Headphone suggestions needed

I'm building my first high-end headphone system and need some headphone and dac suggestions based on my current setup.

I went about this backwards....I bought the amp first (a good deal fell into my lap).  I bought a Cary HH-1, a tube hybrid that uses 6922 input tubes.   What headphones would pair well with this amp?  What DAC would you recommend?  I would like to have a few options to put on a short list to either demo or research in further detail.  My budget for now would be up to around $1000 for the dac/headphones, new or used gear.  Right now I'm listening to sennheiser momentum 2 wired overear, and for the most part...I like them.  I also have a bottlehead foreplay tube preamp that can be used.  I just don't want flabby bass or shrill highs, something with accurate bass, great mids, and airy highs that aren't fatiguing.  Grado? Sennheiser? Audeze?  I will be using my laptop/tablet as a source with tidal and roon.



Sennheiser tend to be a bit more trebly and less full bass unless you can provide enormous power to them. I swap my Focal Utopia and Sennheiser HD800s all the time. I used to listen to my Focal much more than my Sennheiser until I got my big Woo 300B amp (~$7K)… finally the Sennheiser have perfect tonal balance and airy er… but the Focal still have better bass.

@ghdprentice Since you mentioned the HD800’s I’ll jump in and tell you about how I run mine.

I got a custom wired Cardas clear to a pair of XLR females so I can plug them directly into my Atma-sphere pre amp since Ralph stated it can drive headphones well. I’ve never had a dedicated headphone amp to compare, but I’m pretty happy with the results. I have done the felt/foam ring mod, and have removed the dust covers, all to good effect.




With your budget, I'd give the Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 6XX a look.  I have about a dozen headphones including a few costing 10 times as much or more and they are the ones I reach for the most.  They aren't "audiophile" headphones, in the sense that there are others that have more detail or punchier bass, or are better in other ways, but they are really easy to listen to, just a tad on the "warm" side, and super comfortable and relatively easy to drive.  They are basically a rebranded HD 650 which retail for around $500-$600 if memory serves me correctly. 

That leaves you with enough money for a decent DAC.  A Schiit Bifrost and the HD 6XX should leave you with some money in your pocket and provide lots of enjoyment.


Good strategy… the Cardas would soften the presentation a bit. Good thinking.