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Best Option for HD6XX: Archel 2.5 Pro, L30, or THX AAA 887

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#1
Hi Everyone,

I'm new here. I have a pair of Sennheiser HD6XX and am looking for a headphone amp to drive them properly. I currently have a Topping D30/A30 setup and I really don't like the A30 with the HD6XXs, it seems too noisy when you boost the gain to drive them. So, I'm considering the Archel 2.5 Pro, L30, or THX AAA 887. I do NOT have the balanced cable for the phones so I will be using it single-ended, if that matters. Also, I usually listen to classical and sometimes classic rock, metal. Any insights would be greatly appreciated.
 

Jimbob54

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#5
All of them will be equally "overkill". I'd go for L30 because cheap and good features.
If you are not running balanced into the Archel 2.5, you may as well get the Archel 2 if still available for a bit less. Or the L30. The 887 makes no real sense for the money if your using neither balanced in or out.
 
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Thread Starter #6
Thank you to everyone for their suggestions. To clarify, in the future I'm hoping to run a fully balanced system, that is to say balanced ins and outs, I'm less concerned about balanced headphone cable as I usually use short cables. At the moment, my DAC goes through a passive preamp/switch to move between my monitors/sub (all balanced) and the headphone amp. The switch is can be run balanced or unbalanced. So in the future I'd like to add a balanced DAC, so I'm leaning toward the Archel 2.5 but I'm worried about whether it has enough power to drive the HD6XXs. Thus, at this point, I'm willing to sacrifice (future) balanced for power, if necessary.
 

Jimbob54

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#7
Thank you to everyone for their suggestions. To clarify, in the future I'm hoping to run a fully balanced system, that is to say balanced ins and outs, I'm less concerned about balanced headphone cable as I usually use short cables. At the moment, my DAC goes through a passive preamp/switch to move between my monitors/sub (all balanced) and the headphone amp. The switch is can be run balanced or unbalanced. So in the future I'd like to add a balanced DAC, so I'm leaning toward the Archel 2.5 but I'm worried about whether it has enough power to drive the HD6XXs. Thus, at this point, I'm willing to sacrifice (future) balanced for power, if necessary.
The Archel 2.5 has plenty of power for the 6XX- especially if you run 4v XLR into it. I run 300 ohm and 600ohm sennheiser and beyer from it easily. But its only got single ended output- just to clarify.

Their Erish only has balanced XLR ins and out and is their only fully balanced offer
 
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Thread Starter #8
The Archel 2.5 has plenty of power for the 6XX- especially if you run 4v XLR into it. I run 300 ohm and 600ohm sennheiser and beyer from it easily. But its only got single ended output- just to clarify.

Their Erish only has balanced XLR ins and out and is their only fully balanced offer
Thanks for your help. Taking this into left field, any thoughts about the RME ADI-2 Dac fs? That seems like it would solve my balanced dac and headphone power issue? Any insights?
 

GoMrPickles

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#9
Hi Everyone,

I'm new here. I have a pair of Sennheiser HD6XX and am looking for a headphone amp to drive them properly. I currently have a Topping D30/A30 setup and I really don't like the A30 with the HD6XXs, it seems too noisy when you boost the gain to drive them. So, I'm considering the Archel 2.5 Pro, L30, or THX AAA 887. I do NOT have the balanced cable for the phones so I will be using it single-ended, if that matters. Also, I usually listen to classical and sometimes classic rock, metal. Any insights would be greatly appreciated.
I recommend the L30. I have the THX 789 and the L30; I think I like the L30 a little bit better. I listen at very *low* volumes, so I'm an outlier there.

Using a 4-pin balanced cable with the THX 789 and 6XXs, there was no volume *low* enough that I could even listen. Any sound at all was ear-splittingly loud, and got worse from there. I don't know how anyone uses the power modern amps have and still has eardrums.

Stack is PC - USB - SMSL SU-8 - L30 - stock SE cable - 6XX.
 

Jimbob54

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#10
Thanks for your help. Taking this into left field, any thoughts about the RME ADI-2 Dac fs? That seems like it would solve my balanced dac and headphone power issue? Any insights?
You don't have a power issue. Dissuade yourself of that notion and your life will be much easier. The RME is more DAC amp than you need but it's obviously brilliant if you need the extra features. You might be better getting a less expensive balanced DAC, the schiit modiius for example and a headamp
 

NCX

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#11
I'm new here. I have a pair of Sennheiser HD6XX and am looking for a headphone amp to drive them properly.
I have these as well, and they need around 40% less volume (my HE560's need the same amount of volume regardless of the cable type) when connected with a balanced cable to my A 281 AMP. I like to crank the volume (usually @3 O'clock on the volume knob), and watch blu-rays which require much more volume than streamed content. I need at least 700mw of power. My Gustard H10 amp (1.4w into 300ohm) can also drive the HD6XX and my Beyer T90's (they need more power & distorts at high volumes). I can't remember if the HD6XX suffer from distortion at high volumes since they're not my primary headphones, and the H10 is easily bested by the Schiit Magnius.

The Geschelli Archel 2 (165mw high gain into 300ohm) and Topping L30 (1.5w into 50ohm; divide 1500 by 6 for rough power estimate into 300ohm headphones) are far too weak for my preferences while the Topping A90 can output 4.8w into 50ohm (balanced connection), so it can definitely handle the 300 ohm HD6XX. With high gain on the Schiit Magnius outputs 768mw into 300ohm (balanced) so it should also satisfy.

There are no measurements for the Archel 2.5 so I would not waste time trying one out. If you stick with the un-balanced headphone cable you're going to have to pay way more for an AMP powerful enough to drive them.
 
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Jimbob54

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#12
I have these as well, and they need around 40% less volume (my HE560's need the same amount of volume regardless of the cable type) when connected with a balanced cable to my A 281 AMP. I like to crank the volume (usually @3 O'clock on the volume knob), and watch blu-rays which require much more volume than streamed content. I need at least 700mw of power. My Gustard H10 amp (1.4w into 300ohm) can also drive the HD6XX and my Beyer T90's (they need more power & distorts at high volumes). I can't remember if the HD6XX suffer from distortion at high volumes since they're not my primary headphones, and the H10 is easily bested by the Schiit Magnius.

The Geschelli Archel 2 (165mw high gain into 300ohm) and Topping L30 (1.5w into 50ohm; divide 1500 by 6 for rough power estimate into 300ohm headphones) are far too weak for my preferences while the Topping A90 can output 4.8w into 50ohm (balanced connection), so it can definitely handle the 300 ohm HD6XX. With high gain on the Schiit Magnius outputs 768mw into 300ohm (balanced) so it should also satisfy.

There are no measurements for the Archel 2 Pro so I would not waste time trying one out. If you stick with the un-balanced headphone cable you're going to have to pay way more for an AMP powerful enough to drive them.

So much nonsense in one post. You absolutely do not need 700mw @300 ohms to drive these or many other headphones . Amir's benchmark is 100mw at 300 ohms to have enough headroom.

More importantly- the OP is asking about the Archel 2.5- which hasnt been measured here, But it is an upgraded version of the 2- which most definitely has been measured , and very well it did. https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...hel2-headphone-amp-review-another-champ.9438/

the 2.5 has balanced in (so gets a bump in volume for any given position on the knob than the also present RCA inputs) and is more powerful generally. The 2.5 absolutely can drive a 300 ohm sennheiser very well- in low gain mode too, even via the RCA inputs.
 

NCX

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#13
So much nonsense in one post. You absolutely do not need 700mw @300 ohms to drive these or many other headphones . Amir's benchmark is 100mw at 300 ohms to have enough headroom.
I don't care what someone else's volume preference is. I posted what mine is and what I look for. I would rather read a book in silence than listen to content with 100mw max power.
 

Jimbob54

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#14
I don't care what someone else's volume preference is. I posted what mine is and what I look for. I would rather read a book in silence than listen to content with 100mw max power.
Its also physically impossible (unless there is some truly odd internals) for an amp at the same position on the knob to give same volume via balanced output as for single ended if for other HP on same amp balanced is louder. Now, the SMSL SP200 is the same voltage for XLR as single ended so would exhibit that, but not just for HE560. I think you mean you havent noticed the jump in volume because they are pretty insensitive cans.
 

Jimbob54

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#15
I don't care what someone else's volume preference is. I posted what mine is and what I look for. I would rather read a book in silence than listen to content with 100mw max power.
Toppng L30 117mw @300ohm (thats pre clipping) https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...topping-l30-headphone-amplifier-review.15226/

Our hosts comments :

Headphone Amplifier Listening Tests
Measurements predicts that we have tons of absolutely clean power and that is what I heard. Even with my low impedance and very inefficient Ether CX headphone, I had no trouble getting clean sound to the limits of what I could tolerate. Ditto for HD-650 which produced exceptional detail and thundering bass which it can only deliver when pumped with authority.

So basically- your post was largely nonsense but with a healthy dose of unhelpful subjective waffle mixed in.
 
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Thread Starter #16
You don't have a power issue. Dissuade yourself of that notion and your life will be much easier. The RME is more DAC amp than you need but it's obviously brilliant if you need the extra features. You might be better getting a less expensive balanced DAC, the schiit modiius for example and a headamp
You could well be right. I think the issue for me, regarding my current amp (the A30,) is that I have to click up the gain to adequately power the phones and as such the noise floor comes up too. So the problem is really the raised noise floor rather than absolute power itself? Not sure, I may be conflating two separate issues.

Regard the RME, I was also interested in it because of the EQ options. I know that most people want the "pure sound", and I get that, I just know that I have some deficiencies (my ears) that could possibly be overcome with a little EQ. Adding EQ with a separate unit doesn't seem like a good option as there aren't a lot of options out there and the potential for noise it reasonably high. Nevertheless, you may be correct about it possibly being more than necessary. I guess I've got some thinking to do. I appreciate the help.
 

cistercian

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#17
I have the RME ADI-2 V2 DAC. I need a DAC for redbook and to drive my amp. I also wanted the features it has.
It drives my Sennheiser HD 600 phones great! I recommend it highly.
 

Jimbob54

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#18
You could well be right. I think the issue for me, regarding my current amp (the A30,) is that I have to click up the gain to adequately power the phones and as such the noise floor comes up too. So the problem is really the raised noise floor rather than absolute power itself? Not sure, I may be conflating two separate issues.

Regard the RME, I was also interested in it because of the EQ options. I know that most people want the "pure sound", and I get that, I just know that I have some deficiencies (my ears) that could possibly be overcome with a little EQ. Adding EQ with a separate unit doesn't seem like a good option as there aren't a lot of options out there and the potential for noise it reasonably high. Nevertheless, you may be correct about it possibly being more than necessary. I guess I've got some thinking to do. I appreciate the help.
Yes, the A30 is definitely outdated in the company of those items discussed here https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...g-a30-and-schiit-magni-3-headphone-amps.4024/

Bottom line, I dont think you would be disappointed with the original 3 amps mentioned or the RME- caveat being the extra 400-600 dollars extra you will be spending on it. If you just want EQ there are free softwares to do it at the PC side of things- quick search on here will give you examples, not an area of familiarity.
 

NCX

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#19
Its also physically impossible (unless there is some truly odd internals) for an amp at the same position on the knob to give same volume via balanced output as for single ended if for other HP on same amp balanced is louder. Now, the SMSL SP200 is the same voltage for XLR as single ended so would exhibit that, but not just for HE560. I think you mean you havent noticed the jump in volume because they are pretty insensitive cans.
The implication here is that I'm lying or have a weird balanced amp, which I do, and linked to in my first post. I purposefully listed what my volume PREFERENCES are in my first post in the first paragraph. You can repeatedly claim I am wrong about how much volume I LIKE, but that's not going to make me start listening to what I find to be barely audible volume levels.
 

Jimbob54

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#20
The implication here is that I'm lying or have a weird balanced amp, which I do, and linked to in my first post. I purposefully listed what my volume PREFERENCES are in my first post in the first paragraph. You can repeatedly claim I am wrong about how much volume I LIKE, but that's not going to make me start listening to what I find to be barely audible volume levels.
No , I'm saying your ludicrous volume preferences are unhelpful references for anyone else. Therefore amp suggestions based on them are similarly unhelpful.

I'm saying your amp must be very strange indeed to put out different voltages into most HP (to require the 40% drop) yet put the same voltage into the HE560 regardless of connection.
 
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