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**Hifiman HE-400 Impressions and Discussion Thread** - Page 958

post #14356 of 17046
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 #14357 of 17046
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 #14358 of 17046

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 #14359 of 17046
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 #14360 of 17046
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 #14361 of 17046
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 #14362 of 17046
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?

post #14363 of 17046
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post

You do know the Hifiman brand is Chinese too right?

 



Not a problem with china as such, because pretty much everything is made there these days, but the lack of distribution in the UK and having to physically buy it shipped from China.
post #14364 of 17046
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?

Well, this is an interesting subject.

First of all, music and sound is 100% subjective, so no matter what everyone says, your expirience might be diferent.

Expiricne tells me that Amps improve the sound quality by what id consider "a noticible margin".

Putting a number to it feels weird as numers normaly sugest something objective and this is definitly not the case, but i dont have another way i know to explain it.

 

Id say that going from my Fiio E17 to the Schiit asgard the overall sound improved around 15-20%. However, the feeling is more like 35%.

The two things that mostly improved were soundstage and vicerality of the sound.

I do have to say that the sound does feel slightly unnatural to my ears in general with the HE-400, but i do enjoy it anyhow.

 

I can also confirm that my Sennheiser HD380 Pro also improved a decent amount with the Fiio E17, so i do belive amps improve sound quality.

post #14365 of 17046

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by mlxx View Post
 

 

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).

 

Exactly the same here. I have the 5.32 and I've heard a lot of SS amps at Addicted to Audio and never felt them worth my money to get as I did not feel that there were improved much if at all. I'm satisfied with my amp that has the power to drive the LCD2 to ear destroying levels at 50% pot and 2watts RMS. I don't want to get into tube amps really, it doesn't appeal to me objectively.

 

I'll always spend more on my headphones than my amps and dacs. I'd prefer to pick up another high end can.

 

To each there own though. Many enjoy their upgrades and more power to them. If you are listening and say you hear a difference, then I don't think I'd ever begrudge a person that. After all it is another persons enjoyment and not mine to comment on.

post #14366 of 17046
Quote:
Originally Posted by catspaw View Post

Well, this is an interesting subject.

First of all, music and sound is 100% subjective, so no matter what everyone says, your expirience might be diferent.

Expiricne tells me that Amps improve the sound quality by what id consider "a noticible margin".

Putting a number to it feels weird as numers normaly sugest something objective and this is definitly not the case, but i dont have another way i know to explain it.

 

Id say that going from my Fiio E17 to the Schiit asgard the overall sound improved around 15-20%. However, the feeling is more like 35%.

The two things that mostly improved were soundstage and vicerality of the sound.

I do have to say that the sound does feel slightly unnatural to my ears in general with the HE-400, but i do enjoy it anyhow.

 

I can also confirm that my Sennheiser HD380 Pro also improved a decent amount with the Fiio E17, so i do belive amps improve sound quality.

 



Technically according to "objectivists" all amps *should* sound basically the same... Because, especially with external speakers the distortion specs on the speakers are much higher than the amplifiers..... So the speakers should be the limiting bit... But from my experience better amps definitely do improve the sound quality as well as having more power... For example going from my NAD315bee to a NAD 326bee on B&W 602s3 speakers the sound quality is definitely a lot better, not just the power output but the treble quality etc. Not sure if this is the case with the HE400 + STX though.
Edited by nicholars - 11/15/13 at 2:49am
post #14367 of 17046
It's very silly to believe that amps sound the same. I mean, who would really believe that? That one can introduce a load of circuitry into an audio chain and have it make no difference to the response of the signal besides amplify it. I can't believe that anyone could truly think that.
post #14368 of 17046
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saren View Post
 

 

Exactly the same here. I have the 5.32 and I've heard a lot of SS amps at Addicted to Audio and never felt them worth my money to get as I did not feel that there were improved much if at all. I'm satisfied with my amp that has the power to drive the LCD2 to ear destroying levels at 50% pot and 2watts RMS. I don't want to get into tube amps really, it doesn't appeal to me objectively.

 

I'll always spend more on my headphones than my amps and dacs. I'd prefer to pick up another high end can.

 

To each there own though. Many enjoy their upgrades and more power to them. If you are listening and say you hear a difference, then I don't think I'd ever begrudge a person that. After all it is another persons enjoyment and not mine to comment on.

 

Those Addicted to Audio guys are great. Lucky for them I live a 30 minute drive away or I would be there everyday. When I walk in, they are thinking, not him again. I make them open up all the boxes so I can try things. One time I actually surprised them and bought something. Sometimes they like to show me this big fat power cable and tell me how good it is. But I am thinking, between the amp and the power point there is this big fat power cable, but behind the power point on the wall to the switchboard, there is still the $2 crappy power wire. Can't see how it can be any good. They need to start distributing the Hifiman stuff though, so I can try the HE-6/HE500.

post #14369 of 17046
Quote:
Originally Posted by amigomatt View Post

It's very silly to believe that amps sound the same. I mean, who would really believe that? That one can introduce a load of circuitry into an audio chain and have it make no difference to the response of the signal besides amplify it. I can't believe that anyone could truly think that.


There are many who believe in just that.

 

Have a read through this http://www.head-fi.org/t/486598/testing-audiophile-claims-and-myths

 

Mind you if you think you can hear differences, so if you think so. I don't want to argue with you about it as it is your enjoyment of your equipment that matters.

post #14370 of 17046
Quote:
Originally Posted by amigomatt View Post

It's very silly to believe that amps sound the same. I mean, who would really believe that? That one can introduce a load of circuitry into an audio chain and have it make no difference to the response of the signal besides amplify it. I can't believe that anyone could truly think that.

 



Some audio forums such as audiogon people do think that.
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