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**Hifiman HE-400 Impressions and Discussion Thread** - Page 128

post #1906 of 18328
Quote:
Originally Posted by Biscuitz View Post

You know, interestingly, when I had the HE-400, I found that lifting the cups just slightly away from my ears (half an inch to an inch) created a more enveloping, airy, life-like sound. And a tad better balanced, too. I didn't do it a lot, but every time I slightly lifted the cups away, I thought I liked the sound better... It made me curious how they'd sound with deeper cups...

 

Fascinating. I did the same thing (used my fingers to gently "unseal" and tilt the cups down toward my ear. Not a sound I would want, but I did find it to sound a lot bassier.

post #1907 of 18328
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwinQY View Post

They definitely don't need all that power, but as long as the volume is down, it shouldn't hurt too much as well. I actually bought them for a upcoming HE-6 rig as well, but it's nice to see how they do with the HE-400. For me, they get huge volumes even when the knob is down pretty low. I would not recommend anything over 1-2 o'clock with these, ever.

 

Sound-wise, it's akin to a M^3 but with vastly more power. Sort of warm, but not really. Somewhere between the M^3 and the Asgard in terms of warmth. Pretty level everywhere else. The bass really enjoys all that power and the kick is phenomenal. Treble rolls off slightly at the very top, but its pretty benign, and in some cases, preferable for the HE-400s as the upper treble can be a bit too sparkly. I think they sound a bit better than the Lyr, and in some cases comparable with the Mjolnir from what I remember (I've only heard it with the LCD-2, so now I'm going by what I hear off those). Bass is slightly more authoritative and textured, but the midrange is definitely less clean and refined. At $249 though, the fact that they beat out the Lyr and get this close to the Mjolnir is laughable.

 

These are just some impressions yesterday along with my cousin's Lyr and Mjolnir. I only got around 3-4 hours of listening time though, so take that as you may. We had the HD800 around, but no speaker taps for it, so couldn't listen to the Emotiva with it.

I bought mine for the HE6 and potentially the HD800 but not sure if I want to connect a speaker amp unless I bought something like that HE adapter for speaker amps. A headphone that would benefit more from the HE6 might yield more gains.The Mjolnir has a good amount of power but I do want to hear what a speaker amp will do and for an extended period so will be different than a meet impression. 

post #1908 of 18328
Quote:
Originally Posted by rawrster View Post

I bought mine for the HE6 and potentially the HD800 but not sure if I want to connect a speaker amp unless I bought something like that HE adapter for speaker amps. A headphone that would benefit more from the HE6 might yield more gains.The Mjolnir has a good amount of power but I do want to hear what a speaker amp will do and for an extended period so will be different than a meet impression. 

I think the HE adapter is stated for amps with 70wpc or more (at least that's what I remember from reading the HE-6 thread), so the 50wpc mini-X, which has only 3W higher output than the Mjolnir at 50ohm, should be fine. The thing is pretty small though, and pretty quiet (I haven't had the fan come on yet), so paired with an ODAC or a similarly small DAC, and these would make the ultimate bedside rig. Again, the Mjolnir has slightly more control and finesse, but the mini-X is no slouch. 

post #1909 of 18328
Quote:
Originally Posted by Biscuitz View Post

I don't own the HE500's yet. I just ordered the Magnum build, so it's on the way. The HE500 I am going to borrow through TheCableCompany's loaner program. We will see how the NFB15.1 does. I think it's the best value there is right now in terms of a DAC / Amp combo that has the power to take on some of the planar magnetics. On paper, anyway.

 

I am looking forward for the review on he-400 with nfb 15.1. Depending on how it goes i might purchase it too but as for now i will hold off from purchasing a fiio e17.

post #1910 of 18328
Quote:
Originally Posted by yokken View Post

I've decided to return my HE400s. The comfort just doesn't do it for me and the HD650/HD600s provide a much more immediately pleasing sound. Head-Direct is trying to pull some crap, telling me I'm out of the return period (I ordered Sept. 29th) but I had them for a week before sending them in for replacement which took 2 weeks. They do sound good at some things, but the good just doesn't outweigh the bad for me. Hopefully they don't fight this return policy thing.

You sure flip flopped on those a lot. Is comfort the factor that changed your mind here, you seemed really impressed with them. I actually ordered a Beyer headphone headband for them today for $13, should fix that problem.

 

When I had to choose between the 650 and 400, EVERYTHING in me wanted the 650s, they are so likeable and snug, but I can't deny the how amazing the 400s sound. Plus the 650's treble is too "nice" for me.

post #1911 of 18328
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMateoHead View Post

Fascinating. I did the same thing (used my fingers to gently "unseal" and tilt the cups down toward my ear. Not a sound I would want, but I did find it to sound a lot bassier.

This is really curious..as i have a new he500 and i did have same experience..like it sounded as if in a room..open..spatious....and i use the new velourspads...i think hifiman can improve their sound even more by putting some thicker/deeper pads on.. smily_headphones1.gif
post #1912 of 18328

Holding the cups out about an inch does make the sound bassier. I can't promote it being a more balanced sound however, to whoever said that.  I've seen pics of HE-400 with the LCD velour pads.  Those pads are significantly deeper, albeit very ugly looking match for the HE-400, since the color does not jive with the dark blue of the HE-400, and they are larger in circumference as well.

post #1913 of 18328
Thread Starter 
Well, actually I'm making an effort to get new pads in production. Better velours actually. Looks like I may have to give up my pair for 4-6 weeks to make it happen unless someone else wants to step up. (Listens to the sound of crickets)
post #1914 of 18328

(no replies to this thread for the next 2 hrs below this line)

 

 

__________________________________________________

post #1915 of 18328
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattTCG View Post

Well, actually I'm making an effort to get new pads in production. Better velours actually. Looks like I may have to give up my pair for 4-6 weeks to make it happen unless someone else wants to step up. (Listens to the sound of crickets)

I can't even stand the shipping time on headphones.

post #1916 of 18328
Quote:
Originally Posted by RushNerd View Post

I can't even stand the shipping time on headphones.
Am in luck i think..i have an official hifiman agent in my country who delivers every model in 2 days..so i never experienced delays...so i guess i am lucky..just ordered the comfy over the headband thingie everyone is raving about..just to try it out..its a cheap mod..
post #1917 of 18328
Quote:
Originally Posted by RushNerd View Post

You sure flip flopped on those a lot. Is comfort the factor that changed your mind here, you seemed really impressed with them. I actually ordered a Beyer headphone headband for them today for $13, should fix that problem.

 

When I had to choose between the 650 and 400, EVERYTHING in me wanted the 650s, they are so likeable and snug, but I can't deny the how amazing the 400s sound. Plus the 650's treble is too "nice" for me.

 

Like I said, I'm bipolar about headphones. One day I like a pair and one day I don't. But strangely it only seems to happen when the HE400 is involved. It sounds great when my Lyr is all warmed up, but I don't like that requirement, and I don't like the weird pressure it puts on my head after wearing it for an hour. Also like I said, I think if you spend $400 on something and you don't love it, you shouldn't keep it. I think I'm going to be selling my HD600s too since they're so close to the HD650s and get some 600ohm DT880s, which I really liked the sound of (250ohm) but neglected (and subsequently returned) after getting the HD600s and HE400s.

 

Not to mention, after getting all this equipment and spending a lot of time listening to music, my ears tend to fatigue easier now and the HE400 treble is just a tad hot for my liking. I like the "nice" treble on the HD650s. Doesn't ever make me cringe and still sounds great with a lot of stuff. The DT880 treble was detailed but smooth, rarely ever piercing. And now I have a great amp to drive the high impedance cans! Plus I might be able to get a really good deal on the DT880s, brand new too.


Edited by yokken - 11/5/12 at 6:15pm
post #1918 of 18328

MR Mateo Head Bought his first Headphone Amp! PART 1

 

If you hate reading, I'll cut to the chase: It was the best amp I could find, and I really, really like it. It seems to be a good deal @160 all in, but I still think $100 would make it a market crushing steal.

 

Today I received my O2 Amp from JDS Labs - a second guilty purchase following the HE-400s. I ordered it with the Triad 12 VAC 200a adapter. I also opted for "stock" gain set at 2.5x and 6.5x and a black faceplate, which I thought was classier looking than the silver one. That said, I despise our world for seeming to always paint everything black or gray. This is why I like my headphones BLUE! Even if its plastic . . .

 

Why did I want an Amp???

 

I bought the amp because I found my computer had inadequete power for High Dynamic Range Recordings (HDR). HDR recordings are those where the difference between the loudest sound, and softest sound, can have a very large spread. In my case, this occurs with some classical music, DVDs, and even Mp3s I own. In effect I cannot reach loud sound levels with these recordings, sort of like being stuck in a car that needs to hit the highway but is stuck in 1st gear.

 

Why did I choose the O2?

 

First I determined that the HE-400s might require as much as 0.5-1 watt in order to achieve 100-120 dB. This is far louder than I would ever actually listen (and maybe louder than they can actually play), but I figured this would give me "headroom" and help me achieve good volume with the cans no matter what I was doing. I looked all over the place for a reasonably priced amps of all kinds, including USB/DAC combo drives, high-end amps, even external sound cards with jacked up headphone ports. My experience with audio has taught me that it is generally stupid to buy anything which might NEED x watts rms to run to its potential, and then give it half that power. I consider headphones generally no different, though I am a firm believer that for 90% of headphones out there, buying amps and DACs is a total waste of money. If you really crave a better sound, put the bucks into the headphones (speakers).

 

Amp Shopping Sucks:

 

About 90% of the amps were eliminated based on the following criteria: 

 

a) Unpublished specs: If you won't report your power at multiple impedances, I won't buy your amp. If I can't derive values from copious calculations generated with the help of the geniuses here at head-fi and your limited specs, you are really, really out of the running. That was easy.

 

b) Price: As in, holy s*** you charge that much for 1 freaking watt? I once owned 738 watts of class a/b goodness from TWO amps in a car for less than that. $200 bucks is a damn generous budget, IMHO, considering its far more than most good soundcards, most all good USB/DAC combos, and could even buy a decent receiver which probably has a decent headphone jack onboard (and a sh**load of inputs and outputs as well as power for big awesome speakers). Actually $200 can buy some damn nice headphones too.

 

c) Assumed performance: If you want 0.5-1 watt, you are not going to get it from a USB-powered source. You just aren't. It took a lot of math to prove this to myself. Thanks, Fiio.

 

d) Output Impedance: Surprisingly, this eliminated most decent inexpensive amps, and even expensive soundcards. They damn near all had 10 Ohm output impedance, which kills power at higher impedances. Following the 1/8 rule, it also optimizes these amps for headphones of 80 ohms or more. Being that the HE-400s are about 35-50 Ohms, I looked for 4-6 Ohms MAX at the output stage. Actually, I am quite surprised that this is so common. Most of my cheapy headphones are 16-32 ohms, and as a general rule amplifiers won't deliver much power into 300 - 600 ohm loads common at the high-end of cans. Even 100 ohms is high enough to crush a lot of consumer amps I looked at.

 

e) Tube Amps: I don't want to buy tubes. I don't. I don't care how awesome tube amps are. I don't want to know about it. They cost more money, and sooner or later they burn out. My parents have a Sony DLP TV which goes through 1-2 bulbs a year @$300 bucks. The TV is sick, but jeez. Were it not for warranty games, they could've bought me a 60" by now with a Playstation. Why are their so many tube amps?

 

Choose Something, Stupid:

 

After much pain, then, it came down to the HRT Headtstreamer, Schiit Asgard, and Objective O2. The headstreamer doesn't have nearly the power I was looking for, despite meeting other criteria. The Asgard was over budget, and reviewers claim it emitted a steady electric hum. That said, it can do about 1 W @ 50 Ohms and likely is a good amp with plenty of power. For the price, I don't like the metal power switch in the rear, and I think it should offer a 3.5 mm in, RCA in, and what the hell, an optical or coaxial digital jack and not just a set of RCAs. I am ruthless and greedy, I know.

 

So, there wasn't much choice. But I believed in the O2's "open source design", and trusted the specs. From those specs, I derived a power curve which suggested 440 mWs on batteries, and 706 mWs on AC @ 50 ohms. In theory, then, very close to meeting (or actually meeting) my 120 dB performance challenge. Because the O2 has built-in current limiting however, those are peak values and represent max power before audible distortion. Now throw in 2.5x and 6.5x gain switches, and unknown source current (I think 1 Vrms, I don't know), and we have what I call an educated guess that happiness is assured. $160 bucks was pushing it, but I couldn't find anything better. Does anyone else think JDS labs KNOWs that??? the $30-$50 dollar DIY wonder amp selling for three times the price? That's what I get for being a non-engineer I guess.  

 

Description of the O2:

 

Mine shipped quickly and arrived in about 3 business days - but I had to sit out the weekend. I have to say, it looks great in black, and it quite adorable. It is like the baby of my car amp. Seriously, its like 2 packs of bicycle cars side by side (or butts, if you smoke). The batteries inside give it a "substantial" weight, and it all around seems very well put together. The volume knob has a good feel, and the fit and finish are a 4/5. Their was some slight mis-alignment percieved between I/O jacks and the power cord didn't just "slide" or click in at first. The gain and power switch feel a little low rent, but otherwise, its nice.

 

Mine also came with small 3M rubber feet stick-ons, a nice touch (which will probably fall off 1 at a time). It came out of the box ready to go, hooked up quickly, and having all the jacks in the front wasn't as bad as I thought. It even makes sense when you think about it (the thing won't "suspend" between my headphones and its input jacks). Also, I can stand it on its ass or 2 sides. Its an accesible design choice, and it would be fun to velcro the thing under my desk or somewhere handy. I could also leave it in a bag, and use it to "stealthily" power my phones when at a library or some other place.

 

I disagree with others that do not consider this thing portable. It wouldn't go in my pocket or jogging, sure, but I can imgaine carrying it in a computer bag or something, to provide better fidelity wherever I ended up. I will concede however, that I might worry a little about the buttons and knob taking knocks, and maybe the batteries inside dislodging from a bad drop. It looks like a baby desktop amp, and that is perhaps its best use. I like the red LED power light, but otherwise am used to devices giving me something more specific, like, "4 hrs left", or, "92%". Then again, those things are hardly ever accurate, and simplicity is nice for a change.

 

Of course, none of this aggravating reading means s*** if it sounds like s***. Next up is part 2 - SOUND!

post #1919 of 18328
Quote:

Originally Posted by yokken View Post

 

Not to mention, after getting all this equipment and spending a lot of time listening to music, my ears tend to fatigue easier now and the HE400 treble is just a tad hot for my liking. I like the "nice" treble on the HD650s. Doesn't ever make me cringe and still sounds great with a lot of stuff. The DT880 treble was detailed but smooth, rarely ever piercing. And now I have a great amp to drive the high impedance cans! Plus I might be able to get a really good deal on the DT880s, brand new too.

Two Words Yokken: CHARGE BACK.

 

If Head-Fi screws with you, tell them you will contact your financial institution, and issue a charge back to get your funds. This means the bank forces a refund. Stores really hate that, but it is the way to go if you cannot solve a dispute the normal way (by two parties acting reasonably to one another).

 

I get the fatigue thing, these HE-400s wear my ears out a lot more than my senns did, even at low volumes. But otherwise, they have been just awesome.

post #1920 of 18328
Thread Starter 

IMO you can not match the mids on the hd650 with the lyr and the right tubes. Not even with the he400...not the lcd2 either. And what's more, I don't think I've even heard the best of these mids yet. With some sage advice from fearless1, I am onto some voodoo magic tubes to bring out even more on the hd650's. very_evil_smiley.gif

 

And for all that jokers here, who cowered away when I asked for help with the pad development...no free pads for you!!!!!! Jerg, you are excused though. 

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