Cayin IHA-6 vs RNHP

Been thinking about upgrading my amp. And these 2 seem to stand out. Zeos has reviewed both these amps and kept the Cayin. The RNHP is supposed to sound really good but the Cayin is a full balalnced amp that is supposed to be as clean as the RNHP. Unless theres another amp i should be looking at these 2 seem to be the best right now for around 600$

It really depends on what type of sound you want and also what headphones you are using

Well i want a uncolored transparent sound. I’ll be using the ZMF Auteur, Hifian Arya, LCDX, and Focal Clears

Hmmm, they can be driven with both. The RNHP would be more transparent, but the iha-6 would drive the lcd x and arya better imo. I would say if you wanted more emphasis on the clears or the auteur the rnhp would be my pick, or if you wanted to focus more on the arya or lcdx the iha6 is my pick

How would Burson Soloist MKII compare in this stack-up?

Pretty well, it would really depend on the headphone. My preference leans towards the iha6 but the soloist mk2 is also good if you waned single ended

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So is this a fair summary of mid-tier SS roundup?

For most headphones that don’t need a ton of power running single ended, RNHP
For good all rounder that also has plenty of power, IHA-6
For another good all rounder that is less expensive, single ended, Soloist MKII

I really like the IHA-6 b/c balanced + dimensions wise stacks really nicely w/ Bifrost 2

That would be a really good stack. Although word of warning just like the cavalli liquid platinum the single ended output sucks on the iha6. Also the liquid plat is also an excellent choice as well imo lol.

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Seems like if you’re investing in this $1500 stack then you’d prolly be running much higher end cans balanced anyway.

Would there be a huge benefit upgrading past this stack to SPL phonitor e + some crazy DAC? Or would this be about the $ level where price / performance falls over?

Correct, there really isn’t a circumstance where I would recc a balanced headphone amp if you don’t have balanced cans you can use with it

Yes, but imo you would want to have much higher tier headphones before you do this (having headphones that would command an upgrade per se). What are you using currently and what do you plan to get in the near future?

You are well past that once you move beyond stuff like the atom/heresy + d10 or liquid spark or what have you lol

My source gear is way more invested at this point than my cans, lol. The reason is I plan to share high end can recommendations to the wife for big anniversary gifts or what have you, she is (rightly) bothered when I go off and drop money on myself rather than let her surprise me at some point. So with that caveat, lol, current rig is Mac Pro optical out > OL Dac > A3 > cans.

Cans are a modded SHP 9500 I absolutely love, and unmodded T50RPs w/ ZMF suedes I plan to Argonize at some point. I’m also eyeing cheap used cans like HE-400i and DT770s 250ohm to get a feel for house sound of the big brands. For future upgrades I’m pretty set on Sundara as a gateway to find out what’s next. Though the descriptions of Elex here sound exactly what I’m looking for save the planar ruler-flat bass extension (stellar dynamics and space recreation are so cool with the tiny bit I’ve been exposed to, really excited to get a full blown dose of that). The high end Beyer cans also look really good to me, maybe T1 or T5 since I fear 1990 treble lol. I also love closed back even though I miss the airiness, got a 2 year old running around the house lol. So I’ve often thought Elegia may be my end game.

Still in research / ideation around all of this. But I figured first I’d invest in good mid-fi cans, Sundara / Elex. After that I’d figure out what I want in high end, and get that with source gear upgrade. Trying to figure out sum total cost to get there lol as I don’t want to look back $10k later and wonder what on earth I was thinking.

I would really really suggest sticking with your current dac amp setup then imo, it’s very solid and will really work well with what you plan to get down the line. When you are starting to consider stuff in the 1k and have what you want cemented, then I would consider the source upgrades. Ideally you want to match the amp and dac to the headphones you get so they have good synergy, so again I would really suggest waiting

Yeah that’s the plan all the way. I’m curious about higher tier source gear purely to size up the TCO for a sort of personal end game or good enough without need for upgrade stack, I really have to justify expensive hobbies in my household lol. So when I get the question, okay how much will this all cost when said and done and take out of our retirement, I’m hoping to have a realistic answer lol

Also if you guys ever get bored / busy and can’t reply on this amazing forum. Gotta glean all the knowledge from you while the getting is good lol

Ahhhhh ok, so giving an estimate then lol. Well I would say if you don’t really plan to go above 1.5k for a headphone (depends on the headphone tho), I would estimate around 1k for the dac and amp combined. Like for example if you go with the beyer t1, I would rec a nice tube amp, really depends on the headphones for sure, but I think 1k for the dac and amp is a reasonable figure when you reach that point

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Do you know if there are any cans under 1k my current stack wouldn’t get close to their full potential? Most of the cans I think I’d really like are in this range. Other than cans that are best on tubes of course like T1s

So I mean, tbh it’s really hard to get things to their true full potential, but honestly most headphones you pick up with the exception of known hard to drive shit like the he6 should preform admirably on your setup. They might not be ideal pairings but it will be more than adequate imo

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Makes sense, well this thread may help for posterity’s sake but sounds like I don’t need to think about the source gear options for a long, long time :smile:

This is sage advice.