I'm looking for an AMP for Hifiman Sundara under ₹20000, using LG G8X for music playback. Suggestions please...

Stormheart

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I have a LG G8X , it has an inbuilt quad dac which I'm ok with. Was using Sennheiser HD 599 and loved it's sound. Then I decided to upgrade and got a Hifiman Sundara.
My phone is probably not able to drive the Sundara as the sound is really low.
I would listen with 35 sound levels in HD599 but to get to same level I have to crank it up to full ie 75. Still Sundara sounds like masked.

Maybe a better AMP can solve my problem.
I'm currently looking at ifi Zen CAN and Schiit Magni Heresy.

I love detailed and balanced sound.

Please suggest an AMP around ₹ 20000.

Thank you and regards
Ravikiran
 

Doomster69

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Hi,
Sundara owner here..

Being planars work will with high current feedback amps. The catch is that Sundara's scale better with more powerful amps.

To give an example - they sound bigger, clearer and darker background on my speaker amp (marantz pm5005 in pure direct mode) than my desktop (Magni) or portable rig (Nx4) setups. So consider that when selecting the AMP. If size of the amp isn't a problem, u can look at speaker amps with a good headphone out.

Between schiit heresy and 3±, I'd say the 3+ would work out to be better than heresy (unless ur more inclined to measurements based amp). Being discrete amp than op amp based, I find the output 'slightly' better in terms of soundstage.

Zen can is also a good pairing, but I'd be inclined towards Schiit for 'quality' of output. Zen tends to be a bit rolled off and laid back, which takes away the planar speed aspect.

Another option to consider would be the topping amps... They have good linearity and scale well. Stay clear of tube amps though, don't sound too good with the Sundara.

I hope I havent confused you more, just offering perspective.. Good luck searching and do post what u finally decided to go with!!
 

Stormheart

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I understand that I can go bigger in amp and will get better sound.

If that's the case I'll search for speaker amps as well.

Thank you soo much!!
 

Beast_of_burden

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I love detailed and balanced sound.

Please suggest an AMP around ₹ 20000.

Thank you and regards
Ravikiran
Check out the Acoustic Portrait HP amplifier. Comes with balanced input as an option. Very quiet and balanced sounding, beefy power supply. I find it very neutral and use it as a preamplifier. I have a Lehman Rhinelander as well, no contest the AP is streets ahead in refinement. The AP amp can sound lush with certain cans like the HD600. The designer told me the amp is designed to handle high impedance cans without breaking into a sweat. The AP has a certain authority in the bass, which is why I use it as a preamplifier. I've used the AP amp with my own AKG 712s, these don't sound lush but dry and quick like an AKG is supposed to.
 

catalyst360

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I understand that I can go bigger in amp and will get better sound.

If that's the case I'll search for speaker amps as well.

Thank you soo much!!

I wouldn't do that. The headphone amp section of most speaker amps is an afterthought. Speaker amp manufactures don't even bother to advertise the specs of their HP amp section, and in most cases, they produce less power than a competent HP amp. Unless you are buying something like an Emotiva BasX A-100 and removing the jumper, the full wattage of the amp is not sent to the HP out. Then there's the issue with size, heat and convenience.

For 20k you can get the Topping A50s which is an excellent HP amp with balanced out. It has more than enough juice to drive the Sundara from its pentaconn out. But if you don't own a balanced cable and is not looking into getting one, the Schiit Magni Heresy is also a great choice.
 

Stormheart

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I own the Magni 3+, feeding into Amiron Home. Perfectly happy with it ! Consider getting the Modi at some point !
Eventually I'll have to get a DAC...
Quick question, I was planning to get an ultra portable DAC like Earmen Sparrow or AQ Dragonfly... Is Modi any better?
 

dchaitanyarao

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The modi pairs perfectly with the Magni. it sounds way more muscular than the portable counterparts. even though some portable ones like the dragonfly red or the sparrow might have more details. but the Modi makes up for it having more meat on the bone.

I have a dragonfly red. it is more detailed than the Modi, but the Modi trumps it with more body and sounds way more muscular. the dragonfly sounds thin by comparison.

My modi 3 is fed linear power from the Allo shanti ... a future upgrade for you probably ...
 

Doomster69

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Eventually I'll have to get a DAC...
Quick question, I was planning to get an ultra portable DAC like Earmen Sparrow or AQ Dragonfly... Is Modi any better?
I have a FIIO Q1 MK2 and Topping Nx4. The nx4 sounds meatier and airier than the Q1, mainly because its more powerful. Most mobile DAC amps like the 2 above or even HipDac will do the job, but if you really want the HP to shine, you're better off with a dedicated/desktop headphone amp.

As the sundara are fairly neutral, try to pair these with a neutral to warm sounding dac/dac-amp than go with analytical dac pairings. While the HP doesn't sound sibilant with stock pads, the steely top notes will become more apparent if you swap out pads in future to comfier/plusher leather pads (my experience).
 

Stormheart

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I have a FIIO Q1 MK2 and Topping Nx4. The nx4 sounds meatier and airier than the Q1, mainly because its more powerful. Most mobile DAC amps like the 2 above or even HipDac will do the job, but if you really want the HP to shine, you're better off with a dedicated/desktop headphone amp.

As the sundara are fairly neutral, try to pair these with a neutral to warm sounding dac/dac-amp than go with analytical dac pairings. While the HP doesn't sound sibilant with stock pads, the steely top notes will become more apparent if you swap out pads in future to comfier/plusher leather pads (my experience).
Any suggestions for the replacement pads?
 

Doomster69

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Any suggestions for the replacement pads?
Stock pads are the best.. Some ppl also paired these with Dan Clark Ether Angled pads to maintain sound signature with slightly better bass response.

I ordered a pair of angled sheepskin leather (non perforated) from ebay for around INR 1600. The sub bass rumble has improved, soundstage is more intimate while equally wide and treble became a bit harsh. So I'd suggest definitely look for perforated ones to somewhat tame the sibilant part. I had to line the insides with perforated Papertape to control the highs ss my ears are sensitive to brightness.. Brainwaves pads didn't have good pairing with sundaras, so avoid those.
 

Stormheart

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Stock pads are the best.. Some ppl also paired these with Dan Clark Ether Angled pads to maintain sound signature with slightly better bass response.

I ordered a pair of angled sheepskin leather (non perforated) from ebay for around INR 1600. The sub bass rumble has improved, soundstage is more intimate while equally wide and treble became a bit harsh. So I'd suggest definitely look for perforated ones to somewhat tame the sibilant part. I had to line the insides with perforated Papertape to control the highs ss my ears are sensitive to brightness.. Brainwaves pads didn't have good pairing with sundaras, so avoid those.
Thank you.!
 

Doomster69

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I wouldn't do that. The headphone amp section of most speaker amps is an afterthought. Speaker amp manufactures don't even bother to advertise the specs of their HP amp section, and in most cases, they produce less power than a competent HP amp.


Interesting read.. Sharing as a point to ponder, not to challenge. I'm no expert, but I have my limited experience that corroborates what I can hear..


YMMD, I'm using the headphone out on the pm5005 with the sundaras and to my ears, the scale, seperation, impact, soundstage all are considerably better.it's squeaky clean and has black/dark background with ample power on tap (painful at 2:00 pm)

I definitely agree to yr point reg the afterthought aspect in some cases- my own experience with the headphone out of the my Yamaha Aventage Avr was exactly that - it can't even hold a candle/sucks BIGTIME compared to the marantz`s HP out. The AVR definately sounded like an afterthought.

Maybe the pm5005 is a stereo analogue power only amp' (no other circuitry for integrated dac, etc.) and the HP out shares power from speaker taps - effecting the great sound 'I'm able to get out from the unit'. Another best guess for 'my' good experience with it could be that the Sundaras being low impedance headphones aren't too difficult to drive for the pm5005. Though high impedance HP users (HD series) online also reported similar satisfying experience. Il soon be getting a schiit asgard and HD600 (dynamic, high impedance) and will report back on how incremental the gains are/different the experience is for a dedicated HP amp vis a vis the pm5005 HP out.

Yes, dedicated headphone amp has its own advantages - lower sinad, better output stage, form factor convenience, dedicated components, input impedance matching, impedance gain variability, etc.) but generalizing that integrated stereo amps HP out isn't good enough is a stretch. I'd still disagree - "solely based on my individual experience".

If one can, general rule of thumb is to get seperates - they are purpose built units. If you can't, find a good integrated that suits the pocket, convenience and pairing with gear. For someone who is on a tight budget, it turns out to be good value proposition - doubling up as amp for driving speakers and headphones.

As regards the heresy pairing with sundara, some ppl reported pairing to be harsh, and some even had blown drivers..magni3+ had no such problems..

https://www.reddit.com/r/headphones/comments/litehv
 

Amitdubey

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Perfectly enjoy the headphone out on Cxa81
But my audiogd has trained my ears to clean quality sound
 

DB1989

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Interesting read.. Sharing as a point to ponder, not to challenge. I'm no expert, but I have my limited experience that corroborates what I can hear..


YMMD, I'm using the headphone out on the pm5005 with the sundaras and to my ears, the scale, seperation, impact, soundstage all are considerably better.it's squeaky clean and has black/dark background with ample power on tap (painful at 2:00 pm)

I definitely agree to yr point reg the afterthought aspect in some cases- my own experience with the headphone out of the my Yamaha Aventage Avr was exactly that - it can't even hold a candle/sucks BIGTIME compared to the marantz`s HP out. The AVR definately sounded like an afterthought.

Maybe the pm5005 is a stereo analogue power only amp' (no other circuitry for integrated dac, etc.) and the HP out shares power from speaker taps - effecting the great sound 'I'm able to get out from the unit'. Another best guess for 'my' good experience with it could be that the Sundaras being low impedance headphones aren't too difficult to drive for the pm5005. Though high impedance HP users (HD series) online also reported similar satisfying experience. Il soon be getting a schiit asgard and HD600 (dynamic, high impedance) and will report back on how incremental the gains are/different the experience is for a dedicated HP amp vis a vis the pm5005 HP out.

Yes, dedicated headphone amp has its own advantages - lower sinad, better output stage, form factor convenience, dedicated components, input impedance matching, impedance gain variability, etc.) but generalizing that integrated stereo amps HP out isn't good enough is a stretch. I'd still disagree - "solely based on my individual experience".

If one can, general rule of thumb is to get seperates - they are purpose built units. If you can't, find a good integrated that suits the pocket, convenience and pairing with gear. For someone who is on a tight budget, it turns out to be good value proposition - doubling up as amp for driving speakers and headphones.

As regards the heresy pairing with sundara, some ppl reported pairing to be harsh, and some even had blown drivers..magni3+ had no such problems..

https://www.reddit.com/r/headphones/comments/litehv
So then, i might not have been imagining things after all.

I've used my Hifiman HE400is with my Chord Mojo, Ifi Zen DAC, Cambridge a Audio CXA81, Marantz PM6006 and finally, the Marantz SR6013.

To my ears, the following is the order of the components with which the HE400i sounded best:

Marantz PM6006=Marantz SR6013>Ifi Zen DAC (w/Trubass turned on)>Cambridge Audio CXA81>Chord Mojo

I've compiled the above list according to what sounded the most pleasing to me (and not on the basis of detail retrieval, soundstage, imaging etc) so it's very very subjective indeed and may not necessarily hold true for all headphones, even to my ears.

The Marantz amps sounded the most balanced with good body and took the edge off the HE400is which sound thin and very sharp with the Chord Mojo and the Ifi Zen DAC w/Trubass turned off. I do realize that the Chord Mojo and Zen DAC are not dedicated HP amps but i would imagine they were purpose built with headphones in mind. Objectively speaking, it's the CXA81s headphone output that I'd consider the worst - It's not clean but again, the meatier and more full bodied sound that it's able to deliver along with less bite at the top end helps it sound better than the Mojo and the Zen DAC w/Trubass off.


Looking forward to your impressions of the Schiit Asgard.
 
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tigerwag

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LGg8x quad dac output is decided by Impedance of HP u r using. For More than 50 ohms HPs it outouts in high impedance mode and with more power.
Sundara is sensed as low impedance HP.
If u wanna activate high impedance mode, there's a trick.
just connect sundara's cable only to 3.5 mm out of G8x. Then connect HP to rt and lt cable.
This will activate ext device mode which is more powerful than normal mode.
This is not a complete solution for the combo but will sound much better than normal mode till u get ur amp.
DM if any help needed. Can guide over phone call.
 

fLUX

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My experience has been completely opposite with the Hifiman Ananda & PM6006. The treble felt subdued , the forward presentation of Ananda was taken few rows back and made the Ananda sound completely out of sync. Connected the headphone to my Class A HP amp and voila they sounded exactly as they are known to sound. Power was not the issue, they were plenty loud at about 30% of the dial on the PM6006 but lacked the dynamics. Had tried the HP out of my RX-V479 Yamaha AVR in past and noticed that it was not upto the mark.
 

fLUX

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Eventually I'll have to get a DAC...
Quick question, I was planning to get an ultra portable DAC like Earmen Sparrow or AQ Dragonfly... Is Modi any better?
Desktop dac sound much better than portable DACs at a similar price point. The Modi Multibit is much better than the AQ DFR (based on memory) , DFR to me was a slight improvement over the phone DAC but SMSL SU8 was easily multiple levels better.
 
The Marantz PM7000N offers big, spacious and insightful sound, class-leading clarity and a solid streaming platform in a award winning package.
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