Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › **Hifiman HE-400 Impressions and Discussion Thread**
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

**Hifiman HE-400 Impressions and Discussion Thread** - Page 136

post #2026 of 18673
Quote:
Originally Posted by chewy4 View Post

You'll get used to it. At first I had a problem listening to them for more than 30-40 minutes. Now 2-3 hour sessions of music with no break are no problem, and 4-5+ hour gaming sessions aren't a problem.


Lol. Yeeessssss. At least my ears don't sweat. Hopefully the band / pads have some break in to them. They do sound so damn good that I have to force myself to keep the volume low, low, low. I often take breaks for the sake of readjusting my ears down the volume scale. This isn't unlike driving a sports car on the highway, and struggling to do 25 when you get off!

post #2027 of 18673

There's really nothing wrong with the pairing of HE-400 and O2.

post #2028 of 18673
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMateoHead View Post


LOL. As I sit here plugged in to my O2, listening to Chopin and thinking about this post, I can't help but laugh at the way people convince themselves that there is an equipment problem and not a human problem going on. The O2 "reduces" euphonic pleasure? Not nearly as much as listening to crappy songs!

 

What you need to do is set up some double blind testing conditions, and just sit there, and fail at them. Its a wonderful feeling to know that you can't identify different amps, cables, and DACs like you think you can. Even better when you realize you can't hear the difference in an Mp3 versus CD. Once that is settled, you can go back to just loving your music and enjoying the different sounds of your phones'

 

The only thing the O2 did for me was give my HEs the power they deserved, and they sounded a little better, not a little worse. My HD595s didn't really benefit from the amp at all, my ears like the HE's so much at this point the 595s just sound grainy and confused in comparison.

 

The only thing I can't stand about the HE-400, which keeps them from perfection, is the ear fatigue I get from them. I figure its either the clamp/pads wearing down my head, or the somewhat aggressive treble messing with me.

 

I never implied an equipment problem over a human problem.  I believe I stated that the result was for "my tastes" which is pretty specifically a human issue. However, I would counter the second statement by saying that, while you may not be able to hear differences between amps in a blind test (yet), there are many, many of us who can.  O2, like most "pro audio" gear, Auditor, etc, has a rather distinctly clinical presentation.  It's precisely the absence of the types of "flaws" such as warmth, smoothness, etc that makes it a less pleasurable listen for most gear (though it's worth saying that I prefer that presentation with the D5000, which is already highly colored.)  I can assure you that there is no way I could mistake HE-400 on O2 for HE-400 on Lyr, or mistaking HE-400 on Lyr with my Matsu tubes versus my Tungsram tubes.  Blind, non-blind or otherwise, any more than I could mistake HE-400 for HD650. I understand your point and what you're trying to drive at, but it's too broad and ultimately inaccurate as written. 

 

Regarding MP3s versus CDs it very definitely depends on the particular music and what bitrate is being discussed.  Too low a bitrate and MP3, specifically of all the compression types, develops a very metallic sounding treble.  The trouble with MP3 is certain frequency bands are entirely missing (as in, chopped out.)  Always the same bands (which is where MP3 specifically pales next to other formats such as Vorbis, and, grudgingly, AAC.) A 320kbps MP3, I'd concur there's really no audible difference (though keeping in mind there are frequency bands that are still missing.)  256k it depends.  There are many recordings I can hear no difference.  There are some more complicated (from a frequency perspective) tracks where a difference can be heard. Anything below 256k and the terrain gets a lot rockier very fast. AAC holds its own below 256k pretty well actually, as does vorbis.  Unfortunately so few hardware players support vorbis it's problematic, and it's a CPU/energy hog on portable devices.

 

I'd also counter that the "treble fatigue" issue is made worse by the very "cold" (i.e. flat, without warming) O2.  Or, perhaps "made worse" is the wrong wording, but rather, is made more obvious by not being reduced.  There's nothing wrong with a "cold" amp, of course.  The factor is the human one: is it preferable for one's tastes.

post #2029 of 18673

Why is it that "warm" is rarely described as unbalanced, or having recessed upper mids and treble?

 

I see no reason to describe neutral as "cold". It's neutral, unaltered sound. Describing it as cold just creates a negative psychological effect that makes it seemingly sound worse.

 

Psychological effects on sound are much more strong than most would think...

post #2030 of 18673
Quote:
Originally Posted by Madmollusk View Post

Sometimes, my friend, little differences (objectively speaking),  can drastically change our perceptions (subjectively speaking) of sound. For example: anyone and everyone here would hear a dramatic difference even in blind conditions when comparing the he400 driven through my Barnes and Noble Nook tablet and then through my Zune hd. Even my father, who uses a hearing aid, could tell the difference, and let me quote him regarding that difference: "It ain't subtle, son." 

I believe you Madmollusk - if we are talking about the difference between a Zune, a Clip+, and a $1000 amp/DAC combo. I know my cell phone isn't that good, I know my clip is better, I know I prefer the computer/amp combo for the power hungry HE-400s to a nook tablet (and would every time). But it is a dispassionate combination. Your subjective experience of each would very likely change under blind conditions also - rendering slight changes in hardware much less important than they seem. Case in point: I had to concede that the 400s sounded way better to me on a sh**ty clip than my very fancy cell phone! It was funny. Then again, why the hell would you invest in awesome headphones and not make sure you had a decent source?

 

Story: A guy at an audio shop was baffled that I wouldn't buy a JL Amp over an Alpine Class D because "class D is noisy" and "Alpine has no bass". But knowledge is power - the Alpine is under-rated, it is very efficient (and small), with very very low noise. From a technical standpoint, it was a good match for the speakers I wanted to power. The JL, at twice the price, would not come even close to being twice the sound (even though sure, I'd buy it if I could afford it). This is mainly because it put out approximately the same wattage.

 

The real problem between a lot of amps / equipment is the difference between RATED specs and ACTUAL. Too many companies B.S. their way past consumers, hence the notion that "JL's 300 watt" amp sounds amazing compared to "U.S. Acoustics junk". No, the real problem is that the JL is underrated at makes about 400 watts rms (easily driving your sub without distortion), while the U.S. acoustics does 300 watts MAX and provides 150 watts RMS, just barely meeting your speaker's requirement. But a watt is a watt and 99% of the time, you would NOT know the difference between a JL watt and a U.S. acoustic watt. Yet we stick to the "good brands" because we are assured of a more consistent quality experience. Also, I love my Kenwood deck, but despise its high impedance RCA pre-outs. It has been very hard to find the right gain settings to avoid noise / maximize volume. Today's AUX and USB outputs, offering subtle differences in source / amp matching add another layer of complication I find annoying.

 

Anyway, I am picking on you for your apparent dissatisfaction with a good piece of equipment (the O2) - I do not believe that it can add, nor take away from your subjective experience of a great pair of headphones. That is only something you can do. Technically, the O2 is nothing but a half-to-maybe-3/4 watt amplifier with good signal to noise. Technically, your "inferior" devices are either not music first, or not optimized for awesome planars. That they don't work as well as "dedicated" amps like the O2 is absolutely NO surprise to me. Yet I would not claim that the O2 was more / less clinical than my less powerful laptop amp was. All I concede is that, yes, the extra power seems to be appreciated by the headphones (in similar manner that I can "hear" the difference between my car subwoofer powered by 100 watts RMS and 200 watts RMS - provided the sub can handle it). I always seek to have enough power to achieve X-max, as that is the best you can really do.

 

I am quickly learning that, in the headphone world, one is subject to the same problems as every other audio space - too little ACTUAL ratings for equipment, and too much B.S. and market positioning. Considering the massive expense on some stuff, its ludicrous. Even the O2 exceeds the price of many-a-great car amplifier, which I find annoying.

 

Anyway, once more: Assuming a double blind test between relatively comparable pieces of audio equipment, you will likely fail to love the most expensive, and possibly even the technically "superior" equipment. I would put my sansa up against an iPhone any day. It would be fascinating to see the results. I would also put the O2 up against a $1500 dollar Harman-Kardon receiver.  I am just trying to relieve you, brutha - if you aren't satisfied, don't blame the least-likely-to-affect-SQ equipment first (AMP DAC). You are smart enough to know you've selected the right equipment for your phones. Get pissed at the recording or the speakers first!


Edited by MrMateoHead - 11/7/12 at 9:11am
post #2031 of 18673
Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

I never implied an equipment problem over a human problem.  I believe I stated that the result was for "my tastes" which is pretty specifically a human issue. However, I would counter the second statement by saying that, while you may not be able to hear differences between amps in a blind test (yet), there are many, many of us who can.  O2, like most "pro audio" gear, Auditor, etc, has a rather distinctly clinical presentation.  It's precisely the absence of the types of "flaws" such as warmth, smoothness, etc that makes it a less pleasurable listen for most gear (though it's worth saying that I prefer that presentation with the D5000, which is already highly colored.)  I can assure you that there is no way I could mistake HE-400 on O2 for HE-400 on Lyr, or mistaking HE-400 on Lyr with my Matsu tubes versus my Tungsram tubes.  Blind, non-blind or otherwise, any more than I could mistake HE-400 for HD650. I understand your point and what you're trying to drive at, but it's too broad and ultimately inaccurate as written. 

Regarding MP3s versus CDs it very definitely depends on the particular music and what bitrate is being discussed.  Too low a bitrate and MP3, specifically of all the compression types, develops a very metallic sounding treble.  The trouble with MP3 is certain frequency bands are entirely missing (as in, chopped out.)  Always the same bands (which is where MP3 specifically pales next to other formats such as Vorbis, and, grudgingly, AAC.) A 320kbps MP3, I'd concur there's really no audible difference (though keeping in mind there are frequency bands that are still missing.)  256k it depends.  There are many recordings I can hear no difference.  There are some more complicated (from a frequency perspective) tracks where a difference can be heard. Anything below 256k and the terrain gets a lot rockier very fast. AAC holds its own below 256k pretty well actually, as does vorbis.  Unfortunately so few hardware players support vorbis it's problematic, and it's a CPU/energy hog on portable devices.

I'd also counter that the "treble fatigue" issue is made worse by the very "cold" (i.e. flat, without warming) O2.  Or, perhaps "made worse" is the wrong wording, but rather, is made more obvious by not being reduced.  There's nothing wrong with a "cold" amp, of course.  The factor is the human one: is it preferable for one's tastes.

Maybe an alternative..and not to expensive: matrix m-stage with class a opa627 mod...trust me..u will be surprised!
post #2032 of 18673
Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

However, I would counter the second statement by saying that, while you may not be able to hear differences between amps in a blind test (yet), there are many, many of us who can.  O2, like most "pro audio" gear, Auditor, etc, has a rather distinctly clinical presentation.  It's precisely the absence of the types of "flaws" such as warmth, smoothness, etc that makes it a less pleasurable listen for most gear (though it's worth saying that I prefer that presentation with the D5000, which is already highly colored.)  I can assure you that there is no way I could mistake HE-400 on O2 for HE-400 on Lyr, or mistaking HE-400 on Lyr with my Matsu tubes versus my Tungsram tubes.  Blind, non-blind or otherwise, any more than I could mistake HE-400 for HD650. I understand your point and what you're trying to drive at, but it's too broad and ultimately inaccurate as written.

There are also schizophrenics on the street certain that they can hear voices that I can't, what's your point? Its impossible to prove without testing that 2 humans can (or can't) hear the same difference. If those humans are trained to listen for specific issues, than a test would be even more important - because now its harder to differentiate preferences based on what they hear, from preferences based on what they know (bias). I can hear differences between equipment too, so I guess I can't just dismiss the "golden ears" of some from my ordinary ears. I wouldn't buy this stuff if I wasn't so sure it would make me happy. 

 

But seriously, perception aside, most of the differences between your amps are only measured in the lab. If an amp is rolling off treble or bass response, that's not "warmth" or "darkness" to me - that's a technical failure to do a specific job, which is: replicate the audible spectrum without perceivable distortion. I guess the issue is that I just don't buy that the O2 is "just a tool" while other amps are emotionally gratifying and capable of imparting a "special" tonality or reverence for music. I'm adding that it might be liberating to do a blind test and see what your preferences might be - since you seem to be saying you like distorting your music at each level of the signal chain. Given that recordings and reproduction equipment are already distorting reality, this is quite interesting.

 

There is enough variety of source and equipment out there to achieve slightly different presentations, I get that. But I would love to see the objective measures between amps and measured impact on headphone frequency response and so on. Because sometimes I see the variation in equipment as a major problem, not a benefit, of "high end" audio. For example, someone blows $400 dollar on some cans, doesn't really like them, and starts using 10 different amps hoping they can color the sound "just right". That's not fun - that's torture!


Edited by MrMateoHead - 11/7/12 at 10:52am
post #2033 of 18673
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMateoHead View Post

There are also schizophrenics on the street certain that they can hear voices that I can't, what's your point? I can hear differences between equipment too, so I guess I can't just dismiss the "golden ears" of some from my ordinary ears. I wouldn't buy this stuff if I wasn't so sure it would make me happy. 

 

But seriously, perception aside, most of the differences between your amps are only measured in the lab. If an amp is rolling off treble or bass response, that's not "warmth" or "darkness" to me - that's a technical failure to do a specific job, which is: replicate the audible spectrum without perceivable distortion. I guess the issue is that I just don't buy that the O2 is "just a tool" while other amps are emotionally gratifying and capable of imparting a "special" tonality or reverence for music. I'm adding that it might be liberating to do a blind test and see what your preferences might be - since you seem to be saying you like distorting your music at each level of the signal chain. Given that recordings and reproduction equipment are already distorting reality, this is quite interesting.

 

There is enough variety of source and equipment out there to achieve slightly different presentations, I get that. But I would love to see the objective measures between amps and measured impact on headphone frequency response and so on. Because sometimes I see the variation in equipment as a major problem, not a benefit, of "high end" audio. For example, someone blows $400 dollar on some cans, doesn't really like them, and starts using 10 different amps hoping they can color the sound "just right". That's not fun - that's torture!

 

I really don't get your point. Are you trying to argue that the o2 is a respectable amp. In fact, it's nothing that you really need to clarify or support. Most of us who have been here a while and have listened to it would agree that the o2 is in fact a respectable amp. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately depending on your perspective, "respectable" is not an adjective that most of us would use to describe the experience that we after in the enjoyment of this hobby. 

 

I auditioned an o2 shortly after they came out and found it quite disappointing. Shortly after, I bought a lyr and have been happy with my amp choice since that point and feel no need to upgrade or change at this point. The o2, to me, sounds "thin." The instrument separation is mediocre and the bass is rolled off. The o2 did nothing for the he400 or the hd650 for that matter that lead to my enjoyment of listening to reproduced music. Furthermore, the decay of notes was not there making the music seem even more artificial and clinical. 

 

But hey if it's your cup of tea, then enjoy. Just because you hear things one way doesn't mean that anyone will agree with you. 

post #2034 of 18673

His point is that subjective impressions without proper blind testing are generally faulty.

 

Saying things like that there is rolled of bass on a device that doesn't have rolled off bass when measured really only proves his point. Unless you're saying you can detect a -.04db rolloff at 20Hz...

post #2035 of 18673
Thread Starter 

I don't like where this is going tbh. It's a pointless argument tbh. Why would you tell anyone what they can or can not hear? Do I break out a sine generator any graphs to listen to music, no. Does it matter how low a hp like the he400 can extend with audible punch and good texture, absolutely. 

post #2036 of 18673
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattTCG View Post

I don't like where this is going tbh. It's a pointless argument tbh. Why would you tell anyone what they can or can not hear? Do I break out a sine generator any graphs to listen to music, no. Does it matter how low a hp like the he400 can extend with audible punch and good texture, absolutely. 

It's not pointless, it saves people a lot of money. I feel the O2 gets a bad wrap for doing its job properly.

 

I'm not saying you can or cannot hear anything, I'm saying sometimes when doing comparisons psychological effects come into play which give sound a different feel to you. Audible perception can be strongly tied to emotion and thought.

 

Although yeah I guess I am saying that a .04dB decrease in a frequency seldom used in music is completely inaudible.


Edited by chewy4 - 11/7/12 at 11:47am
post #2037 of 18673
Thread Starter 

I think what you are mistaking is that I'm saying that the o2 is not as good as YOU think it is. I'm certainly not. I find it "thin" and not paired well with hp's that I've mentioned. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not after the ultimate "flat" and "uncolored" listening experience. If you are after that experience, you should probably look elsewhere than the he400 as they were not designed for that experience although there are other hp's that do deliver that experience. 

 

Please don't feel the need to defend the o2. If you like it, then that's good enough. Enjoy it, I don't. 

post #2038 of 18673
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattTCG View Post

I don't like where this is going tbh. It's a pointless argument tbh. Why would you tell anyone what they can or can not hear? Do I break out a sine generator any graphs to listen to music, no. Does it matter how low a hp like the he400 can extend with audible punch and good texture, absolutely. 

 

+1.  Debates starting with the premise of "I don't think you're hearing what you think you're hearing" typically don't end well for a thread, at least not outside the sound science forum.  We're all guilty of making assumptions about gear we have not personally owned from time to time, but at least can offer commentary based on similar competing gear, or evaluation based on the posted measurements when we make such reaches.  So far this is pointing toward a more broad generalization of subjective vs objective results discussion about gear pairings that have not been evaluated by all parties.  It's a valid discussion, but more for the sound science forum.

 

If the conversation is about whether the O2 pairs well with HE-400, we have a few people who agree that they dislike it for the same reasons, and a few who disagree and happen to like it.  That's appropriate conversation here, certainly.  But if it's dipping into broader ideas about "amp doesn't matter they all sound the same" or "amps that don't measure flat are flawed designs" or that type of discussion, we're getting more into "amp purchase theory" which is its own thing entirely. 

We certainly don't want the thread locked! beerchug.gif

post #2039 of 18673
Quote:
Originally Posted by chewy4 View Post

His point is that subjective impressions without proper blind testing are generally faulty.

 

Saying things like that there is rolled of bass on a device that doesn't have rolled off bass when measured really only proves his point. Unless you're saying you can detect a -.04db rolloff at 20Hz...


You said it better than me.

 

I'm not trying to hate on anyone, I'm just saying that actual exhaustive testing is only going to prove one thing: A) That you probably don't like "colored" sound nearly as much as you think you do and B) There is a very good chance you will pick the O2 just as often as you pick some other comparable amp, assuming performance differences are not clearly night and day.

 

All of this is not meant to attack anyone's belief that they can in fact hear a difference that matters to them. Like Chewy said, however, there is a significant likelihood that the only real difference between product A and product B is going to be a difference your wallet can feel. The rest is marketing. Would I always spend more if I could? Probably. But 90% of the time it will be on better speakers, since that is only decision that should matter. Because there are not real standards in this industry, we are all forced to "guess" which products are really delivering the goods, and which aren't.

post #2040 of 18673

It's really pointless trying to state the absolute performance of something, rather an A/B side-by-side comparison is much more useful in this hobby.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › **Hifiman HE-400 Impressions and Discussion Thread**