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**Hifiman HE-400 Impressions and Discussion Thread** - Page 957

post #14341 of 20628
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholars View Post

Another thing is that my STX has a 10ohm impedance and the HE400 are around 40ohms I think.... This would be a damping factor of 1:4.... Although I am not sure how much this can have an effect on planar / ortho.... Usually people say 1:8 or as much as 1:20 with dynamics...

I belive Planars dont have any problems with that (i remmber reading something about it), but id suggest you make sure yourself.

post #14342 of 20628
Quote:
Originally Posted by catspaw View Post

I belive Planars dont have any problems with that (i remmber reading something about it), but id suggest you make sure yourself.

 



I had a quick search for it and it said it is less important than with dynamics... Still I might give an amp a try with the HE400 when I have some spare cash.... Interested to hear about on the HE400 with a good amp, even though people say you do not need one... Must make some difference?
post #14343 of 20628
Quote:
Originally Posted by MunkyNutz View Post
 


The new U2 DAC is better from HifimeDIY with internal clock vs the Sabre original, less metallic/jittery and their USB isolator is not that expensive to add to the chain. A truly great budget DAC.

Are you referring to HA Info U2 DAC?

post #14344 of 20628
Quote:
Originally Posted by airomjosh View Post
 

Are you referring to HA Info U2 DAC?


Not sure what you meant by 'HA Info' but it was this one I was referring to... http://hifimediy.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=123

post #14345 of 20628
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholars View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by catspaw View Post
 

I belive Planars dont have any problems with that (i remmber reading something about it), but id suggest you make sure yourself.

I had a quick search for it and it said it is less important than with dynamics... Still I might give an amp a try with the HE400 when I have some spare cash.... Interested to hear about on the HE400 with a good amp, even though people say you do not need one... Must make some difference?

I use an O2 amp, in part because it specifies the kind of low-output impedance that should allow it to drive even an 8 Ohm speaker without a problem. Therefore, no questions about whether or not the "damping" will be good or bad.

 

I'll just comment that, without question, the O2 was an upgrade to the Realtek audio chipset in my laptop (which is no piece of crap). However that chipset had more noise and less power than the O2. It also did not command the HE-400s like the new amp does. So, I have to assume that a very low output impedance is still important even when using Orthos.

 

In terms of quality, the O2 no question is an improvement over the laptop itself. Bass was definitely improved and overall clarity and performance scaled up with the HE-400. It took awhile for my ears to adjust to the 'black' noise floor of the O2, but there is no real going back. The most interesting change however, was the way the amp improved the sound of my Senn HD-595s. Those had always sounded good, but the amp upgrade really made it obvious that they were competitive with the HE-400 (to my ears anyway). They are 80-90% as good as the HE-400s, but they lack a lot of the extension and added bass texture of the orthos. Particularly when listening to live music, the HD-595s could not render the crowd clapping and cheering or instrument separation like the HE-400s. But how close they came with a better amp was a learning moment for me.

 

Now, the kicker is really, how much power do you need? The HD-595s were plenty loud without the amp (and with it I have to reduce system volume by at least a quarter). The HE-400 really needed it. The reason is that high dynamic range recordings, like games, movies, classical music, and the like, need the extra power to hit the volumes I want. Otherwise, I would say that the typical computer probably has enough power to run them just fine for regular music.

 

I am NOT going to preach amp purchases when the majority of headphones out there neither require much power to be driven to ear-damaging levels nor superior specs to sound amazing. I am too poor to be the industries sucker all the time. But there is no debate, in my mind, that the HE-400 will perform their best on a very good amp like the O2. If I were you, I would demo the same group of songs on as many different devices as you can first. Choose something with HDR, something that usually sounds crappy, something you think usually sounds amazing etc. Then play back through the HE-400 on your phone, Mp3 player, Computer, home stereo headphone jacks. When you find the one that sounds best, report back!

 

While 10 Ohm output impedance is not ideal with your soundcard, you are not THAT far out of spec with the HE-400 ('ideal' would be a headphone with roughly 80 ohm impedance or greater). But I've never tried an STX before, so I can't comment on its performance vs. my other equipment. What is your stock audio chipset? It may spec differently, and provide an interesting comparison. Personally, I've preferred my realtek chipsets to the Soundblaster I used to have - much smoother sounding.

post #14346 of 20628
The STX is no doubt better than a laptop onboard soundcard... Actually it is pretty good.... Some "objectivist types" will insist it is all you need to transparently drive headphones (except power hungry ones).... I would be interested to try some other amps with the HE400 though because I know that amps do sound different, even if it is more in tone / character than actual improvements in distortion numbers etc. I think the STX is good for the money, probably better than a fiio and not far off an 02 amp... I know it is possible to get better amps.... It is just a question of if they will actually benefit the HE400 compared to the STX... If anyone has compared the STX to a better external amp then I would be very interested to know if you heard much difference. I think the Schiit Valhalla / Lyr looks pretty sexy I would quite like to try that....
post #14347 of 20628
The STX is no doubt better than a laptop onboard soundcard... Actually it is pretty good.... Some "objectivist types" will insist it is all you need to transparently drive headphones (except power hungry ones).... I would be interested to try some other amps with the HE400 though because I know that amps do sound different, even if it is more in tone / character than actual improvements in distortion numbers etc. I think the STX is good for the money, probably better than a fiio and not far off an 02 amp... I know it is possible to get better amps.... It is just a question of if they will actually benefit the HE400 compared to the STX... If anyone has compared the STX to a better external amp then I would be very interested to know if you heard much difference. I think the Schiit Valhalla / Lyr looks pretty sexy I would quite like to try that....
post #14348 of 20628
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholars View Post

The STX is no doubt better than a laptop onboard soundcard... Actually it is pretty good.... Some "objectivist types" will insist it is all you need to transparently drive headphones (except power hungry ones).... I would be interested to try some other amps with the HE400 though because I know that amps do sound different, even if it is more in tone / character than actual improvements in distortion numbers etc. I think the STX is good for the money, probably better than a fiio and not far off an 02 amp... I know it is possible to get better amps.... It is just a question of if they will actually benefit the HE400 compared to the STX... If anyone has compared the STX to a better external amp then I would be very interested to know if you heard much difference. I think the Schiit Valhalla / Lyr looks pretty sexy I would quite like to try that....

 

If you are happy with the sound you are getting then just keep it. No reason to upgrade it. We are lucky to have a store here that allows auditioning. I spent 2-3 hours there one day comparing amps & dacs in the less than $1000 region and walked out with an Audio-GD 15.1 amp/dac unit for $295AU (about 15 months ago now).

 

Previously I was using an Audigy 2 (not as good as the STX but still pretty good) and there was a big difference. Mainly in how clean the sound was with dead silent black background and much improved bass and open soundstage. I went there specifically to listen to the Lyr but they didn't have one in stock at the time. I had a listen to the Asgard 1, Burson 160DS, Violectic V200 and a few other Audio-GD amps. All the amps did the job well, you could buy any of them and be really happy. Hard to detect much difference between them except the Asgard 1 sounded a bit more grainy and the V200 was closed in sounding. In the <$1000 area, I couldn't justify getting the more expensive ones, the $295 one I thought sounded almost as good and was a nice and small all in one unit.

 

If I was you and had $300 to spare, I would get the 15.32 or the 11.32 (this has the ESS dac and is more expensive). Can't go wrong and you will never look back. Just the fact that it is all external to the PC there is just zero noise even at full volume and they have plenty of power for a future HE500 etc. The way I have things setup now it is sounding fantastic, 10/10, really can't fault anything. BTW, the Valhalla is no good for orthos. Never heard the Lyr but all say its very good with the right tubes.

 

Initially when I first asked to listen to some amps/dacs, he hooked me up to a Master 7/NFB 6 connected to my HE400 with no EQ. It was like it was transformed into a LCD3. The dynamics and musicality of it was amazing and everything he connected that dac to sounded amazing. One day I will be getting it with the Cavalli Liquid Gold (in my dreams maybe). :D

post #14349 of 20628
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholars View Post

The STX is no doubt better than a laptop onboard soundcard... Actually it is pretty good.... Some "objectivist types" will insist it is all you need to transparently drive headphones (except power hungry ones).... I would be interested to try some other amps with the HE400 though because I know that amps do sound different, even if it is more in tone / character than actual improvements in distortion numbers etc. I think the STX is good for the money, probably better than a fiio and not far off an 02 amp... I know it is possible to get better amps.... It is just a question of if they will actually benefit the HE400 compared to the STX... If anyone has compared the STX to a better external amp then I would be very interested to know if you heard much difference. I think the Schiit Valhalla / Lyr looks pretty sexy I would quite like to try that....

Sexy yes, buy silly, neigh, stupid, in my opinion. For many reasons. Amps may tend to "sound different", but they really shouldn't (especially when by different, we are really talking about poor implementation and/or distortion). If you want to control the sound of any system, I much prefer doing it with new speakers or with 'select' electronic purchases (ie, I get the electronics that I think meet a baseline performance target with a per-determined budget).

 

The other critical factor (for me) is cost. I just can't spend more on electronics than I do on the phones / speakers themselves. I strive to hit a certain benchmark of features, power, and performance with my electronics, but I have always found that going cheap on your speakers is the dumbest thing you can usually do (with the exception of great values that ARE out there). If you really want a new sound, get new speakers. Or better yet, a new album. That works every time.

 

Going from Realtek to Soundblaster X-Fi was an improvement in the sense that I gained some sound performance, features, and power over the stock chipset. Later, I decided I like the realtek 'sound' more than the soundblaster, or at least enough that an upgrade wasn't really worth it in terms of getting better headphone performance. The O2 amp is superior to both sonically, and puts out more power than I should realistically need for virtually any headphone I may buy in the future. For $120 bucks, it is clearly a good deal at 30% the cost of the HE-400s themselves. If I had got a Lyr, I'd be close to doubling the cost of my headphone setup and I am certain it would not double performance to my ears (even if it was nice). In like fashion, the O2 didn't give me a night and day performance change, per say, but it was a definite improvement. I could spend 50 times more on an amp and I highly, highly doubt the HE-400 will sound much different, and I guarantee that Type-O Negative CDs will still lack bass slam!

 

I've said it many times before so I'll try to be brief. DON"T but an amp seeking a 'different sound' - that will lead to disappointment or poverty. DO buy an amp that meets your power requirements at low distortion.

post #14350 of 20628
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMateoHead View Post
 

Sexy yes, buy silly, neigh, stupid, in my opinion.

Again, spoken like someone who reads and does not experience.  Spend less time on NwAvGuy's blog and more time experiencing before you formulate an opinion or give a wall of text advise.

post #14351 of 20628

Question for you guys, HiFiMan is selling a Canare HE-400 headphone cable on their site. I want to pair that with my HE-500. I don't like the silver cables that came with them.

 

Any thoughts on the quality?

post #14352 of 20628
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMateoHead View Post
 

Sexy yes, buy silly, neigh, stupid, in my opinion. For many reasons. Amps may tend to "sound different", but they really shouldn't (especially when by different, we are really talking about poor implementation and/or distortion). If you want to control the sound of any system, I much prefer doing it with new speakers or with 'select' electronic purchases (ie, I get the electronics that I think meet a baseline performance target with a per-determined budget).

 

The other critical factor (for me) is cost. I just can't spend more on electronics than I do on the phones / speakers themselves. I strive to hit a certain benchmark of features, power, and performance with my electronics, but I have always found that going cheap on your speakers is the dumbest thing you can usually do (with the exception of great values that ARE out there). If you really want a new sound, get new speakers. Or better yet, a new album. That works every time.

 

Going from Realtek to Soundblaster X-Fi was an improvement in the sense that I gained some sound performance, features, and power over the stock chipset. Later, I decided I like the realtek 'sound' more than the soundblaster, or at least enough that an upgrade wasn't really worth it in terms of getting better headphone performance. The O2 amp is superior to both sonically, and puts out more power than I should realistically need for virtually any headphone I may buy in the future. For $120 bucks, it is clearly a good deal at 30% the cost of the HE-400s themselves. If I had got a Lyr, I'd be close to doubling the cost of my headphone setup and I am certain it would not double performance to my ears (even if it was nice). In like fashion, the O2 didn't give me a night and day performance change, per say, but it was a definite improvement. I could spend 50 times more on an amp and I highly, highly doubt the HE-400 will sound much different, and I guarantee that Type-O Negative CDs will still lack bass slam!

 

I've said it many times before so I'll try to be brief. DON"T but an amp seeking a 'different sound' - that will lead to disappointment or poverty. DO buy an amp that meets your power requirements at low distortion.

 

 

I agree that the recording itself usually matters most, and that headphones matter more than amps, but different amps sound different. It seems like you agree, except you qualify by saying that they "shouldn't" sound different. I'm not sure what this means -- what one "should" hear is less important than what one does hear. Power is the main objective of amplification, but it's not everything. My Sony receiver has plenty of power, but just sounds veiled and thick compared to my other amps. My CMOY had plenty of power for my DT990 and Q701, yet my Little Dot MKIII still presented my favorite songs in a new way. 

Whether or not the difference you get from changing amps is worth the money is a separate issue. 

Also


"If I had got a Lyr, I'd be close to doubling the cost of my headphone setup and I am certain it would not double performance to my ears (even if it was nice)."

... How can you be truly certain if you haven't even heard it? I'm not saying that a Lyr would be twice as good, I'm just saying that you don't actually know this :rolleyes: Is this kind of reasoning really being "objective"? 
 


Edited by manbear - 11/14/13 at 3:07pm
post #14353 of 20628
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexnova View Post
 

Question for you guys, HiFiMan is selling a Canare HE-400 headphone cable on their site. I want to pair that with my HE-500. I don't like the silver cables that came with them.

 

Any thoughts on the quality?


I think the stock cable on the HE-400 is fine, but check out BTG Audio for reasonably priced custom cables. Their budget line is cheaper than than the price of that stock Canare cable, and it's a lot sexier IMO. 

post #14354 of 20628
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMateoHead View Post
 

Sexy yes, buy silly, neigh, stupid, in my opinion. For many reasons. Amps may tend to "sound different", but they really shouldn't (especially when by different, we are really talking about poor implementation and/or distortion). If you want to control the sound of any system, I much prefer doing it with new speakers or with 'select' electronic purchases (ie, I get the electronics that I think meet a baseline performance target with a per-determined budget).

 

The other critical factor (for me) is cost. I just can't spend more on electronics than I do on the phones / speakers themselves. I strive to hit a certain benchmark of features, power, and performance with my electronics, but I have always found that going cheap on your speakers is the dumbest thing you can usually do (with the exception of great values that ARE out there). If you really want a new sound, get new speakers. Or better yet, a new album. That works every time.

 

Going from Realtek to Soundblaster X-Fi was an improvement in the sense that I gained some sound performance, features, and power over the stock chipset. Later, I decided I like the realtek 'sound' more than the soundblaster, or at least enough that an upgrade wasn't really worth it in terms of getting better headphone performance. The O2 amp is superior to both sonically, and puts out more power than I should realistically need for virtually any headphone I may buy in the future. For $120 bucks, it is clearly a good deal at 30% the cost of the HE-400s themselves. If I had got a Lyr, I'd be close to doubling the cost of my headphone setup and I am certain it would not double performance to my ears (even if it was nice). In like fashion, the O2 didn't give me a night and day performance change, per say, but it was a definite improvement. I could spend 50 times more on an amp and I highly, highly doubt the HE-400 will sound much different, and I guarantee that Type-O Negative CDs will still lack bass slam!

 

I've said it many times before so I'll try to be brief. DON"T but an amp seeking a 'different sound' - that will lead to disappointment or poverty. DO buy an amp that meets your power requirements at low distortion.

 

Yes I was only looking at getting an amp as it would be sort of step one of an upgrade... So if I then went to some better headphones than the HE400 I would not need to buy an amp AND headphones at the same time. But TBH you are probably right about most that you say with the HE400 anyway. I like the look of the Audio GD products but it does worry me a bit buying from some chinese vendor etc. I think they need to improve their distribution and marketing.

post #14355 of 20628
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholars View Post
 

 

Yes I was only looking at getting an amp as it would be sort of step one of an upgrade... So if I then went to some better headphones than the HE400 I would not need to buy an amp AND headphones at the same time. But TBH you are probably right about most that you say with the HE400 anyway. I like the look of the Audio GD products but it does worry me a bit buying from some chinese vendor etc. I think they need to improve their distribution and marketing.

You do know the Hifiman brand is Chinese too right?

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