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HifiMAN HE-6 Planar Magnetic Headphone - Page 913

post #13681 of 19433
Oh, it reacts differently to a lot of amps. Wattage being equal, the quality of power becomes primary. I've heard some well respected names sound terrible with the 6s. The sound is two dimensional with no center focus, bass is flabby and highs are annoyingly brittle. Step into some quality power supplies, you'll hear what I'd expect to hear from high end amps. Smooth, extended, full, aggressive and even holographic without being loud. And if you're dropping north of $3k for a headphone amp, you can get much more value from a used speaker amp. As for having too much power, the spirit of our hobby has always been to get it to 11. While it's not used, the dynamic peaks will keep your headstage intact throughout with that excess power. Lessor power supplies will cave and collapse the headstage orthos are known to do.
post #13682 of 19433

fwiw shure alacantra 1540 pads work great on the he-500 and i am sure they would work as well on the he-6

post #13683 of 19433
Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddTheMetalGod View Post


Well I believe that amplification quality matters, but having more power than necessary doesn't make sense. More power doesn't make a headphone amp sound any different if you aren't using the power. Maybe point-to-point voltage is better, impedence curves are different, and the ratio of current-to-voltage makes speaker amps sound better than regular headphone amps when using planars? I'm just looking for a scientific answer, simply saying it must be better because it is a speaker amp doesn't explain anything.

I'm not trying to sound angry or anything, I'm seriously questioning why speaker amps would sound better.

 

I am not in the camp that believes we need kilowatt amplifiers for the HE-6. I also feel that the HE-6 straddles a funny in-between region where neither traditional headphone amps nor speaker amps are really optimal. Normal headphone amps do not have the necessary headroom, and speaker amps usually have noise issues (and take up your entire desk, weigh a hundred pounds, produce enough heat to cook breakfast on, etc).

 

That said, you look around any HE-6 thread and it's filled with people chucking speaker amps at it. Why? Because speaker amps are plentiful and can be found cheap (relatively) on the used market, meaning you have more options. More power/volume are also frequently interpreted as "better". Try comparing two similar components and have one set just a few dB higher, and it will inevitably rank higher.

 

If I were to throw some fuzzy whoopdeedoo out, a lot of big speaker amps are also in the much vaunted "class A" category, although many sliip into class A/B when you hit higher levels. Except when running a headphone, even the HE-6, they never actually hit those levels so they get to sit more comfortably in their class A zone. Maybe. Kinda depend on how they're set up. And even then, they're still shunting off a few hundred watts of power as heat.

post #13684 of 19433
Quote:
Originally Posted by Armaegis View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddTheMetalGod View Post

Well I believe that amplification quality matters, but having more power than necessary doesn't make sense. More power doesn't make a headphone amp sound any different if you aren't using the power. Maybe point-to-point voltage is better, impedence curves are different, and the ratio of current-to-voltage makes speaker amps sound better than regular headphone amps when using planars? I'm just looking for a scientific answer, simply saying it must be better because it is a speaker amp doesn't explain anything.


I'm not trying to sound angry or anything, I'm seriously questioning why speaker amps would sound better.

I am not in the camp that believes we need kilowatt amplifiers for the HE-6. I also feel that the HE-6 straddles a funny in-between region where neither traditional headphone amps nor speaker amps are really optimal. Normal headphone amps do not have the necessary headroom, and speaker amps usually have noise issues (and take up your entire desk, weigh a hundred pounds, produce enough heat to cook breakfast on, etc).

That said, you look around any HE-6 thread and it's filled with people chucking speaker amps at it. Why? Because speaker amps are plentiful and can be found cheap (relatively) on the used market, meaning you have more options. More power/volume are also frequently interpreted as "better". Try comparing two similar components and have one set just a few dB higher, and it will inevitably rank higher.

If I were to throw some fuzzy whoopdeedoo out, a lot of big speaker amps are also in the much vaunted "class A" category, although many sliip into class A/B when you hit higher levels. Except when running a headphone, even the HE-6, they never actually hit those levels so they get to sit more comfortably in their class A zone. Maybe. Kinda depend on how they're set up. And even then, they're still shunting off a few hundred watts of power as heat.
This may sound stupid but even with my he6 under amped I prefer it my a large amount to my he500 that collects dust though it gets really loud before distorting. Low level listening is amazing and I have to force myself to touch the other hp's I have.

How much headroom did the two ha200's give you. Also the Audio GD SA 31SE looks like it was built for the he6 with 6.67 w into 60 ohms or 8w into 50 ohms.

As good as the he6 sounds I'm willing to wait it out and sell stuff to power it right. It's also less painful I my ears than the 500
post #13685 of 19433
Power is one thing and it's true that one does not need a speaker amp to reach deafening levels.
That's the static aspect of sound reproduction (and what most gear measurement are about). But that says very little about what happens during listening: it is never static (otherwise it's just "sound", not music with rhythms, piano and forte, etc.)
Fall and rise time are an example of two aspects of an amplifier one can look at. Undoubtedly, a more powerful amplifier used only at 10% of its rated power will have a shorter fall/rise time than a less powerful amp of same quality.
In general, the benefit of the speaker amp for headphone use is to be able to run it in a more linear region (at lower power) where its performance are the best (at least for class A amps). Distortion, SNR and so on are usually better at lower power and the maximal wattage is often given at a maximum distortion -> it's only natural that we try to get the best quality by choosing powerful amps and run them in low-power area - where a regular headphone amp would be closer to its maximum limit, hence with worse performance.

Quantity is not quality, though. That's where an amp does not equal another and you spend a lot of time and money haunting the best of the best...
post #13686 of 19433
Quote:
Originally Posted by grizzlybeast View Post

How much headroom did the two ha200's give you.

 

With the HA-200 monos at 100% and feeding from the Echo2 dac which puts out 2V, my dac levels are usually around 75%. I do find myself occasionally wishing I had a touch more gain.

 

When I had the Wadia121 which puts out 4V, I felt like I had better range on the volume control (but I prefer the Echo2 sonically).

 

The HA-200 have a relatively low gain of 3.2x (or 10dB), so a higher output dac is beneficial if you want more headroom.

post #13687 of 19433
Quote:
Originally Posted by potterma View Post

Well, if you care enough to do a little research, look for the speaker amps with headphones thread. Lots of discussion on the topic there.
Okay, thanks. I've heard a lot about planars being a resistive load, I'm not sure exactly what that means... I'm pretty sure it means that they have a flat impedance curve. IIRC speakers have flat impedance curves as well, so perhaps it's just that speaker amps are more capable of driving a planar load than most headphone amps?
post #13688 of 19433
Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddTheMetalGod View Post


Okay, thanks. I've heard a lot about planars being a resistive load, I'm not sure exactly what that means... I'm pretty sure it means that they have a flat impedance curve. IIRC speakers have flat impedance curves as well, so perhaps it's just that speaker amps are more capable of driving a planar load than most headphone amps?

 

Flat impedance across the audio band 20Hz - 20kHz. Most speakers don't have a flat impedance across the audio band.

post #13689 of 19433
Well then I honestly have no idea why a speaker amp would sound any better than a high powered, high current headphone amp. I don't know enough about electricity to explain. It doesn't seem to make any sense. Perhaps people just don't want to spend a ton on high powered headphone amps?
post #13690 of 19433
Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddTheMetalGod View Post

Well then I honestly have no idea why a speaker amp would sound any better than a high powered, high current headphone amp. I don't know enough about electricity to explain. It doesn't seem to make any sense. Perhaps people just don't want to spend a ton on high powered headphone amps?
Because headphones don't usually need that much power. The planars are an exception, not a rule so there's little market for a powerful headphone amp.
Luckily, we have Audio-GD and Schiit for the affordable segment.
post #13691 of 19433

Imagine my surprise when a week old Master 9 popped for local sale couple of days back. There are very few Head Fi'ers where I live (UAE), so nothing worthwhile is ever listed for local sale. Although I don't really need another amp, I couldn't let this pass.

 

So have been A/B'ing the HE 6 on the M9 & Cayin A-70T Tube Integrated amp. The M9 drives them very well, compared to the Cayin it gets you 95% there IMHO (depending on personal tastes some may say an even higher %) . The sound stage is slightly wider on the Cayin but I can live with that. The main reason why the Cayin will still be my go to amp for HE 6 is the bass. Has slightly more body &  better texture, sounds more full. I listen to a lot of EDM , so Bass quantity + quality is a very important criteria for me. Also I prefer the naturalness / smoothness of tubes.

 

For someone who doesn't want to buy a speaker amp dedicated for the HE 6 & wants to have an amp which can drive HE 6 + quite a lot of other HP's well , I can strongly recommend the M9.

post #13692 of 19433
Quote:
Originally Posted by punit View Post
 

 

 

For someone who doesn't want to buy a speaker amp dedicated for the HE 6 & wants to have an amp which can drive HE 6 + quite a lot of other HP's well , I can strongly recommend the M9.

+1

post #13693 of 19433
Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddTheMetalGod View Post

Well then I honestly have no idea why a speaker amp would sound any better than a high powered, high current headphone amp. I don't know enough about electricity to explain. It doesn't seem to make any sense. Perhaps people just don't want to spend a ton on high powered headphone amps?

http://www.parasound.com/pdfs/JCinterview.pdf

 

"Loudspeakers have certain operating conditions where they demand more current than you would ever imagine -- 50 or 60 amperes can be demanded dynamically by a loudspeaker for a very short period of time. It doesn’t have to be sustained; maybe only for 5 milliseconds or so. If the amplifier can't sustain this current, the capacitors are sagging and it is eternally clipping, or the protection circuits are firing. Something is happening that isn’t necessarily right and I think this makes a difference. Since so many loudspeakers have these high peak current demands, we design our amplifiers to meet this requirement."

 

Treat the HE-6 like a loudspeaker, instead of a headphone.

 

It's a lot like saying a 1.2L V4 is more than enough to hit 65mph so why would you ever buy a V6/L6, V8, V10, or V12? There's a lot of factors that have to do with getting you up to 65mph. Power supply of the amp seems to be similar the engine in that a large one will have way more horsepower (voltage swing) and torque (current). Music does not stay at a constant "speed" meaning the "engine" is constantly pausing and accelerating. That 1.2L V4 (read O2) cannot keep up with the demands of the "track".

post #13694 of 19433
Yeah perhaps it really does just require that much current. Sorry for getting frustrated, I just couldn't imagine a headphone needing that much power. They have about the same sensitivity as a pair of Magnepan planar speakers, so I guess that using a speaker amp probably is the easiest route to go... rather than buying a kilo bucks insanely high current headphone amp.
post #13695 of 19433
Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddTheMetalGod View Post

Yeah perhaps it really does just require that much current. Sorry for getting frustrated, I just couldn't imagine a headphone needing that much power. They have about the same sensitivity as a pair of Magnepan planar speakers, so I guess that using a speaker amp probably is the easiest route to go... rather than buying a kilo bucks insanely high current headphone amp.

And what would said headphone amp be?

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