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**Hifiman HE-400 Impressions and Discussion Thread** - Page 129

post #1921 of 18332

I bought my asgard for $180 here practically new and it doesn't hum. I still don't think it's 1watt was everything the 400 needed though. Just throwing that out there.

post #1922 of 18332

Mine had a hum because of a ground loop, but a cheater plug fixed it completely(it's safe to use them on Schiit amps since they're double insulated).

 

I disagree with 1 watt not being enough power for these though, it's more than enough.

post #1923 of 18332

I bumped down the volume with my iTunes EQ about -10dB and then cranked up the 32 and 64Hz pretty generously, about +8 and +4dB respectively. And 125Hz about +2dB as well. Not gonna lie, stuff sounds pretty good right now. I still think I'm going to return them, though. They still don't fit quite right around my ears and I enjoy listening to the HD650 for extended amounts of time as it is. The forgiving sound is comforting, knowing I'm not ruining my hearing just to have detailed highs.

 

Mmm, back to my 650s. Such a nice full sound. No regrets.


Edited by yokken - 11/5/12 at 7:38pm
post #1924 of 18332
Quote:
Originally Posted by yokken View Post

I bumped down the volume with my iTunes EQ about -10dB and then cranked up the 32 and 64Hz pretty generously, about +8 and +4dB respectively. And 125Hz about +2dB as well. Not gonna lie, stuff sounds pretty good right now. I still think I'm going to return them, though. They still don't fit quite right around my ears and I enjoy listening to the HD650 for extended amounts of time as it is. The forgiving sound is comforting, knowing I'm not ruining my hearing just to have detailed highs.

 

Mmm, back to my 650s. Such a nice full sound. No regrets.

At least you gave it a shot. I've always done this with the 400's, I know it does alter the mids some (going from no EQ) but they just reproduce that low end so well, it's hard to resist. Plus adjusted like that, I find very little to complain about.

post #1925 of 18332

It seems like many of us got their HE-400s today. I might be posting this late. I got my replacement he-400 this morning with Velours. And similar to someone here, I had to run to college immediately after that. Didn't feel good at all leaving them unopened.

 

I originally ordered them from crutchfield. Got them 2 days later with free shipping. Then tried them for 2-3 days, wasn't impressed and then read about the replacement.

 

I came home early just to start listening. And now I can't stop. These are wonderful. All my classical/blues/classic rock collection sounds extraordinary. Such details, instrument separation, soundstage, accuracy over the whole spectrum..... all the things I read about these headphones were true..... well almost....

 

I'm not feeding these through any dac or amp right now... just plain on-board soundcard. But still, it sounds great. I have to be honest and tell about my previous headphones though... I own M50s, QC-15s and AE2s (don't kill me for buying Bose. I got them really cheap. Around $150 for QC). I have E11 that I bought for M50s. Compared to M50s or QC-15s, this is a great step up for me.

 

So, I guess I need an amp and/or dac. But I don't understand all of you saying that these require a lot of power..... Because I'm listening to these with the system volume at 75% and I don't want to go above that. Actually 60% is where I'm listening to them right now. So, I don't know what to do now.... Should I go by the common consensus and buy a dac and/or amp or just keep them like this?

 

Just a little more bass is desirable though... just a tiny bit more.... off to tweaking EQ.

post #1926 of 18332

For some reason, any reductive EQ that puts the mids and highs lower than around -7/-8db really sucks the sound out for me and creates a black hole sound, no matter how high I turn the amp up.

 

I usually go no higher than 6db of adjustment.

post #1927 of 18332
Quote:
Originally Posted by finrod View Post

It seems like many of us got their HE-400s today. I might be posting this late. I got my replacement he-400 this morning with Velours. And similar to someone here, I had to run to college immediately after that. Didn't feel good at all leaving them unopened.

 

I originally ordered them from crutchfield. Got them 2 days later with free shipping. Then tried them for 2-3 days, wasn't impressed and then read about the replacement.

 

I came home early just to start listening. And now I can't stop. These are wonderful. All my classical/blues/classic rock collection sounds extraordinary. Such details, instrument separation, soundstage, accuracy over the whole spectrum..... all the things I read about these headphones were true..... well almost....

 

I'm not feeding these through any dac or amp right now... just plain on-board soundcard. But still, it sounds great. I have to be honest and tell about my previous headphones though... I own M50s, QC-15s and AE2s (don't kill me for buying Bose. I got them really cheap. Around $150 for QC). I have E11 that I bought for M50s. Compared to M50s or QC-15s, this is a great step up for me.

 

So, I guess I need an amp and/or dac. But I don't understand all of you saying that these require a lot of power..... Because I'm listening to these with the system volume at 75% and I don't want to go above that. Actually 60% is where I'm listening to them right now. So, I don't know what to do now.... Should I go by the common consensus and buy a dac and/or amp or just keep them like this?

 

Just a little more bass is desirable though... just a tiny bit more.... off to tweaking EQ.

That's not a bad amount of headroom, probably not good enough for some crazy EQing though.

post #1928 of 18332
Quote:
Originally Posted by finrod View Post

It seems like many of us got their HE-400s today. I might be posting this late. I got my replacement he-400 this morning with Velours. And similar to someone here, I had to run to college immediately after that. Didn't feel good at all leaving them unopened.

 

I originally ordered them from crutchfield. Got them 2 days later with free shipping. Then tried them for 2-3 days, wasn't impressed and then read about the replacement.

 

I came home early just to start listening. And now I can't stop. These are wonderful. All my classical/blues/classic rock collection sounds extraordinary. Such details, instrument separation, soundstage, accuracy over the whole spectrum..... all the things I read about these headphones were true..... well almost....

 

I'm not feeding these through any dac or amp right now... just plain on-board soundcard. But still, it sounds great. I have to be honest and tell about my previous headphones though... I own M50s, QC-15s and AE2s (don't kill me for buying Bose. I got them really cheap. Around $150 for QC). I have E11 that I bought for M50s. Compared to M50s or QC-15s, this is a great step up for me.

 

So, I guess I need an amp and/or dac. But I don't understand all of you saying that these require a lot of power..... Because I'm listening to these with the system volume at 75% and I don't want to go above that. Actually 60% is where I'm listening to them right now. So, I don't know what to do now.... Should I go by the common consensus and buy a dac and/or amp or just keep them like this?

 

Just a little more bass is desirable though... just a tiny bit more.... off to tweaking EQ.

Drive em through your E11 at least. The quality and solidity of bass is a direct function of how good/powerful the amplification is.

post #1929 of 18332
Quote:
Originally Posted by chewy4 View Post

That's not a bad amount of headroom, probably not good enough for some crazy EQing though.

That's a good point. Wasn't considering/doing any EQing till now.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post

Drive em through your E11 at least. The quality and solidity of bass is a direct function of how good/powerful the amplification is.

Thanks for the tip on the quality/power of the amplification. I did try these with E11. On High gain position and bass boost on position 1 or 2, going over 5 out of 8 on that amp isn't pretty... not pretty at all. Bass is all distorted and horrible.

 

So, bass distortion is because of E11, right? Not the headphones' fault. If E11 is at fault, I'll be so relieved.

post #1930 of 18332

MR Mateo Head Bought his first Headphone Amp! PART 2

 

I broke this review into 2 parts because it was too frickin' long. Part 1 talks about the decision process and impressions of the hardware.

 

So, we bought an O2 and have been playing with it all day. The goal was to gain headroom for HDR recordings, a problem I experienced during my introduction to the HE-400s. I also figured it would be nice to have an amp that could power future headphones of, say, 150-600 ohms. While it would have been easier to just buy the O2+ODAC for $300 and call it good, I opted for the standalone amp, and would probably buy the DAC separately, since separate components have their advantages. I still think the price of entry is high, but that should wear off in a month or so.

 

For those that hate long posts: Problem Solved.

 

For those that crave detail, read on.

 

Performance: Full disclosure, I am NOT one of those persons that believes every change in equipment = change in sound. At least, not usually a big or perceptible change anyway. If you want a big change, buy some new cans. Amps serve a very specific purpose, and all I want is reliability, ample power, and easy and abundant connecting methods if possible. 80-90% of my listening needs are met with the weaker amp of my computer. It even sounds great to me, and I doubt there is much out there that would be an immediate "must have". Bottom line: recordings are heavily colored, compressed, and vary widely in presentation. Headphones with "sound signatures" and weird driver technologies are making choices about how recordings should sound as well. If your AMP, DAC, and Monster cables are ALSO screwing with your sound, what you have is total chaos and a pretty impossible problem to solve. Amps and DACs should pass a clean signal, that is about it. If they aren't, I consider that more a problem than a wonderful, redeeming quality. I run a laptop with Realtek 888 inside, and I have no idea how great it is (specs v. reality), but I know it seems clean, neutral, and performs great. It also rewards my ears when using higher quality recordings.

 

First and foremost, even at 2.5X gain (default), the O2 drives the HE-400s to painful volumes (for me), and is capable of making my quieter recordings much louder. I did hit the top of the volume knob while watching the Eagles "Hell Freezes Over", but switching to 6.5X again got me to a point I would not sustain for any real length of time. I heard some source noise at 2.5X and 6.5X while watching a DVD (just some slight background hiss), which wasn't typically noticeable. That said, I am not sure I can say, unequivecally, that I wouldn't seek even more power for headphones any less efficient (or similar) than the HE-400s. Even using a cell phone as source, however, volume was noticeably increased.

 

That said, I've got to admit that this little O2 made me wonder how I made it this long without an Amp. I have been using the HE-400s exclusively for awhile, and my ears have "adjusted" to them quite a bit. I may need to consider re-writing my subjective impression of sound quality. I have listened to most all the same tracks I demoed in my A/B comparison to the HD595s, and believe the overall presentation of the HE400s has shifted.

 

With all my EQ tweaks removed, I find that the HE's are much punchier and more energetic with the O2 than without it. The low bass response and midbass response seems stronger, and the treble energy, still there, is perhaps better controlled. The initial "lean" presentation which struck me when I started listening to these may not be replicated had I started with an amp versus starting with the computer itself. Any bass heavy track I've thrown at it so far can almost punish me with well-resolved bass energy. Pretty cool.

 

I don't find the Amp itself to offer a "cold", "warm", or "neutral" signature, as my sound overall is still giving me a great soundstage, lots of depth, and a wonderful sense that these planar cans are beautifully transparent whether given a difficult and complex song or a simple one. Vocals are still beautifully rendered. Their are no weird pops or noises whether plugging in, or switching to battery, nor is there a noticeable shift in perceived volume (power). What mostly happens is I resist the urge to crank it!

 

The HE 400s are definitely a more fatiguing can, but they are a better can amped than not amped, especially if you are using a lower voltage source (like me). I suspect that some improvement might be found in bypassing the laptop altogether, and using an ODAC would offer a good DAC with, more importantly, a 2Vrms output which could no doubt further reduce the opportunity for noise to enter into HDR recordings. It may also unlock a smidge of volume I may currently be missing (or introduce clipping). But even with some Chopin on, the amp is very "black".

 

I cannot close this review with the claim that the O2 has all the power you would ever want, nor would I claim that my headphones are absolutely better. But the amp is certainly doing its job, and I am very pleased.

post #1931 of 18332
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMateoHead View Post

MR Mateo Head Bought his first Headphone Amp! PART 2

 

Thanks for the writeup, good to know you are pleased with the pairing.

 

How would you describe the change (if any) of the treble, moving to O2 amp? Namely, I'm wondering about the slight tizziness in the upper treble that for me is very noticeable with certain vocals in music.

post #1932 of 18332
Quote:
Originally Posted by finrod View Post

I'm not feeding these through any dac or amp right now... just plain on-board soundcard. But still, it sounds great. I have to be honest and tell about my previous headphones though... I own M50s, QC-15s and AE2s (don't kill me for buying Bose. I got them really cheap. Around $150 for QC). I have E11 that I bought for M50s. Compared to M50s or QC-15s, this is a great step up for me.

Power to you brother, I find on-board sound to be quite adaquete for the Hifimans. They live up to the claim that they can be driven by most common gear.

 

Check out my long-ass recent posts though. If you ever listen to music / movies via DVDs, or if you indulge "high quality" (uncompressed - not in the Mp3 sense, but literally recorded with little compression) or recordings with High Dynamic Range, the HE-400 will reward you for an amp with more power like the O2. It seems to have given me a little "bass boost" to boot. I think the amp just handles the load a bit better than my on board sound could. Coming from me, that's saying a lot, as I resist a lot of equipment hype.

 

Cans like the HE-400 will definitely reward you for stepping up your source. Just try switching from a common Mp3 player, to your comp, to some higher quality source if you can. These things have some resolution spare. I can't really say the same for my other phones', which are fairly consistent from source to source.

post #1933 of 18332
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post

 

Thanks for the writeup, good to know you are pleased with the pairing.

 

How would you describe the change (if any) of the treble, moving to O2 amp? Namely, I'm wondering about the slight tizziness in the upper treble that for me is very noticeable with certain vocals in music.


Hey Jerg, I pretty much wrote it for you. What I found killer, was that the HD595s actually sounded "leaner" to me this time around, as the HE-400 bass response picked up to the point where the HD's lack of "sub bass" performance became somewhat more apparent to me. The apparent mid-bass advantage of the HD595s was missing this time around, and they sounded worse the louder I took them. I wasn't expecting that at all. In fact, the HD's now seemed quite outclassed across the range. They are still like pillows on my head compared to the HEs though, so comfortable.

 

On treble, I feel that nothing really changed. I haven't caught a "tizziness" when listening. Again, I may have lost some objectivity as my ears have become better acclimated to the HEs. Norah has not "hurt" me quite as much off this amp, but I overall feel more fatigued a bit sooner than I recall. It could be from just exploring the new power and blasting my ears today at times. I would claim that the HE's still seem well controlled and very smooth, and falls just shy of edgy to my ears.

 

I have not attempted an EQ tuning yet, but beforehand, was targeting 1 khz by about 3 db and surrounding freqs by about 1.5-2 dB. I also Started at 2.5khz or so and dragged down all upper freqs by about 2 dB through 10 khz. That tamed the treble a little, but this is still a pretty "hot" treble as far as I am concerned. I feel less need to EQ on the new amp, and may actually go after mid bass slighting, the mids again, and focus on trimming the higher end. I am also curious about "correcting" the big dip in the 2 khz range to see if that might smooth some of the mid response even more. Mainly, I'd strive for an objective flattening of the response first, and failing that, try to tweak to something that works a little better at lower volumes, which is where I should be listening! To my ears, that means targeting the upper end of response for a haircut, to bring the mids and bass a little more forward.

 

Identify some of the tracks you think this tizziness occurs. Perhaps I'll have them already, and can give it a listen.

post #1934 of 18332
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post

Interesting; I'm actually trying to find ways to mod the HE400s so the upper treble sheen is a bit more tamed, by "dulling the highs" do you feel it was a broadband recession of the treble (so the resulting treble is still tilted with less lower treble and more upper treble), or more recession in the upper treble?

They made them sound like I was listening through a thick towel. I try all my comfy pads on everything I own , so if anyone has any ideas about pads PM me, I have probably tried it lol.

 

In my perfect head phone world Beyers velours would sound good on everything.

 

I feel like the HE-400 sounds better closer to your ears, I have tried J-money, Lawtons, Beyers(990,770) ,  and D7k stock pads on them, while finding better comfort with other pads nothing sounds as good as the HE velours.


Edited by Fearless1 - 11/5/12 at 9:21pm
post #1935 of 18332
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMateoHead View Post

Power to you brother, I find on-board sound to be quite adaquete for the Hifimans. They live up to the claim that they can be driven by most common gear.

 

Check out my long-ass recent posts though. If you ever listen to music / movies via DVDs, or if you indulge "high quality" (uncompressed - not in the Mp3 sense, but literally recorded with little compression) or recordings with High Dynamic Range, the HE-400 will reward you for an amp with more power like the O2. It seems to have given me a little "bass boost" to boot. I think the amp just handles the load a bit better than my on board sound could. Coming from me, that's saying a lot, as I resist a lot of equipment hype.

 

Cans like the HE-400 will definitely reward you for stepping up your source. Just try switching from a common Mp3 player, to your comp, to some higher quality source if you can. These things have some resolution spare. I can't really say the same for my other phones', which are fairly consistent from source to source.

I've been reading all the posts in this thread. Though sometimes when I check after a couple of hours, there are more than 125 unread posts. That drives me nuts.

 

On the other note.... I usually listen to flac and proper ACDs/SACDs. But I do have a more than few mp3s. Who doesn't? :P But seeing that you greatly benefited from using the amp for uncompressed music and also considering that most of my collection is uncompressed, maybe I should buy an amp.

 

Any thoughts on DACs?

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