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HiFiMan HE400 or Beyerdynamic 32ohm 880's for home and travel? Either usable without amp?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi, I'm JJ and this is my first post here on the forum.

 

I'm trying to determine which headphones to ask Santa to bring me for Christmas.

 

At home - I'll be hooking up to my Cary SLI-80 tube amp. But I travel for work on occasion, and I'd like to be able to bring my headphones along for listening or watching movies at night.

On the road - my source will be my ipad or iphone5.

 

I see both the Beyerdynamic 880s' (32 ohm) and HiFiMan HE400's say they're capable of running from an iphone.

My question is... how well? Does anyone here actually do that?

I am trying to avoid dragging an amp along to use on the road... but if neither would sound good direct from the iphone headphone jack, I'd want to go with something small like a FiiO or similar slim portable amp.

 

 

So there it is:

1) Which headphone would sound better from an iDevice. Rock, pop, jazz primarily.

2) Can I get by without an amp? If not, which 'phones would work better with a slim cheapie - like the FiiO E11?  Other amp recommendations for pocket use?

3) keep in mind I've got the tubes and a Rega Planet at home for high quality source and amplification. I can handle a little lower quality when I'm on the road. I don't want to invest a fortune into a portable setup.

 

Thanks all for your advice!

 

JJ

post #2 of 14

If you're going to be using them in a public location aka on a bus, train, airplane, they will both leak sound in and out and are not suitable for either situation. Both of their cables are too long for portable use as well.

 

Honestly, you're not going to find a pair of cans that is great for home AND portable listening. DT770s would be your best bet since they're closed, but that cable is still fairly long. You'd be better off getting a pair of Denon D2000s if you can find them for a decent price (hard to do now since they're discontinued). But like I said, you're going to be hard pressed to find a good pair of closed cans that you'll love listening to at home.

 

A Fiio E11 is probably the best amp you can get for that price, maybe the cMoyBB amp too. I'd go for the Fiio, myself.

 

Bottom line: the HE400 is like a speaker, and pushes sound in both directions, in and out. They leak a ton of noise. No way you're using these for portable applications. The DT880 isn't SO leaky but it's still fairly open and leaks sound in and out. You'll have to turn the volume up too much to hear over the hum of airplane engines or a train. Or anything, pretty much.

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feedback.

 

I don't plan to use these in public places... Nor do I intend to walk around wearing them.  Long cords are ok, because I intend to be somewhat stationary when listening.

 

I've got some Bose QC15's for air travel.  They don't seem too leaky, and the noise cancellation works well.  Also have some Westone in-ears  that work well on planes, but they get uncomfortable after a few hours of wear (like 15 hour flights to Asia).

 

 

I'm strictly looking for use in the home or hotel room.  Places where I'm not too worried about disturbing others.  

I had to mothball my loudspeakers for fear the toddler would jam his finger through a tweeter.  Now I'm looking for a way to get my hifi fix, yet still be able to put it out of reach when I'm finished.

 

thanks!

post #4 of 14

I'd definitely go for the DT880s then. You cannot beat the comfort. Grab yourself a pair of those, 32ohm or 250ohm, with an E11 and you're set. I found the DT880/250s to sound just great from my E17, which has the same (or slightly weaker?) amp as the E11.

post #5 of 14

I have a pair of 880 32ohms.

 

I consider myself a pure audiophile. I do the vast majority of my listening totally analog, via my VPI turntable and Usher BE-718 speakers. Every piece in my system has been rated either class A or B in Sterophile Magazine.  I bought the Beyers for late nights when my wife complains. I chose the 32ohms to have the option to plug into my laptop for backyard use. In my easy chair, I plug them into a Gilmore Lite V2. Either way, they sound great.

 

The highs are crisp without sizzling. They can be light and airy when the material calls for it..whether brushed or banged, cymbals sound like cymbals. The midrange is open and the bass tight but not overbearing.

 

After I bought my amp I considered swapping them for 600 ohm models, but I love the versatiltiy of being able to to use them with my phone, my Fuse or my laptop. I have not compared them to other high end cans, but they are more fun and more comfortable than my Ety 6 or 6is. 

The 880's have been around too long to compete in the flavor of the month contests, but there is a reason they have been around so long. They get most everything right and very little wrong.

post #6 of 14

I haven't heard HE400, but I am quite sure that they are not all that easy to drive since they are planar magnetic headphones and planars tend to require at least a decent amount of voltage swing to perform properly. I did audition DT880 32 Ohm model and found them fantastic sounding straight out of my portable players with a great balance throughout the spectrum, excellent clarity, dynamics and detail. However, personally I do like the sound of DT990 more as it is even more dynamic and more detailed than DT880, so I would recommend DT990 32 Ohm as well. Ideally, you should try both and decide which one you like more.

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by JJATL View Post

Hi, I'm JJ and this is my first post here on the forum.

 

I'm trying to determine which headphones to ask Santa to bring me for Christmas.

 

At home - I'll be hooking up to my Cary SLI-80 tube amp. But I travel for work on occasion, and I'd like to be able to bring my headphones along for listening or watching movies at night.

On the road - my source will be my ipad or iphone5.

 

I see both the Beyerdynamic 880s' (32 ohm) and HiFiMan HE400's say they're capable of running from an iphone.

My question is... how well? Does anyone here actually do that?

I am trying to avoid dragging an amp along to use on the road... but if neither would sound good direct from the iphone headphone jack, I'd want to go with something small like a FiiO or similar slim portable amp.

 

 

So there it is:

1) Which headphone would sound better from an iDevice. Rock, pop, jazz primarily.

2) Can I get by without an amp? If not, which 'phones would work better with a slim cheapie - like the FiiO E11?  Other amp recommendations for pocket use?

3) keep in mind I've got the tubes and a Rega Planet at home for high quality source and amplification. I can handle a little lower quality when I'm on the road. I don't want to invest a fortune into a portable setup.

 

Thanks all for your advice!

 

JJ

 

Heya,


The DT880 is probably the overall better buy if you want to go unamplified and travel with them. They will work and achieve volume without draining your battery as quickly too. Beyers, even at higher impedance, will work from your devices without a dedicated amplifier, they're efficient enough, they simply get better with additional voltage/current. But the 32ohm will certainly work here without an amp. The build quality is the other reason I recommend it, it will survive more bangs in luggage or drops.

 

The HE-400 will run fine from your iphone, it doesn't require a lot of power, it's efficient, but it does scale better with additional current from an amplifier. Just because it's a planar magnetic does not mean it needs a speaker amp to function properly. The HE-400 and T50RP for example can run from basic devices. Are they better with an amplifier? Yes. But I would not stress it since this is not for home critical listening and simply for a travel-pack in a hotel. It will be fine if you want to go this route. If you do however, I would add a little Fiio E11 or JDS CMOY, since they're small and give you the additional current you'll enjoy without draining your iphone/etc faster. The build quality of the HE-400 is ok, it's not superb, it probably won't survive too many knocks on the attachment sites in luggage or survive too many drops. So maybe consider that too. It's a phenomenal headphone, but I always consider it's life span into the cost, and I know from experience that the more you move something the more often it is prone to accidental damage.

 

Very best,

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the comments everyone.
I had a slight change in direction... I got a pair of Sennheiser HD800's for home use.

Based on Yokken's comment, I also picked up the Beyerdynamic DT770's due to the closed back.
I decided I could try them at the office, listen in bed without waking the wife, and they seem rugged enough to put in a travel bag. I really like these!

Maybe next year I'll grow my collection with some DT880's, but for now... I'm spent!
post #9 of 14

Its kind of funny the way you solved your problem: Buying 1500$ headphones. What's your opinion about the Beyers nowadays?

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
That was a rather unexpected treat from the family this year. I loaded up my Amazon wish list with several different models and prices - but never expected them to splurge like that!

When I saw the Sennheisers, I quickly realized those are not for travel or for my kid to touch! They're now in my home office by the tube amp. And they sound phenomenal! Can't wait to see how much better they get after a few hundred hours of use.

I decided to pick up the 770's because of the isolation in both directions. I still wanted something I could use with my iPhone/iPad. I can watch movies or listen to music while my wife is sleeping beside me and she can't hear a thing. And they helped me to maintain some sanity during the holiday break, since my little boy likes to watch the same cartoons over and over and over...

So far I'm very happy with the DT770's. thus far I haven't listened to many different recordings with them... Just watched a few movies. I noticed the dialogue is much easier to follow than with the normal surround system - maybe in part to poor acoustics in my home, and the excellent isolation. I've tried watching movies at home with my Bose QC15's and didn't notice that improvement in clarity.
Only problem with the Beyerdynamics is that they big. I don't think I'll take them into the office because of that. I'll stick with ear buds or the somewhat thinner bose headphones there.
post #11 of 14

I like the way you solved your issue :P

Now you owe yourself a dedicated headphone amp and a dac.

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm running my Cary tune amp connected to my old Rega planet CD player. So far, I'm happy with that.
I would like to know how to connect my Mac to listen to the iTunes library. Surely there's a better way than a 3.5mm phono to RCA cable...
post #13 of 14

Did you get the LE DT770? 

post #14 of 14
A good dac with USB. Should perform better than ur cd player
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › HiFiMan HE400 or Beyerdynamic 32ohm 880's for home and travel? Either usable without amp?