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A list of dedicated headphone amps that can drive the Hifiman HE-6...

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

A couple of definitions in this thread... By 'drive' the HE-6, I mean being able to drive them to a greater-than-loud listening level with no noticeable distortion and/or clipping. By 'dedicated headphone amp', I mean an amp that is designed to drive headphones, not a hifi receiver designed to drive speakers that you're using to drive the HE-6 with instead.

 

Since the HE-6 is likely to be the hardest-to-drive (non-electrostatic) headphone that will ever be created, the great thing about this list is that all the headphone amps on it will be powerful enough to drive any (non-electrostatic) headphone in the world. They may not offer optimum 'synergy' but they'll at least be powerful enough...

 

Here is all I've got so far;

 

Desktop;

 

Audio GD SA-31 - [Solid-State, Balanced & Single-Ended]

Bakoon HDA-5210mk3 - [Solid-State, Single-Ended Only]

Bryston BHA-1 - [Solid-State, Balanced Only]

Burson Soloist - [Solid-State, Single-Ended Only]

Decware Zen Taboo III - [Tube, Single-Ended Only]

Hifiman EF-5 - ['Hybrid', Single-Ended Only]

Hifiman EF-6 - [Solid-State, Balanced & Single-Ended]

NJC Audio Monitor II - [Solid-State, Single-Ended Only]

Phasemation EPA-007 - [Solid-State, Single-Ended Only]

Ray Samuels Audio DarkStar - [Solid-State, Balanced & Single-Ended]

Schiit Lyr - ['Hybrid', Single-Ended Only]

Schiit Mjolinir - [Solid-State, Balanced Only]

Tisbury Audio Challenge AMP 1 - [Solid-State, Single-Ended Only]

Violectric V200 - [Solid-State, Single-Ended Only]

 

Portable;

 

Audio Line Out RXMk.3-B - [Solid-State, Balanced Only]

Fiio E12 'Mont Blanc' - [Solid-State, Single-Ended Only]

IBasso PB-2 - [Solid-State, Balanced Only]

Portaphile 627 - [Solid-State, Single-Ended Only]

Ray Samuels Audio SR71B - [Solid-State, Balanced Only]

 

 

I'm looking forwards to add to these lists with your help!!

 

Thanks in advance...


Edited by bassophile - 6/19/14 at 4:08am
post #2 of 18

Desktop;

 

Audio GD SA-31 [Solid-State]

Bakoon HDA-5210mk3 [Solid-State]

Bryston BHA-1 [Solid-State, Balanced Only]

Burson Soloist [Solid-State]

Hifiman EF-5 [Tube]

Hifiman EF-6 [Solid-State]

NJC Audio Monitor II [Solid-State]

Ray Samuels Audio DarkStar [Solid-State]

Schiit Lyr [Tube]

Schiit Mjolinir [Solid-State, Balanced Only]

Violectric V200 [Solid-State]

 

Portable;

 

Audio Line Out RXMk.3-B [Solid-State, Balanced Only]

Fiio E12 'Mont Blanc' [Solid-State]

IBasso PB-2 [Solid-State, Balanced Only]

Portaphile 627 [Solid-State]

Ray Samuels Audio SR71B [Solid-State, Balanced Only]

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Utopia View Post

Desktop;

 

Audio GD SA-31 [Solid-State]

Bakoon HDA-5210mk3 [Solid-State]

Bryston BHA-1 [Solid-State, Balanced Only]

Burson Soloist [Solid-State]

Hifiman EF-5 [Tube]

Hifiman EF-6 [Solid-State]

NJC Audio Monitor II [Solid-State]

Ray Samuels Audio DarkStar [Solid-State]

Schiit Lyr [Tube]

Schiit Mjolinir [Solid-State, Balanced Only]

Violectric V200 [Solid-State]

 

Portable;

 

Audio Line Out RXMk.3-B [Solid-State, Balanced Only]

Fiio E12 'Mont Blanc' [Solid-State]

IBasso PB-2 [Solid-State, Balanced Only]

Portaphile 627 [Solid-State]

Ray Samuels Audio SR71B [Solid-State, Balanced Only]


thanks, is the Audio GD powerful enough to drive it in Single-ended, or only in balanced?

post #4 of 18

They are the same input, the amp is single ended. The 4-pin is for convenience.

post #5 of 18

Decware Zen Taboo III

post #6 of 18

The HiFiMan EF5 and the Schiit Lyr are actually hybrid amps, they use vacuum tube in the input stage but solid state in the output stage, meaning its solid state that is powering the HE-6.

post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by bassophile View Post


thanks, is the Audio GD powerful enough to drive it in Single-ended, or only in balanced?

 

 

10 W at 40 ohm, only single-ended. The amp has pretty much been designed with the HE6 in mind.

post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks, keep the suggestions and corrections coming - the OP has been updated...

post #9 of 18

                                               


Edited by Andolink - 5/7/13 at 5:15am
post #10 of 18

audio gd master 8  7w 50r.

audio gd nfb-6        4.5w 50r.

audio gd reference 10.32   6w 50r.

audio gd nfb-27   6w 50r.

audio gd nfb 10.32   6w 50r.

cavalli liquid glass   6w 50r.

cavalli liquid gold   9w 50r.

post #11 of 18

I don't know much about it but reading around in the past, I seem to remember some simply using tube speakers amps to drive it rather than dedicated headphone amps. The power requirements seem similar for these and very high efficiency speakers. 

 

UL

post #12 of 18

I would add Little Dot VI / VI+ and remove the Bryston!

post #13 of 18

Finding it very difficult to advice which dedicated headphone-amp can drive HE-6 with greater-than-loud listening level, i can assure you both BHA-1 (even in full balanced mode) and Soloist doesn't have enough juice to let HE-6 sing. And although RX-mk3B has a lot of power, it lacks micro-detail to outperform desktop amps. But it's a very good amp with most headphones :-)
 

post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by erikfreedom View Post

audio gd master 8  7w 50r.

audio gd nfb-6        4.5w 50r.

audio gd reference 10.32   6w 50r.

audio gd nfb-27   6w 50r.

audio gd nfb 10.32   6w 50r.

cavalli liquid glass   6w 50r.

cavalli liquid gold   9w 50r.

Just a caveat about the balanced audio-gd amps:  they do not perform al all optimally in single-ended mode.  Either XLR or ACSS interconnects need to be used.  In those modes, they perform very well indeed. 


Edited by Andolink - 5/9/13 at 10:23pm
post #15 of 18

This can really end up being a very polarizing thread. If it was "amps that can make the he-6 go loud", then there would be many amps that can do that. Some of the amps I've seen listed, like the mkvi, for example, can do that very well. But I've listened to it on a few occasions, and it does not drive them properly. It's a really good sounding amp for the price though. A friend of mine once thought it could drive his, until I brought a speaker amp over. He later sold it, and a very proud owner of a dark star. 

 

I think the list of "dedicated amps" that can drive it properly is very small. I auditioned a GSX MKII this week end and at 5w(not sure of what impedance) it ran out of steam. I don't listen loudly, but I had to go to 1:00 on the volume knob just to get to my normal listen levels. And at that point, it began to lose it's composure. But that is one killer sounding amp with everything else though. So there's a difference between driven loudly, and properly driven. And no you don't need a 100 watt speaker amp. But at least 5w at 50ohm. Many of these 4 and 5 watt amps don't give that same power at the impedance of the he6, which is why the EF6 has no trouble driving it.

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