Top DAC & Amp Recommendations – Drop HD6XX

The Sennheiser HD6XX is highly considered to be one of Drop’s (formerly Massrop) best products. It is based on the legendary Sennheiser HD650 and pretty much changed the game in the sub $300 price point. It delivers the same build and sound quality without the hefty price tag. 

What makes the HD6XX special is its sound quality. It has one of the midrange reproduction in the mid-fi market. It is also arguably one of the best headphones for vocals. 

However, the HD6XX requires a DAC/Amp or a dedicated headphone amplifier to truly get its full potential. In this article, we will be discussing our top picks for the HD6XX. Our recommended DAC/Amp is the iFi Micro Signature and iFi Zen DAC

But of course, there are lots of great options on this list. So keep on scrolling to find out. 

Best DAC/Amp For Sennheiser x Drop HD6XX

Sennheiser x Drop HD6XX (Image: Drop)

Check on Drop 

iFi Micro Signature 

iFi Micro iDSD Signature Transportable DAC and Headphone Amp
iFi Micro iDSD Signature Transportable DAC/Amp

One of our top picks is the iFi iDSD Signature. This model is the sequel to the highly acclaimed iFi Micro iDSD Black Label (see our review) which has been featured multiple times on our website. 

And that is mostly because of its output power, features, and build quality. With the new updated model, you can expect even better results. 

Just like the iFi Micro BL, the Micro Signature is a transportable unit that is smaller than most desktop DAC/Amps but larger than traditional portable DAC/Amps. It has a long and flat design that makes it sit well in a desktop setup. It can also be easily stored inside a Pelican hard case if you want to transport it. 

There are a few aesthetic differences and new ports in front and at the sides of the device. The Micro Signature has a blue color, which makes it distinct from the Micro BL’s black color and the original Micro’s silver color. 

There is also now a dedicated USB Type-C port on the side of the device for charging. This is great since you can now charge the device without using the full-sized USB cable at the back. 

The iFi Micro Signature also now has a 4.4mm balanced output along with the standard 6.35mm SE output. The 4.4mm balanced output is a welcome addition, especially given its popularity in recent years. Additionally, both outputs feature iFi’s “S-Balanced” Technology, which promises to give the benefits of a balanced connection in the single-ended output. 

In terms of its sound quality, the iFi Micro Signature uses a dual DAC configuration (Burr-Brown Chip) that helps produce a natural and accurate sound perfect for the HD6XX. The dual DAC configuration helps produce strong channel separation and lower noise floor in case you also want to use it with sensitive IEMs. 

As for the power output, the iFi Micro Signature has several power modes that are designed to drive less efficient headphones and planar magnetic headphones. Even the eco mode should be loud enough for the Sennheiser HD6XX. 

Additionally, you can modify the sound of the HD6XX without the use of a digital EQ. You can fatten the low end of the HD6XX as well as widen the soundstage through the use of the xBass and 3D Holographic features. 

Overall, if you are looking for a powerful and feature-packed DAC/Amp for your Sennheiser HD6XX, then you cannot go wrong with the iFi Micro Signature. 

Specifications 

Turbo Mode

Power (max) 10.0V/4,100 mW

Power (continuous) >1,560 mW @ 64 Ohm >166 mW @ 600 Ohm

Normal mode Power (max) 5.5V/1,900 mW

Power (continuous) >100 mW @ 300 Ohm >950 mW @ 32 Ohm

Eco-mode

Power (max) 2.0V/500 mW @ 8 Ohm

iFi Zen DAC + Zen CAN/Drop Signature Edition

iFi Zen DAC - HiFi Desktop Digital Analog Converter with USB3.0 B Input/Outputs: 6.3mm Unbalanced / 4.4mm Balanced/RCA
iFi Zen DAC (Image: Amazon)

Read Amazon Reviews 

If you are looking for a budget desktop DAC/Amp, then we highly recommend the iFi Zen DAC. Despite its entry-level positioning, it is widely considered a bargain, thanks to its driving power and features. It can easily compete with more expensive DAC/Amps. 

In terms of its design, it has a small and flat form factor with a futuristic design that still manages to blend well with the other equipment on your table. Its flat design easily allows it to be stackable with other devices such as the Zen CAN, which we will be talking about later. 

The iFi Zen DAC is USB Bus-powered and can be directly connected to your MAC or PC. Additionally, you can also use the 5V power supply for a cleaner signal or if you wish to use the Zen DAC with a device that cannot supply power over USB, such as smartphones.

In terms of the features, the iFi Zen DAC has a 4.4 balanced output as well as a 6.35 SE output. This isn’t normally seen with DAC/Amps at this price, which further adds to the Zen DAC’s value proposition. 

Additionally, the Zen DAC also features a Power Match and True Bass feature. Power Match is basically a gain switch, while the true bass is a bass boost feature that is commonly seen on iFi’s other devices

iFi Zen CAN Balanced Desktop Headphone Amp and Preamp with 4.4mm Outputs - Launch Edition Includes 5V Power Supply
iFi Zen CAN (Image: Amazon)

Read Amazon Reviews 

Lastly, like most of iFi’s DAC/Amps, the iFi Zen DAC has MQA Compatibility. MQA is starting to become prevalent with a lot of modern DAC/Amps, so it is nice to also see it in a budget model. If you aren’t familiar with MQA, you can learn more in our MQA FAQ

In terms of its sound quality, the iFi Zen DAC is able to deliver a natural sound with spot-on technicalities. It is utilizing a Burr-Brown DAC chip, which helps differentiate it from ESS Sabre, and AKM powered DAC/Amps. 

The power output is also very clean and has plenty of power for the HD6XX. But if you want to get the best out of this combo, you can also add the Zen CAN to your setup. 

The Zen CAN not only add more power but also further enhances the sound signature of the Zen DAC. You also get access to the 3D Holographic Mode, which helps expand the fairly intimate soundstage of the HD6XX. 

Drop also offers the iFi Zen DAC + Zen CAN Signature Edition. It is a modified version of the Zen CAN and Zen DAC tailored specifically for the HD6XX. The price is significantly higher, but it might be worth looking into if you don’t plan on using this setup for other headphones/IEMs. 

Overall, if you are looking for the most feature-packed budget DAC/Amp or stack on this list, then the Zen DAC or Zen DAC + Zen CAN stack is one of the best choices for the Sennheiser HD6XX. 

Zen DAC Specifications 

4.4mm Pentaconn (BAL)

330mW@32 Ohm; 6.6V@600 Ohm;

16 Ohm – 600 Ohm Headphone

6.3mm S-BAL (SE)

230mW@32 Ohm; 3.3V@600 Ohm

16 Ohm – 600 Ohm Headphone

Zen CAN Specifications

Balanced

>15.1V/385 mW (@ 600 Ohm)

>11.0V/1890 mW (@ 64 Ohm)

SE

>7.6V/196 mW (@ 300 Ohm)

>7.2V/1600 mW (@ 32 Ohm)

Chord Mojo 

Chord Mojo Black DAC/Headphone Amplifier
Chord Mojo (Image: Amazon)

Read Amazon Reviews 

The Chord Mojo has been one of the most popular portable DAC/Amps thanks to its small form factor, unique design, ability to drive high impedance headphones, and its sound quality. Chord claims it can power headphones with an impedance of 800 ohms, which is more than enough for the 300-ohm Sennheiser HD6XX.

The Mojo is small and light, making it a great device for portable use. It can also sit well in a desktop setting. Additionally, the Mojo can connect to the Chord Poly, which gives it wireless functionality. 

One of the downsides of the Mojo is its button-based volume controls. Buttons are usually less efficient compared to a volume wheel, especially in a desktop environment. 

In terms of its sound quality, the Mojo has a warm presentation that is known to tame peaky headphones. Of course, this kind of presentation won’t be as precise as the iFi Micro BL or iFi Micro Signature. The Mojo presents a more fun and less analytical sound compared to those two models. 

Also, the Chord Mojo isn’t as feature-packed as the other models on this list. But overall, if you are looking for a small DAC/Amp that can be easily transported along with the rest of your setup but still has the power to match desktop DAC/Amps, then the Chord Mojo is a worthy contender.

Specifications 

Output Power @ 1kHz – 600Ω 35mW

Output Power @ 1kHz – 8Ω 720mW

Schiit Magni 3 + Modi 3 

Schiit Magni 3 (Image: Schiit)

Check on Schiit Audio 

 

Schiit Magni 3 Headphone Amp and Preamp
Schiit Magni 3. (Image: Amazon)

The Schiit Magni and Modi have been a long time favorite in the audiophile community. The original versions were the most recommended entry-level DAC and Amplifier combos since they easily punched above their price point. While the old models had several caveats that prevented them from competing with higher-end models, the new versions are even better. They have gotten rid of the negative aspects that prevented them from achieving greatness. 

When compared to the previous Magni iterations, the new Magni models have both eliminated the distortion that is found in the high gain setting and the top-end harshness that was a known fault of the original units. This makes both of these models highly competitive with products that are even twice their price. 

The Magni 3 provides a very clean sound that is mostly clear from distortion. Its power output is more than enough for the Sennheiser HD6XX. It is also a very neutral amplifier meaning it will not add any coloration to the sound of your headphones.

Schiit Modi 3 (Image: Schiit Audio)

Check on Schiit Audio

Schiit Modi 3+ D/A Converter - Delta-Sigma DAC (Silver)
Schiit Modi 3+. (Image: Amazon)

The Magni 3 is also versatile in terms of its connections. It can be paired with most of the DAC/Amps in this list. But for best results, we highly recommend the Modi 3 since it was pretty much made to be paired with the Magni 3. 

Overall, the Magni 3 is an excellent option for bringing the best out of the Focal Elear. It is a highly competent amplifier that won’t break the bank. 

Specifications

Maximum Power, 16 ohms: 3W RMS per channel

Maximum Power, 32 ohms: 2W RMS per channel

Maximum Power, 50 ohms: 1.3W RMS per channel

Maximum Power, 300 ohms: 430mW RMS per channel

Maximum Power, 600 ohms: 230mW RMS per channel

JDS Labs Element 2 

JDS Labs Element II
JDS Labs Element 2 (Image: JDS Labs)

Check on JDS Labs 

If you are looking for a desktop DAC/Amp that can easily drive the HD6XX without the need for an external amplifier, and if you wish to have a neutral signature, then the JDS Labs Element 2 is a great option. This unit checks all the boxes for both professionals and audiophiles.

It has an all-aluminum chassis that feels considerably more premium than competing options. The overall design is also very clean and minimal. There is only a single potentiometer that acts as a volume control found on the top of the device. Other buttons, such as the gain switch and connectivity options, are hidden at the back. And on the front, only the 6.35mm input is found. 

In terms of the power output, the Element 2 can pretty much drive anything from the HD6XX to even more demanding and less efficient headphones such as high-end planar magnetic headphones. It does this with authority, which helps bring the HD6XX to life. 

Also, the Element 2 does not introduce any coloration to your headphones. This is great if you plan on using the HD6XX for professional applications such as sound mixing or video editing. 

One potential downside with the Element 2 is that it is not the most feature-packed product on this list. It doesn’t have any hardware bass boost or soundstage expansion, and it does not have a balanced output. But if all you want is great output power and a neutral but smooth and detailed signature, then this is all you need to get the most of your HD6XX. 

Specifications 

Max Continuous Power, 600 Ω

165 mW (9.9 VRMS)

Max Continuous Power, 150 Ω

656 mW (9.9 VRMS)

Max Continuous Power, 32 Ω

1.3 W (6.53 VRMS)

Schiit Hel

Schiit Hel (Image: Schiit)

Read Amazon Reviews 

If you wish to use the HD6XX for gaming but don’t want to skimp on the sound quality, then the Schiit Hel is the perfect product for you. Just like other Schiit products, the Schiit Hel has a great sounding DAC/Amp section that is capable of driving the HD6XX. But unlike the other models in this list, the Hel also has a fairly capable microphone input as well.  

The Schiit Hel is amazing in terms of build quality. It is built well with its solid metal construction that is on par with other Schiit products and other audiophile-grade DAC/Amps. The volume wheel is smooth and does not have any audible static when adjusting the volume. Switches and connections also feel premium and will likely last for years. 

The quality of the microphone input is decent, and you have gain controls to help you get the best quality of your microphone. However, compared to dedicated audio interfaces such as the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, the microphone input is inferior. Of course, most audio interfaces do not have a headphone output as good as the Schiit Hel, which is the tradeoff that you get with these kinds of devices.

Now in terms of sound quality, the Schiit Hel is utilizing the AKM 4490EQ. It is the same DAC chip used in their widely acclaimed Modi 3. The Magni and Modi 3 stack is one of the best entry-level headphone amplifier and DAC stack, so having the same DAC chip instantly makes it outperform similarly priced gaming DAC/Amps.  

The power of the amplifier section isn’t its strongest suit. It is about equal to the Zen DAC and won’t match other options such as the Schiit Magni, iFi Zen CAN, or the iFi Micro Signature. The Schiit can hold its own, but if you are not satisfied with the Hel’s performance, you can always hook it up to a dedicated headphone amplifier. 

Overall, the Schiit Hel and HD6XX is one of the best combos for gaming. If you don’t need the extra audiophile centric features of the other DAC/Amps on this list, then the Schiit Hel is a great choice. 

Specifications:

Maximum Power, 16 Ohms: 1200mW RMS

Maximum Power, 32 ohms: 1000mW RMS

Maximum Power, 50 ohms: 650mW RMS

Maximum Power, 300 ohms: 200mW RMS

Darkvoice 336SE

DarkVoice 336SE Headphone Tube Amplifier
DarkVoice 336SE (Image: Amazon)

Read Amazon Reviews 

If you are looking to pair the Sennheiser HD6XX with a tube headphone amplifier, then one of the best options is the Darkvoice 336SE. This tube amp is one of the best when it comes to sound quality and synergy to the HD6XX. 

Just like most tube amps, the Darkvoice 336SE gives the HD6XX a warm and analog sound. The sound that it produces isn’t very accurate since the tubes are causing distortion. However, this can be a very pleasing sound similar to vintage gear. 

Additionally, the Darkvoice 336SE expands on the highs of the HD6XX without making them piercing. The soundstage is also increased, which helps alleviate one of the HD6XX’s major weaknesses. 

You can also further shape the sound of the Darkvoice 336SE since the stock tubes are user-replaceable. You can experience and fine-tune this headphone amplifier to fit your taste. 

Take note that the Darkvoice 336SE does not have a built-in DAC. It can be easily added to most of the DAC/Amps on this list, so consider the Darkvoice 336SE as an add-on to the already great-sounding options here. 

Overall, if you want a totally different experience, then make sure to give the Darkvoice 336SE a try. 

Specifications 

Impedance: 32 ~ 600 Ohms

Signal-to-noise ratio: > 100 dB

Power handling capacity: 1 W

Distortion: < 2%

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.