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Amps that can drive the HiFiMan HE-6 planar headphones - Page 138

post #2056 of 3211
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post

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:D   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.

One quibble I might have is that I am not sure that the HE-6 is so much picky about.qualty as if is revealing. It is not bad with lesser stuff, but once you hear it with a real good set up (or two) you realize what it can do. It is like having good speakers which let you hear how good your other components are. Definitely audition.
post #2057 of 3211
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angelbelow View Post
 

How would the woo audios wa7 fireflies pair with these?

Tried to do a quick search but nothing came up.

 

The WA7 is a decent DAC/amp for its price, especially a fine match with TH900 and HD800.

However, although I haven't tried it with the HE-6, 1 watt @ 32 ohms is definitely not enough power to drive the HE-6.

post #2058 of 3211
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angelbelow View Post
 

How would the woo audios wa7 fireflies pair with these?

Tried to do a quick search but nothing came up.


Did you hear my setup at the meet?

post #2059 of 3211
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post
 

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.

 

Was the $7k McIntosh amp a MC275, by the way? And a sub-$1K solid state amp was better sounding with the HE-6 than the McIntosh? Then I suppose synergy DOES matter with the HE-6. My Pathos Classic One MKIII integrated amp is actually not a pure tube amp but a hybrid amp: pure class A tube input stage for its preamp section, and solid-state output for power amp with oversized transformers. This imparts a more solid-state sound characteristic than tube.

 

The FirstWatt amps look interesting, but unfortunately it seems they are only power amps and not integrated amps, which means I'll also need to buy a preamp. There is also the space issue... the Pathos Classic One MKIII is one of the few integrated amps that can fit in a desktop system with limited space while delivering massive power of 70W per channel. For now, I'm going to stick to the Pathos amp, but if I move to a bigger house than I'll definitely consider a FirstWatt.

 

Thanks for your kind input, mate!

post #2060 of 3211

Nope, I couldn't get around to everyone. I wish I did though. I got a chance to listen to the Hifiman HE6s at the Hifiman booth for a little while and really enjoyed them.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by ohhgourami View Post
 


Did you hear my setup at the meet?

post #2061 of 3211
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post
 

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.

 

It seems a lot of folks here enjoy their HE-6 with FirstWatt amps. No doubt they provide very clean, high quality amplification. However, reading their spec sheets make me wonder...

http://www.firstwatt.com/prod.html

 

First of all, aren't these all power amps? I would consider a FirstWatt integrated amp, but it appears that they are power amps or monoblocks and that would require a separate preamp. However, what's really weird is that their power output is very measly (5-25 W @ 8 ohms) for power amps. I would understand such low power output if they were integrated amps, but power amps?

 

From my experience in audio, dedicated power amps tend to be - ironically - larger, heavier, and more expensive than integrated amps. That's because higher quality parts are used to deliver amplification that is more powerful and better quality than integrated amps. Power amps that are the size and price of those FirstWatt amps are usually rated at least 100W per channel. While the quality of amplification in these FirstWatt amps may be top-notch, I think it's somewhat shameless that the quantity of amplification of these dedicated power amps and monoblocks are only 25W at best.

 

Also, your F1J amp is supposedly only rated 10W @ 8 ohms. That translates into approximately 1.6W at 50 ohms, which IMO is definitely not enough power to drive the HE-6, despite being a speaker amp. Even a Schiit Lyr, which is a sub-$500 headphone amp, delivers much more power than that. If the HE-6 sounds good with your F1J, then you never felt that F1J lacks absolute power to drive HE-6? Then I suppose the HE-6 is not such a power hungry headphone, after all?

 

It seems strange, because even with my 70W Pathos amp, which outputs 7 times more power than your FirstWatt, I turn the volume to 50-70% of max volume for casual listening, going as high as 80-90% for audiophile recordings.


Edited by songmic - 11/3/13 at 9:26pm
post #2062 of 3211

On a side note, I discovered that the HE-6, while being a genre master, is not friendly with sub-par recordings. Headphones like the LCD-3 or TH900 somewhat masks the little faults of such recordings at the expense of transparency/soundstage, while the HD800 makes listening to brightly mastered pop and rock songs (especially those subject the loudness war) unbearable. I think the HE-6 falls in the latter category, revealing faults in the source in an unforgiving way.

post #2063 of 3211
That F1J is more powerful than anything I've heard on the 6 short of the big speaker amps. Even then, that amp has the current flow not seen by any that's graced the table. Darryl has had many amps roll through the audio dungeon and the space heater has bested them all.
post #2064 of 3211
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohhgourami View Post
 


Did you hear my setup at the meet?

:beerchug:

 

Glad you made it down! I was unable to attend, but did pick up :wink:my new gears on Saturday. I heard them at the studio so there was no rush to unwrap them last night. Going to do so shortly - will be keen to see if the monos have enough stuff to push the HE-6. And then listen to a simple source  - iPod into the amps with and without the preamp and learn more about the new sound signature. 

 

Can't wait to see pix!

:popcorn: 

post #2065 of 3211
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angelbelow View Post


Nope, I couldn't get around to everyone. I wish I did though. I got a chance to listen to the Hifiman HE6s at the Hifiman booth for a little while and really enjoyed them.

You missed out! I had the only other HE-6.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent One View Post
 

:beerchug:

 

Glad you made it down! I was unable to attend, but did pick up :wink:my new gears on Saturday. I heard them at the studio so there was no rush to unwrap them last night. Going to do so shortly - will be keen to see if the monos have enough stuff to push the HE-6. And then listen to a simple source  - iPod into the amps with and without the preamp and learn more about the new sound signature. 

 

Can't wait to see pix!

:popcorn: 

:beerchug:

 

There's pics in the "meet impressions" subforum. Darin, the organizer, took a ton of pics including the glorious audio-gd shootout purrin and I did.

post #2066 of 3211
Quote:
Originally Posted by gjc11028 View Post


One quibble I might have is that I am not sure that the HE-6 is so much picky about.qualty as if is revealing. It is not bad with lesser stuff, but once you hear it with a real good set up (or two) you realize what it can do. It is like having good speakers which let you hear how good your other components are. Definitely audition.

 

What you said is correct and I agree.  To me, that's picky about quality.  The HE-6 is able to tell me "so to speak" if the amp is of quality or not.  ie.. Emotiva a-100 mini-X.  The HE-6 can pinpoint it's flaws.

post #2067 of 3211
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohhgourami View Post
 

You missed out! I had the only other HE-6.

 

:beerchug:

 

There's pics in the "meet impressions" subforum. Darin, the organizer, took a ton of pics including the glorious audio-gd shootout purrin and I did.

 

It was my fault, I wanted to get there at 12pm but didn't get there until 1 pm due to traffic. Next year I'm going to make sure I have nothing going on in the morning so I can get there by 10/11am!

 

I think they were my favorites out of all the ones I tried. Bummer that the woo audio wa7 isn't an ideal fit with them. Maybe I'll look into the HE500s instead.


Edited by Angelbelow - 11/4/13 at 12:30am
post #2068 of 3211

It's official! @ an estimated 7.5 wpc/50 Ohms into the HE-6, my Shindo Laboratory Sinhonia F2a monaural blocks (40 wpc) just made the cut. :wink: Now in-session...

 

Further, preliminary results suggest despite using a Silver plated Copper headphone cable, Silver interconnects and Silver speaker wires, the HiFiMAN's do not have me running for cover from brightness!


Edited by Silent One - 11/4/13 at 1:34am
post #2069 of 3211
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohhgourami View Post
 
 

:beerchug:

 

There's pics in the "meet impressions" subforum. Darin, the organizer, took a ton of pics including the glorious audio-gd shootout purrin and I did.

 

A good ol' fashion shootout... now that deserves Pizza! :tongue_smile: Can't wait. But apparently will have to, as I cannot locate the aforementioned pix or the thread.  

post #2070 of 3211

 

I can get into more detail about to two DAC if you like. But what I got out of this meet is that I want an OR5!

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