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Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions leading to a beautiful audio experience that will make you fall in love with music (NOT gear) all over again, so…
Before we get into the best headphone amps for the Sennheiser HD800 grab a snack, sit back and relax because…
You’ve come to the right place!!
The one caveat to keep in mind when deciding on a headphone amp for the HD800 is its 6k sibilance peak.
Other than that, the sound is impeccably handled, with exemplary Soundstage, resolution, air, and superior comfort.
Because of that spike, you’ll want to stick with something a bit less neutral, unless, of course, you plan to EQ it down.
I know it seems a bit counterintuitive to EQ something you just spent over $1000 on, and guess what?
It is. Lol.
Some say it’s also not very responsive to EQ.
The HD800S did improve on that, so you may consider it instead.
The HD800 is also notorious for being a little amp picky, so keep that in mind as well.
My opinion on this is sort of different than some others, but I will say if there’s one headphone that kind of does need some extra consideration, it’s most certainly an HD800.
Today we’ll stick to a mix of Solid-State, Tube, and Tube Hybrid.
Scour the internet and you’ll find dozens and dozens of amps that potentially work well.
My goal for this article is to keep it simple, but if you have suggestions for future additions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.
Just keep it civil, alright mate?
Let’s dive in!
The ATOM is pretty neutral, but has plenty of power and is known to pair well with the HD800.
The ATOM is one of those multi-tools that tends to sound great on everything you pair it with.
- Incredible Value.
- Very neutral but doesn’t make music sound cold or lifeless.
- Can be used as a preamp.
- All around excellent choice.
- The build feels a bit light.
We’re still in the budget category but the tube hybrid (Solid State/Tube) MT-604 is a great desktop solution that won’t break the bank.
It has a touch of warmth, is built well, and pairs great with something like a Zen DAC via 4.4mm to dual XLR.
Just keep in mind this is a balanced option (XLR or 4.4mm) so plan accordingly with the HD800.
Now, I like this amp a lot.
Has it been somewhat overhyped?
Sure, but its fantastic price point makes the drool fest kind of warranted.
- Tube Hybrid with a touch of warmth.
- Excellent Price to performance.
- Pairs well with the Zen DAC balanced.
- Smooth tonality.
- You can only use it balanced.
The Phonitor is another Solid-State that works very well for the HD800.
It’s a bit on the pricier side, but many have reported this to be a fine pairing and one of the best solid-state amplifiers in the world.
- Superior tonality from an amplifier.
- The speaker angle customizations are fantastic. You can make the soundstage deep or wide, or a mix of both.
- Incredibly revealing.
- Accurate, speaker-like presentation.
- A bit pricey.
How to purchase: Check DNA!
DNA, or Donald North Audio built an Amplifier almost specifically for the HD800 and it’s sold factory direct.
- Pure, natural presentation.
- Class A single-ended triode design.
- 8 Ohm output impedance.
- Takes quite a while to make and could cost upwards of $4,500.
As much as I dog people about “synergy” and all that stuff, I truly believe the BHA-1 is the best Amplifier I’ve heard to date and does kind of deserve that moniker of *nerd voice* “Best synergistic combo” with pretty much anything including the HD800.
It may have been by imagination/placebo, or simply my cherry getting popped, but the first time I heard it I was floored and couldn’t imagine something sounding much better.
This is about as rock solid as it gets and feels more like an anvil than an amplifier.
It’s built well, sounds phenomenal, and typically outperforms most entry-level products.
- 3 stereo inputs: RCA, XLR, and 3.5mm TRS
- Fully Class A discrete operational amplifiers.
- Low distortion, high power output.
- Balanced output.
- Switchable gain.
- Fully convection-cooled means no noisy fans.
- Machined and anodized aluminum enclosure and dress panel.
- Legendary Bryston 20-Year Warranty.
Finding the right amp for the HD800 doesn’t have to be an exhaustive search.
I’ve done all of that for you today.
Are there other options to consider?
Perhaps, but you’ll end up making yourself crazy as I did during the countless hours of research compiled for this brief but effective write-up.
I’ll probably tweak it a bit as time goes on, but rest assured all of these 5 options will work wonders for what is perhaps Sennheiser’s most finicky headphone.
All credit goes to @Metal571. Check him out on Twitter!
If I had to recommend one on this list to get you started in the right direction, I’d pair a Zen DAC with the MT-604.
This will give you a nice introduction to the world of tubes without burning a hole in your pocket.
Learn More About The MT-604:
Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this article on the best headphone amp for the Sennheiser HD800 and have a better idea of which amps are most worth a look.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!
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Is the DACport worth a purchase? What do you think about the BTR5? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…
All the best and God bless,
Can’t decide which headphones to purchase? Interested in a complete buyers guide outlining over 40 of the best options on the market? Click on over to the best audiophile headphones to learn more!!