making after he joined and saw the need for a reasonable supplier of products. I don’t know how you get the discount, but there is a 10% discount available for HFG members too!

I’d say Zen for the HD600! Second the Hart pairing as well.

The Zen Can Signature is available on drop if you want to stack it! Great for the tonal curve!

or you can save a bunch and get the Zen Can non-Signature:

from what most have said, the Signature’s higher quality parts used to justify the higher price don’t really pan out and perform any better.