Before we end up with 10 pages of tube amp recommendations, @Punkinela specifically asked for SS amp recommendations.
Haha, oops! Good catch there @PaisleyUnderground
Thank you for your extensive and detailed breakdown of this. I think since I bought a Jot 2 for my partner I will have a chance to try it out at least so I might move forward with investigating the Burson Soloist.
I agree with your thought process to understand my sound preferences first if I ever want to expand to the GS-X. But I have a problem where if I read enough about it someone could easily convince me to get the GS-X, hence my purchase of an LTD Epoxy Resin VC and going oh I need a DAC/AMP now.
Great to see someone else agree with that combination, but I’m now wondering why the Schiit DAC and not a Burson DAC?
Just a quick comment about the Darkvoice, I know @Punkinela is not asking for Tube recommendations, but I just wanted to mention that I heard that the 110v version is not as good as the 240v version, it seems the Darkvoice was made for 240v, but when converted to 110v the tubes don’t work that well.
I won’t try to convince you otherwise but for future reference you might find it reassuring to hear that you don’t have to get sucked into the crazy world of tube rolling. I have three tube amps, all affordable ones, and those folks with more knowledge than me recommended that they be used with their stock tubes as those tubes had been carefully selected by the amps’ designers. In other words, playing around with tubes is entirely optional.
I can’t add much advice to the excellent suggestions above as I’ve only just received my VO (and am loving it). I have the Bifrost 2 and am perfectly happy with it. I hope you have much happy listening with your new headphones and gear.
Not sure what they’re going for now, but certainly used one could get the iFi Pro iCAN under $1800 or a close out original one. I loved the solid state on it and found it a great match with all the ZMFs. It does have a tube, but it’s pretty much a pain to tube roll so you never have to think about it or go down a tube rabbit hole. Again used to get within your budget, but a Hugo 2 is also a DAC and I think another great match. Far cheaper is the iFi Micro Black (or whatever is a level above it) which also has a DAC and is very powerful for a potentially portable device. All 3 have some nice sound tweaking options which can be fun to explore.
Quicksilver is the way to go… really enjoy it with my VC and the Burson Soloist 3XP /Bifrost 2 DAC works really well as a SS for the VC also. Another good SS combo Topping A90 /Bifrost 2 DAC
Did you ever find it necessary to opamp swap? I’m finding it a little daunting to consider you can switch the amps too in the Burson 3XP since why wouldn’t the one it comes with work out?