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

post #15271 of 19921

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 #15272 of 19921
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 #15273 of 19921
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 #15274 of 19921

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 #15275 of 19921
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 #15276 of 19921
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 #15277 of 19921
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 #15278 of 19921
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
post #15279 of 19921

Not disagreeing with you either regarding damping factor (maybe your post wasn't the correct one to quote).

 

People avoid high output impedance amps because of damping factor concerns, once they hear that planars aren't really affected by damping factor they then think its OK to get high output impedance amps. Just trying to point out that this isn't always the case.

 

High output impedance amps are not suited for low impedance headphones unless they can provide the required current. The exact same amp but with a low output impedance will push more current (for the same power output) and work more efficiently when matched with low impedance headphones. Its not just about power, its about current for planars.

post #15280 of 19921

manbear his original post was basically saying that the reason you didn't hear any difference is because you were using a speaker amplifier and no matter what the output impedance you were driving them with a speaker amplifier lol so you were sure to not hit the voltage limit.

how that has to do with muddying the bass i don't know especially since he knows that under powering causes clipping.

post #15281 of 19921
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctaCosmos View Post
 

manbear his original post was basically saying that the reason you didn't hear any difference is because you were using a speaker amplifier and no matter what the output impedance you were driving them with a speaker amplifier lol so you were sure to not hit the voltage limit.

how that has to do with muddying the bass i don't know especially since he knows that under powering causes clipping.

 

If he added resistors to anything other than a speaker amp he would have heard a difference is what I meant. This is not due to damping factor but due to the reduction in current that would result. Headphone amps have limits to voltage and current they can provide, best done so when matched to headphones with the correct impedance. Low impedance planar headphones with flat resistive impedance are best suited to low output voltage amps. They get lots of current at less volts and don't clip. For high output impedance amps they will produce a lot of voltage but not enough current.


Edited by mlxx - 12/17/13 at 2:50pm
post #15282 of 19921
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlxx View Post

 

If he added resistors to anything other than a speaker amp he would have heard a difference is what I meant. This is not due to damping factor but due to the reduction in current that would result. 


It all depends. An OTL tube amp, like my Little Dot MKIII, has more power at higher impedances. I used my 300 ohm series resistor adapter with the HE-400 (as per Malveaux's recommendation in the the Emotiva thread) in order to bring the HE-400 into the optimal range of the Little Dot. The Little Dot put out more power with the resistor adapter, since its power is maximized when seeing a load in the 300-600 ohm range. ~ 3x more power than at the HE-400's native impedance of 38 ohms. Again, though, this is an amp with an output below 10 ohms. Even though it's an OTL with more power into higher impedance loads, it's not really "high output impedance." 

post #15283 of 19921
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctaCosmos View Post
 


lol  this guy.  The headphone jackets on power amplifiers and receivers are very often directly connected to the loudspeaker outputs. To prevent damage to the headphones and to the amplifier, resistors are placed in between. These resistors generally have values between 200 and 600 Ohm but drop to 50 too.  BLAH BLAH BLAH ETC ETC...

 

I cannot be bothered to argue with you because it has been said 100000x on these forums but most "AV receivers" like you said, have cheapo high ohm headphone chip amplifiers, not connected to the main amplifier with a resistor. I researched it myself and tried various ones myself... The key is you said "AV receiver" which typically do not have good headphone jacks. Yours might... I do not know... But either way it is not very good advice, stop making misleading one liner comments and there will be no problem.


Edited by nicholars - 12/17/13 at 7:55pm
post #15284 of 19921
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlxx View Post
 

Not disagreeing with you either regarding damping factor (maybe your post wasn't the correct one to quote).

 

People avoid high output impedance amps because of damping factor concerns, once they hear that planars aren't really affected by damping factor they then think its OK to get high output impedance amps. Just trying to point out that this isn't always the case.

 

High output impedance amps are not suited for low impedance headphones unless they can provide the required current. The exact same amp but with a low output impedance will push more current (for the same power output) and work more efficiently when matched with low impedance headphones. Its not just about power, its about current for planars.

 

My HE400 sound worse on my NAD 326bee amplifier which has 60ohm output and other than that is supposed to be a good headphone jack, the STX sounds a lot clearer etc.

post #15285 of 19921
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 


It all depends. An OTL tube amp, like my Little Dot MKIII, has more power at higher impedances. I used my 300 ohm series resistor adapter with the HE-400 (as per Malveaux's recommendation in the the Emotiva thread) in order to bring the HE-400 into the optimal range of the Little Dot. The Little Dot put out more power with the resistor adapter, since its power is maximized when seeing a load in the 300-600 ohm range. ~ 3x more power than at the HE-400's native impedance of 38 ohms. Again, though, this is an amp with an output below 10 ohms. Even though it's an OTL with more power into higher impedance loads, it's not really "high output impedance." 

 

Not familiar with this amp but I doubt its <10ohm for OTL (specs only show preamp out of 600ohms). I this case, adding the resistor changed it for the better so you did still notice a difference :D. If its underpowered, one of the first things to go will be the bass.

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