Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › Amps that can drive the HiFiMan HE-6 planar headphones
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Amps that can drive the HiFiMan HE-6 planar headphones - Page 137

post #2041 of 3098
Quote:
Originally Posted by nk77 View Post
 

 

Very nice. Is that a wood on the front faceplate of the pathos?

 

Yeah, the faceplate is made of wood.

post #2042 of 3098

songmic... doin' it with some iron and the HE-6! thumbsup.gifThanks for sharing. I see a nice AES connection in progress...

post #2043 of 3098
Quote:
Originally Posted by songmic View Post
 

 

Sorry for the bad pic.

Just taken this morning with my iPhone.

 

Sometimes this audio hobby of mine makes me want to go out and buy a decent DSLR... not that I know anything about photography.

 

Is that the Auralic Gemini? :D

post #2044 of 3098
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post
 

 

Is that the Auralic Gemini? :D

 

I wish it were.

post #2045 of 3098

How do you like that SOtM dX-USB HD converter?  I had one as well, like it very much..  I also used it on the NAD M51..

post #2046 of 3098
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post
 

How do you like that SOtM dX-USB HD converter?  I had one as well, like it very much..  I also used it on the NAD M51..

 

The NAD M51 is a solid performer in its price, but I felt its USB input is not as good as S/PDIF or AES/EBU, especially when playing hi-rez music. The SOtM dX-USB HD makes a definite improvement.

 

Did you own the dX-USB HD with sCLK-2224 clock option and the mBPS-d2s power supply? This nearly triples the price tag from a stock dX-USB HD ($500 to $1,500), but the upgrades are worthwhile.

post #2047 of 3098

For some reason it was very hard to get the clock upgrade here in the US.  I used a Welborne Labs linear PSU.  The performance of the converter was pretty good.  

post #2048 of 3098

I have a series of long questions about amping the HE-6 with speaker amps. Any feedback will be appreciated, but only if you've actually heard the HE-6 with a speaker amp.

 

1. I think the general consensus is that HE-6 sounds better on a decent speaker amp than an expensive, high-power headphone amp that was designed to drive power-hungry headphones. However, are people saying this because they listened to both, compared them and came to such conclusion?

To be frank, the best headphone amp that I've heard with the HE-6 was Hifiman's own EF-6. My Pathos Classic One MKIII does a better job at driving the HE-6, but the Pathos amp costs nearly double. Surely there must be headphone amps that are better than the EF-6, such as RSA Dark Star or Dr. Cavalli's LAu.

If you heard the HE-6 on a Dark Star ($3,500) or a LAu ($6,000), or any multi-thousand dollar TOTL headphone amps that boasts extreme power, but honestly preferred a speaker amp that costs less than those headphone amps for the HE-6, then I will agree with the widely-held belief that speaker amps are indeed better at driving the HE-6.

 

2. Has there been any general consensus about which types of speaker amps are better at driving the HE-6 than other speaker amps, assuming that they all have plenty of power to drive the HE-6?

When it comes to matching headphones and headphone amps, merely having enough power for a headphone doesn't necessarily make the headphone amp a good match for that particular headphone. There are other factors that come into question, such as the quality of amplification, but most importantly, the synergy between the headphone and the amp.

For example, my Zana Deux SE, which I consider one of the finest OTL headphone amp I've heard, did wonders on the TH900 and HD800, but was not a really good match with the Beyerdynamic T1 despite having plenty of power to drive it, not to mention the ZDSE's very high quality of amplification. While the Burson Soloist was a good match with the LCD-3, it did poorly with the HD800 and only attenuated the HD800's weaknesses (sharp, glaring treble). Both the ZDSE and Soloist are amps that have enough power and boasts high quality amplification, but because of their particular sonic signatures, they weren't good with particular headphones.

The question is, while many people praise the idea of using a speaker amp with enough power and decent quality to drive the HE-6, I have yet to hear someone saying that certain speaker amps are not good for the HE-6 despite them being expensive (high quality) and adequate in power. Is it because the HE-6 is actually not a very amp-picky headphone, as long as it is fed plenty of high quality power regardless of the characteristic sonic signature of each speaker amp?

Intuitively speaking, since the HE-6 is on the tad bright side, one could guess that a warm-sounding tube speaker amp will be generally better than a solid-state speaker amp. But I haven't heard anyone say anything like this, or saying anything like "the HE-6 matches generally well with (warm/cold/bright/dark/airy/bass-heavy/et cetera) sounding amps." The only thing people are saying is that "the HE-6 just sounds really good with decent, high-quality speaker amps that have enough power to drive the HE-6, with more expensive speaker amps performing better."

If, for instance, a person found that a particular $5,000 speaker amp performed better with the HE-6 than a $10,000 speaker amp, perhaps synergy is also an important factor to consider when dealing an HE-6 with and a speaker amp.


Edited by songmic - 11/3/13 at 8:43am
post #2049 of 3098
Quote:
Originally Posted by songmic View Post
 

I have a series olong f questions about amping the HE-6 with speaker amps. Any feedback will be appreciated, but only if you've actually heard the HE-6 with a speaker amp.

 

1. I think the general consensus is that HE-6 sounds better on a decent speaker amp than an expensive, high-power headphone amp that was designed to drive power-hungry headphones. However, are people saying this because they listened to both, compared them and came to such conclusion?

To be frank, the best headphone amp that I've heard with the HE-6 was Hifiman's own EF-6. My Pathos Classic One MKIII does a better job at driving the HE-6, but the Pathos amp costs nearly double. Surely there must be headphone amps that are better than the EF-6, such as RSA Dark Star or Dr. Cavalli's LAu.

If you heard the HE-6 on a Dark Star ($3,500) or a LAu ($6,000), or any multi-thousand dollar TOTL headphone amps that boasts extreme power, but honestly preferred a speaker amp that costs less than those headphone amps for the HE-6, then I will agree with the widely-held belief that speaker amps are indeed better at driving the HE-6.

 

2. Has there been any general consensus about which types of speaker amps are better at driving the HE-6 than other speaker amps, assuming that they all have plenty of power to drive the HE-6?

When it comes to matching headphones and headphone amps, merely having enough power for a headphone doesn't necessarily make the headphone amp a good match for that particular headphone. There are other factors that come into question, such as the quality of amplification, but most importantly, the synergy between the headphone and the amp.

For example, my Zana Deux SE, which I consider one of the finest OTL headphone amp I've heard, did wonders on the TH900 and HD800, but was not a really good match with the Beyerdynamic T1 despite having plenty of power to drive it, not to mention the ZDSE's very high quality of amplification. While the Burson Soloist was a good match with the LCD-3, it did poorly with the HD800 and only attenuated the HD800's weaknesses (sharp, glaring treble). Both the ZDSE and Soloist are amps that have enough power and boasts high quality amplification, but because of their particular sonic signatures, they weren't good with particular headphones.

The question is, while many people praise the idea of using a speaker amp with enough power and decent quality to drive the HE-6, I have yet to hear someone saying that certain speaker amps are not good for the HE-6 despite them being expensive (high quality) and adequate in power. Is it because the HE-6 is actually not a very amp-picky headphone, as long as it is fed plenty of high quality power regardless of the characteristic sonic signature of each speaker amp?

Intuitively speaking, since the HE-6 is on the tad bright side, one could guess that a warm-sounding tube speaker amp will be generally better than a solid-state speaker amp. But I haven't heard anyone say anything like this, or saying anything like "the HE-6 matches generally well with (warm/cold/bright/dark/airy/bass-heavy/et cetera) sounding amps." The only thing people are saying is that "the HE-6 just sounds really good with decent, high-quality speaker amps that have enough power to drive the HE-6, with more expensive speaker amps performing better."

If, for instance, a person found that a particular $5,000 speaker amp performed better with the HE-6 than a $10,000 speaker amp, perhaps synergy is also an important factor to consider when dealing an HE-6 with and a speaker amp.

1) I haven't heard the LAu or Dark Star, but here's what it boils down to. Headphone amps are just smaller versions of speaker amps. When we throw in a special case headphone such as the HE-6, which really is essentially speakers on your head, it just seems like common sense doesn't it?

 

2) The ZDSE and Soloist, along with other HP amps, have their own "Sweet spot" so to speak. OTL is great for high impedance cans, while other topologies fare better with low impedance cans. Then of course we are never listening to just the amp itself, there's the rest of the chain. Something that is almost always overlooked is preamplification, needless gain stages, and good power (not watts) etc.

 

Perhaps the HE-6 is just a bit on the bright side, but a warm-sounding tube amp compared to SS is another urban legend. There are both types that can be warm, or sterile. I think an inherent issue of a tube power amp for the HE-6 is that it will be subject to the quality of its transformers more than anything else. Which leads into what is often overlooked as said earlier. I am really interested in building 300B monoblocks sometime in the distant future to see how the HE-6 fares off them. I think why we don't see so many tube speaker amps here is because quite frankly they can be costly and many just don't have the oomph.

 

I have found the First Watt F5 to sound better than a $7k McIntosh amp, which is ironically a warm sounding amp, and a DIY F5 can be built yourself for around $500-$1k or more depending how far you want to take it. I found the McIntosh to be too warm, while the F5 has just a hint of organic warmth, but it's a resolution monster and there's no one area that is dominant in the audible spectrum.

 

In conclusion, I think the HE-6 is actually speakers on your head, and Fang himself demo'ed them with a speaker amp. Speaker amps can generally be had for the same price as TOTL headphone amps, but with much higher quality simply because there isn't space and heat dissipation limitations. Yes there are speaker amps better than others, but that's not the only thing to take into consideration that can determine a good or a great sound. Hopefully I have helped shed some light on the questions for you. If you have any others I would be more than happy to reply to them. You bring up some very well-thought questions that i enjoy delving into.

post #2050 of 3098
Song mic great questions and brunk good answers . The only follow up I can add besides reading is auditioning. As I have equipment I purchased off of reviews. And now just need to sell. Listen as much as you can reviews are someone's opinions and most likely not be yours completely. I can give you an example . People review the woo audio WA5 as a great amp speaker amp for the headphones he6. As I own one with all the upgrades. And some people say it is good for the HD800 . I do not like them on this amp. Just opinion and maybe some will agree to disagree. All it mostly is is conjecture. What brunk said as to the whole chain is more important than the amp for sure. There are specs that can help such IMO, and otl or trans, solid star versus tubes I have the woo Wes and depending on the dac,s and sources it sounds very different. I can buy what ever I want , but in the end it must be listened too by you. Not some person telling you how good it may be including me...
Al D
post #2051 of 3098

@ songmic

 

In the beginning I used HE-6 with my high end 50W full class A power amp which has an incredibly over sized power supply and has the tightest bass I have ever heard from a speaker amp. It is also very transparent. In short a very good match for HE-6. However, I do prefer my Audio-gd Master 6 headphone (and pre) amp over it, because it's slightly more transparent as well as more convenient in use. Master 6 delivers 7W in 50 Ohm (balanced), while the speaker amp is 8W in 50 Ohm.

 

I also find my Burson Soloist to drive it very, very well even though it only is about 1.7W in 50 Ohm. I measured how it performs at 70dB vs. 101dB compared to the Master 6, and there was no difference in balance (bass, mids and treble) between the two headphone amps even though one is more than four times as powerful as the other.

 

In addition both my HiFiMan HM-801 and HM-901 portable players with built in amps of only about 440mW gets the tonal balance right (however they reach a limited SPL with the HE-6). To me this implies that power is not an issue in terms of tonal balance, but only undistorted peaks and SPL.

post #2052 of 3098
I hear you . And I believe what you are saying . For me the audio gd. M7/M8 is the best for them and hd800. Less off the top and so sweet. I can change out the dac for a different sound but the m8 still sounds the best for both. Just what I hear. Of the many dacs I have the M7 sounds the best blend of detail and overall presentation . But I am sure only some or none will agree..

Al D
post #2053 of 3098
Quote:
Originally Posted by songmic View Post
 

I have a series of long questions about amping the HE-6 with speaker amps. Any feedback will be appreciated, but only if you've actually heard the HE-6 with a speaker amp.

 

1. I think the general consensus is that HE-6 sounds better on a decent speaker amp than an expensive, high-power headphone amp that was designed to drive power-hungry headphones. However, are people saying this because they listened to both, compared them and came to such conclusion?

To be frank, the best headphone amp that I've heard with the HE-6 was Hifiman's own EF-6. My Pathos Classic One MKIII does a better job at driving the HE-6, but the Pathos amp costs nearly double. Surely there must be headphone amps that are better than the EF-6, such as RSA Dark Star or Dr. Cavalli's LAu.

If you heard the HE-6 on a Dark Star ($3,500) or a LAu ($6,000), or any multi-thousand dollar TOTL headphone amps that boasts extreme power, but honestly preferred a speaker amp that costs less than those headphone amps for the HE-6, then I will agree with the widely-held belief that speaker amps are indeed better at driving the HE-6.

 

2. Has there been any general consensus about which types of speaker amps are better at driving the HE-6 than other speaker amps, assuming that they all have plenty of power to drive the HE-6?

When it comes to matching headphones and headphone amps, merely having enough power for a headphone doesn't necessarily make the headphone amp a good match for that particular headphone. There are other factors that come into question, such as the quality of amplification, but most importantly, the synergy between the headphone and the amp.

For example, my Zana Deux SE, which I consider one of the finest OTL headphone amp I've heard, did wonders on the TH900 and HD800, but was not a really good match with the Beyerdynamic T1 despite having plenty of power to drive it, not to mention the ZDSE's very high quality of amplification. While the Burson Soloist was a good match with the LCD-3, it did poorly with the HD800 and only attenuated the HD800's weaknesses (sharp, glaring treble). Both the ZDSE and Soloist are amps that have enough power and boasts high quality amplification, but because of their particular sonic signatures, they weren't good with particular headphones.

The question is, while many people praise the idea of using a speaker amp with enough power and decent quality to drive the HE-6, I have yet to hear someone saying that certain speaker amps are not good for the HE-6 despite them being expensive (high quality) and adequate in power. Is it because the HE-6 is actually not a very amp-picky headphone, as long as it is fed plenty of high quality power regardless of the characteristic sonic signature of each speaker amp?

 

Intuitively speaking, since the HE-6 is on the tad bright side, one could guess that a warm-sounding tube speaker amp will be generally better than a solid-state speaker amp. But I haven't heard anyone say anything like this, or saying anything like "the HE-6 matches generally well with (warm/cold/bright/dark/airy/bass-heavy/et cetera) sounding amps." The only thing people are saying is that "the HE-6 just sounds really good with decent, high-quality speaker amps that have enough power to drive the HE-6, with more expensive speaker amps performing better."

 

If, for instance, a person found that a particular $5,000 speaker amp performed better with the HE-6 than a $10,000 speaker amp, perhaps synergy is also an important factor to consider when dealing an HE-6 with and a speaker amp.

WOW - where to start.  I may need a little help from my road dog = Happy Camper..

 

First Bold:

While I have not heard the Dark Star, someone has who's ears I trust.  It was said that a B24 (DIY speaker amp) "Killed" the Dark Star in a side by side with the HE-6.  

 

I've had the EF-6 in my home for a few months (now gone).  This was the best "headphone" amp I've heard with the HE-6, the next best "headphone amp with the HE-6 to my ears would be the GS-X mk2.  I don't know for sure, but I've been told the Dark Star is nothing more than a headphone amp with very high gain.  

 

The following headphone amps was a "No go" for me with the HE-6.

Burson HA - 160D

Bryston BHA-1

Mjolnir

4 channel B22 = the third best headphone amp

Balanced M^3

Balanced CK²III

 

Second Bold:

The only way to satisfy this question is to go on a journey and try as many headphone amps and speaker amps as you can.

 

Third Bold:

The only consensus is, there will never be a consensus:biggrin:  But really, I've always tried to stay with Pure Class A amps.  Why?  I have no idea..  I just think it provides the cleanest power there is.

 

Forth Bold:

TBH - I'm not much into the synergy thing opposed to the quality of the amp for the HE-6.  Yes, I've found the more expensive the speaker amps gets - The better the HE-6 sound.  This may not be the case for others.  

 

If I could afford this amp - I would have it right now - this would be my END GAME HE-6 amp.  http://www.simaudio.com/moon600i.htm  $8K I believe.

 

I've mentioned before.  The Emotiva a-100 mini-X is a great starter speaker amp for the HE-6.  This amp sounds better than most headphone amps on the HE-6...  Most, not all.  There are also other smallish speaker amps in this price range that sound pretty good as well.

 

Fifth Bold:

I think the key here is "high quality"  The HE-6 is picky towards quality.  Just like the Emotiva a-100 mini-X.  This is not a high quality amp - it has it's flaws and the HE-6 will show them.  One being the brightness another being shabby bass.  These things and others will stick out like a sore thumb on lower quality amps.  

 

So I'm not sure if the HE-6 is picky towards a amps sound sig as much as it's picky towards the quality of amplification you feed it.  

 

Sixth Bold:

IMO The HE-6 is "only" on the bright side based on the quality of amp you feed it..  Again, I don't get any kind of brightness at all with my F1J.  Now the T70s are bright, you have to put in some work to get the HD800s not to sound bright, Some Grados are bright.  If the HE-6 is bright and etched IMO its a tell tale that the amp your using is not a good amp is some areas, like taming the treble.  

 

I went out and got a "true to the sound" amp.  The F1J is one of the cleanest sounding, most revealing, dynamic and transparent amps in the $1500 - $2000 range - that I've heard.  Much like the GS-X mk2 but a few levels up - IMO.

 

Seventh Bold:

With anything, it get's to a point of diminishing returns and to a point where the differences are very small if any.  So I would guess with a 8K amp and a 10K amp that's meant to drive speakers and not headphones the differences would not even be audible.

post #2054 of 3098

^ Well said Preproman. I also don't think the HE-6 is bright, even though i said a tad bright, that was just to avoid any pointless conflicts hehe. The Dark Star, off the top of my head utilizes OPamps to their fullest potential with a fancy chassis wrapped around it, which is where the real cost is at. I'll take a fugly high quality amp any day over an average fancy one hehe. I'd wager it's the "excited" harmonic distortion signature of the opamps that people like, mistaking it as detail. The current the F1J puts out is pretty damn good, making over/under shoot very minimal for the HE-6.

 

What set apart that 600i from the others as being end game in your opinion?

 

In regards to why Class A is best, here's a nice article that explains it well.

http://www.hifivision.com/amplifiers/174-types-amplifiers-class-class-b-class-ab-class-d.html

 

Lastly and most importantly like you said, it's best to go out to a hifi shop and demo every amp under the sun they have available.

 

EDIT: Here's a nice educational-style PDF i stumbled across on power amplifiers just now.

http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/dl/free/007297527x/329094/malvinoch12.pdf


Edited by brunk - 11/3/13 at 6:30pm
post #2055 of 3098

How would the woo audios wa7 fireflies pair with these?

Tried to do a quick search but nothing came up.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: High-end Audio Forum
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › Amps that can drive the HiFiMan HE-6 planar headphones