Greetings mate and Welcome aboard.
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 amp for the Sennheiser HD600 and 650, grab a snack, sit back and relax because…
You’ve come to the right place!
It may seem like a daunting task in trying to decide on an amp for either of these headphones.
At the end of the day,
It’s not. It’s actually very simple.
So stick around, because I’m here to steer you in the right direction – out of the audiophile fog, and into the glorious practical light. 🙂
I’ve owned an HD600 since 2016 and have used it with countless amps & dacs.
So trust me when I tell you that I’m trying to help you, not cause you to be more confused.
Because in reality,
the process of purchasing an Amp/DAC for these headphones should absolutely not be as complicated as most other websites make it out to be.
So my question for you is this:
Do you want to listen to music, or would you rather venture further and further down the rabbit hole?
The choice is yours.
If it’s the former, stick around and read this article in its entirety.
Now, before we get started,
just input your credit card and personal information into my trusty database.
Haha just kidding.
Come on, loosen up. 🙂
The good thing about both of these is that they aren’t really that picky; most pairings will sound very good!
The dilemma arises when looking for the best amp that pairs well with the 600 and 650.
Thankfully, it’s not really a dilemma.
I did quite a bit of research regarding the best, tested out many pairings, and I have some news for you.
So let’s discuss it.
In the interest of keeping things simple and concise, I’ll go over my top picks and then give some closing thoughts about my reasoning.
By the end, you should absolutely be ready to purchase something.
So get excited because you’re in the right place!
Hidizs S9 Pro
For many years I recommended the AudioQuest DragonFly Red because I thought it was a great DAC.
It still is, but my philosophy has always been to recommend one thing until something better comes along.
Well, something better has come along.
It’s the Hidizs S9 Pro containing the same 9038Q2M chip that the DragonFly Cobalt houses, only at 1/3 of the price.
That’s right you heard me correctly.
The overpriced Cobalt goes for over $300, and the DragonFly Red (9018 chip) is now overpriced at $200.
Why would you pay those prices when you can get the same chip for roughly $100 and have the option to run balanced (2.5mm)?
The decision is an easy one, my friends.
The S9 Pro is clean and neutral, has plenty of power, can run DSD up to 512 if that’s your thing, and tops out at 32-bit/768kHz.
In other words, more than enough to run any files you may have.
Don’t overthink it!
FiiO K5 Pro
The K5 Pro is one of the most recommended Amp/DAC combos on this site, and that trend continues here.
As far as features and versatility, it doesn’t get much better. It can be used as a preamp into separate speakers/monitors, as a gaming rig via optical, and it’s even got a coax input for good measure.
Couple that with plenty of power + the ability to run files greater than 48kHz, and you’ve got a recipe for a pretty fantastic product.
To this day,
it’s still relevant to me due to the sheer fact that I’ve demoed over 60+ Amps & DACS at this point and understand that the differences between them, sound-wise, are almost non-existent.
In other words,
you’ll probably always keep one around and it just so happens to sound great with both the HD600 and 650!
JDS Labs ATOM
If you happen to already have an E10K or K3, the absolute most logical step up is to simply add a JDS ATOM amplifier to the mix.
This is perhaps the best pairing with the HD600, 650, 6XX, etc.
The reason being is that it’s dead neutral (meaning it has a very low output impedance) and will present to you the music and tonality of the headphones exactly as-is.
So don’t overthink it.
What you’ll need:
Just snag an RCA to mini (3.5mm) and you’re set.
Plug the 3.5mm end into the back of the E10K and the other end into the ATOM’s RCA inputs.
In this case,
you’d just utilize the RCA outputs of the ATOM and connect the other ends to the inputs of a speaker.
Just make sure the speakers have 3.5mm or RCA inputs. Most have one or both.
Wait, that’s it?
It’s not that difficult.
What you have to understand about this industry is that the new flavor of the week DAC is the DAC to get, until it’s not anymore.
In other words,
New DAC comes out, everyone tells you to buy it, then it fades into obscurity until new DAC comes out and everyone tells you to buy it.
Rinse and repeat into oblivion.
I’ve been running this blog since 2014.
TRUST ME when I tell you that’s exactly how it works.
Every single time.
Eventually, you’ll catch on as I did.
So yeah, you could keep shopping, but you’ll be shopping forever because there are thousands and thousands of DACS on the market now, and guess what?
They’re all the best things since sliced bread.
- Related: What is a USB DAC?
Everyone’s got their hand in the cookie jar because they (companies) know that if you’re brand new to this stuff, you’re easy fodder.
And you’ll keep buying and replacing ’til your blue in the face.
So my advice?
You just spent around $200 and can now listen to and enjoy music rather than stress about things you shouldn’t be stressing about.
Feels good, doesn’t it?
Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this discussion on the best headphone amps for the Sennheiser HD600 and 650, and are better equipped to make a purchasing decision!
If you love what I do here and want to support the blog and channel in a more personal way, check me out on Patreon and discover all the value I have to offer you.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!
Have I convinced you that it’s not that difficult? I would love to hear your thoughts. 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!!
Keep in mind this was recorded in 2019, so my opinions and stance have changed quite considerably. Do also note that any of the options in the video not discussed here will also work fine. Again, don’t overthink it!