Right now, I'm thinking this...Cheapest and still great:
good software with EQ > Geek Out V1 1000 > Modded HD800Pretty cheap, great value, punchy/big sound, helps with HD800 tonality:
Crack/Speedball > Modded HD800Versatile/practical Solid State, Medium/Higher price but good value:
good software with EQ > EC Black Widow > Modded HD800More expensive/next level tube amp, great control and linearity with some tube goodness:
EC Zana Deux Super > Modded HD800Definitely expensive, special headstage presentation, ability of least-fatiguing sound from HD800:
EC Balancing Act w/KR PX-4 > HD800. Extra notes on Geek Out:
I have an order for V2+ and expect that it will be sweeter than the GO 1000 V1 (based on V2 and V2+ prototypes I have borrowed) but the V1 is working very well with higher buffer in Amarra Tidal and no external power, so the form factor is just great and 1000 has plenty of gain.Extra Notes on the Black Widow:
This set-up is good for many types of phones because of amp, does something subtly "liquid" with treble that is really good for dynamic driver and sigma-delta DAC grain)Extra notes on ZD/ZDS:
After hearing the ZD Super, I want to do some mods on my original (non-SE) ZD and try to boost its performance. After getting some parts replaced and output tubes on my original ZD, it isn't as satisfying as it was when it was having problems. It was a bit peakier before, but had some sweet euphony...now it is "okay" but doesn't seem to sound as good as it looks.Extra Notes on BA:
Very tunable with output and driver tubes. New Cinemag transformers (have not heard yet) may tighten up the bass which can be a weakness of BA performance. I do still miss this amp most out of all gear I have sold- but cost, expensive/rare output tubes needed for rolling, and size of this amp/power supply made it hard to keep in a big stable of tube amps/gear without a dedicated room. Not sure if I will eventually get one again or an EC Studio or stay happy with these less expensive options. Trying to be more responsible and selling the BA made me buy three other amps to compensate.
So yeah- it is hard to give up serious goodness but that has led me to try lots of current options and find these to share with you.
Right now I am surprised and happy at how the HD800 can be tamed and enjoyed in many ways that are so satisfying. I have tried to list a few that people can get and should be able to be very happy with.