European AMP-Hell (<250€)

So as I am planning to upgrade my AMP as a birthday present to myself I did a lot of research on what to get as a first good amp. After a lot of time in the forum and YouTube I kinda got the hang of it, until all my plans were crushed by the fact that almost all of the common recomendations such as JDS Labs, Geshelli Labs, Schiit or Monoprice are kinda unavailable in Europe/Germany… Therefore I need your help to come to terms with what I can actually get.

So what am I looking for?
Generally a really solid amp for all headphones I’ve got and those to come. One that will make me not worry about amps for some years (besides tubes that I might add at one point) at ~200€.
I do like a good amount of detail, clarity and control that goes all the way down in the base region with speed and nice spacial recreation (soundstage + image). I also decided to not worry about balanced with this one to kinda make my life easier.
The only big worry I have is about the trebe becoming to much or to harsh as my headphones all do already have a big amount of treble (Sundara, DT 770, HD 660s).

So I was aiming for the Asgard 3, that sounded just perfect to me from what I’ve got from descriptions. What got me is the “good soundstage and sence of space” this is supposed to have over other SS-amps and the “touch of warmth” makeing me not worry about the highs. But I can’t really get my hands onto it without waiting a year or dealing with some trouble.
So the options I see right now (and do please add to this list if you know more):

  • Topping A50s at 200€ (Only worry: I’ve read about the base beeing kinda bad below 50Hz)
  • SMSL SP200 at 260€ (Price is a strech, but okay. I am worried about it beeing harsh or to bright with my headphones)
  • SMSL SH 8/SH 9 at 250€-300€ (Basicly a SP200 with more features for more money?!)
  • Magni 3+/Heresy for 130€/155$ as I don’t pay customs under 150€ (How does it compare tho? Should I just skip the middle 150-300€ tear and go for this?)
  • ifi CAN at 150€ (kind of not consistent in it’s performance trough the range of headphones and the frequency spectrum?)

Then there is Fiio from which I’ve heard it never keeps up with the competition and also LakePeople from which I’ve never heard anything. Also the G103 is kidna expencive at 270€.

I’d love so much, if you can help me out here so I can buy something with confidence and not worry afterwards or deal with potential fomo lol.

Edit: Holy shit, sorry for this beeing so long.

G103-S owner here. Yes, it is expensive. It is worth it though.

There is also the Monolith Liquid Spark to consider. Can’t comment on how it sounds.

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Thanks. The Spark is actually a nice option. I did not know about this store.

Last time I looked both Schiit and JDS were available in the UK so can’t you get them shipped to you?
I have the JDS EL amp and a Schiit Heresy and can recommend both.

Well there are two stores in, one in the UK one in Europe. But they are aout of stock almost all the time, even without covid. Now they say they have even harder time restocking, so I might be waiting a year or so…

Not too sure about JDS but Schiit UK is shit…pretty much zero stock their warehouse is waiting for HEL to freeze over so as they can get a delivery.

Is customs an issue for you where you are? As ordering direct from Schiit US is actually not too bad, I got my Asgard 3 from them in 3 days to Scotland. Even with the customs it was only a few £ more than getting it from Schiit EU and I didn’t need to deal with restocking issues. I’d say if you’re ok with importing, the Asgard 3 is possibly the best amp you can get under $500. It can give amps like the g111, RNHP and Little Labs Monotor a run for their money at times.

Your right. Just checked and pretty much everything is out of stock at Schiit…it had been a while since I’d checked.
JDS is available at Hifiheadphones but they are also sold out at the moment unless you want a UK plugged EL amp.

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@Ans246 I second what is being said here - do consider ordering directly from Schiit USA. I own an Asgard 3 and think it can last you many years provided you resist urges to upgrade “just because”. It’s honestly more than great for the price.

However, do take note of these important things:

You need to pay customs/import charges, so add about 22.5% or so to the prices quoted on You end up paying around the same (or in some cases slightly less) than ordering from Schiit UK. You may even get REALLY lucky and not receive the invoice asking you to pay taxes. This happened to me and some guy on Reddit.

You get 5 years warranty for Asgard 3 (as opposed to 2 or 3 years warranty if you buy A3 from Schiit UK) BUT if something does go wrong, you need to bear your own shipping costs to Schiit USA for exchange/repairs. You are not able to reach out to Schiit UK for warranty/support.

Hope this helps!

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Alright, you really make me reconsider importing from the US. I head a lot that the A3 is superior to almsot everything else (including A50s & SP200).
I guess it won’t be that bad to import, just have not done it before.
Also I had this generel question about “how big a deal” these amps and diffrences are as I’ve tried like 30 headphones but only that one cheep amp… shame on me :’)