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**Hifiman HE-400 Impressions and Discussion Thread** - Page 471

post #7051 of 18332
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

 

I can't say that's been the case for me.

 

I have a Stax SR-Lambda (with rebuilt drivers, admittedly) that I've been fond of, but I wasn't expecting to prefer it outright to the SR-202 and SR-303, which certainly cost more than their Normal bias grandfather does on the used market these days. They sounded different-kind of like the HE-400, in hindsight-but not better. Especially not in the midrange, which I prioritize most.

 

It could be that I'm just used to that old Lambda's way of presenting sound, but it does vocals in a way I've heard no other headphone do; it really seems like the vocalist is actually there, singing to you, totally natural and all. It doesn't seem like there's this raspy texture all over their voices that shatters the illusion, which has happened with many of the other higher-end headphones I've listened to.

 

How much of an expensive headphone's sound is expectation bias based on the price and its reputation, anyway?

 

Regardless, you may find that what you want out of a headphone isn't necessarily what the more expensive models are going to give you. Cost doesn't equal value to your ears.

 

 

Not all the time and not in every case.  Take LCD-2 vs. LCD-3 comparison above IMO.

 

I don't know the prices of Stax headphones.  So the SR-202 and the SR-203 cost 2X more than the SR Lambda?  

post #7052 of 18332
Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post

And the time has come for another novella from wje.  I'll apologize in advance for the extensive content, but I felt I had to write as much as I did to be able to relay my experience.

 

 

Some DAC impressions of recent experience.

 

These impressions are based on the use of my HD-600 and HD-650 Sennheisers.  I will update accordingly, after spending time with the HE-400s this coming weekend going through a similar exercise.

 

DACS were tested with a Schiit Magni amplifier, and a Fiio E9 amplifier.  The DACs tested were: FiiO D03K (early edition with the silver RCA connectors), FiiO E7 (docked on the E9), and the Muse Mini DAC, paired with both the Schiit Magni and FiiO E9 amplifiers.  The Schiit Modi was previously owned, but never tried with these headphones, so too many comments can’t be applied, but the general sound signature will be mentioned in the below content.

 

Wolfson chip-based DACs.  In testing both the D03K and the E7, I was able to detect what initially appeared to be somewhat detailed level of performance.  However, after using for extended periods, the sound just became a bit more strident than what would appeal to me for many longer listening sessions.  I quickly tired of the extra detail that was being handed to me.  As to bass punch, I felt the Wolfson chip-based DACs were as capable as any other DAC that I’ve tried and similar response in the mid-frequencies, too.  Additionally, while not tested, the FiiO E17 an newest E07K are built around the same Wolfson DAC chip.  The D07K was based on a different variant of the Wolfson DAC chip and happed to be purchased locally off of Craigslist from a guy who replacing all the DACs in his 4-zone music system in his home.  He had a bag of the D03K DACs (4 of them, actually) and I picked the silver RCA version, known as version #1.  The later version has a DAC chip by Cirrus Logic.  Being that he might still have the other DACs, I should opt for one of the newer gold ones, so I can test the sound signature of that variant, too.  Hmm … does this ever really end?

 

I’m not completely writing off Wolfson at the this point as I’ve heard their offerings in two of the amp DAC combos that I owned by Audio-GD.  However, in those cases, the Audio-GD did suffer from some upper and lower frequency roll off, which has been noted by others too.

 

Now, for the Muse Mini DAC.  It is built around the Burr-Brown PCM2704 chip.  This chip is a bit long in the tooth and has been around for the past 6 or so years.  Possibly longer.  This variant provided a well-balanced sound that didn’t push those audible upper-frequency details that became strident over longer listening periods.  My other experience with the Burr-Brown DACs has also been with my (3) Squeezebox devices.  I’ve never once noticed any sounds that they’ve produced that were overly-emphasized in one frequency zone or another.  This DAC currently sells for about $30 on Amazon.

 

As to the amps I used.  The Schiit Magni and the FiiO E9 amps, they both performed relatively on par with each other and the tested DACs.  The DAC signatures noted were apparent with both amplifiers.  However, if I were to have to give the nod here, it would be for the Schiit Magni.  While on par, I still felt that the Magni just had a slightly more refined sound.  Again, this was just my sound and listening observations as I experienced.  I think in the E9, it happens to be more largely mass-produced and possibly, component variations that are internally utilized could periodically change from time-to-time based on availability.  Since Schiit is assembled on a smaller scale here in the U.S., it is quite possible that more attention can be paid towards the components that are purchased, and I’d like to believe that there might be some more consistency in what their components their amps are built upon.

 

Possibly, again, at another point in the future.  The Modi DAC was only sold so I could buy another item from the forum I had my eye on.  Being that I had the Muse Mini DAC, I put that into use and sold the Modi for the time being.

 

Finally, I feel as though a comment should be applied on the Shiit Modi DAC.  While not tested with any amps other than the Schiit Magni and only with my HifiMAN HE-400s, it provided a nice, even sound with the frequency ranges distributed without one range overpowering the other.  I just wish I could have had it for this comparison.

 

I wonder if this is only an issue with the AMP/DAC combos... I believe I read somewhere it only applied on the combo units....

I have the NFB 3.32 which sports two WM8741 chips and I cant say they are rolled off. However, I agree with the "overly detailed highs information" it can be slightly overpowering at times, still with a HP and amp which are very neutral and transparent there is hardly anything not to like and/or emphasized :) Save for a hint of brightness (not necessarily bad though)


Edited by conquerator2 - 2/7/13 at 12:22pm
post #7053 of 18332
Quote:
Originally Posted by conquerator2 View Post

I wonder if this is only an issue with the AMP/DAC combos... I believe I read somewhere it only applied on the combo units....

I have the NFB 3.32 which sports two WM8741 chips and I cant say they are rolled off. However, I agree with the "overly detailed highs information" it can be slightly overpowering at times, still with a HP and amp which are very neutral and transparent there is hardly anything not to like and/or emphasized :) Save for a hint of brightness (not necessarily bad though)

 

Thanks for the feedback.  Interesting stuff.  Also, today, I was able to exchange my Fiio D03K (silver RCA edition) out for what is possibly the newer D03K (Gold RCA edition) from the guy who I purchased the original from.  I tried to give him a $10.00 for his efforts, but he refused to take it.  I told him that I was running a series of tests on lower-cost DACs and my inital approach was that I wanted to buy a 2nd Fiio DAC that he had for sale.  He was the one nice enough to offer to meet up with me to handle the exchange.

 

I'll pull the hood off of the DAC tonight to confirm it has the Cirrus chip in it. If so, I'll post, or add my impressions to the original listing that I wrote up earlier this week.

 

I still have to say though, I really do like the beauty of the Burr-Brown offerings.  Granted, they are getting a bit dated, but Burr-Brown had a large share of the market 5, 6 or 7 years ago.  I'm assuming a bit less today under T.I. though - or, they might not be advertised as much.  The upper end Yamaha receivers, for the most part would use Burr-Brown DAC chips for the assembly of their DACs on the receivers and they would publish that information in their literature.  I believe the same is true for Pioneer Elite - or, it was a few years back.

post #7054 of 18332
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post

Please point me in a place where I can find a $500 system that sounds better than a $1000 - $1500 system.  I'm not being funny.  I would like to know.

 

Next time you pass through my area, let me know.  You can hear my $1,400 2.1 music system that I was able to cobble together by carefully selecting used components.

 

  • Yamaha AS-700 Integrated Amplifier
  • Monitor Audio RS-6 Speakers
  • SVS 20-39 PCi Subwoofer
  • Logitech Squeezebox Digital Music player with Burr-Brown DAC

 

I bought all of the gear at half the cost of new.  However, when the bass has sucked the air out of your lungs and you're getting a migraine from the SVS pounding so hard, I think you'll agree that I was awfully careful during my shopping mission to get the biggest bang for the buck.  biggrin.gif    wink.gif

post #7055 of 18332
Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post

 

Next time you pass through my area, let me know.  You can hear my $1,400 2.1 music system that I was able to cobble together by carefully selecting used components.

 

  • Yamaha AS-700 Integrated Amplifier
  • Monitor Audio RS-6 Speakers
  • SVS 20-39 PCi Subwoofer
  • Logitech Squeezebox Digital Music player with Burr-Brown DAC

 

I bought all of the gear at half the cost of new.  However, when the bass has sucked the air out of your lungs and you're getting a migraine from the SVS pounding so hard, I think you'll agree that I was awfully careful during my shopping mission to get the biggest bang for the buck.  biggrin.gif    wink.gif

 

 

I sure will W..  We should setup a little mini meet..

 

I need to shop where you shop.biggrin.gif

post #7056 of 18332
Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post

 

Thanks for the feedback.  Interesting stuff.  Also, today, I was able to exchange my Fiio D03K (silver RCA edition) out for what is possibly the newer D03K (Gold RCA edition) from the guy who I purchased the original from.  I tried to give him a $10.00 for his efforts, but he refused to take it.  I told him that I was running a series of tests on lower-cost DACs and my inital approach was that I wanted to buy a 2nd Fiio DAC that he had for sale.  He was the one nice enough to offer to meet up with me to handle the exchange.

 

I'll pull the hood off of the DAC tonight to confirm it has the Cirrus chip in it. If so, I'll post, or add my impressions to the original listing that I wrote up earlier this week.

 

I still have to say though, I really do like the beauty of the Burr-Brown offerings.  Granted, they are getting a bit dated, but Burr-Brown had a large share of the market 5, 6 or 7 years ago.  I'm assuming a bit less today under T.I. though - or, they might not be advertised as much.  The upper end Yamaha receivers, for the most part would use Burr-Brown DAC chips for the assembly of their DACs on the receivers and they would publish that information in their literature.  I believe the same is true for Pioneer Elite - or, it was a few years back.

 

Actually I believe Yamaha use them in ALL their current receivers. I have an entry level one and the 24/192 Burr-Brown DAC is in there.

I scoped the other high end models and they use the same Burr-Brown DAC as well.

I will give the receiver a try with my HE-6 and report back on how it compares with the Mini-X/NFB 3.32

post #7057 of 18332

Still want those objective measurements peeps.

 

The high-end audio business usually only stays as such thanks to their refusal to provide any actual information on system specs and actual performance. They rely on "subjectivity" because it lets them take advantage of people's emotional, irrational impulses. Yes, there are numerous variables in the "real world", but objective measures at least start the process of making a fair comparison and assessment. The only people that "win" on subjectivity are manufacturers, not consumers.

 

When possible, I like information, not opinion. Even if I am personally too ignorant to make best use of it, I want it. I doubt a single one of you would purchase a car that had been reviewed, a million times, to have "awesome performance", or "great gas mileage", if there was one on the lot that said it would hit 100 mph in 10 seconds and achieve 60 mpg on the highway. Why spend $25k on subjectivity when you have something known for the same price? Can specs/manufacturers lie? Absolutely. But lets get serious here. My money is too precious to me to waste on gear full of claim but which doesn't deliver the goods.

 

I am not into "head modding", but I do "mod" cars. YES, you should make a baffle. YES, you should apply sound deadening strategically if possible. YES, you should invest in time alignment. YES, a thicker power wire / high quality interconnect should improve power delivery and noise rejection. YES, you will "hear the difference", but NO, the difference is not likely to be great depending on a number of factories. NO you shouldn't spend $1,000 dollars more on aforementioned mods. The lessons I've learned boil down to choosing the power you need, and the best speakers you can afford. Then pray that you have a good acoustics in your car.

 

So lets get some measurements already! I am so curious to see how the HE's may have been affected. I get that you can't get all the information from something like frequency response, but it will sure back up your street cred.

post #7058 of 18332
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post

 

 

I sure will W..  We should setup a little mini meet..

 

I need to shop where you shop.biggrin.gif


Count me in!

post #7059 of 18332
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMateoHead View Post

Still want those objective measurements peeps.

 

The high-end audio business usually only stays as such thanks to their refusal to provide any actual information on system specs and actual performance. They rely on "subjectivity" because it lets them take advantage of people's emotional, irrational impulses. Yes, there are numerous variables in the "real world", but objective measures at least start the process of making a fair comparison and assessment. The only people that "win" on subjectivity are manufacturers, not consumers.

 

 

You are 100% correct.  Granted, that wasn't just my opinion necessarily that I stated.  However, if you'll recall, a few years back NwAvGuy used to be a member here.  It was shortly before the release of his Objective 2 amplifier spec.  As it happens, NwAvGuy, was quite creative and testing capabilities of equipment to include output, crosstalk, distortion and all kinds of stuff like that.  The problem, though, happened to be that he was publishing the results on the site.  Quite a number of pieces reviewed were items that were products of the sponsors on the forum here.  I believe the moderators / admins made a request to have him stop his efforts.  However, the outcome happened to be that he was eventually banned.

 

Boutique equipment often gets produced and marketed to be sold as specialty equipment.  I think that this process has essentially worked up until the past several years when sites like Ebay started to have goods appear from China being posted for sale and individuals could go directly to the manufacturers or distributors located in China, place the order and get their item in about 14 days.  While I'm quite sure the boutique market is still probably doing OK, I think we have to realize that what is going on is the transactions via Ebay or Alibaba.com really have to be doing some erosion to the higher end market, or the market where there were a lot of "middle men" who would all receive a cut as the product passed through their supply channels.

 

Also, with the recent DAC-a-thon that I've been involved with regarding sub-$100 DACs, I've found some "gems" and I've also come across some "lemons" too.  However, if I were in the $500+ DAC market, and came across some "lemons" where the sound didn't have a nice flow to it, I know I'd be awfully upset and feel pretty sour about such a purchase.

post #7060 of 18332
Thread Starter 

^^ Okay, so speaking NWAvGuy, you brought it up, and dac-athons...to no one's surprise I should think the odac tested very well against the bifrost when paired with the lyr and e09.  At a third the cost I'd be hard pressed to spend $450 on the bifrost w/usb. I bought and odac from Joe at Audio Poutine which has built in RCA jacks. You can have custom panels, colors, logos ect. For around the $500 mark...a  used lyr with odac is an incredible bargain for a crazy good setup. 

 

 

 

700

post #7061 of 18332
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattTCG View Post

^^ Okay, so speaking NWAvGuy, you brought it up, and dac-athons...to no one's surprise I should think the odac tested very well against the bifrost when paired with the lyr and e09.  At a third the cost I'd be hard pressed to spend $450 on the bifrost w/usb. I bought and odac from Joe at Audio Poutine which has built in RCA jacks. You can have custom panels, colors, logos ect. For around the $500 mark...a  used lyr with odac is an incredible bargain for a crazy good setup. 

 

 

Matt,

 

Very nice.  I like the offerings of Audio Poutine such as the RCA outputs, etc.  While essentially the same as the other oDAC offerings, I just love the RCA connections that much better.

 

Now, if the rest of you knew what poutine was, you'd probably die - or, your cholesterol numbers would probably jump 100 points just thinking about it.  However, during an extended training trip to Ontario some years back, I was able to enjoy some of that delicous dish.  Nothing beats a nice bowl of french fries, which is then covered in melted white cheese and smothered with gravy.  Yes, that is poutine.  Relatively simple to make.  I think I've just made myself hungry.

post #7062 of 18332

Unfortunately, Audio Poutine is just way too disorganized for me. I asked some questions on FB, he only answered one and made things more unclear, the Google Doc is weird and I don't understand it, and he did not reply to my emails. So I went with the M&M instead

 

Also yeah I want a Lyr, but I have no idea what to do for a DAC. $450 for a Bifrost just seems insane to me.


Edited by ninjames - 2/7/13 at 3:30pm
post #7063 of 18332
Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMateoHead View Post

Still want those objective measurements peeps.

The high-end audio business usually only stays as such thanks to their refusal to provide any actual information on system specs and actual performance. They rely on "subjectivity" because it lets them take advantage of people's emotional, irrational impulses. Yes, there are numerous variables in the "real world", but objective measures at least start the process of making a fair comparison and assessment. The only people that "win" on subjectivity are manufacturers, not consumers.

You are 100% correct.  Granted, that wasn't just my opinion necessarily that I stated.  However, if you'll recall, a few years back NwAvGuy used to be a member here.  It was shortly before the release of his Objective 2 amplifier spec.  As it happens, NwAvGuy, was quite creative and testing capabilities of equipment to include output, crosstalk, distortion and all kinds of stuff like that.  The problem, though, happened to be that he was publishing the results on the site.  Quite a number of pieces reviewed were items that were products of the sponsors on the forum here.  I believe the moderators / admins made a request to have him stop his efforts.  However, the outcome happened to be that he was eventually banned.

Boutique equipment often gets produced and marketed to be sold as specialty equipment.  I think that this process has essentially worked up until the past several years when sites like Ebay started to have goods appear from China being posted for sale and individuals could go directly to the manufacturers or distributors located in China, place the order and get their item in about 14 days.  While I'm quite sure the boutique market is still probably doing OK, I think we have to realize that what is going on is the transactions via Ebay or Alibaba.com really have to be doing some erosion to the higher end market, or the market where there were a lot of "middle men" who would all receive a cut as the product passed through their supply channels.

Also, with the recent DAC-a-thon that I've been involved with regarding sub-$100 DACs, I've found some "gems" and I've also come across some "lemons" too.  However, if I were in the $500+ DAC market, and came across some "lemons" where the sound didn't have a nice flow to it, I know I'd be awfully upset and feel pretty sour about such a purchase.

I agree - plus there is definitely the law of diminishing returns for SS equipment, but for speakers it might be a bit different, as what you hear is what you get, and up there you can get you some amazing speaker systems. But there again, that is subjective to.

Plus for the real high end stuff, there's a point where audio turns into art I think - its then about the esthetics, as much as it is about the sound.
post #7064 of 18332
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ninjames View Post

Unfortunately, Audio Poutine is just way too disorganized for me. I asked some questions on FB, he only answered one and made things more unclear, the Google Doc is weird and I don't understand it, and he did not reply to my emails. So I went with the M&M instead

 

Also yeah I want a Lyr, but I have no idea what to do for a DAC. $450 for a Bifrost just seems insane to me.

 

I believe that jddslabs now offers an odac with rca jacks. If you don't want the odac from Joe, then I'd go with jdslabs. 

 

my2c

post #7065 of 18332
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattTCG View Post

 

I believe that jddslabs now offers an odac with rca jacks. If you don't want the odac from Joe, then I'd go with jdslabs. 

 

my2c

I just don't know if the modi + lyr is a great combination. I'd feel like I'm doing the Lyr a disservice, and I know that the ODAC isn't that much better than a Modi. I guess I'm looking for something between $150 and the $450 of the Bifrost (USB is a must)

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