I am looking into getting the Hifiman Arya headphones and am wondering what the cheapest amp I could get away with without losing out on too much performance? I currently am using the Sennheiser HD6xx’s with an IFI zen dac.
Magni 3+ will bring a goodly amount of power per dollar, and perhaps a complimentary presentation.
Lowest I’d personally go is the Asgard 3, should drive them pretty well (it did for my hek) but at lower levels you’re always gonna be left wanting more, well at least I did
You may want to go schiit magnius with a balanced cable to get those sweet 5watts, not the best sound but at least power wont be an issue
Anyway the a3 should work as well
What about the topping A30 or the massdrop THX 789?
I’d personally avoid anything topping or thx, they tend to be tuned towards the ASR crowd and that really isn’t my preferred signature or way of looking at things. They also tend to have a much flatter soundstage reproduction that would kill what makes the bigger hifimans’ soundstage so nice (height)
What does ASR mean? Also what is a flatter soundstage?
Audio Science Review, they tend to measure audio performance based on graphs a lot, I am more on the side of trusting my own ears and others that I also trust.
The music is presented on a soundstage that is only really horizontal without much vertical height to it. Iirc they tend to not have a lot of depth to the soundstage either.
On Joshua Valour’s latest video he praised the topping amps and dacs for the hifiman Arya’s. I guess this is very subjective.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Josh is a total shill but he definitely pushes affordable amps with referral links a lot. I’ve gone through I think all of the topping and thx and smsl amps and they’re all pretty lifeless. I think of them as more of a tool for analyzing than listening enjoyment.
I’ve generally found the choices of the forum have been a lot better than anything I’ve had based on YouTube reviewer opinions
Would it make sense to get the dac chip with the asgard or would the dac on my ifi zen dac be good enough? Also what would be the next step up and how much more would I get out of it?
The Zen Dac is actually a pretty good dac in the $100 range, you’d have to go to something like the Allo Revolution or BF2 level for a meaningful upgrade (and they are IMO). In terms of amp, an upgrade in tier would be in the roughly $500 range with the Violectric V200 or MLP being nice choices.
What is an MLP or BF2?
This is a headphone amplifier - MLP -
Monolith Liquid Platinum by Monoprice - you can generally find them used in the 400-500 USD range.
This is a DAC - BF2 -
Schiit Bifrost 2 generally in the 550-600 range used.
So the Asgard 3 wouldnt be good enough? mlp at 500usd? I see it at much higher Also Id rather go with something new than used
Probably good enough - The A3 is a SE (Single Ended) amplifier nothing wrong the that, just pointing it out. The MLP is a Balanced amplifier - it does have a SE out but the amp is designed as balanced and sounds its best when used as balanced. The MLP was like my favorite amp in that range when I had it.
The MLP did a great job with the Hifiman Edition X v2 and LCD-2pf I had at the time - plenty of power and worked great. I was using a BF2 with the balanced out into the balanced inputs of the MLP - very pleasant sounding combination.
the 400-500 USD is for used / not new - Also the MLP often go on sale from monoprice new for the $400-450. I bought mine new at $399 at the time.
How much of a difference would I notice with the Asgard 3, Monolith Liquid Platinum or V200?
There are differences - are they enough to warrant the difference in cost - that would be something you’d have to decide and probably only after hearing the differences for yourself. It is so easy to read specs and say “oh this one will do that - that one this etc…” But hearing for yourself is the real key - though not always easy to do before buying, I know.
Simply put, of the options you mentioned - I would not shy away from the A3 especially if it is more easily obtainable and gets you listening to your music sooner.
Don’t overthink it - none of the above are “wrong” choices - IME what fits your budget, what is available, and what would be a relatively easy resale incase you want to try something else later is what counts.
Oh and did I mention - getting yourself to the point where you are listening to your music !
Music is the Medicine!
Is there really much of a difference between single ended and balanced amps?