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Amps that can drive the HiFiMan HE-6 planar headphones - Page 205

post #3061 of 3230
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadian411 View Post

 

Which one is best amp from your list except GS-X Mk2 for HE6 ?

 



That was a very tough question.

The HE-6 tends to produce hardness and glare in the midrange with many amps (and cables). To me, the minimum requirement for an HE-6 amp would be to deal with these flaws AND to have sufficient power. Many amps failed and only a handful succeeded. But I would say that the “best” amp for the HE-6 depends on your musical taste and sonic preferences. There is no clear overall winner here but, like farmers from Iowa, they are outstanding in their own field.

The GS-X Mark2 produced a smooth and well-articulated sound with silky transients and plenty of inner details without any trace of the hardness and glare typically associated with the HE-6. The feathery light and silky smooth transients of the GS-X Mk2 must be heard to be believed. The focus and imaging is very natural (neither forward nor recessed) and the soundstage was the largest I ever heard from the HE-6 endowing the sound with the presence, air and layers of live music. The bass was tight and solid with tremendous impact. This was one of the top four amps I heard with the HE-6. The greatest strength of the GS-X Mk2 is its ability to perform well with all kinds of headphones and all kinds of music.

With the Bakoon HA-21, the HE-6 sounded remarkably free as well of the hardness and glare often heard with other amps. There was plenty of bass with the HE-6 for Jazz and classical music, but I wished for a tad more impact here with rock music—this was a real surprise for a solid-state design; perhaps a bigger power supply is needed here but that may be quibbling. Where the Bakoon truly excelled was in the warm but also vividly detailed midrange. This is an uncanny sound quality that I have not heard from any other amps. If you like to hear warm vocals with vivid and rich details and smooth transients (guitars, violins…) within the music, this amp is ideal for you. The excellent way the Bakoon rendered female voices in particular is entrancing.

With the Woo WA5, the HE-6 delivered a smooth midrange with outstanding presence thanks to a forward imaging and very tight focus rivaling that of the LCD3/SR009. This sound was remarkably free of the hardness or glare usually associated with the HE-6. The slightly improved soundstage was larger than with the LCD3 but still constricted compared to the HD-800. I save the best for last: the bass, at once tight and weighty, a rare combination, was delivered with an authority that will rock your socks off. This was truly a match made in heaven for rock. Jazz- and Chamber-Music lovers will have much to like about the HE-6/Woo WA5 pairing as well.

With the EAR HP-4, the HE-6 also produced a musical sound free of hardness and glare. The focus of the HE-6, typically a little fuzzy, became pin-point sharp here; the center image was also pushed a little forward to give a greater presence to vocals, similar to the beautiful results with the Woo WA5. In addition, however, there was also increased air around the instruments and enlarged soundstage to improve the 3-D illusion. Surprisingly for tube design, while the bass was well controlled (read tight), very dynamic and perfect for classical music, it was not ideal for rock where a bid less control and perhaps more weight (mid-bass bloom) is desirable. Overall, the sound was detailed and dynamic, but also so open and relaxed that I frequently forgot to focus on it and was simply enjoyed the music. That’s the ultimate compliment I can give for an audio gear.

Sorry about the long discourse but I am reluctant to endorse or dismiss such great amps without sufficient explanation. I hope this helps you MAKE YOUR OWN DECISION.
post #3062 of 3230

edit


Edited by Silent One - 7/9/14 at 5:17pm
post #3063 of 3230
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin_Time View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadian411 View Post

 

Which one is best amp from your list except GS-X Mk2 for HE6 ?

 




With the EAR HP-4, the HE-6 also produced a musical sound free of hardness and glare. The focus of the HE-6, typically a little fuzzy, became pin-point sharp here; the center image was also pushed a little forward to give a greater presence to vocals, similar to the beautiful results with the Woo WA5. In addition, however, there was also increased air around the instruments and enlarged soundstage to improve the 3-D illusion. Surprisingly for tube design, while the bass was well controlled (read tight), very dynamic and perfect for classical music, it was not ideal for rock where a bid less control and perhaps more weight (mid-bass bloom) is desirable. Overall, the sound was detailed and dynamic, but also so open and relaxed that I frequently forgot to focus on it and was simply enjoyed the music. That’s the ultimate compliment I can give for an audio gear.

Sorry about the long discourse but I am reluctant to endorse or dismiss such great amps without sufficient explanation. I hope this helps you MAKE YOUR OWN DECISION.

Nice review. The point about the he-6 being typically fuzzy but sharp on the EAR I thought was a bit confusing to me. To me it says more about the other amps. An amp cannot make a speaker more detailed that it is, but a good speaker can show the difference between amps.
post #3064 of 3230
Quote:
Originally Posted by gjc11028 View Post

Nice review. The point about the he-6 being typically fuzzy but sharp on the EAR I thought was a bit confusing to me. To me it says more about the other amps. An amp cannot make a speaker more detailed that it is, but a good speaker can show the difference between amps.

I guess a small clarification is in order.

The center image on the HE-6 is a little bigger spot (or more diffused) than the pin-point image of the LCD2/3 with most amps. The EAR HP-4 was one of the few amps to tighten this center image to a very small circle. This usually give you the sensation of "you are there" for voices or solo instrument. The focus is also tighter for off-center sounds allowing you to locate them more easily within the soundstage with the HP-4.

An amp is generally far more accurate than speakers or headphones, which being transducers--converters of electrical signals to sound via a slow mechanical devices--are always subject to more distortion. With a transparent sound, an amp capable of good transient response--sharp and quick attack without overshots (ringing) and with good decay without smearing--will produce well articulated sound which sound like a lot of details. With the same headphone like the HE-6, I can get a very detailed sound with the GS-X Mk2 or Bakoon HPA-21 (SS) or a much less detailed sound with the MAD Ear+ HD or Sophia Baby Amp. The EAR HP-4 happens to be one of the few tube amps capable of producing a lot of details.

Of course with a pair of headphones like the HD-800, you get even more details but sometimes it could be too much of a good thing and these headphones could sound a little too analytical to the point of being sterile.
post #3065 of 3230

 

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in advance for CALMING THE **** DOWN.  Thanks y'all.  :smile:

post #3066 of 3230
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin_Time View Post


Of course with a pair of headphones like the HD-800, you get even more details but sometimes it could be too much of a good thing and these headphones could sound a little too analytical to the point of being sterile.

 

I drive a HE6/HD800/LCD-X from a Vega/Taurus setup - all 3 are hyper-detailed to my ears. Any 'extra' level of detail from the HD800 is very marginal to my (somewhat damaged) ears. All 3 will show up poor quality recordings - perhaps the HD800 more than the others, but not to an extent that I find very noticeable.

 

This might just be the result of my imperfect hearing, but I don't get the 'HD800 is an audio microscope' concept - at least not in comparison to the HE6 and LCD-X. There's not much that the HD800 reveals to me that the HE6 and LCD-X can't. YMMV.

 

Not knocking the HD800 in the above - it's a great headphone - just that I don't think it has a monopoly on great detail when compared with flagship level planars like the HE6/LCD-X.

post #3067 of 3230
Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyNewman View Post
 

 

I drive a HE6/HD800/LCD-X from a Vega/Taurus setup - all 3 are hyper-detailed to my ears. Any 'extra' level of detail from the HD800 is very marginal to my (somewhat damaged) ears. All 3 will show up poor quality recordings - perhaps the HD800 more than the others, but not to an extent that I find very noticeable.

 

This might just be the result of my imperfect hearing, but I don't get the 'HD800 is an audio microscope' concept - at least not in comparison to the HE6 and LCD-X. There's not much that the HD800 reveals to me that the HE6 and LCD-X can't. YMMV.

 

Not knocking the HD800 in the above - it's a great headphone - just that I don't think it has a monopoly on great detail when compared with flagship level planars like the HE6/LCD-X.

:beerchug:

My thoughts as well..

post #3068 of 3230
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin_Time View Post

I guess a small clarification is in order.

The center image on the HE-6 is a little bigger spot (or more diffused) than the pin-point image of the LCD2/3 with most amps. The EAR HP-4 was one of the few amps to tighten this center image to a very small circle. This usually give you the sensation of "you are there" for voices or solo instrument. The focus is also tighter for off-center sounds allowing you to locate them more easily within the soundstage with the HP-4.

An amp is generally far more accurate than speakers or headphones, which being transducers--converters of electrical signals to sound via a slow mechanical devices--are always subject to more distortion. With a transparent sound, an amp capable of good transient response--sharp and quick attack without overshots (ringing) and with good decay without smearing--will produce well articulated sound which sound like a lot of details. With the same headphone like the HE-6, I can get a very detailed sound with the GS-X Mk2 or Bakoon HPA-21 (SS) or a much less detailed sound with the MAD Ear+ HD or Sophia Baby Amp. The EAR HP-4 happens to be one of the few tube amps capable of producing a lot of details.

Of course with a pair of headphones like the HD-800, you get even more details but sometimes it could be too much of a good thing and these headphones could sound a little too analytical to the point of being sterile.

Thanks, that makes sense to me. I am a big fan of EAR products and not surprised it does a good job here.
post #3069 of 3230
Quote:
Originally Posted by kothganesh View Post

You must have your mom's genes on the vintage amps wink.gif . Out of curiosity, did you have input into the designing of the amp, meaning, for example, I want this much power, this much THD etc etc  or did you leave everything to BC? Thanks
Well..to be honest..its even worse in my recent life..my wife (being into fashion stuff) even hated how my sexy darkvoice 337 looked like! So i didnt even think in getting any huge vintage block of musical bliss into my home...but somehow my sleek built PaG is accepted, lucky me wink.gif

And replying ur question: the actual built of my amp took almost 7months...it started with me telling him what kind of music i liked, how i listened to my music and what headphone i was going to use...i was going to buy the he6 locally... But in a emotional split decision i decided to get one of the rare NOS 20 code-x'es, and mine is the only black woody one. wink.gif and i never regretted my decision..already had a bid from someone wanting to buy it for the price of a new lcd-x biggrin.gif

If i am not mistaken he got himself a he6 to test the amp while building it.... We had almost weekly back and forth mails about what he wanted to do on the inside and outside....and he always asked me for reply...especially if he wanted to try something new (my amp has some thingies he never tried on any other amp he made before and they are very hush hush..lolz)..

We even discussed where to put the input/output connectors, what to use for the volume knob and what kind of volume control (i have one of the brand ALPS) and what kind of transformer and in what case..etc etc... I am not technical..so the thd etc was mumbo jumbo for me..so i gave him free space on that...as an example..my powersupply went through 5! Cases (it kept on getting bigger..lolz) and upgrades (on internal components) before he was happy and confident that it would be right to drive a he6..

...i just wanted the best sound inside my budget (that kept growing month after month) for my specific taste and usage...and he nailed it...to my ears... I know ofcourse u have much better amps....i heard a couple of them last weekend (check pics i posted).. But we all agreed..for the money its one heck of an headphone amp to drive a code-x (modified he5 with extra dampening and in so almost just as hard to be driven as a he6, i understand from LFF, the builder of the code-x)

Hope i answered ur questions...but really..only way to know if a BC amp is right for u...u dont need to believe me...just try to get one (as i did) or at least try one out..the dealer of Bc is in the states..and they visit lots of audio shows i understand... So ur lucky!
U wont get the same as mine..but am sure he can built u a better one or a more affordable one...ur mind (or wife.. wink.gif ) and wallet is ur only restriction wink.gif
Edited by hifimanrookie - 7/9/14 at 6:09pm
post #3070 of 3230
Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyNewman View Post
 

 

I drive a HE6/HD800/LCD-X from a Vega/Taurus setup - all 3 are hyper-detailed to my ears. Any 'extra' level of detail from the HD800 is very marginal to my (somewhat damaged) ears. All 3 will show up poor quality recordings - perhaps the HD800 more than the others, but not to an extent that I find very noticeable.

 

This might just be the result of my imperfect hearing, but I don't get the 'HD800 is an audio microscope' concept - at least not in comparison to the HE6 and LCD-X. There's not much that the HD800 reveals to me that the HE6 and LCD-X can't. YMMV.

 

Not knocking the HD800 in the above - it's a great headphone - just that I don't think it has a monopoly on great detail when compared with flagship level planars like the HE6/LCD-X.

I second this as well. I don't own the LCD-X but I have the HE 6 on loan and I am very impressed with the detail. What I can't really get over with the 6 is the uncomfortable fit. I had the same experience with the HE 500 and it was deja vu when I put the 6 on my head. In this department, to me its no contest with the 800. Come on Dr. Fang, the fit needs some help! 

post #3071 of 3230
Quote:
Originally Posted by kothganesh View Post

I second this as well. I don't own the LCD-X but I have the HE 6 on loan and I am very impressed with the detail. What I can't really get over with the 6 is the uncomfortable fit. I had the same experience with the HE 500 and it was deja vu when I put the 6 on my head. In this department, to me its no contest with the 800. Come on Dr. Fang, the fit needs some help! 
What's wrong with the fit? You don't like the headband?
post #3072 of 3230

Me? I had a single bone to pick - those SMS connectors! Once on my head, never any comfort issues.

post #3073 of 3230
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohhgourami View Post


What's wrong with the fit? You don't like the headband?

When I put it on my head, it kinda hangs loose straight down and not completely around the ear. Now that I think about it, it is probably the headband not creating enough of a "snug" fit. 

post #3074 of 3230
Quote:
Originally Posted by kothganesh View Post
 

When I put it on my head, it kinda hangs loose straight down and not completely around the ear. Now that I think about it, it is probably the headband not creating enough of a "snug" fit. 


You can bend the headband. That's exactly why you don't think its comfy. You can bend it so it perfectly follows the curve of your hand. I have a friend that wear his where it only touches the very top of his head and that bothers me a lot.

post #3075 of 3230
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohhgourami View Post
 


You can bend the headband. That's exactly why you don't think its comfy. You can bend it so it perfectly follows the curve of your hand. I have a friend that wear his where it only touches the very top of his head and that bothers me a lot.

Thanks. The reason I did not want to bend it was that I got it on loan.

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