Headphone amp options/old gear sellers remorse 😢

My previous pre-amp, a Marantz SC-6, had a tip-top headphone stage, and I am missing it big time. To the point that I am watching the very same unit on eBay :relieved:

I’ve heard a few of the newer amps, and yes they offer the power etc. to drive my HP, but are pretty boring compared to the Marantz.

Is there a more convenient Class A or valve HP that could fit the bill? I’m convinced it’s the smooth class A sound that I fell for, but would prefer a smaller dedicated unit.

Headphones are B&W P7, Sennheiser HD 650.

The thing that really did it for me with the SC-6 is that I actually enjoyed listening sessions with headphones, rather than viewing them as rehearsal for ‘proper listening’.

HD650 immediately says Bottlehead Crack with speedball to me.

P7 doesn’t, they are very low impedance.

Come again? In English?


That’s maybe why I like the SC-6, they are pretty average a lot of the time, but they sounded great driven by the Marantz.

Likely to get some better closed backs.

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Great kit, one for sale at the mo.

There’s a sentence you don’t hear every day!


This looks to be the favourite, form factor and price. I could get my old pre back for similar money, but this would be more convenient;

Rupert Neve HP amplifier

Anyone used one?
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Don’t know the Rupert Neve. I’ve used a Grace m902 with HD650s for a few years and love it. Quick google and one for sale here https://www.ebay.co.uk/c/2192715378. Others no doubt available.

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He used to make dead good mixing consoles back in the day. Think they eventually bought out the company I used to work for in Salford.

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Very tempted, a bit bonkers to use purely as a HP amp given the footprint though. Going to try and hear the Neve, another decent unit I heard yonks ago was a Teac HA-501.

I have very little experience and knowledge of headphone amps (which, seemingly, makes me perfectly qualified to give advice on a hi-fi forum). For what it’s worth though, I’ve used one of these with my Senn HD650 for a few years and it’s a lovely little thing.