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After much indecisiveness over whether to buy new cans or an amp or...

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

First it was Mad Dogs, because....wow...supposed to be near giant killers and easily driven....or maybe an amp to give my HD650s something better than the E9.....then maybe HE-500s .... but they cost so much.....

 

And then I noticed Amazon Warehouse Deals had a slightly used, cosmetically scuffed (supposedly) set of HE-500s for ~$550.  More dithering....finally....

 

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What can I expect that I may not already know about?  Yeah, the E9 is not enough, but a better amp will come within three or four paychecks (August is a 3-paycheck month).  I don't mind the cosmetic flaw - a little wabi sabi to make me less sad when I ding or scratch them myself.

 

I was so excited I got next day shipping (already had Prime, so a no-brainer) even though I work tomorrow night.

post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by disastermouse View Post

First it was Mad Dogs, because....wow...supposed to be near giant killers and easily driven....or maybe an amp to give my HD650s something better than the E9.....then maybe HE-500s .... but they cost so much.....

 

And then I noticed Amazon Warehouse Deals had a slightly used, cosmetically scuffed (supposedly) set of HE-500s for ~$550.  More dithering....finally....

 

Add.

To.

Cart!

 

What can I expect that I may not already know about?  Yeah, the E9 is not enough, but a better amp will come within three or four paychecks (August is a 3-paycheck month).  I don't mind the cosmetic flaw - a little wabi sabi to make me less sad when I ding or scratch them myself.

 

I was so excited I got next day shipping (already had Prime, so a no-brainer) even though I work tomorrow night.

 

I'd say don't expect to be blown away at first b/c the HE-500 is a headphone that doesn't impress with in-your-face treble, mids, or bass.  It is a really balanced headphone top to bottom.  Listen to the HE-500 exclusively for at least a week before going back to the HD650 to compare, you will be blown away by the difference.

The technical abilities of the HE-500 will reveal themselves to you over that first week of listening and it will be hard to go back once you realize the differences from the HD650.

 

Congrats!  HE-500 is an amazing headphone.

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Yeah...I've heard that you notice the difference between an 'upgrade' and one's current set by doing just as you've noted...although I didn't realize it might take a week to notice the difference.

I'm glad that I'll be getting a couple CD copies of albums that I've been listening to heavily in Spotify. They should be here tomorrow too.
post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by disastermouse View Post

First it was Mad Dogs, because....wow...supposed to be near giant killers and easily driven....or maybe an amp to give my HD650s something better than the E9.....then maybe HE-500s .... but they cost so much.....

 

And then I noticed Amazon Warehouse Deals had a slightly used, cosmetically scuffed (supposedly) set of HE-500s for ~$550.  More dithering....finally....

 

Add.

To.

Cart!

 

What can I expect that I may not already know about?  Yeah, the E9 is not enough, but a better amp will come within three or four paychecks (August is a 3-paycheck month).  I don't mind the cosmetic flaw - a little wabi sabi to make me less sad when I ding or scratch them myself.

 

I was so excited I got next day shipping (already had Prime, so a no-brainer) even though I work tomorrow night.

The Fiio E9 can drive up to 600-Ohm headphones, the Hifiman HE-500s are only 38-Ohms.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'm pretty sure they'd sound better with a better amp...or are you amp agnostic?
post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by disastermouse View Post

I'm pretty sure they'd sound better with a better amp...or are you amp agnostic?

The Fiio E9 has an impedance of 10-Ohm, which is a negative for headphones under 80-Ohm.

So a headphone amplifier with an impedance of around 5-Ohm or lower is preferred, for 38-Ohm headphones.

I believe the Little Dot 1+ Hybrid ($150) is designed for low Ohm headphones.

O2 (Objective 2) headphone amp. ($155) is low impedance.

Even the Fiio E11 portable headphone amp. ($65) comes with a low impedance.

 

What source(s) are you using?

DAC?


Edited by PurpleAngel - 7/17/12 at 7:45pm
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I know it's not ideal...the more appropriate amp is next. The source is the HRT Music Streamer ii+.
Edited by disastermouse - 7/17/12 at 7:54pm
post #8 of 11

Yeah, but HE-500 are planar magnetics and have very resistive impedance (almost flat impedance over frequency).  You won't get any of the frequency response variations due to impedance issues.  I don't think people report hearing bad things with medium or high-Z sources and planar magnetics, so long as they can supply enough current—and the FiiO E9 can.  An E9 should be a good cheap amp for the job.  Despite the cost and others' conceptions, I'd dare say it should be appropriate, unless you listen extremely loudly.

 

In fact, if you do get another amp later, I'd advise carefully matching the volume between that and the E9 so you can fairly switch back and forth between them to listen.  There definitely should be amps that sound different, others that sound worse, others that sound better and have better specs running other headphones, and others with better specs, but it doesn't seem that likely that you can audibly improve (meaning towards higher fidelity—a different sound that's worse could be an improvement to some ears) over an E9 in an appreciable way with those headphones.  Does that count as amp agnostic?


Edited by mikeaj - 7/17/12 at 8:06pm
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

Yeah, but HE-500 are planar magnetics and have very resistive impedance (almost flat impedance over frequency).  You won't get any of the frequency response variations due to impedance issues.  I don't think people report hearing bad things with medium or high-Z sources and planar magnetics, so long as they can supply enough current—and the FiiO E9 can.  An E9 should be a good cheap amp for the job.  Despite the cost and others' conceptions, I'd dare say it should be appropriate, unless you listen extremely loudly.

In fact, if you do get another amp later, I'd advise carefully matching the volume between that and the E9 so you can fairly switch back and forth between them to listen.  There definitely should be amps that sound different, others that sound worse, others that sound better and have better specs running other headphones, and others with better specs, but it doesn't seem that likely that you can audibly improve (meaning towards higher fidelity—a different sound that's worse could be an improvement to some ears) over an E9 in an appreciable way with those headphones.  Does that count as amp agnostic?

I think people like to color their sound chain in ways they perceive to be hyper-real - technically they are distortions, but distortions the listener perceives to be euphonic...or engaging, or somehow pleasing regardless of strict fidelity.

Personally, HD650s on a solid state amp are my only real hi/mid-fi experience, so I'm not sure what crystalline neutrality even looks like. Before that, I had Grado SR80i.
post #10 of 11

At some point you'll notice a difference with better amps but the e9 will still serve you well and it is enough for the 500's.
 

post #11 of 11

you may want to try out a head-fi meet first to see the difference in amps yourself but the he500 thread will already have recommended amps listed.

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