Connecting headphones (Utopia) directly to the output of Bartok

Hello, friends!
I have Bartok, but without headphone amp.

Did someone connect the headphones directly to the output of Bartok?
The output is adjustable. Low impedance headphones, Focal Utopia.

Now i’m using Moon 430 headamp, but I don’t like him.
Will the output directly work better than a separate amplifier?

Many thanks!

The Bartók’s balanced line level outputs are: Output impedance is 3Ω, maximum load is 600Ω (10k-100kΩ is recommended).

Utopia headphones: Impedance 80Ω

So you have a huge impedance mismatch.

Line level outputs typically have a low source impedance. They are intended to drive loads that have a high input impedance, usually greater than 5k ohms. They are typically optimised for very low noise and low distortion when used with high impedance loads.

Line level outputs usually do poorly when driving headphones because their higher source impedance will not properly damp the driver at low frequencies and they can suffer from high frequency rollof when loaded with significant capacitance.

So, this is not the proper way to go. You will need a separate headphone amp.

It’s a pity, but thanks a lot!

Ok, you can recommend a good an amplifier for Utopia?

Please have a look at this topic:

1 Like

Ah - you jogged my memory😁. I made a post on that thread about my experiences with half a dozen different headphone amplifiers.

An update to my post on that thread. The HeadAmp GSX MK2 has now usurped the GSX Mini as my daily driver.

You can’t go wrong with either HeadAmp model. If you are so inclined to venture into the world of Stax (be it totl) the HeadAmp Blue Hawaii is also an endgame electrostatic amp. The lad from HeadAmp knows what he is doing.


1 Like

I would just add that Igor does not appear to be limited to the £1K budget around which that linked thread was constructed. The Moon 430 appears to cost around £3.5K so if he is looking at a comparable cost there should be some class leaders out there.

However quite a few of the top models that one can find recommended on the web are made to order by one man and a dog companies. This means that any opportunity to hear before purchase is limited or non-existent. I guess each individual has their own limit in how much they are willing to commit in such circumstances. This is a major problem with high end headphones/headphone amps. I simply do not understand, for example, how one can commit to a custom built pair of in ear monitors which by definition you cannot hear before they are made and cannot be sold on to someone else. They can cost <£3K. What if you don’t like them? Do just just shrug your shoulders and bin them?

Just offloading there as I am in the process of upgrading my own headphone experience and find it very frustrating.

1 Like

I am in the same process, with the same frustration. I have a shortlist of cans, and another of headphone amps, and they either cannot be heard together, or the amps not at all, before purchase. Let alone, combined with a dCS source.

My dCS shop has one of the cans, but not the amps. Another shop has all the cans, many amps, but no dCS gear. The shop with the proper head amps does not have cans ( !), but you can bring your own. And the totl amp is just made on order, no audition.

A shop in Amsterdam comes most close, and they ship worldwide: , but that is not going to help you in auditioning if you do not live nearby.

1 Like

I guess that ,subject to expenditure, it might be worth a flight from London to Amsterdam but then these days I would have to get them to sell me a pair of cans or amp without VAT which I then have to pay when I get back to London. I suspect the reality is that I would need to claim back the VAT from the Netherlands government. So really still far too frustrating.

Actually one of the headphones that I am interested in is in the Dutch shop’s inventory . However there is a UK dealer. He is mail order only and his returns policy is so strict that it basically discourages even opening the package. So you can only return them without financial penalties in practice if you don’t like the look of the box that they come in!

Yes, I am not limited by budgets of £ 1000.
I need a very good amp up to £ 5000. I’ve heard a lot about Headamp gsx2, but I’m blindly afraid to buy, but they are not brought to Russia. ((

In fact they are not brought to any European country. Their dealer list is short and limited to the USA , an Australian outlet and a handful of dealers in the Far East. Currently their main business has to be direct sales.

Knowing where our friends live is important for making recommendations as there is nothing to be gained by making one where the product cannot be obtained by the questioner.

1 Like

You can contact the owner, and ask him about possibilities:

Stefan: Whatsapp +31 683909266

1 Like

Thanks Erno. That is a useful resource.

1 Like

Which ones are you contemplating, Pete?

I did not dare to ask :grinning:


Well, we know they have to be tiny, because Pete keeps telling us he has no more room left. :wink:

1 Like

Or it could be a new flat with a built-in headphone output…

1 Like

ZMF Verite closed. But maybe in a few months as I am realising that headphones are a large rabbit hole that I am falling into. Unfortunately they are needed for late night listening as loudspeaker use is out of the question.

The current state of play is I just bought some Sennheiser HD800 S which so far have not impressed but I have a new tube headphone amp coming - Icon HD8 SE ( which means Mundorf caps, better tubes etc). I have a fair amount of experience with Icon gear so I pretty much know what to expect hence I am comfortable buying unheard. Designed in Leicester, England, built in China then tested and rebuilt in Leicester, England :grinning:.

Yes I would have bought their new direct heated 205D headphone amp but it is too big for the space that I have available to house it ( same old story).

Now that is appealing…

1 Like

Hey Pete, I expect you will enjoy the ZMV-V-C. I have a set in Leopardwood, simply gorgeous, and the sound is among the more relaxing I have ever heard. They’re not exacting the way ribbons or electrostats are, and they aren’t quite the Susvara, but they are my only set of closed cans, and when I want to be all by myself, they are sweet indeed.

P.S. You bet it’s a rabbit hole, a flipping’ infinite black hole of a rabbit hole.
P.P.S. Not surprised you don’t love the Senn HD800s. Same here.

Definitely a rabbit hole said the man with Utopias,Z1R’s,RS1’s, Stax L300LE and Stax 009S.

For a closed back I highly recommend you have a look at the Sony Signature series Z1R. They came out approximately 4 years ago in a Sony tour de force which also brought out the WM1Z Walkman as well as a desktop amplifier. The Z1R’s are almost at the end of their run and are set to go down as another Sony classic. Highly recommended if you can find a pair.