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Need a headphone amp for HE-500s… - Page 5

post #61 of 96

Update:

 

I landed a Musical Paradise MP-301 MK2 tube amplifier for the HE-500s. Listening to it right now and can attest it does music with the Hifimans beautifully - and it does it effortlessly. Beautiful detail and incredible extension. I remember reading some of the early posts when the HE-500s started showing up that this was one of the amps that could drive the HPs at a fairly affordable penny. According to the manufacturer it puts 1.28 watts (max) into the HE-500s 38ohms. It's not overkill power (cracking that peanut with a sledgehammer!!), but more than required for the HPs. I'm somewhere between 11 and 12 on the dial and that's my loud limit. Bass is fantastic, so are drums. I will compare this amp with the Schiit Lyr and Schiit Asgard which I finally get to try next week. Will post my impressions then. In the meantime here is a product pic of the MP-301 MK2 - looks really uhmm .. what's the word ..

 

MP-301 MK2.jpg


Edited by Terja - 5/17/12 at 11:31am
post #62 of 96

I'm now running the HE-500 via the speaker terminals of this amp and man! what a difference. Descriptions always fail, but I remember reading through someone else's comment about running the HE-6 via speaker terminals and I totally agreed their comments. I would use the same words for the HE-500 out of the speaker terminals but MrQ says it much better:

 

"The phrase 'scaled-up' doesn't do the combo justice. It's not just a question of volume. The HE-6's [insert HE-500] sound has more weight, presence and authority. The best word I can think of the sound is solid." [Originally posted by MrQ - post 116 amps-that-can-drive-the-hifiman-he-6-planar-headphones]

 

Garry the manufacturer of the MP-301 MK2 has made it clear that the speaker terminals for the tube amp require a proper impedance load when used to drive headphones. I made a resistor loaded impedance box (10watts 6.8ohms for each channel) to match the intended load for the amp. Based on the numbers I think I am getting 1.47watts of the 7watts the amp pushes through to speakers. The resistor chews up most of it from what I've read. But that 1.5watts sounds fabulous and the sound is just miles ahead of the regular headphone out, which is saying a lot since it's already good.

 

Has anyone tried running the HE-500 out of speaker terminals and with which amp? Of course most of the comments about doing that refer to the HE-6 but the HE-500 should require much less power than some of the huge wattage numbers people have been throwing at the HE-6.

 

Still haven't tried the Schiit Lyr with the HE-500 but most likely this week once the local headphone spot is stocked. That would be 5watts into the HE-500's 38ohms. Waiting to hear for myself what that kind of power would do to an already great sounding HP!
 


Edited by Terja - 6/3/12 at 6:57pm
post #63 of 96

Holy cowabanga!!! Listening to the HE-500 on the speaker terminals of a Pioneer SX-650 and my goodness - the soundstage of the same track I was playing out of its headphone out is double and triple the size. The detail is both wider and deeper; I could actually hear the fingers of the musician moving over the strings of a cello something I had never heard before under any other set-up. By the way I am running this straight out of the speaker terminals which I think I can do since this is a solid state equipment (no resistors). Am listening to "Existence by Bugge Wesseltoft" if anyone is wondering. Talk about scaling up! I didn't think this headphone could get any better and it has really surprised me. According to the specs the SX-650 pushes 35watts through 8ohms which translates to 7.37watts for the Hifiman's HE-500 38ohms. I am not sure what the power outer limit for the HE-500 is, but 7.4watts is plenty. I really wouldn't want to give it much more power than that. It sounds like it is getting all the power it needs to pull everything out of the signal and more. Just fantabulous!

post #64 of 96

What did you use as adaptor for the speaker terminals to the HE500's ?
 

post #65 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Terja View Post

Holy cowabanga!!! Listening to the HE-500 on the speaker terminals of a Pioneer SX-650 and my goodness - the soundstage of the same track I was playing out of its headphone out is double and triple the size. The detail is both wider and deeper; I could actually hear the fingers of the musician moving over the strings of a cello something I had never heard before under any other set-up. By the way I am running this straight out of the speaker terminals which I think I can do since this is a solid state equipment (no resistors). Am listening to "Existence by Bugge Wesseltoft" if anyone is wondering. Talk about scaling up! I didn't think this headphone could get any better and it has really surprised me. According to the specs the SX-650 pushes 35watts through 8ohms which translates to 7.37watts for the Hifiman's HE-500 38ohms. I am not sure what the power outer limit for the HE-500 is, but 7.4watts is plenty. I really wouldn't want to give it much more power than that. It sounds like it is getting all the power it needs to pull everything out of the signal and more. Just fantabulous!

Should I get it?

http://www.bolha.com/akustika-video-tv-sat-ostalo/pioneer-sx-650-oglas1280537606

Is it worth it?

post #66 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddiek997 View Post

What did you use as adaptor for the speaker terminals to the HE500's ?
 

 


I am using a 3.5mm female to 2 RCA cable (see here) (use a longer one than the one displayed). I cut off the RCA ends to make 2 channel wires (+ plus -). The negative ground wire is the one that wraps around the shielded wire as shown here / image.

 

I couldn't find info on whether the SX-650 shares a common ground wire at the speaker terminals. Judging from the fact that this works I would say it does - I doubt that this is a balanced amp from the 70s. The safe approach is to use a balanced cable, that way it wouldn't matter whether an amp shares a common ground wiring for the speakers or not. Haven't gotten around to it but I will eventually convert my HE-500 cable to discrete wiring using 4-pin xlr connectors.

 

 

Update edit:

 

I have since converted my HE-500 silver cable to XLR. So glad I did. Sonically the separated channels (without the common ground) sound much cleaner. I'm noticing much finer details and also greater extension in the sound. Here is a pic of the converted cable - this is really worth doing especially if using the HE-500 via speaker terminals:

 

1000


Edited by Terja - 7/29/12 at 9:28pm
post #67 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by .Sup View Post

Should I get it?

http://www.bolha.com/akustika-video-tv-sat-ostalo/pioneer-sx-650-oglas1280537606

Is it worth it?

 

Mmmm, sounds expensive. As far as sound and power I would say it is a perfect match for the HE-500. 35 watts at 8ohms is just right (7.4 watts at 38ohms) . There are more powerful vintage amps out there, 70+ watts, but that would be way too much power in my view, unless one uses resistors.

post #68 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Terja View Post

Has anyone tried running the HE-500 out of speaker terminals and with which amp? Of course most of the comments about doing that refer to the HE-6 but the HE-500 should require much less power than some of the huge wattage numbers people have been throwing at the HE-6.

 

 

Yes, I have.  I'm using newer Yamaha amps.  For one, the Yamaha integrated, model # AS-500.  It provides a sound that is out of this world.  I built my "speaker taps" by using a 4-wire braided cable of 14 gauge wire.  The 4 wires connect to the "L" and "R" channels of the speaker output.  Then, the other ends of the wires terminate into a 4-pin XLR connector.  That XLR connector is where I make my headphone cable connections with my HE-500s and HE-400s.  I'm also looking into converting my modified Fostex T50RPS over to the 4-pin XLR connection so I can try it out with the speaker taps.  I have the resistors that I purchased from Rat Shack downstairs at the moment.  So far, I haven't soldered them in-line with the wires, yet.  So far, I'm the only one using my system, so I can maintain control.  But, as time frees up, I'll get the resistors in place and the Fostex cable modified.

 

I'd like to see at what price-point of dedicated higher-end headphone amplifier the speaker outs for headphones would compare to my $350 (B stock) amp?  It has to be well over the $500 range for a smaller amp to have some serious guts to push out the necessary current to bring the orthos come alive.  In fact, last evening, I picked up another Yamaha piece, the RX-797.  It is a 100 w.p.c. beast with a nice sized power transformer, large extruded heat sinks and weighs about 22 Lbs.  It is only a stereo receiver, 2 channels, with a tape loop, pre-outs to use it as a pre-amp if desired along with a subwoofer pre-out.  It is literally like brand new - the guy had all the original packaging, both remotes, manual, etc.  $110 and it was MINE!  I love Craigslist.  The MSRP was $549 when it was produced few years back.  One of the best features on it is the variable loudness control.  You can adjust it to control the frequency providing you with a fuller, deeper sound when listening at low volumes.  It really makes my headphones sing.  I'm feeding the amp and receiver FLAC files via the Squeezebox.

 

I also have the Yamaha RS-700 receiver, which is like the AS-500 integrated amp that I own.  Yamaha designed those pieces with a more retro look via the larger rectangular knobs for setting the bass, treble, balance and loudness ... just like the gear in the 1970s featured the same knobs, but in the brushed aluminum finish.

 

RS_700.JPG

 

Edit - Applied more information to post.


Edited by wje - 6/7/12 at 6:54pm
post #69 of 96

Originally posted by wje:


"I built my "speaker taps" by using a 4-wire braided cable of 14 gauge wire.  The 4 wires connect to the "L" and "R" channels of the speaker output.  Then, the other ends of the wires terminate into a 4-pin XLR connector. That XLR connector is where I make my headphone cable connections with my HE-500s and HE-400s."

 

This is the best way to connect to speaker taps (thanks for posting that wje). I need to say this so the 3.5mm adapter is not seen as an easy alternative. Another thing to ensure with using speaker taps for headphones is to always turn the volume down or off before playing music through the headphones. Also, with higher watt output amps (40+ watts) it is highly recommended to use resistors, and of course, use speaker taps only with orthodynamic headphones that can take the output power (my opinion). (Ehm, keep speaker-wired headphones away from curious children).

 

I think for me I have been wanting an option for solid state sound to complement my tube setup. I think I have finally reached a happy median, not with the SX-650 as good as it is (lol), but with the headphone out of a specialty built solid state headphone amp I picked up recently. It comes complete with bass and treble controls so I can zero in on just that nuance I have been looking for. I have used so many flower words lately I think I am in the red so I will refrain, expect perhaps one word, finally ...

 

It's great that there are many options out there for driving power-hungry orthos and that one doesn't always have to dole out much mullah to get them to sing. Vintage audio is one path, but just as I, wje and others have found, current solid state audio alternatives exist. I think one simply has to be willing to explore and experiment.

 

As a side note, I finally got to try the Schiit Lyr with the HE-500 and I am still not sure what happened there. Either I tried a dud or perhaps I had wax in my ears that day. Part of the problem is my expectations were so high (schit - blame over-enthusiastic salesm... er reviewers), the likelihood of potential disappointment was at a peak. For one, it just felt as if the HE-500s represented a big load for the amp which was surprising considering the power output the amp is rated at. Anyway, glad I got a chance to try it out, but the canary didn't sing - so no music out of those toobs.

post #70 of 96

Terja,

 

Thanks for your interest in setting aside the time to try out using speaker taps as a method of tapping into an amplifier's power.  This provides us with many additional alternatives when we find an amp that may not feature a headphone stage on it.  I recently converted my modified Fostex T50RP headphones over to a balanced connector and built a speaker tap to use with it.  So far, the results have me quite impressed.

 

To simplify things a bit, I've developed a diagram on building a cable for use as a speaker tap.  My diagram also goes further to actually include a whole cable for a set of HifiMAN headphones as well as including a 4-pin XLR to TRS connector so you can use your balanced cable with SET options and a standard 1/4" headphone jack from  your source.  The diagram also includes the specific part numbers from the connectors from Neutrik that I've used.  I've stuck with Neutrik because my other HifiMAN cables used their connectors from the start - so, I wanted to ensure I was compatible from a fit standpoint.  However, one can modify the process as needed to use their connector brand of choice.

 

Enjoy!

 

http://home.comcast.net/~wayne.ernst/taps.pdf

post #71 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattTCG View Post

+1 lyr...just do it. I have owned this combo for a brief period and it's unbelievably good...


I third this motion. How ever I have never used the Asgard soooo.

post #72 of 96
I could replace the 6s and 500s on the same cable and while the 500s may not "need" as much power as the 6s, they will use most of it and show you what ear speakers sound like. I had formed an opinion that the 500s are maybe 90% of the 6s. Not as open a soundstage and bass impact. This was with two 125w monoblocks. Any ss amp under 80w can be fed directly off the taps. Above and they recommend a parallel load of 10 ohm/ten watt resistor. I have ran mine without them and I believe as long as you don't use them as room speakers, you will be fine. Just be responsible with the volume control. It's not that you will use all that power but to have enough reserve that the music doesn't suffer is a "major grin" moment.
post #73 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post

......

 

To simplify things a bit, I've developed a diagram on building a cable for use as a speaker tap.  My diagram also goes further to actually include a whole cable for a set of HifiMAN headphones as well as including a 4-pin XLR to TRS connector so you can use your balanced cable with SET options and a standard 1/4" headphone jack from  your source.  The diagram also includes the specific part numbers from the connectors from Neutrik that I've used.  I've stuck with Neutrik because my other HifiMAN cables used their connectors from the start - so, I wanted to ensure I was compatible from a fit standpoint.  However, one can modify the process as needed to use their connector brand of choice.

 

Enjoy!

 

http://home.comcast.net/~wayne.ernst/taps.pdf

 

Hey wje thanks for that - downloaded and saved a copy. But on a side note I prefer 2 females and 1 male (he, he ..). I am kind of hesitant of rebuilding my cable because of the soldering aspect, I guess I'll just have to solder on (he, he .. (I'm in a jocular mood today)). I really want to build an entirely new XLR cable using the extra connectors that came with the HE-500s. My main concern is soldering the wires in that very small place. Any tips?

 

Both you and Happy Camper have run the HE-500s on higher capacity amps. Is it worth it and does that leave enough headroom to control the volume? I'd be worried about stressing the driver with anything above 50 watts. I was looking at the Hifiman HE-Adapter on Head-Direct and saw this note - "HE-Adapter is not for any high or average efficiency headphones, such as HE-300 and HE-500." I found it strange they included the HE-500 in that statement but not the HE-400. If anything I would think the HE-500 would benefit from having the adapter in place when trying it with speaker taps. It would actually add a level of protection for the headphone and more importantly for any tube amp speaker option.

post #74 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Terja View Post

 

Hey wje thanks for that - downloaded and saved a copy. But on a side note I prefer 2 females and 1 male (he, he ..). I am kind of hesitant of rebuilding my cable because of the soldering aspect, I guess I'll just have to solder on (he, he .. (I'm in a jocular mood today)). I really want to build an entirely new XLR cable using the extra connectors that came with the HE-500s. My main concern is soldering the wires in that very small place. Any tips?

 

Both you and Happy Camper have run the HE-500s on higher capacity amps. Is it worth it and does that leave enough headroom to control the volume? I'd be worried about stressing the driver with anything above 50 watts. I was looking at the Hifiman HE-Adapter on Head-Direct and saw this note - "HE-Adapter is not for any high or average efficiency headphones, such as HE-300 and HE-500." I found it strange they included the HE-500 in that statement but not the HE-400. If anything I would think the HE-500 would benefit from having the adapter in place when trying it with speaker taps. It would actually add a level of protection for the headphone and more importantly for any tube amp speaker option.

 

Tips?  Yeah, I have some.  What I do with the XLR connectors is hit the terminals with a small dab of flux with a q-tip.  I then tin the wire ends with a small amount of solder.  I feed the wire into the terminal slot on the connector and hit it with a little heat and the solder flows and makes a tight connection.

 

As to the HifiMAN $99 speaker box, I've heard from people who have purchased it and returned it.  Apparently, it skewed the sound too much and people couldn't appreciate any benefit in using it.  As to why the HE-500 is listed and the HE-400 is not, it might be because HifiMAN is usually out of date with their information.  The Head-Direct site has lots of typos and incorrect information on it.  My guess is the initial write-up was done before the HE-400 was formally launched.

post #75 of 96

Good to know, I always wondered what people thought of the Hifiman speaker tap box.  

 

Must fight temptation to pick up a speaker amp though Craigslist provides so many options in the used receiver/amp world.  The bargains are so good nowadays.  I would now need a balanced cable and I have never made my own.  If you guys have options let me know, otherwise I'll have some threads to weed through.  

 

The Violectic V200 pairs very nicely with HE-500, plenty of power and drives them with authority.  But I do want to hear whether it is simply a volume/level effect with taps to powerful speaker amps or do these amps provide something really special at a fraction of the cost of our expensive, dedicated headphone amps.    

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post
As to the HifiMAN $99 speaker box, I've heard from people who have purchased it and returned it.  Apparently, it skewed the sound too much and people couldn't appreciate any benefit in using it.  As to why the HE-500 is listed and the HE-400 is not, it might be because HifiMAN is usually out of date with their information.  The Head-Direct site has lots of typos and incorrect information on it.  My guess is the initial write-up was done before the HE-400 was formally launched.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post

 

Yes, I have.  I'm using newer Yamaha amps.  For one, the Yamaha integrated, model # AS-500.  It provides a sound that is out of this world.  I built my "speaker taps" by using a 4-wire braided cable of 14 gauge wire.  The 4 wires connect to the "L" and "R" channels of the speaker output.  Then, the other ends of the wires terminate into a 4-pin XLR connector.  That XLR connector is where I make my headphone cable connections with my HE-500s and HE-400s.  I'm also looking into converting my modified Fostex T50RPS over to the 4-pin XLR connection so I can try it out with the speaker taps.  I have the resistors that I purchased from Rat Shack downstairs at the moment.  So far, I haven't soldered them in-line with the wires, yet.  So far, I'm the only one using my system, so I can maintain control.  But, as time frees up, I'll get the resistors in place and the Fostex cable modified.

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