General purchase advice: Ask your questions/for advice here!

The Cayin HA-3A seems to be highly regarded and is rather versatile. It is 6v6 rather than 300B output tubes and is about $1,600.


Well, we can agree to disagree on “the point” of tube amps … no argument there! :wink:

What I should have said was that cancelling out even-order harmonics, something inherent to fully-balanced designs, defeats much of the point of tube amps for me.

Certainly not the only reason people enjoy them.

But absent that factor, I personally tend to go solid-state rather than balanced-tubes - not the least part of which is that a well-matched quad of my favorite 300Bs (if it were possible to find such a set at this point) would run about the same price as a fully-loaded Tesla Model S Plaid.


I have the Denon AVR-x2700h…Is it true that the impedance (Ohms) of the headphone; one has, should be 8 times the number of the output impedance of your amplifier or more. I also own the ifi micro idsd signature dac/headphone amplifier with unknown specs. The Denon is 47ohms. 47 times eight will equate 376. I heard that high impedance amplifiers push low current. And than there is vice versa. This is a conundrum. Personally I do not think the ifi micro is a gold mine in itself. And I bought it because of reviews on how it paired well with my Arya v2. My Arya v2 is 35 ohms. Yet it has really good qualities with the Denon alone. Now because of the drivers falling apart I may have to buy a new headphone and I don’t know what I should be doing. Anyway thanks for any suggestions? :small_blue_diamond:

Ideally … and from a simple perspective, yes.

And that ideal would be that 8 is a minimum.

Rarely an issue with modern, competent, headphone amplifiers (even $100 models) … as they tend to be well under 1 ohm OI.

The specs are known, just not the way they measure power.

Headphone OI (output impedance) on the iFi micro iDSD Signature is less than 1 ohm w/o ieMatch, and I think it was 10 ohms with it engaged.

I’m pretty sure it’s 470 ohms … unless things have changed since I last saw a schematic (or the schematic was incorrectly labeled).

Higher the impedance of the amplifier, the lower current it will be able to deliver. Higher the impedance of the headphone, the lower current it will draw. If the impedance of OI of the amplifier is higher than that of the headphone, the amplifier will lose more current (and thus power) internally than it can provide to the headphone.


Well…I did “NOT” know that the output impedance of Denon AVR’s was 470 ohms??? In Denon’s manuals it claimed some amps at output impedance of 47 ohms? Why then are there headphone amplifiers with high current rates that “DO NOT” measure up in terms of better sound quality than the Denon??? I could list them with different price points…(for the Hifiman Arya v2 + Sundara) I heard low impedance higher current amplifiers are the best for all headphones in general?? Is anything true?? Sounds like Denon is a low current use case…

It could be that the coloration of the sound by the impedance mismatch is pleasing to your ear. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think it’s similar to applying a bass boost…

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The Denon AVR-x2700h’s manual doesn’t mention any specification for the headphone output. And the number 47 only appears 4 times … ALL of which are page numbers/parts of page numbers.

Are there?

You may like the way your Denon sounds more, but that’s just a personal preference.

AVRs are big boxes of big compromises. They can sound “impressive”. Some people genuinely like the way they sound. Even the very expensive ones tend to, objectively, perform quite poorly. And to make matters worse, with headphones … the headphone output is usually an after thought. It gets included because doing so costs a couple of cheap resistors a socket, and an extra hole in the casework.

If you like the way headphones sound from your Denon, that’s fine.

But you keep asking “us” for recommendations, and the general consensus here seems to be that those of us that have heard AVRs driving headphones have had experiences they’re not wanting to repeat/foist on others.

You don’t NEED to ask us for anything.

Buy what you want, plug it in, and deal with the end results … you may like it, you may hate it, but absolutely no one is stopping you from doing that.

But after many, many, posts it should be clear to you that you’re just not going to find people here going “Oh, yeah, those low-end Denon AVRs sounds fantastic with any headphone you pair them with!” … which seems to be what you’re trying to get to.

There are limited situations in which higher OI amplifiers paired with some, sometimes lower impedance, headphones, result in a pleasant result. As @Promee says, above, this is usually a product of elevated bass due to the impedance mismatch and lower damping ratio.

But, in general, you want as close to zero OI as possible. And more current capacity, all other things being equal (they aren’t … and price is usually the first to go), is good.


If you insist on using your AVR to drive headphones, just do it.

Excepting your fascination with a headphone you haven’t heard (Tungsten), the iFi Micro iDSD Signature is more than enough for almost any headphone (even if iFi are playing games with the power rating), and absolutely outperforms the BEST CASE technical performance of your AVR.

You may not like it as much, but on technical grounds there’s absolutely no comparison.

If not, choose an amplifier from a competent brand (Schiit, iFi, JDS Labs, Geshelli, Topping, SMSL, etc.), doesn’t have to be expensive (as they will ALL be technically superior to anything in pretty much ANY AVR). Find a suitable DAC to pair it with (the line-output from your iFi unit is way better than anything your AVR can output). And get the headphones you want. If they don’t work for you, change something … but one thing at a time.

There are no sure things here; once you get beyond measurements it is ALL personal preference.

No one else but you knows what it is that is making you so high on the way your AVR sounds.

No one else but you knows what it is that you consider “audiophile” or “better sound quality”.

At some point you just have to jump in and start trying things.


Just saying…What kind of music are most of us listening to??? I’ve delved into songs that really play> with>power on some songs. I don’t routinely listen to death metal, hip hop, country. My point is I would share some music that I know of that I do not hear of on the forum. Because I believe commercial and well produced tracks are better for analyzing the core of where good sound should come from… when determining how the general public will perceive decent set-ups for listening pleasure. Maybe I’m ranting…however I think I don’t hear enough explanations about distinct tracks like rock ect…when listening to isolated tracks. As far as AVR’s go, I’m probably going to be stuck with it for the while…I need a new headphone first that conducts itself well with the genres I listen to…

Genre wise, I cover pretty much everything. In my personal library (1M tracks, legal, owned) I would say that metal, in its various forms, and country are somewhat under-represented vs. most other genres, but there’s still plenty of both (in raw numbers, probably more than some confirmed fans of either genre).

I don’t know if there is a big, common, set of genres that the bulk of the forum listens to. There probably is, but I don’t know what it/they would be.

So what does that mean?

When you say “power” what are you referring to specifically? Loudness? Heavy, emphatic, baselines? Power-chords all over? Massive musical swells? Big crescendos in large orchestral works? Emotional impact? Some specific combination(s) of these? What?

What are you trying to say here?

You do or do not think those genres get listened to by members of the forum? Or you’re not including those in music you think “plays with power”? Or … what?

Full, coherent, sentences and paragraphs would help a GREAT DEAL in trying to parse what you’re saying, without which you’re not going to get much help (and I’m about to stop trying … one more vague, ellipsis filled, wall-of-text ramble and you’re on your own).

So, why don’t you?

What is this mysterious music, that “really plays with power”, that you don’t see mentioned here?

I doubt many would disagree, from a pure evaluative perspective. Not necessarily the case when listening for pleasure (I’d personally rather listen to good music that is from hobbyists and/or poorly produced, than beautifully recorded and mastered dross, but of course I would prefer, even more, good music that was well produced … though I don’t really care if its “commercial” or not).

Closest thing to that, today, is probably the Harman research and curves/targets. If you’re one of those people that find systems/transducers that closely follow the Harman curve suit your preferences, then learn what that frequency response looks like and start auditioning headphones that follow it.

If not, figure out what the signature you like IS and try other models/components that play to.

The solution to that, is to find reviewers that write their evaluations in terms of each track they listen to, individually, and that gravitate towards the subset of those that favor music/genres you enjoy.

And those genres would be?

Well I am open to most of yesterdays music like the 80’s 90’s 00’s rock pop genres in particular. Yes I do like some other genres too…Promee made an interesting point about mismatching impedance. Maybe the frequency was changed and added a bass bump to the spectrum like the video I recently watched??? How would it change for something like the Modhouse Tungsten? 135 OHMs Can this headphone’s sound signature improve over the Hifiman Arya v2 35 OHMs …The reason why I’m ragging on it is because Torq said a minimum of 8 times the output impedance…So if that number is closer… Yet still far away. (from Denon having 470ohms) Will a headphone like the Tungsten SS sound better than the Arya on it??? Does the sensitivity of the headphone make for a more immersive experience?

Go at look at the threads for recommended music for headphones, Now Playing, and What Music you’re listening to this week. You’ll see what we all like. You’ll get some playlists. I’ve posted my playlist of “The Chameleons” a bunch of Pop and Jazz songs I like to test with, all with a Chameleon theme. @SenyorC has posted his test list, so have others. We have lists of Irish songs for Saint Patty’s, Drinking Songs, Railroad Songs. The Classical Music thread has great recommendations, add yours in. The TIMBRE! thread talks about certain things to listen for, and a discussion of piano with lots of Keith Jarrett. We have Electronica and EDM sections.

Look around.


This is good advice, @Cyan69. Much of what you say you haven’t seen is in fact around on the forum. Just to add to what @pennstac already provided, there is also a “Test Tracks” thread here. Plenty there about what people are listening to and what they are listening for.

How/Why are you “stuck with” the AVR when you have a perfectly good Ifi amp?

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Would like to get y’all’s opinion. I see that the Schiit Valhalla is in the “Last Call” section. $299. I don’t have ANY OTL amp, and I do have a couple of headphones that it would probably be nice for. Heck, maybe someday I’ll even spring for a used Senn 800 series headphone.

Is it worth scarfing one of these up on general principles? Is it too entry level to be useful? I do have two hybrid amps - the Lyr3 and for my eStats a Mjolnir modifed SRM-T1S. In solid state I’ve got things reasonably well covered for now.

If one does get one, should I stick with stock tubes, or think about ONE recommended rolling set? I’d budget an extra $200 or so for that - which lead me to wonder if I’d just be better off doing nothing until I feel like blowing upwards of $500 or $1K?

I’m askin’ here, and in this way, because many of you know I’m not the headphone newbie, nor completely a tightwad, but don’t choose to play in the TOTL cost stratosphere. The closest I’ve ever come is the Rosson RAD-0.


I grabbed mine used, just before Schiit marked them as end-of-production. Came with 2 sets of stock tubes, which I assume are Chinese, another full set of NOS Voshkod, and a pair of Phillips-JAN 6922s. Spent basically what you’re budgeting.

Couldn’t be happier with it as a daily driver with my Senn 6XX. It’s easily good enough to expose differences in DACs, regardless of tube complement. With all the tubes I have, it retains a warm character without becoming oppressive. You might be able to lean it out with the right tube complement, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Let it be what it wants to be and I think you’ll enjoy it.

For me, it’s good enough that any other tube amp I get has to do the speakers AND headphones trick. I consider it well above entry-level, despite the entry-level price. (But I am a bit of a noob with headphones compared to many here.)


The stock tubes at that point were Soviet era NOS tubes (from Russia of course) that used to be real cheap. I had picked that one up pre-Ukraine war and all the tube nonsense that followed. :wink:

I do kind of miss that amp…

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I think it’s pretty hard to go wrong with it at $299. It’s a pretty great amp for the price, and I really liked it for my 650 and especially ZMF Verite Open.

Do be aware that Jason has said a new Valhalla is coming this year sometime, but I haven’t read any details on it, not to mention pricing.

The stock tubes in it (assuming they are the same as when I got mine) are very good imo. If you get one try them for a while first before going down the tube rabbit hole! :rofl:


Following my testing of a cheap OTL amp (Darkvoice 336), and living with the less cheap but still fundamentally cheap Bottlehead Crack OTL, I’d pass at this point. That’s because the forbidden qualities of high-end transformers and capacitors make the roughness and flaws of products in this price class obvious. I suspect it’d be a great intro product and solid value at $299, but fear I’d hear the flaws and never use it. My Lyr 3 hasn’t been used at all since first testing it against the Decware.

I’d be ESPECIALLY concerned for use with the HD 800, as very sensitive to and revealing of upstream flaws. I reserve the Crack for the HD 6XX and Beyer DT 880 – it matches their potential performance well. The 800 S just sounds hamstrung, and makes those setups akin to crayon art versus fine pencil drawings.

Have you considered the Woo WA2 (retail $1.5K) or Feliks Echo MkII (retail $1K)? These are certainly not TOTL but may be in your stratosphere bracket. I have no personal experience with either one, but thought long and hard about both before going with the Decware.


Out of curiosity did you ever install the speedball in your Bottlehead Crack? If not I’d be curious if you did end up installing it what your impressions would be now that you have the Decware.

The BHC definitely has a ceiling with technicalities, but I found the speedball “sharpens the crayon” by a relatively substantial amount (a does a set of resolving tubes).

I agree if getting max performance/technicalities is your goal then jumping to a higher tier first makes more sense financially in the long run. However, if one is looking to “get a taste of the OTL sound” I feel it’s a viable path I would encourage others to follow.

Personally, I spent ~3 years tube rolling with my BHC (w/ speedball) and was very happy with the resolution with my BF2/64 and Verite Closed. Now that I have an 1101 OTL and Yggy+ GS2/A1, the crack DOES sound like crayons to pencils. I doubt my crack will get much more head time. That being said, I have no regrets with my journey and 100% of the tubes I acquired for my BHC work in my higher end OTL. I feel like I got my moneys worth of enjoyment along the way.

Sometimes part of the fun of the journey towards the summit is stopping at multiple viewpoints along the way.


Hello, I need advice on Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds with HIGHEST POSIBLE VOLUME and stable Bluetooth connection with Windows 11. There are so many earbuds online I just can’t pick the right one for me.

The type of headphone: Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds

My price range is: Under $100 (I will be using them 4-5 hours a week)

I like to listen to: TV mostly Movies, YouTube channels not music. No High music quality needed.

I will be using them for: In my bedroom to not bother other people in my house

Additional: Do not need microphone, Do not need high quality of sound, Do not need high battery life. I only need HIGHEST POSIBLE VOLUME. I bought Earbuds in the past that gradually lost volume level? I don’t know if it is a charging problem, I use them for 2 hours and then charge until next use? I work a sound heavy job and already have partial hearing loss.

So, my thought here is that if you have partial hearing loss, combating that with high volume is not really a good idea as it is likely to make the problem worse and risk more heading loss.

I would talk to a doctor before going with high volume listening.

I would instead focus on finding very good isolation with active noise cancellation. This will give you a more quiet background, meaning you won’t need as much volume.

You may actually want to look at noise cancelling IEMs from Apple, Bose or Sony that are known to have good noise cancellation, and also explore tips that give the best passive cancelation that you can.

I’m sorry to hear about your hearing loss, my wife has partial hearing loss in one ear and it really affects how she hears music. But you need to protect what you have.