Headphone amps HD what are the choices?

I'm lost a little..pretty new to headphones :p

the headphones out of the sound card i will be getting the is not really good compare to the quality of it's normal line out..the stereo dac that was used + the small amp doesn't give any good headphone justice in quality ( the signal range is pretty bad also)

i will be purchasing HD-580 or Hd-600 in maximum 2weeks

so i'm on the market for a small good quality headphone amp
i need something that will match up good with the sennheiser's and something that will leave the sound untouched as much as possible
i am on a really tight budget
and i don't know anything about headphone amps!

SO this is where YOU knowledge people come into play! I need advice on what to look for, what kind of $$$ will i be paying for what range of quality ( i do not care to buy used at all)!!

Did i say i was on a tiite budget? hihi :)

Thanks all for your time and comments :)
Easy -- Antique Sound Labs MG Head OTL. Tubes, great sound, perfect match for HD600s, and $329 new from HeadRoom (www.headphone.com).

You WILL want to replace the stock tubes, though. I've gone with NOS Sylvania black plate for power tubes, and NOS Telefunken 12AX7 for preamping, but you can roll to your taste.
You should check


The first two are forums and information sites. The last site is Headroom's commercial site that also contains loads of good information. I personally have an MG Head DT tube headphone amp as well as a Headroom "Little" amp. I use my HD-600's with both of these amps and am quite satisfied. Would be hard to choose between them, because they are very different amps. If you are running sound out of a computer, then I assume you play MP3's more than CD's. The MG Head DT, though very clear and tight, might be slightly more forgiving of the lesser quality sound of MP3's. Another budget priced amp I have heard great things about, but never heard, is the Corda amp, at


Jan Meier, the guy who runs this site is great to deal with. I bought some AKG 1000s from him. he probably has the best deals on Sennheiser stuff too. His store is in Germany but his site is in english and the shipping here is surprisingly quick.

Good Luck
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i never run any MP3 at all
only CD DVD soon DVD-A and HDCD

and then digital in from PS2 and satell dish

the card will outputs really high quality sound ( waveterminal 192X or terratec dmx 6 fire )

but at that price the amp shouldn't be too much in used

what other choices do i have in the used amp market?

and how much will cost replacement tubes?
Generally, depends on your tastes and $ to spend, but I second the MG head recommendation (Antique Sound Labs) - very good headphone OTL amp.

It combines very well with the HD600.
The cost for replacement tubes will vary, depending on what you get. I think I paid about $75 for my tubes on eBay, although you can spend less or more than that.

One thing about the MG Head -- if you're looking at having multiple sources, be aware that the Head only has a single set of inputs -- you'd have to switch cables to go between a CDP and a PS2 or dish, unless you're using an outboard DAC with multiple digital inputs and one analog output for all your sources.
nah i don't need multiple inputs at all
i prefer not sacrificing $$$ or quality and haveing to chang4e inputs myself..that's a little to pay for the $$ and the quality you can sometime get instead of more connections and an example..

ok thanks..
i'll look into the antique sound amp!
seems to be a very popular choice :)
I think you'll be very happy with it. For the money, if you like the sound of tubes, I don't think there's any way that you can do better. Just remember not to judge it based on the stock tubes -- it becomes a whole new amp with better tubes. www.head-fi.org has a couple of threads devoted to tube rolling the MG Head, with lots of suggestions and reviews of various tubes you can use.
I have the Sennheiser HD-600, I use them with the MG Head DT OTL amp. Instead of the stock tubes, I suggest 5751 in lieu of the standard 12AX7for the preamp end. Replacing the power tubes did not make a significant difference in my system.

Remember the three mica, blacks 5751s are the best. Among the better ones are NOS (new old stock) GEs, Raytheon, are telefunkin. The ultimate 5751 is said to be the Syvania Gold but I have not heard it. It commands a premium price too.

Read Joe's tube lore on the web - that is where I got most of my info.

Even with the stock tubes, this system sound wonderful so don't splurge before listening. Incidently, I have seen the MG Head DT advertised for $ 150-200 used on Audiogon. The Sennheisers have been advertised for $ 239 New.

Always listen first.

thanks for all the great help...

unfurtunalty i do not think i can listen to anything before buying in that domain because there is simply no stores that have such amplifiers in around here :(

maybe in Montreal there are a few

i ll look to see if i can find anywhere where i can go test the antique and other..
i m not really a fan of tubes, but this is for a headphone so it might be very different!!

thanks again pple :)
Jinmtvt, you should check out http://www.divertech.com who are the distributors for Antique Sound Labs MG DT/OTL Head amps.

Maybe give them a call to see if there is a local audio shop in Montreal that stocks the Antique Sound Lab head amps. Be warned when I was in Toronto in September, they were all sold out. The shop I frequent said they could not get them in fast enough.

I just bought mine yesterday and it sounds fabulous. Naturally the tubes still need time to burn in but I am really pleased with the sound.