Yep its a valve amp, it's a Little Dot MKIV.
I'm hoping for a good bonus next year so I can splurge and pick up those Senn 800s. Before that Little Dot, I was just listening to music with my soundcard that has a built in amp. The problem I had was using the 595s, which are open, it just wasn't driving them well enough. There is alot of sound leakage it seemed like, but that's more on it being a open can setup. My closed 280s were exceptionally well on that soundcard. Senns aren't really known for having good bass without an amp, but with the amp I was getting some very nice clean and muscular bass.
If anyone is serious about listening to music as much as I am, you gotta get an amp for your headphones. The difference is literally night and day. Music is so much more fuller, richer, and it just comes to life. It's like listening to new music all over again. You will hear things in songs you never even knew were in them (is that a xylophone I'm hearing??).
I can't go back to anything else. I'm a total music snob, eventhough I listen to the most embarrasing stuff. I'll listen to Hold On by freaking Wilson Phillips for an hour just to dissect it and break it down. I'm just educating myself in the pop world so one day I can have the chops to be a producer and know how great pop songs are made.
Pop songs these days are terrible. Alot of it is manufactured, souless garbage that just pollutes the airwaves. There's really no motivation to be gifted and talented in pop music anymore; just get your Pro Tools, auto-tune, some music creation software crap and you are pretty much golden. I've listened to so many talentless artists actually "sound" talented by just messing around with the technology.
It's really amazing just how much hip hop has transformed music, in fact I think hip hop has done more/worse than any other musical genre in history. Name one other genre that has had this much influence in other genres, culture, etc and to have it span for decades. And the fact that it still continues to be innovative. I seriously can't think of one.
Thank God for freedom for black artists. Seriously their contribution to 20th century music cannot be outvalued. I hate to single out by race, but black artists deserve much more credit than we give them.
Ok back to the topic...