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Pairs fantastically with Hifiman He-500 Headphones

A Review On: Emotiva mini-X a-100

Emotiva mini-X a-100

Rated # 59 in Desktop Amps
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Purchased on:
Price paid: $230.00
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Pros: Offers a forward, energetic sound and is often compared to many much more expensive products including the Lyr, often surpassing.

Cons: May produce a faint white noise slight hiss with some headphones, using resistors may help.

This review is based on matching the Mini X with Hifiman He-500 Headphones.  


You may be reading this review, unsure what to make of this Amp, asking how can a cheap sub $200 amp offer the power needed for an expensive Headphone such as the Hifiman He-500?  If you have done your homework you will find this is the stereo amp everybody is buzzing about, and for good reason, it powers these headphones very well indeed.  The Emotiva Mini presents the sound stage clearly and with a punch, yes you really do feel the bass thump with the Mini X, but not overpowering at all - simply precise and enjoyable to listen to and you may find more often than not tapping your foot along to the music - feeling the energy being fed into your ears.  


A fantastic match for Electronic music. 


One slight drawback to some listeners may be the presence of a slight hiss, sounds like a faint white noise. As you can imagine there's alot of power pushed out of the amp, an amp designed for speakers and not headphones in mind, it should only be audible whilst no sound is playing but once you start playing music the hiss will become inaudible and you should forget its even there.  According to some guys here at Head-fi, adding a couple of resistors should remove the hiss.


If you don't have huge pockets to empty look no further than the Emotiva Mini X.


Yea, all that power comes with a slight increase in the noise floor. Non the less, I've heard a lot of good about this amp! Nice to hear another positive review for it! 
I use it with 300 ohm resistors on my HE-400, and the noise floor is totally gone thanks to the resistors.
How, exactly, do you use headphones with this amp? I have never used headphones with an amp without a headphone out jack. I find this quite intriguing as it opens a whole new world of possibilities for headphone/amp combos.
Any help would be much appreciated. 
Hi Swannie,
Bear in mind not all headphones will work nicely with this amp, you risk blowing them if they can't take the amount of power the Mini X pumps out.  Resistors can be used to prevent too much power reaching your cans but your best bet would be to ask in the Mini X thread before attempting, to be safe than sorry.  
Using this guide you will be sacrificing the Trs Jack at the end of your headphone cable. 
If your headphones are compatible, It's a 5 minute process providing you have the right tools/bits.
Guide based on He-500 headphones..
You will need..
A multimeter (With a diode/continuity test option)
A pair of scissors and Wire unbraider (or you can use the scissors if they are sharp enough)
Four good quality banana plugs (any will do allthough I recommend plugs with screws as it's easier to clamp/unclamp)
I'll do my best to explain, if I haven't done a good job at explaining, please don't attempt.  
- Cut the Trs Jack off the end your your headphone cable 
- Seperate all 4 cables into a row - no need to untangle.
- Mark each of the four cables at their tips with numbers, i.e - 1, 2, 3, 4, (stick a bit of tape on each one with a number written on it) so you can identify them.
- Unbraid the tip of each cable so that a little wire is sticking out of its plastic coating (no more than half an inch should do)
- Use the multimeter and check for continuity (diode test on the MM) to find out the +v and -wire for both left & right - Using both probes of the Multimeter and testing each strand of wire at a time, let's start at wire number 1, one of the MM probe should be touching the bit you unbraided) and the other probe should be touching the inlet of either smc connector at the other end of the cable. Match and label -/+ and L/R accordingly, once finished with one wire and labelled move on to the next wire.
- Attach banana plugs on each of the four wires, connect each banana plug to the appropriate input slot at the rear of the Mini X (Left + and -, Right + and -).
- Turn on the Amp, but begin with the volume pot at it's lowest point, play audio and increase the pot to a comfortable level.
There are other ways to connect headphones to the amp without sacrificing the Trs jack, take a look at the Mini X thread, lots of information there - http://www.head-fi.org/t/629352/he-500-lcd2-d5000-dt770-sr80-on-a-speaker-amp-emotiva-mini-x-a-100-project
Not sure if the HE-500 comes with spare sma connectors, but the HE-4 does.  You can always connect speaker wires to the sma connector and than the other end to the banana plugs.  This will connect your cans directly to the speaker.  It does require a little DIY know-how and soldering skills.
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