Bit the Dollar and bought headphones.

Finally went ahead and ordered a set of headphones.  The Focal Stellias are on there way from Moon Audio in North Carolina.  A headphone amp is next.  I’m currently using my CD players, a Marantz headphone amp.  There’s a Sim Audio headphone amp with dac I’m looking at advertised here on Audiogon.  I know I’ll want a seperate dac also eventually.  I’m tempted to buy a discreet headphone amp and use the dac in my Cambridge Audio universal disc player for now.  The Sim Audio Moon is very nice and just within price range used.  I was looking at a Woo and Rogue, both tube.  I’m split between the Sim Audio and the Woo 22 v2 and Rogue Audio RH 5. I haven’t gotten any feedback on the Rogue.  I’ve gotten feedback on both the Sim Audio and the Woo so I’m thinking one or the other.  I do realize I’m comparing solid state with tube.  Please give me feedback on the sound characteristics of aforementioned units.  Interconnects come after the amp.  Suggestions are greatly appreciated.  I can not afford a penny over the price of aforementioned amps so I’m limited to about 2500 for the headphone amp.  Other suggestions are greatly appreciated.  Used is obviously an option as I’m looking at entry reference level. This will be an endgame headphone amp for me unless I win the lottery.  Thanks.



I think your plan of getting a headphone amp first then a DAC later is a great plan. In general a headphone amp will get you the first big advance.


Good choice of headphones.


I have spent about 15 years upgrading from headphones connected to my headphone system now. You can see my system by clicking on my ID. I have owned a dozen amps. While solid state added power and slam, they always lacked real musicality. Lots of details, but without natural midrange…. without bloom. Then I got my first Woo… WA6 finally natural sound! I had some very hard to drive headphones (unlike yours), so I got an WA6SE (still makes all headphones sound better… power required or not). Then finally I went for a truly spectacular system and got a WA5… holy cow! An enormous jump up on all headphones, efficient or not. Woo… only way to go for me.


In the mean time I upgraded DACs… each move made an big improvement. With power conditioning and finally my Ayre DAC I really got magic. Just barely… but it was there. Finally I got a real streamer, Aurender N100… holy cow… incredible system… I’m afraid a PC just isn’t the environment to create high end sound… a real streamer is required.


So, a truly great headphone system requires a great streamer, DAC, and head amp as well as headphones. Each well chosen component will raise the level of performance… you probably cannot imagine how high performance is possible… I sure didn’t know. The great thing is my headphone system is only 10 -15% the cost of my main system. The problem was, my headphone system got much better than my main system and I ended up spending a small fortune to upgrade my main system… I am so lucky to have such problems.