Headphone Amp Needed

I have been considering the purchase of a new headphone amp. My BAT Pre does not have a headphone output, but I love the sound. I have a Marantz Dac1 which is ok but…
I looked at the Mcintosh offering but I don’t need another DAC I am in love with my PSA DS Sr. So that lead me to ask, Paul, will you please make me a great sounding headphone amp, that’s just a great sounding headphone amp. A DAC is not required, both balanced and single ended outputs would be nice. Selectable output impedance, tube or solid state I trust your judgement. I’m starting to save up now in anticipation :

I don’t know about your budget. I had a Marantz DAC1 at some point and I enjoyed it. I have Woo WA5-LE driving Utopia’s. I use the Direct Stream Sr for digital duty and it sounds spectacular. It’s a bargain in the grand scheme of things.

I adore my WA5 but it is difficult to recommend as it is expensive, but Woo Audio has some wonderful less pricey options.

i also like the sound of BAT equipment. Nice choice.

I always liked the sound of the headphone output in the BHK preamp.
I don’t much care about headphones and I bought a Schiit Valhala which is quite inexpensive.
Sadly, it sounds like it’s brand name. (Focal Clears)

I looked at Woo and the WA5 is the only amp with balanced input … so that would be the way to go the cost is in line with my budget, my wife may have other thoughts. I hope Paul hears my plea and announces an incredible headphone amp. I will chew on the Woo 5 or 6 for a while. I have heard neither. The amp will be driving Audeze LC3s or Grado RS2s

If solid state is ok, the Pass Labs HA-1 is sublime. You can find one for less than $3K.

The Headphone amps is a crowded market. The THX AAA 789 is one of the more recent newcomers. Not bad for under $400.

Some measurements can be found here:

I would suggest also taking a look at the Decware Taboo MKIV headphone amplifier.


Absolute killer sound-to-price value.


I feed my Direcstream Dac into the Simaudio Moon 430had, using utopias and Sony z1r cans. The combination is sublime, I got the 430 for an excellent price barely used, I highly recommend that combination.

Indeed. I have a Taboo Mk III and a Taboo Mk IV and they are both headphone amps to make one stop looking for a headphone amp. I use them with Audeze LCD-2, Oppo PM-1 and Sennheiser HD-800S.

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They make nice headphone amps, well worth checking out. And you get gauges.

They also offer a number of appearance options for those who like to make choices.

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I want to thank everyone for all the suggestions. There are components I have never heard of, Decware looks quite interesting as does the rest of the suggestions. I want to try and audition a few of the amps and pull the trigger. This thread has helped me make one decision; I have an Oppo 205 still in the box I was deciding to keep or sell. It is getting sold the 105 is sufficient for as much as I watch videos.