Looking for an Upgrade or Change in Headphones

So to start off, the notion that tube amps are dirty, slow, gooey, and also just not as detailed and fast as solid state is really only true if you use a cheap tube amp, once you go higher up this really changes. The tuba is actually as clean as or almost cleaner than thx, with more detail, but does have the better timbre and spatial recreation than the thx, it’s a very neutral and resolving amp that pairs very well with the aeolus, really helps showcase the headphone. If you don’t want to go for a tube amp that’s fine, but this is entirely different than what you have heard before


Yeah I can vouch that the Tuba is nothing like the DV


Question then, since I am not a Tube pro, dont they blow out if they are kept on a lot, as well as the heat issue, since I have a ton of Pc’s in one room that generate a ton of heat already, its like a sauna in here, don’t really want more heat.

So tubes do have a finite life span yes, but it really depends on how often you use it. I wouldn’t leave it on all the time 24/7 but with average use they will last you a solid 2-3 years imo, or more. Regarding heat, the tuba didn’t really get noticeably hot imo (but don’t like grab a tube or anything those do get warm), this specific amp doesn’t throw much heat

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depend on the tube amp. The tuba hardly puts out any heat at all, while my DV would burn me if I touched it lol but yes tubes are finite and will die, but unless you are leaving you amp on 24/7 then it should last you a few years before having to replace.

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That is good, I use my Pc about 10hrs average a day on, so my Amp/Dac is on 10hrs a day listening to music/gaming/chatting. That is what worries me with a Tube.

Yeah that’s not that bad, you shouldn’t really have to worry too much there, they might even last longer since hagerman runs them at lower voltage which is less heat and longer lifespan (I wouldn’t be surprised if they push like 4 years lifespan)

And the good tubes aren’t expensive either (I would actually get these along with the amp as they are a direct upgrade over stock as the stock are a tad mid centric and these are more balanced), 2 of these and you are good to go

Keep in mind though that the hagerman would be an upgrade for your aeolus and 660s, but wouldn’t really benefit the x00 or ad1000x that much (you can use it though due to the low z low impedance output), nor would it pair well with an arya

If you were looking for an equally priced amp to pair with the arya going for like a liquid platinum (on sale right now) would be pretty great or perhaps a gilmore lite mk2

Yeah that is another problem I have. I really only want one Amp and one Dac that works well with all headphones. I would always be down for maybe one more Amp that is different but I would hate swapping out which one I use for each headphone, that is kind of why the Aeolus is my main headphone, I never really touch my other ones as swapping them means changing my Amps volume dial which then entails changing any game I plays volume, then I would have to repeat the step again going back, too much of a pain for me, or i’m just lazy, who knows. Lol

From my experience, that doesn’t really exist lol, but there are indeed good all rounders, but they are typically one of the master of none situations

I mean if that’s the case, you could get 2 amps, and then use them for 2 headphones. If you don’t really use the other headphones, you could sell them off and then put the money into the 2 headphones with their respective amps.

So like for an example you could get the tuba for the aeolus, leave it on there, and then perhaps something like a gilmore lite mk2 (since that is compact, doesn’t get that warm, and sounds great with planar) for an arya that you leave plugged in. You can split the output of your dac to both the amps so you only have to turn them on and don’t have to adjust volume or swap cables and not have to deal with some of the issues you might have

I have been tempted to do this, but that basically means the money I was going to use for a headphone would instead be dumped into another Amp/Dac x2. I just can’t justify that currently, as I kinda just wanted a new headphone with different sounds. I’m like a kid in a candy shop, gotta try everything. Lol.

Makes sense

If that’s the case then, I would just go back to something like the ananda or edition xx and try that out, see what you think, and then make your moves from there, that way if you end up liking that sound, you can focus on it more later on. You can grab the arya and be fine, but if you would want to get the most out of it, a signal chain upgrade would be due for an upgrade

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If you an afford it the Arya is a great headphone. I got that one. Way better than the Ananda

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Is that VIOLECTRIC V280 HEADPHONE AMP really that good over what I have? I like that it is solid state and it is end game in term of amps. Would it be that much of an upgrade to justify the price and do you think it would work well with practically all headphones?

I would say so yeah, it’s a pretty great amp (I also decided to pick one up as well as I recently sold off a violectric amp and wanted one back lol), I don’t think I would say endgame, but it would be reasonably the limit to what I would suggest spending with the headphones you have on hand imo. From my experience it works well with most headphones, excellent with some but good with others. And alongside this a dac upgrade would be reasonable too

I am very tempted now to join the Drop on it, as it sounds great. One question, why do you think I would need a DAC upgrade with it over the SMSL SU-8? I have heard so many conflicting things about Dacs and are high end ones really needed etc… Is there some kind of layman term about them and why you would need different more expensive ones?

So, I do think that there is alot of conflicting info out there, but it ends up being because of a few things.

1, there is a performance void from 200-700 ish for dacs where anything in that range is really only a marginal upgrade from the 200 dollar range stuff, and the stuff at the 700 and above are large leaps forward in sound. So people end up going up from lets say a su8 to a topping d70 or d90 and the difference is small and marginal, so they feel like it’s not worth, where if you went up to something like an ares ii or bifrost 2 it’s a fairly large step forward imo

2, people don’t quite understand dac and amp pairings, and end up with a strangely match system with either too high end of an amp or too high end of a dac, really depends on how well the components work together for overall quality sound.

3, the more recent trend in creating “measurement machine” products imo. There are some high end dacs that are only there to achieve the best measurements they can, and they sound fine, but end up actually not being a noticeable improvement over the lower end stuff (to mention something z reviewed recently, the lks or gustard dac imo), also I think in the 1k ish to 3k ish range, multibit or r2r dacs offer better value and performance than common sigma delta implementations. I would actually argue in the getting to really high end area, dacs start to matter a fair bit more than amps do, where it is the opposite in the budget ranges, so stuff flips.

So overall imo, you are at the range where a dac upgrade would be significant and justified and it would actually make a sizable difference in your system (with the right dac)


Dang, 2k on Amp + Dac is steep, but, if I end up buying both, I’m done with them, forever. Lol, no more Amps or Dacs for me. :smiley: Just the sweet sweet relief of new headphones from then on out.

Indeed, but you are entering the range where your headphones will appreciate it lol

Reasonable enough until you start dipping into the totl range lol


Now to figure out the dac preferences lol, I would say in this range there are 3 options that suit the violectric well, the soekris dac1421, the ares ii, and the bifrost 2. The 1421 is going to be the most neutral and tight in the soundstage, with the most aggression. The ares ii is going to be more forward but more fun this time with a slight w shape to the sound, a bit wider stage. The bifrost 2 is going to be a bit smoother, wider, and relaxed. All 3 are equally detailed, and all of them are going to be a significant improvement over the su8 imo

Probably going to cop the Bifrost 2 as I like Schiit as a company, since I have a jotunheim behind me collecting dust but was great when I first bought an amp.