Should I side grade, upgrade or stay

Hello everybody, I am here looking for any information, thoughts, opinions and just to talk music. This is the first music related site that I joined and any information will be greatly appreciated.

I currently own the Liquid Spark stack, but I find it to be a little unsatisfactory at times and maybe because I also wanted to try something else. I am looking at different stacks such as the Schiit modi 3+ with the Heresy and the JDS atom stack. Would a side grade be beneficial or should I just upgrade to the THX 789 and call it a day.

I listen to various types of music; rock, pop, live/acoustic performances, jazz, blues, RnB, rap, classical (romantic and baroque) and pockets of country and edm.
Headphones I currently use are: Audio-Technica M40x, Sennheiser HD 58x, Grado SR80e, Beyerdynamic DT 880 250 ohms and Hifiman HE400i 2020.

What do you like about the spark and what would you change?

What I like about the spark is it can power all the cans that I own with room to spare. What I would change nothing for now. Maybe down the line is to add more side ventilation for the heat to escape and keep the unit cool or at room temperature because this unit is literally “HOT”

Well, I mean, you just want to try something else then lol?

Most headphone amps will run fairly warm, if you really needed something that ran cool you could find that but you will be more limited in options. For the cans you have, if you don’t have any complaints with the spark you could sidegrade but I don’t know if you would see too much value there, it might be more worthwhile moving a bit higher up amp wise

“Trying something else” I believe is the right phrase. Maybe I lost the excitement that the LS offers and I got bored.

Mon is the man and is certainly the guy to help. I just wanted to pop in and say that I had to spend a Lot more money to get something that sounderd better than the Spark, to me.
I now have several amps that cost almost ten times as much as the Spark, but I still hang on to the Spark in my office set-up. It really is a sweet sounding amp, IMO.

Maybe try some different headphones as the headphone makes the biggest difference anyway?

Okay, that could be it. Any headphone suggestions?

No problem then, you could try out some of the other 100 buck amps or you could move a bit higher. If you wanted to try a more neutral-brighter, cleaner, forward sounding amp, something like a jds atom or magni heresy is a good place to start, compact and run cool as well. A geschelli archel 2.5 pro is a good fairly neutral amp. This all being said, this will give you a different flavor, but it’s not going to be that significant of a change and might not really make a ton of sense long term

Outside of those I might start to suggest to consider something like an asgard 3 for something a bit more neutral smooth, impactful and well bodied, with a wide stage and solid detail, or a lake people g103s for something a bit more studio neutral with a hint of warmth and good width. I think a more analytical option might be a geschelli erish which is pretty solid for the money imo (but then you need to recable to balanced which isn’t convenient for your cans). IMO these amps will make a much more noticeable difference and be more worthwhile as they will more noticeably upgrade your cans rather than just give a different sound

Always a good idea, you have lots of options, you could either upgrade to the next tier or try out something a bit different. Overall imo in the sub 200 range you already have a lot of your bases covered, where I might suggest moving up to the next level of headphone

You are and I share a lot of tastes. I also enjoy Grado’s and have had HD58X, Audio Technica M50X and I tried the HE4XX.
Above that I prefer the Hifiman Sundara’s, the Senn HD660’s and Fostex T60RP are great for the price. What kind of budget do you have in mind? I really enjoyed the Meze 99 Classic’s for the price.

I think you might have nailed. I think my cans can and will offer more with just a little bit of juice.

Also looking into the Geshelli labs and their arsenal of audio equipment. They look very interesting and I am intrigued in giving those a try. With regards to balancing, I could just balance the 58x and 400i with a Geshelli amp.

Looking at those Meze 99 classics for the aesthetics. The wooden cups and gold trim just looks sweet! And they are decently priced

And SUPER easy to drive. They were my on the go headphone with my phone (LG V30) or DAP. Sound great and they look beautiful. Good amount of bass, but probably not if you are a basshead or into hip-hop/EDM. They will sound wonderful with the Spark.

They do look nice and maybe a next to try headphones. I was planning on the Sundara, but from what I’ve gathered, the 400i 2020 and the Sundara are not miles away from sounding similar.

I would rank them higher than the Sundara. The Sundara’s make Everything sound good! Nothing sounds really bad and nothing sounds really great. I describe them as smooth. I am about to sell mine.
And the closed back 99’s gives you more options for usage. They were my closed backs for about three years. Also, IMO, the Sundara’s do require an amp.

Can you get out and try any headphones in your area?

I live in Chicago and I can look around which stores here will let me audition the Sundaras. If there is nothing, then Amazon!

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