Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Fii0 E9: Tell me what I'm hearing with my HE-500.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Fii0 E9: Tell me what I'm hearing with my HE-500.

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I'm not conversant in the electronics behind amplification and sources and headphones and how well they match.  I've been told that the E9 is a bit of a mismatch with the HE-500 but not as bad as it could be because of the nature of Orthos.

 

I have an E9 with the gain flipped higher and both the HE-500 and my HD650s have always sounded better like this, but with the HE-500, it sounds like there might be some graininess in the treble...and maybe even some clipping depending on the quality of the recording.

 

However, turning the gain down pulls a LOT of the bass out of both cans, but it's very obvious in the HE-500.  Does what I'm hearing (or think I'm hearing) make sense?  Can someone help explain it?

 

Also, will the O2 have similar effects depending on gain or is it designed sufficiently that it will eliminate alterations in sound related to gain switching?

 

Thanks in advance to any of the more knowledgeable head-fi'ers who may pop in and tell me what I'm hearing.

post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by disastermouse View Post

I'm not conversant in the electronics behind amplification and sources and headphones and how well they match.  I've been told that the E9 is a bit of a mismatch with the HE-500 but not as bad as it could be because of the nature of Orthos.

 

I have an E9 with the gain flipped higher and both the HE-500 and my HD650s have always sounded better like this, but with the HE-500, it sounds like there might be some graininess in the treble...and maybe even some clipping depending on the quality of the recording.

 

However, turning the gain down pulls a LOT of the bass out of both cans, but it's very obvious in the HE-500.  Does what I'm hearing (or think I'm hearing) make sense?  Can someone help explain it?

 

Also, will the O2 have similar effects depending on gain or is it designed sufficiently that it will eliminate alterations in sound related to gain switching?

 

Thanks in advance to any of the more knowledgeable head-fi'ers who may pop in and tell me what I'm hearing.

May not be related to your problem, but what are you using for a DAC and source(s) do you play your audio from?

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

HRT MSii+.  Running ALACs from iTunes.

post #4 of 8
Quote:

Originally Posted by disastermouse View Post

 

However, turning the gain down pulls a LOT of the bass out of both cans, but it's very obvious in the HE-500.  Does what I'm hearing (or think I'm hearing) make sense?  Can someone help explain it?

 

Using low gain probably does not affect the frequency response in any significant way, but the resulting lower volume may give the impression of less bass (see equal-loudness contour).

post #5 of 8

A few notes:

 

  1. HRT lineup has a full-scale line output of 2.25V rms.  Somewhere out there, a review noticed that the E9 (at least, the sample tested) clips any input that goes beyond 2.1V rms—meaning at max volume, the E9 can't handle the signal from the HRT and will clip the peaks slightly.  You may want to just try turning down the volume in software a little, just in case.
  2. FiiO E9's output is fairly powerful and should be able to provide over 5V into HE-500 before the amp's output starts clipping (different from the input clipping, covered above).  Unless you've really got it cranked and are listening extremely loudly, like 115 dB SPL, you're not hearing the amp running to its limits.
  3. Whenever low gain mode is loud enough, even if it means the volume knob is maxed out, you want to use low gain mode.  It doesn't make much difference, but it's better in general.  With the HRT, which has a slightly hot output, there doesn't seem to be much point to using the high gain mode, since on low gain, you can pretty much already use the full range of the amp's output.
  4. There can be some differences, but normally you probably wouldn't expect anything notable with regards to how some frequencies are handled as opposed to others (FR, distortion levels, etc.), when changing the gain setting.

 

If you want to A/B compare the low and high gain modes, you should be sure to take away about 8 dB on the volume knob when you switch to high gain.  To do it properly, you would match it exactly before listening.  If you're just comparing without matching the volumes, it's not really a meaningful comparison of the sound quality differences, mostly just of the difference in volume.  If you boost volume by about 8 dB by any means, which is what happens by changing the gain, the bass will sound relatively more pronounced due to equal-loudness contours (a well-known result, would happen with any amp):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal-loudness_contour


Edited by mikeaj - 7/22/12 at 10:21am
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Not to be dense, but I don't understand exactly what the Wikipedia article is saying. I'm cranking the volume when I drop the gain, but I don't have anything to measure to be exact.

I can turn iTunes down digitally, but I'm not sure I can turn Spotify down digitally. When using the MSii+, system volume is locked out (iMac OS X Lion).

Will I have similar issues with a hot input for the O2?
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by disastermouse View Post

HRT MSii+.  Running ALACs from iTunes.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by disastermouse View Post

Not to be dense, but I don't understand exactly what the Wikipedia article is saying. I'm cranking the volume when I drop the gain, but I don't have anything to measure to be exact.
I can turn iTunes down digitally, but I'm not sure I can turn Spotify down digitally. When using the MSii+, system volume is locked out (iMac OS X Lion).
Will I have similar issues with a hot input for the O2?

 

I have the HE-400s and the HE-500s along with the HRT Music Streamer II (Not the Plus model like you have).  My favorite amp is the Little Dot I+ -- which has a tube pre-amp section, but the amp is solid state.  I haven't touched the tubes, nor the op-amps and have the Little Dot running stock.  It's a great combination - really great.  I've had some O2 amps in the past, but didn't use the HRT Music Streamer with them, but an iPod Classic.  The Little Dot I+ puts out about 800 mW, which should drive the HE-500s nicely.  When I use the HE-400s, I have the volume in the 9 O'clock position - no higher.

post #8 of 8

E9 can run every headphone I've thrown at it on low gain easily.  My main listening volume is at 75 dB and I have a SPL meter to measure the loudness for that volume.  When I use the LCD-2 r2 with the E9 that is just past the top left screw (10:30ish) same with the HE-500, the HD650 is just before the top left screw (10 O'clock), the SR80i for 75 dB goes just past the 3.5 mm headphone port (9 O'clock).  All of these are on low gain.

 

Increasing the volume pot just a little will take the dB level up fairly quickly.  You should never need to go close to 12 O'clock with the E9 and the LCD-2 or HE-500 and that's using low gain.

 

 

Edit: I took those measurements with the E7 so the MS II will be even louder at those positions.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphone Amps (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Fii0 E9: Tell me what I'm hearing with my HE-500.