So i have a pretty good set up with two amps(solid state and a tube amp) now i want to know your thoughts on headphone performance that contrasts between the two amps(different sound signatures dependant on SS or tube). I have tried sennheiser HD660s, they sounded awsome but they don’t give a damn about my tube amp the sound just slightly alters but not much. So I would like some oppinions on which headphones could pitentially go well with my setup. I don’t have accses to any store that gives demos, hence i am asking here. I know i can’t get anything “amazing” but i really need some advice…
What type of sound do you like? I’m also assuming planars are off the table because of the tube
Edit: also yeah the 660s aren’t really that amp dependant like the 600 or 650
that’s true M0N, but the Senn’s do well on tube amps, or so Zeos says.
There’s not as drastic of a difference with the 660 or the 58x as the other senns. The 660 and 58x are easier to drive and less amp dependant then the 600 and 650. You will still hear it’s a tube amp, but it’s really not as pronounced as the classic senns. Don’t get me wrong 660s still sound great on a tube, but it won’t really emphasize the effect of the tube like the 600/650 do
My 660’s are awesome on tubes in fact I only run them with tubes, what amp are you using and what make of tubes are they? stock?
I don’t currently own a tube amp but I’ve heard them on a bottlehead crack 1.1 and a feliks elise, and I don’t know what tubes they were. They did sound great, but didn’t really sound super different then other solid states. I’m not trying to say they don’t sound good or benefit from a tube, it’s just not as drastic of a change as some expect, and other headphones change much more depending on your amp. When I heard a 600 on the bottlehead, that was a big difference, much more then the 660 when going from ss to tube. I believe Tilen_Ger was expecting a more drastic change with tubes vs a solid state. Although I would wonder what amps he has
Edit: and honestly once you reach above the 1k tube headphone amp, they tend to sound more solid state and less tubey if that makes sense so that’s why it may have sounded a little less different on the feliks
I run two sets of tubes on my Little Dot MK2 (depends on material and my mood) mostly 2 x 5654/EF95 RT Mullard’s, if I want a slightly more forward sound then 2 x 5654W/EF95 Jan General Electric. I have a couple more pairs too but these are my go to.
I have both ss and the tubes on the go, i’ve tried switching between the two many times with friends and even non audiophile types can hear the difference, but a mixed bag when it comes to who preferred what lol.
What tube amp are you using? The types of tubes are you using? There should be a difference between a true otl tube amp and a solid state (although not super pronounced) on the 660. I wonder if you are using a hybrid tube amp, because it would sound alot closer to a solid state
So yeah… You wont find the tube amp anywhere, it’s my design… I did it for a school project that i needed to do in order to complete a level of education, a profesor that used to work for a studio and a tube manufacturing plant helped me with the schematics. However the tube amp is a cathode follower otl with a switchable gain stage (low gain, high gain) a bit of a weird design but it works wonders, so 2 tubes in series with a switch. Tubes are ecc83 or the so called 12ax7, the thing has no problem outputing some serious power this thing is a monster when it comes to pushing some demanding headphones(probably, i haven’t tried any yet lol). But pushing planars should not be a problem, it measured close to 2 watt output pc.
It’s not necessarily the power thats the problem, it’s more that the otl design kinda screws with the frequency response of low impedance planars from my experience. It can be pleasing some of the time, but usually just makes them sound a bit out of whack.
I’m surprised you didn’t hear much of a difference with the 660s tbh. While I don’t really feel that the 660s are amp picky, they should have picked up something.
In my experience, really well designed tube amps actually don’t color the sound that much and sound more like a solid state, because they were not designed to emphasize the tube and more to represent music accurately, so you probably have a really nice design there.
I guess if your looking for headphones that would react more, the hd600, ndh 20 (from what I’ve seen), and something like the dt1990s might be more reactive in this price range
Edit: the R70X also reacts pretty well to a tube.
Well the design was specificaly made to contrast to solid state, hence the 12ax7, they have quite a bit of harmonic distortion(imo it is quite a difference, i could have chosen the 6922 or e88cc which would have been more “acurate”). I mean i was hoping for something more when swaping between the two amps, i am just wondering if it is the hd660s or is my tube amp to good lol. Saddly i don’t have a chance to try a lot of cans… I tried the akg k700pro( i think thats what they are called), from a friend and I was impressed at the difference the amp made so i am just “like wtf”… Really sucks i can’t try a lot of headphones…
So there you go, if you experience strong difference on other headphones, it’s most likely that the 660 doesn’t react enough to different amp changes for your preference. Also 12ax7’s can actually be pretty accurate sounding depending on the manufacturer and the year.
Edit: also have you done any detailed measurements on the output of your amp?
Not yet but i plan to graph out frequency response and some other things… Still a work in progress.