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Portable DAC/AMP to improve HE-400 on Mac Book Pro ?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I just received an he-400 and with my Mac book pro, i am disappointed with it (my HD-25 ii sounds better), also, there are some parasites even with lossless files.

Which portable dac-amp should i buy that Will take the headphone to its maximum performance ?

Thanks !
post #2 of 8

What do you mean by parasites?  The first thing I would do is make sure you have velour pads installed and not the leather ones.  The velour pads allow the headphone to sound much better.


Are you powering the HE-400 with the Macbook Pro and nothing in between like an amp or external DAC?

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi !


I mean by parasite some sounds that disturbs the music, like in bad vinyl rips, some "tic" "chtchhhtchhh ticcc ticcc", but this happens only on some albums even if they are in very good quality and i hear them only with the HE-400.


I plug my HE-400 directly to the macbook pro 2010 and use itunes to play. With that configuration, i'm not impressed at all, i even have the feeling that my HD-25 ii sound better from my mac with a more powerful sound and a far more dynamic bass.


I also set up the leather pads.

post #4 of 8

The sounds you are hearing are probably coming from the internal workings of your PC, but I did find the HE-400 a bit tinny sounding and they distorted with my system on some tracks.  Perhaps that is what you are hearing.  You may want to look into an external DAC that will virtually eliminate the noise coming from inside your Mac.


The HE-400 and to some extent the much better HE-500 sound pretty unexciting on some tracks / systems.  The HE-500 is much better sounding it that is has virtually no distortion and not tinny sounding at all.


Personally I never recommend the HE-400 as I find it far inferior to the HE-500 which I consider the budget Ortho.


You may want to keep an eye out for a Denon AH-D2000 or AKG K550 and give those a try.  I think you will like the sound signature a tad better if not much better.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Yes i totally agree with you, the thing is i had a low budget, and my goal was to first buy the he-400, give it a try without a DAC/amp, improve it with a DAC/AMP and then go for a better one like the he-500 that will perfectly work with the DAC/amp...


On that do you have any advices on the kind of DAC/AMP i should buy and some good models that can handle the he-400 and a higher headphone like the he-500 ?

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Maybe the Audioquest dragonfly ? but i guess i'll have to add an amp over it to extend the volume level...

Edited by tiesto141141 - 4/8/13 at 3:41pm
post #7 of 8

You may want to look here first:




I used a Total Bithead as my portable amp/DAC for years because it was built in the USA, sounded pretty good at the time, was cheap, and lasts forever.  There is better technology out there now which is why I provided you with a link.


Test the distortion on a track you normally hear it with.  Does the distortion occur in the same section of the track?  If so then the track / headphone is to blame.  If the distortion is random and sound more like "bleep-bloop" then that noise is coming from your PC.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

I will check this out thank you. Unfortunately sometimes it's always at the same moment in a track, and don't hear it with my hd25 or my 1964Q, will take the time to choose a DAC/AMP, then if with it i still have the problem i'll return the head to Head-Direct...

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