Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Need a headphone amp for HE-500s…
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Need a headphone amp for HE-500s… - Page 6

post #76 of 96

I've recently been using my specialty SS amp at the speaker taps and comparing it with the Pioneer SX-650. It outputs 25 watts per channel compared to the SX-650 at 35 watts per channel. The 25 watts sounds more musical and integrated than the 35 watts which in comparison at times sounds edgy and as if it's outputting more power than needed. Just wondering what the outside power limit for the HE-500 may be? I know the good doctor gave 1 watt as the minimal requirement for the HE-500 but I have not come across a number for the top limit. Based on experience I personally do not think 1 watt is anywhere near enough, so the true minimal number must be higher. As to the upper limit it's open for debate - I'm still experimenting, but beginning to feel it may be somewhere between 20 and 35 watts. What do ya think?

 

Surprisingly, my other ortho (a Yamaha HP-2 from the late 1970s) clearly specifies minimal and upper power requirements as 3 watts to 10 watts. That's for an ortho with probably half the driver size of a Hifiman. Not sure whether ortho power requirements have become more efficient (probably), but with it's size I think the HE-500 true power requirement for best performance would be higher than 3 to 10 watts, probably 5 to 30 watts.

 

Phew ... I finally made myself a new HE-500 cable using the extra connectors, yippee what fun soldering that inner pin. I finally came up with an adequate solution for not filling the whole cup with one big gob of solder .. yikes! I threaded a double-folded piece of electrical tape under the stem and then soldered the active wire on top of the stem. That way the solder stayed away from the ground wire connector. Just from doing this my confidence is really up and I feel I could now make as many Hifiman cables as I want, bigsmile_face.gif. My new cable is giving the Hifiman silver cable a run for its money - very nice detail.
 

post #77 of 96
Interestingly enough I didn't have a problem soldering the inner pin but the ground wire that I then simply soldered to the outside of the connector.
post #78 of 96

I had already decided to solder the ground to the outside grooved part of the connector - so that was easy. I found the inside pin small and needed to keep the solder away from the walls. Threading the piece of electrical tape did it and I did not remove it afterwards; I simply wrapped it around the the connector before applying heat shrink tubing. Honestly I wish Hifiman had gone with a simpler connector, probably a push and release mechanism. It's just a pain screwing and unscrewing the connectors on the headphones.
 

post #79 of 96

Just as a side line to all the speaker tap talk (that I'm enjoying reading).

 

I've recently acquired a set of HE500's and so have been experimenting with a few headphone amps. It seems to me that although they are advertised as being efficient, they do need a fair bit of voltage as well. This tells me that they aren't really that efficient. Grado's are efficient, so are Denon's, HE500's are about as efficient as the hd650's. Yes they sound nice out of an normal 32-300 ohm amp but they will be missing a lot.

Anyway's, I have two amps that have worked rather well; my old Xcan v3 (which only gives out 1W) and my Necosoundlabs mosfet (on High gain, not sure what the watt is..) The Hybrid amp seems to add more width to the soundstage which nice, it also complements the he500's signature- warmth, liquid smoothness and still very fast.

My mosfet amp, although a warm amp with any headphones, is adding more punch and drive.. faster, not as bright at the very top. This amp is clearly feeding them more current than the hybrid, and as well as the extra voltage with the higher gain setting, works well.  

 

I have a couple of cmoy amps, both give out high current but not much voltage and the HE500's sounded nice but had a tendancy to be either too bright and thin or too bloated at the bottom depending on the music. I also have a powerful OTL amp and this did them no favors at all.

 

My advice to anyone looking for a regular headphone amp for the 500's is to go for a hybrid, or a powerful SS. Current + Voltage in equal measure!

 

Early days for me and the Hifiman's, so a pinch of salt will be required..

 

Cheers        

post #80 of 96
Quote:
I know the good doctor gave 1 watt as the minimal requirement for the HE-500 but I have not come across a number for the top limit.

 

To my ears, there was little difference in the HE-500 between a number of amps in the 70-300$ price range that varied between 1W and 250W into the phone.  This leads me to believe that 1W is probably not the amount of juice they need to start sounding like a world class headphone. It's probably the minimum on whatever amps Fang was testing on to make them sound acceptable to him.  It seems though as you all have suggested that there are multiple factors that go into making the HE-500 sound best.  I wonder if fang has the information to clear this all up for us, it seems like he must know.

post #81 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Terja View Post

I had already decided to solder the ground to the outside grooved part of the connector - so that was easy. I found the inside pin small and needed to keep the solder away from the walls. Threading the piece of electrical tape did it and I did not remove it afterwards; I simply wrapped it around the the connector before applying heat shrink tubing. Honestly I wish Hifiman had gone with a simpler connector, probably a push and release mechanism. It's just a pain screwing and unscrewing the connectors on the headphones.

 
You have to first tin the wire then heat up the pin a bit.

I agree with you loyd, I have less than 0.5 into mine and compared to speaker amp it sounds better from the "weaker" headphone amp.
Edited by .Sup - 7/5/12 at 1:49pm
post #82 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by .Sup View Post

You have to first tin the wire then heat up the pin a bit.
I agree with you loyd, I have less than 0.5 into mine and compared to speaker amp it sounds better from the "weaker" headphone amp.

 

Yeah, that makes sense, it would be much easier to attach the wire that way. Will try it next time I work on another cable.

 

As far as speaker amps, I do think there is an upper limit where the HE-500s would continue to sound as they should. Llloyd, 250 watts sounds like a way, way more than the HE-500 would require as a max. I'm surprised you found little difference with say a 1 watt amp. At 250 watts I would expect some distortion or very little headroom to make the amp useable. My voltages and currents are all mixed up in my head, but I appreciate LugBug1's post because it highlights another layer to the HE-500 amping equation.

 

At the moment I have three amps I use via the speaker taps with the HE-500 and they each sound different. The Pioneer SX-650 at 35 watts sounds very solid state. The music takes on a more electric timbre and an edginess with certain passage. The second amp is a Musical Paradise MP-301 MK2 tube amplifier. It supposedly outputs 7 watts via the speaker taps (with 7ohm, 10 watt resistors) but through the HPs it sounds as if it's more than that. The sound is full, juicy and warm, all the best characteristics of tubed music. I go back to it every time I'm looking for that tube amp feel to the music. In between those two I have a specialty built solid state amp that outputs 25 watts p/c to speakers. Soundwise it is somewhere between the other two amps. I am finding it a happy median to what I look for in music SQ. I am listening through it more and more and going back to the tube amp for a change.

post #83 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Terja View Post

I've recently been using my specialty SS amp at the speaker taps and comparing it with the Pioneer SX-650. It outputs 25 watts per channel compared to the SX-650 at 35 watts per channel. The 25 watts sounds more musical and integrated than the 35 watts which in comparison at times sounds edgy and as if it's outputting more power than needed. Just wondering what the outside power limit for the HE-500 may be? I know the good doctor gave 1 watt as the minimal requirement for the HE-500 but I have not come across a number for the top limit. Based on experience I personally do not think 1 watt is anywhere near enough, so the true minimal number must be higher. As to the upper limit it's open for debate - I'm still experimenting, but beginning to feel it may be somewhere between 20 and 35 watts. What do ya think?

 

The Pioneer is 35 watts @ 8 ohm. Remember when you double the ohms you get half the watts. This gives approx. 7.4 watts with the HE-500 (still a lot more than 1 watt).

post #84 of 96

He, he .... thanks I forgot. So my numbers for the three amps at 38 ohms are: 7.4 watts for the Pioneer SX-650; 5.3 watts for the specialty amp; and 1.5 watts for the tube amp. I have resistors in place for the tube amp so I'm not really sure just how much the HP is seeing.

 

So I guess when Fang suggested 1 watt for the 38 ohm HE-500 he was actually suggesting that the HE-500s be fed an amp that outputs a minimum of 4.75 watts for 8 ohm speakers (for instance); or 4.75 watts out of the headphone out (depending on the headphone out resistance).

 

I'm just saying -- because there is a tendency to equate the 1 watt requirement as saying any amp that specifies it outputs 1 watt to be adequate. It's good to know that one has to actually translate the number to see if the HP would actually be getting the minimum 1 watt out of the amp at 38 ohm (+/-).

 

Thanks for the reminder Anda.
 

post #85 of 96
Quote:

Originally Posted by Terja View Post

 

So I guess when Fang suggested 1 watt for the 38 ohm HE-500 he was actually suggesting that the HE-500s be fed an amp that outputs a minimum of 4.75 watts for 8 ohm speakers (for instance); or 4.75 watts out of the headphone out (depending on the headphone out resistance).

 

No problem. Because of the varying impedances you often see headamp power specs provided for different loads. Example:

http://www.violectric.de/Pages/en/technical-data.php

post #86 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anda View Post

 

No problem. Because of the varying impedances you often see headamp power specs provided for different loads. Example:

http://www.violectric.de/Pages/en/technical-data.php

 

That's cool - thanks for the link. I wish more amplifier specs were written like that. That way if you were matching HPs to amps it would be easy be weed out non-matching combinations. We would avoid a lot of "what the %&^%*" disappointments with underperforming headphone/amp combinations out there.

 

I also noted an inverse curve relationship between resistance (ohms), voltage and power outputs. There seems to be a peak around 100 ohms, after which there is a diminishing return on power (wattage) but not voltage. It would be interesting to trace the numbers on a graph to see what the graphical relationships are. Don't have time to plot or look right now but I have a feeling the graph may be filed somewhere on the world wide library. Cheers ...
 

post #87 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Terja View Post

 

That's cool - thanks for the link. I wish more amplifier specs were written like that. That way if you were matching HPs to amps it would be easy be weed out non-matching combinations. We would avoid a lot of "what the %&^%*" disappointments with underperforming headphone/amp combinations out there.

 

I also noted an inverse curve relationship between resistance (ohms), voltage and power outputs. There seems to be a peak around 100 ohms, after which there is a diminishing return on power (wattage) but not voltage. It would be interesting to trace the numbers on a graph to see what the graphical relationships are. Don't have time to plot or look right now but I have a feeling the graph may be filed somewhere on the world wide library. Cheers ...
 

 

I just picked up a pair of HE-500's (and happened on this group).

 

I noticed that there seems to be a lot of confusion about power, and load resistors, and such.

Perhaps I can clarify things a bit.

 

Pretty much all solid state amps are VOLTAGE mode devices.

They put out a specified voltage (the input voltage times the gain), the current through the load is V/R (R is the resistance of the load), and the power is V squared / R.

So, if that amplifier (at a certain setting) would put out 30 watts into 8 Ohms, it will put out 15 watts into 16 ohms, and 7.5 watts into 32 ohms at that setting.

(The V squared remains the same and the R changes.)

 

In that situation, putting a resistor in PARALLEL with the headphones won't make much difference (probably none with most amps),

because the output voltage of the amp remains the same and the resistor basically gets hot for nothing.

Putting a resistor in series (or some more complicated arrangement like a pad) will use up some power.

This will reduce the level at the phones for a given volume setting, and may reduce the background noise (if that's a problem).

HOWEVER, it will also reduce the damping factor of the amp.

(I don't know if that will matter to the HE-500's or not)

 

The situation is rather different with a tube amp - especially a non-headphone amp....

The frequency response of a tube amp WILL change depending on the load, so it will sound different if

you put a resistor in parallel with that 32 ohm load.

 

It also might be interesting to try them on the 32 ohm tap of the output transformer (some few tube amps DO have a 32 ohm tap).

post #88 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post

 

 

Don't be hatin' on Chris.  biggrin.gif  He's noted more than once, he prefers the HE series from HifiMAN, but couldn't justify the gear that was required to drive them (Schiit Lyr / Schiit Bifrost).  Also, the level of bass can vary greatly by the source being utilized with the DAC as well as the genres of music that he listens to.  For me, the HE-5LEs provide plenty of bass.  The bass is of a very good quality.  Would I love to try the Audeze?  Sure.  However, I also am trying to avoid the opportunity to listen to them as I want to stay settled with some headphones for a while - and "enjoy the music" as you've stated.  wink.gif

 


Gotta chime in here.

 

I just got a pair of HE-500's, and had a chance to try them with a borrowed Lyr.  I connected the Lyr to an Audio-Gd DAC/headphone amp I had floating around. Sadly, I wasn't terribly impressed. The Lyr drove the HE-500's just fine, but it made them much too smooth for my tastes. It was a bit like having warm Karo syrup poured into your ears. It also seemed like the Lyr didn't deliver really deep bass (which I noticed on my cheaper AKGs as well). It makes plenty of middle bass, but that real deep bass just doesn't seem to be there at all. The bass on the HE-500's was much better, and seemed to go down to where it should, with the Audio-Gd driving them directly (so the same source). Unfortunately, the Audio-Gd ran out of drive power way too soon to be called a good fit :).

post #89 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by kLevkoff View Post


Gotta chime in here.

 

I just got a pair of HE-500's, and had a chance to try them with a borrowed Lyr.  I connected the Lyr to an Audio-Gd DAC/headphone amp I had floating around. Sadly, I wasn't terribly impressed. The Lyr drove the HE-500's just fine, but it made them much too smooth for my tastes. It was a bit like having warm Karo syrup poured into your ears. It also seemed like the Lyr didn't deliver really deep bass (which I noticed on my cheaper AKGs as well). It makes plenty of middle bass, but that real deep bass just doesn't seem to be there at all. The bass on the HE-500's was much better, and seemed to go down to where it should, with the Audio-Gd driving them directly (so the same source). Unfortunately, the Audio-Gd ran out of drive power way too soon to be called a good fit :).

That was one thing I noticed going from the Lyr to my M3 and now my Mjolnir. The Lyr wasn't analytical enough. Everything just felt like it had a drab feeling to it. The Lyr did sound nice with my HD650 IIRC

post #90 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by kLevkoff View Post


Gotta chime in here.

 

I just got a pair of HE-500's, and had a chance to try them with a borrowed Lyr.  I connected the Lyr to an Audio-Gd DAC/headphone amp I had floating around. Sadly, I wasn't terribly impressed. The Lyr drove the HE-500's just fine, but it made them much too smooth for my tastes. It was a bit like having warm Karo syrup poured into your ears. It also seemed like the Lyr didn't deliver really deep bass (which I noticed on my cheaper AKGs as well). It makes plenty of middle bass, but that real deep bass just doesn't seem to be there at all. The bass on the HE-500's was much better, and seemed to go down to where it should, with the Audio-Gd driving them directly (so the same source). Unfortunately, the Audio-Gd ran out of drive power way too soon to be called a good fit :).

Perhaps the headphones you're looking for is the LCD-2.  It brings energy to that which is lacking on the HE-500.  I personally prefer the HE-500, but can acknowledge and respect the LCD-2 for what it does well.  Never tried the LCD-2 with the Lyr though, so can't really help you out there.

 

I'll just say from experience that the HE-500 paired with the V200 is a very worthy combination (Same applies for the LCD-2 and V200 pairing).

It brings the power to the headphones when it's needed, while maintaining a smooth, natural tone.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphone Amps (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Need a headphone amp for HE-500s…