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**Hifiman HE-400 Impressions and Discussion Thread** - Page 1019

post #15271 of 18633

I just got a pair of HE-400s and I've been using them with my Xonar STX sound card. I'm finding that the volume is a little subdued, so I'm guessing I'll need an AMP.  Does anyone have any recommendations for an AMP in the 100 dollar range? I'm thinking EO9K?

 

 

home setup

HE-400

Xonar STX

 

work setup

B&W P7

mod+vali

post #15272 of 18633

I didn't really compare the two in-depth, but I had both side by side at one point in a quiet store room.  The HD700 is truly weird sounding.  It seemingly has a lone peak around 5-6khz, and it creates a really cold and unnatural sound.  I don't like it, at all.  For comparison I'd recommend the HD800 over them, and I don't like the HD800 at all either.  Keep in mind I also had near the entire lineup of Grados there as well, and the HD700 peak stood out even compared to a lot of the Grados.  Now that's saying something.

post #15273 of 18633

I supposed the most important factor to consider when amping planars is power output. Most are rated as low-impedance phones (~30 ohms), but the HE-400s tested at more like 50 Ohms. That is nearly twice the resistance. Most are also relatively inefficient compared to many dynamics, so finding amps in the 500 - 1,000 mW range is probably a good idea!

post #15274 of 18633
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post
 

I didn't really compare the two in-depth, but I had both side by side at one point in a quiet store room.  The HD700 is truly weird sounding.  It seemingly has a lone peak around 5-6khz, and it creates a really cold and unnatural sound.  I don't like it, at all.  For comparison I'd recommend the HD800 over them, and I don't like the HD800 at all either.  Keep in mind I also had near the entire lineup of Grados there as well, and the HD700 peak stood out even compared to a lot of the Grados.  Now that's saying something.


Disappointing to hear. I really would like to get into a high-end sennhieser down the road, and probably whatever model comes along to replace the HE-400! I suppose that leaves me with the HD 600 (too old at this point IMO) or the HD 598 (too similar to the 595?).

post #15275 of 18633

Well luckily enough the 598 is very cheap right now, so it's not a risky purchase.  Even though the 598 is still too cold for my tastes it's still infinitely more smooth overall in frequency response compared to the HD700 or HD800.

 

I wonder how an anax modded HD800 would sound like, I'm assuming I would like it very much.

post #15276 of 18633
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post
 

Planar Magnetics still seem to suffer from a bit of driver control related to damping factor, but they do not change their sound signature at all from the amp's output impedance due to a flat impedance curve.


What does a loss of driver control sound like if there is no change in frequency response? I don't see how these two ideas are compatible. 

 

post #15277 of 18633
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMateoHead View Post
 

So should we take it that you are planning to pick up an LCD2? :tongue_smile:

Definitely not any time soon, I was just answering his question. HFM for life!

post #15278 of 18633

Bloated bass, smeared highs.  And no, don't try to talk about higher thd numbers of tube amps.  Some tube amps have thd numbers below hearing threshold.

post #15279 of 18633
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post
 

Bloated bass, smeared highs.  And no, don't try to talk about higher thd numbers of tube amps.  Some tube amps have thd numbers below hearing threshold.


Yeah, but I'm saying bloated bass would correspond to a change in frequency response, right? Unless you're talking about impulse response or some other property? 

I don't really understand the science here well enough, but I've seen people who know what they are talking about like Chris J and Steve Eddy argue that damping factor doesn't make a difference for planar magnetics, due the flat, non-inductive impedance curve.

My experience playing around with different resistor values for my speaker amp confirms this, to the extent that my ears are trustworthy, anyway. I definitely don't notice an increase in bass bloat when going from Emotiva with no resistors to Emotiva with 300 ohm resistors (and hence an output impedance of 300 ohms). 

I don't see how tube amps come into the picture....


Edited by manbear - 12/17/13 at 9:56am
post #15280 of 18633
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post
 

Well luckily enough the 598 is very cheap right now, so it's not a risky purchase.  Even though the 598 is still too cold for my tastes it's still infinitely more smooth overall in frequency response compared to the HD700 or HD800.

 

I wonder how an anax modded HD800 would sound like, I'm assuming I would like it very much.

Hard to imagine the 598s could satisfy since I figure they would be a slight downgrade to my ears. I tend to prefer cold/bright to warm anyhow, since it is better matched to my typical genres. But what is strange is that the 598 and 700s measure fairly closely - the 700 with more bass, deeper midrange scoop and a peak around 7 khz in the treble. Obviously that is not the final say in sound quality, but I would expect them to be similar in presentation.

post #15281 of 18633

I wanted to add that I have re-installed the foam spacers with no alterations into my now modded pleather pads.

 

I do not detect a negative change to the sound.

 

Subjectively, however, the spacers make the pads feel a little stiffer and do add maybe 1/8th to 1/4th of an inch to the cups - stressing the headband slightly more. Perhaps it is more a comfort/feel issue than a sonic one.

post #15282 of 18633
Any goal with reinstalling the pad? Or just experimenting?
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMateoHead View Post

I wanted to add that I have re-installed the foam spacers with no alterations into my now modded pleather pads.

I do not detect a negative change to the sound.

Subjectively, however, the spacers make the pads feel a little stiffer and do add maybe 1/8th to 1/4th of an inch to the cups - stressing the headband slightly more. Perhaps it is more a comfort/feel issue than a sonic one.

Edited by Soundsgoodtome - 12/17/13 at 11:44am
post #15283 of 18633
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMateoHead View Post
 

Hard to imagine the 598s could satisfy since I figure they would be a slight downgrade to my ears. I tend to prefer cold/bright to warm anyhow, since it is better matched to my typical genres. But what is strange is that the 598 and 700s measure fairly closely - the 700 with more bass, deeper midrange scoop and a peak around 7 khz in the treble. Obviously that is not the final say in sound quality, but I would expect them to be similar in presentation.

Sounds like the DT880 may be a good choice for you.

post #15284 of 18633
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 


Yeah, but I'm saying bloated bass would correspond to a change in frequency response, right? Unless you're talking about impulse response or some other property? 

I don't really understand the science here well enough, but I've seen people who know what they are talking about like Chris J and Steve Eddy argue that damping factor doesn't make a difference for planar magnetics, due the flat, non-inductive impedance curve.

My experience playing around with different resistor values for my speaker amp confirms this, to the extent that my ears are trustworthy, anyway. I definitely don't notice an increase in bass bloat when going from Emotiva with no resistors to Emotiva with 300 ohm resistors (and hence an output impedance of 300 ohms). 

I don't see how tube amps come into the picture....

 

This is because you have a speaker amp...

 

Planars might not be affected by damping factor because of the flat impedance curve etc, but it is still not ideal to use amps with high output impedance. This is because planar headphones generally being of low impedance need a lot of current to drive them. If you use a high output impedance amp, this will impede the current flow making it harder for the amp to produce the required current before it reaches its voltage limit (and clip).

 

Where tube amps come into the picture is that many have a high output impedance (OTL ones especially) . If you use a high output impedance amp, you need a very powerful one. This is why the Lyr works well for planars but the Valhalla does not and why your Emotiva works. It won't with lesser amps.

post #15285 of 18633
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlxx View Post

 

This is because you have a speaker amp...

 

Planars might not be affected by damping factor because of the flat impedance curve etc, but it is still not ideal to use amps with high output impedance. This is because planar headphones generally being of low impedance need a lot of current to drive them. If you use a high output impedance amp, this will impede the current flow making it harder for the amp to produce the required current before it reaches its voltage limit (and clip).

 

Where tube amps come into the picture is that many have a high output impedance (OTL ones especially) . If you use a high output impedance amp, you need a very powerful one. This is why the Lyr works well for planars but the Valhalla does not and why your Emotiva works. It won't with lesser amps.


I don't disagree with you necessarily, but I don't see what this has to do with damping factor. It seems like you are saying that planars need enough power. Sure. But as long as they have enough power, damping factor doesn't matter. It's fair to say that I can only get away with driving my HE-400 with an amp having an output impedance of ~300 ohms because my amp is actually a speaker amp with resistors on the output, but the point remains that the ~ 0.13 damping factor isn't mucking up the sound. Power and damping factor are separate concepts -- power affects the sound, damping factor doesn't. 

I used a Little Dot MKIII with my HE-400 for a while. It did clip, as you say, but it clipped because it didn't have enough power. Its output impedance was below 10 ohms. 


Edited by manbear - 12/17/13 at 1:15pm
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