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What headphone amplifier to pair with Modi 3 and SHURE SHR 840?

howkey-cz

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Hi guys,
first of all i would like to say thank you for this amazing community :) I currently use this setup notebook/pc -> Modi 3 -> Shure 840 and decided to add an amplifier to this setup. My requirements are low:
  • price should be < ~300 EUR / ~360 USD
  • enough power for low impedance SHR840 (~40ohm)
  • RCA input
  • optionally XLR input (I see this as an advantage for the future)

I read the reviews here and decided to go with Schiit Heresy mainly because I doubt that I will hear any difference between this one and Topping A90, for example. But here in the EU, all Schiit products are sold out without new stock estimation. On their facebook page, there was a reply saying that re-stock will be by the end of the q1 2021 :eek:. Yes, I can order it from the US, but then I would pay tax and shipping (75 USD ), so the final price would be ~200 EUR. Here in the EU, the Heresy costs 135 EU + 16 EUR shipping, so that's ~50 EUR difference. So I decided to find alternatives ~200EUR. Sadly in the EU is a real problem to get products from Topping, JDS, Massdrop, SMSL, Monolith and others for a good price and from shops inside the EU. So my current selection is (all products are in stock and prices are shown with shipping):
  • SMSL SP200 - 230 EUR
  • SMSL SH-9 - 337 EUR (pricey, but I love the display and the volume knob :facepalm:)
  • Topping L30 - 160 EUR (I read about the damaged headphones here so this is no go)
  • Topping A50s - 230 EUR (I also read about some problems here)
  • JDS Labs Atom - 200 EUR
  • DROP THX AAA 789 LINEAR - 300 EUR (promo code and free shipping :cool:)
  • Schiit Heresy - 200 EUR
I also searched for used amps, but not many options here and to be honest, I would be more happy to buy a new one. Example of used amps I have found:
  • MONOLITH THX AAA-887 - 350 EUR
  • DROP AAA THX789 - 280 EUR

I can afford all of them and somehow I can't justify buying the more expensive ones even I like them more. Maybe I missed some amps in the selection? I will appreciate any recommendation or advice. Thank you.
 

maverickronin

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I currently use this setup notebook/pc -> Modi 3 -> Shure 840 and decided to add an amplifier to this setup.

Are you connecting your headphones directly to the Modi 3 somehow?
 
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howkey-cz

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@Nango Why? The spec is almost the same. From what I read, the SRH1540 are really good headphones, but overpriced in my opinion, any of SRH940 or SRH1440 are better buy and in the future, I will buy one of them ;-)

@maverickronin Yes, I use 2 x RCA male to 3.5mm female adapter https://www.amazon.de/-/en/KabelDirekt-0-2m-Adapter-3-5mm-female/dp/B00RXNVNLM/

The current setup works, but now the volume is controlled by software, and the volume is low, so I am reducing the bit depth, and that's the reason why I am looking for the amp ;-)
 

maverickronin

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@maverickronin Yes, I use 2 x RCA male to 3.5mm female adapter https://www.amazon.de/-/en/KabelDirekt-0-2m-Adapter-3-5mm-female/dp/B00RXNVNLM/

That's less than ideal due to the output impedance of the DAC's line out, but I guess those Shures are sensitive enough for you to get away with it.

Given the Shure's sensitivity, the best choices would probably be the L30, Massdrop THX, or Monoprice THX due to their negative gain settings or the SH-9 due to it's relay based volume control. The new L30s are supposed to be fixed but I can definitely understand still wanting to steer clear of them. Unfortunately that only leaves the more expensive options which are mostly overkill.
 

solderdude

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Topping L30 - 160 EUR (I read about the damaged headphones here so this is no go)

When you order an L30 it will not blow up any headphones.
Feel free to include it in your list. I would never buy one used though ;)
 
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howkey-cz

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Ok, I ordered the SMSL SH-9. The main reason is the volume knob, which will be better for my sensitive headphones and it has lot of power for any headphones in the future like Audio-Technica ATH-R70x :D
 
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howkey-cz

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So, amp arrived this week and it works well. Now, I can listen even with low volume without losing quality and details. Btw I borrowed Shure SHR940 and Shure SHR1440 for testing and I plan to borrow also the Audio-Technica ATH-R70x and maybe other headphones. Thanks to the amp I can hear more differences between each of them. I am afraid that I will end up with two new headphones at least :facepalm: :D
 
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howkey-cz

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OK, Audio-Technica ATH-R70x arrived today and I must say, damn these neutral headphones are awesome. Now all the Shure headphones from 440 - 1440 sound like .... they are not bad, but on the scale of 0-10, Shure gets 5-6 and ATH 9-10.
 
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