The pairing section I shall dedicate to the OH500. Why? Because. All you really need to know about the OH300 is that it’s easy to drive, and it’s rather warm. So, neutrality is probably best. Something really clear and detailed, to counter all that warmth. As for the OH500, it’s far more balanced. A fantastic blend of musical and revealing. Really, any source will do, but if you wish to nudge the balance one way or another, it’s easily done.
iBasso’s DX220 with AMP9 ($899 + $250, Review HERE) was the source I used during the sound descriptions on the last page. It’s a beautifully warm and robust player, with such a tremendous soundstage. And goddamn does it pack the goods in terms of performance. This device helped the OH500 reach its full potential. For my tastes, I cannot imagine a better pairing.
Unless, maybe, it’s the Cayin N6ii ($1,199). For those looking to emphasize transparency, cleanliness, and resolution, the N6ii does that even better. And it does so with even more energy and attack. There is notable warmth, and a mesmerizing sense of depth. Indeed, this may be the best pairing for the OH500, feeding all its strengths and maintaining the brilliant balance. I don’t envy those trying to pick between these two high-end players.
For a nice mid-tier solution along the warm and musical side of things, the Shanling M5s ($399, Review HERE) is one hell of a fine choice. It gives you a lot of what the DX220 does, only on a smaller scale. There isn’t as much soundstage or dimensionality, the detail retrieval isn’t as jaw-dropping, but you save a lot of money and still get an exquisite experience of richness and dynamism, power and transparency. The M5s and the OH500 feel made for each others.
Finally, for those on the ultimate budget, the Hidizs AP80 ($149, Review HERE) is my personal favorite player at under $200. I’m constantly impressed by the sound quality of this little thing. It aims for neutral done right, as I call it. Meaning, it takes clarity and detail just as importantly as fullness and organicity. Not to mention, it has quite a punch. The OH500 really comes alive, and sounds utterly amazing. This could be the perfect traveling setup.