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# HiFiman HE-500 (HE as in High End) Proving to be an enjoyable experience in listening. . - Page 582

So if 1 watt allows for 119 dB from HE-500, that's more than enough, but what THD standard is that metric? And for a lower distortion level like 0.1% THD, what is the sensitivity rating in dB/mW for the HE-500? Is there a formula to calculate the dB/mW rating at a given distortion level? I think of we can answer these questions, we're a lot closer to figuring out exactly how much power is needed to drive the HE-500 to a comfortable listening level, at least from a technical standpoint.

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You can't calculate that, it depends on the amplifier, and is individual.
You can measure an amplifier, though,
Edited by davidsh - 10/20/13 at 7:11am
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsh

You can't calculate that, it depends on the amplifier, and is individual.
You can measure an amplifier, though,

For example my NAD 326 bee speaker amplifier is 50WPC RMS but compared to the one I had before 315 bee rated at 40WPC RMS it sounds like it is easily twice as powerful as the 315 bee because has more dynamic power etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonido

So if 1 watt allows for 119 dB from HE-500, that's more than enough, but what THD standard is that metric? And for a lower distortion level like 0.1% THD, what is the sensitivity rating in dB/mW for the HE-500? Is there a formula to calculate the dB/mW rating at a given distortion level? I think of we can answer these questions, we're a lot closer to figuring out exactly how much power is needed to drive the HE-500 to a comfortable listening level, at least from a technical standpoint.
Guys, guys, guys..i said many times..power is not all for the he500! I had a 337 with a puny 1watt and it slapped much stronger amps with the he500 soundwise... And its a tube amp..the horror!! It had thunderous lows and swet velvetly highs..and volume never got over the 21:00 o'clock.. U can calculate the watts needed for any phone..but its nuts to do that!!! Just connect the he500 to ur amp and try it out..thats only way to find out if its right for ur headphone... No calculation of watts or delivering multimullion watts (on paper) can do that... As i said..a good headphone amp doent need to cost ya a kidney...
And the saying that bass and basssiganture in music isthe reference of whether music sounds good or not..well i dont agree with that..for me its more important to have a wonderfull midrange and puncjy bass and velvet high then only thunderous bass.because if the bass is to dominant the sound balance gets off..imho ofcourse!!
Edited by hifimanrookie - 10/20/13 at 8:12am

Anyone tried hooking up the HE500 to some Krell amplification ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholars

Yes this is why I was saying earlier that someone that was saying the Schiit magni (I think it was?) "drives the HE500 easily but lacks bass impact" is a bit of a contradiction.... I would think this would show that the Magni is actually not powering the HE500 properly because lack of bass impact and control is the most obvious thing you notice when an amp is not good enough for the headphones...

Yep, that was me, and you're probably right. The Magni gets incredibly loud with the HE-500 at 11 o'clock, where I have to turn the volume knob on my Bravo Tube amp to max to get semi-decent volume. The amp, even though it is loud and can get to unbearably loud very easily, might be struggling and adding distortion at that level, but I don't have the test equipment to confirm.

Schiit also mentions it can drive the HE-500, but I don't feel that it can drive it with the same refinement that more powerful amps can give, especially regarding bass level and extension.

Still no science behind why bass would have more impact from a speaker amp, hopefully someone can chime in with that info.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ethan7000

Still no science behind why bass would have more impact from a speaker amp, hopefully someone can chime in with that info.

This is an oversimplified attempt from Asrock explaining how they now use more powerful amps with a better S/N ratio and 600ohm headphone support, compared to the traditional ones used before on their new intel motherboards. It takes more power to create sound in the bass range compared to above it.

"This frequency response chart is tested under 32 ohm loading to simulate normal headphones. It indicates how traditional audio solution’s frequency response drops drastically at low frequencies, while Purity Sound™ maintains its frequency response and provides better bass with the TI® NE5532 amplifier.
"

Edited by bhazard - 10/20/13 at 9:01am
Quote:
Originally Posted by ethan7000

Still no science behind why bass would have more impact from a speaker amp, hopefully someone can chime in with that info.
I will make it crystal clear... U want the same kind of bass in the recorded track as in real life right? And with this statement i can tell ya...i didnt need to have a multi watts amp to reach that! Yes the soundstage is a bit less (But thats the headphone to blame..as no headphone can put space out as a speaker does) but when the rest comes close to the original (as did my humble amp) u dont need lots of watts..as they will only give to much bass (even unnatural) compared to the original recording!! We all want that our rig sounds as natural (as original as possible) as possible... If we want bass we go to those beats headphones... Pity people are forgetting its not all about bass what makes music beautiful..its about a balance..

did anyone ever tried to compare a life concert experience to a high quality recording of the same concert on ur he500?? I did that with some friends who regularly visit concerts..and they all have speakers in their house as they didnt believe a headphone was good enough to give that ambiance a life concert gives...and they were surprised how close my rig came... Yes they said it was not same as speakers (expensive ones!) but they were very surprised how good it sounded..ESPECIALLY how real and lookalike the bass and the voices sounded!! Yes BASS! And that was on a puny 1watts headphoneamp! But they said it lacked a bit on soundstage, air and a bit on placement of instruments... But i guess thats a problem with the he500 in general (hey jerg..how is ur latest mod going? Lolz)..

Point: as long the sound u get from ur rig is as close as possible (same is never possible with headphones..no matter how expensive AS they dont reflect sound through the room) to the original should be ur main reason on which u buy ur amp on..not how much watts or what price range..cheap or expensive!

U just need to get the right pairing..IN UR WHOLE RIG..even quality of ur media can be important for ur sound.. I replaced all my media from mp3 320 to lossless or even 24bit LP rips (500mb plus files per track!) to get the best sound possible...and it did improve!!

But hey..some people call me crazy..but i think i am just a perfectionist who tries to get best out of the budget i have.. And i think deep down inside most of us want the same...

Ps..i dont believe science can explain this all..as in the end its a personal experience... And what WE THINK sounds good to our ears...
Edited by hifimanrookie - 10/20/13 at 9:05am
Quote:
Originally Posted by ethan7000

Still no science behind why bass would have more impact from a speaker amp, hopefully someone can chime in with that info.

There's two things you have to look at with orthos and amps. First is being able to deliver current and second is the swing. How does the amplifier behave at peaks?

Nowadays a lot of amplifiers have ratings that far exceed their true capabilities. Manufacturers can list power outputs in many ways. There is RMS, peak power and continuous power among many. Back in 1970s, the amps had the strictest method of listing power. That is why you'll notice vintage amps with low power ratings but yet they still kick ass. Those 50W marantz vintage amps weren't rated on the cop out peak powers, but rather continuous for an hour performance at a specific load.  Nowadays you'll see peak power ratings on amp listed by manufacturers claiming 120W per channel. Take those amps and put them under the same vintage testing, they'll be cut down severely and end up being less than the vintage amps.

So there is a threshold you have to hit in terms of power, but more importantly, also how long and how well can the amp maintain it the power around peaks. The whole point with speaker amps of moderate power wasn't so we could have blow the drivers out. It was so actually there so you wouldn't have to turn it up. Barely turning the amp to like 20-30% of it's power makes sure that the amp is acting linear. Even if there are a lot of peaks and for some reason the amp doesn't have enough reserve, it will still be done much better than say if the amp was running out at 70%. The amp becomes more non-linear as you increase it's output. This is amplifier 101. This is why with speakers, you always try to pick an amplifier for your speakers that can you don't really have to turn up. When speakers are driven with full control, the music is far more engaging. You don't want it to be sloppy. Same thing goes for HE-500 and Emotiva, and that is why the bass through Emotiva is always so controlled and yet punchy.

Now this doesn't mean getting 200W monoblocks hooked up. That's just bat**** crazy, even for the HE-6. Although something like the Emotiva is okay, as it has enough reserve, but yet it I can still get enough control on the volume. This is definitely better in terms of performance and value in comparison to those \$200-\$500 1-2W amps like Asgard. I don't think people understand the stats fully (Well, sometimes the manufacturers actually purposefully don't specify their ratings) which can further confuse the consumers. Those 1-2W amps can really only deliver the power to planars at peak. That's why with most amps around that power, you'll see that they can get loud, but yet not offer enough bass. They tend to get more non-linear during peaks and sometimes they can't simply even reach it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audio_power#Power_calculations

Yes another example of this would be my first stereo system which was a Sony integrated thing rated at 400w I think it was, compared to my 50w RMS rated NAD 326bee it was not even close to being as powerful... because they rate it at the max PMPO rating probably. I expect a lot of the headphone amps use similar tactics to make their amps look better whereas in reality they will not work that well.

^There's an example, that is the O2. It shows distortion vs. voltage with different loads. More power doesn't equal more bass. It might equal more controlled and better behaved bass.

There's also another factor people tend to forgot: How loud do you listen? 10dB is quite significant, and that can mean a hell of a lot more distortion. Think about peaks of 100mW versus peaks at 1W on the O2 for example. The added distortion would be huge.

Hifimanrookies amp might have been able to deliver 1 clean watt without much distortion at all, which would be plenty for the most dynamic classical recordings unless he listen really loud. On the other hand, the O2 is not able to deliver 1 clean watt at all, for example.

I'd say 120dB (a watt or 2) of dynamic range without much distortion would be plenty for any sane person.

Edited by davidsh - 10/20/13 at 9:27am
Quote:
Originally Posted by hifimanrookie

I will make it crystal clear... U want the same kind of bass in the recorded track as in real life right? And with this statement i can tell ya...i didnt need to have a multi watts amp to reach that! Yes the soundstage is a bit less (But thats the headphone to blame..as no headphone can put space out as a speaker does) but when the rest comes close to the original (as did my humble amp) u dont need lots of watts..as they will only give to much bass (even unnatural) compared to the original recording!! We all want that our rig sounds as natural (as original as possible) as possible... If we want bass we go to those beats headphones... Pity people are forgetting its not all about bass what makes music beautiful..its about a balance..

did anyone ever tried to compare a life concert experience to a high quality recording of the same concert on ur he500?? I did that with some friends who regularly visit concerts..and they all have speakers in their house as they didnt believe a headphone was good enough to give that ambiance a life concert gives...and they were surprised how close my rig came... Yes they said it was not same as speakers (expensive ones!) but they were very surprised how good it sounded..ESPECIALLY how real and lookalike the bass and the voices sounded!! Yes BASS! And that was on a puny 1watts headphoneamp! But they said it lacked a bit on soundstage, air and a bit on placement of instruments... But i guess thats a problem with the he500 in general (hey jerg..how is ur latest mod going? Lolz)..

Point: as long the sound u get from ur rig is as close as possible (same is never possible with headphones..no matter how expensive AS they dont reflect sound through the room) to the original should be ur main reason on which u buy ur amp on..not how much watts or what price range..cheap or expensive!

U just need to get the right pairing..IN UR WHOLE RIG..even quality of ur media can be important for ur sound.. I replaced all my media from mp3 320 to lossless or even 24bit LP rips (500mb plus files per track!) to get the best sound possible...and it did improve!!

But hey..some people call me crazy..but i think i am just a perfectionist who tries to get best out of the budget i have.. And i think deep down inside most of us want the same...

Ps..i dont believe science can explain this all..as in the end its a personal experience... And what WE THINK sounds good to our ears...

You are SERIOUSLY mixing and poorly confusing psychoacoustics with power ratings. The reason why even crappy amps can make the headphone sound good is because of how well our Central Auditory Nervous System is at filling in information based on what is there. Even my crappy Sansa Fuze can make it sound good.

Using your example of crappy soundstage with poorer amps makes perfect sense. Lower frequency stuff like bass uses different component of hearing & perception than high frequencies. Human hearing switches between Interaural Time Difference (ITD) and Interaural Intensity/Level Difference (IID), depending on which FR region it is dealing with. This is because of the nature of the sound wave and your physiology of outer and inner ear. Just look at the cochlea and you'll see a perfect example.

When you talk to someone on a phone, you can recognize it's them and hear everything. Yet if you look at the sonogram, it has cut ridiculous amount of information. Only a limited range gets transmitted in comparison to if the person were actually there beside you and talking to you. Yet, you can still identify the voice perfectly and keep up.

Keeping it in laymen terms, your brain can recognize patterns and fill in the gaps and still get a decent picture, but it's still not quite the full picture. Also, this process is quite taxing on your brain. This is why I personally would get fatigued after listening to other amps like O2 or E10 with HE-500. They gave me a lot of the picture, but not the full picture.

With better suited amps, you'll notice the soundstage is better. Why?

When drivers are driven properly and maintaining the transients (temporal- ITD) as well as amplitude (ILD), you'll see that both soundstage AND bass response is very clear and less fatiguing.

Please let me know which "part" science can't explain specifically. If you mean that different people interpret music differently, sure, science can't explain that directly as each person has different ear physiology but more importantly differences in their central auditory nervous system means that people deals with their PERCEPTIONS of the SOUND STIMULUS much differently. Not to mention there are also learned response in preferences.

Much of the perceived sound stage lies in the treble/higher mids AFAIK.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsh

Much of the perceived sound stage lies in the treble/higher mids AFAIK.

Yup. It is because of Interaural Time Difference calculations your brain makes to determine the location of the source. This only works with high frequencies due to their short wavelength. This is why with subwoofers doing purely 20 Hz, it's really hard to tell where the bass is coming from. In that case, you'll switch over to Interaural Level Difference, that uses difference in decibel levels between the two ears rather than time to distinguish.

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