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Upgradeitis: Lyr or HE-500?

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

So, I've been living with the HifiMan HE-400 for a few months now with MBP>Fiio E17/E9K>HE-400 being my signal chain, but while I like the 400 with cetain genres-- mainly EDM and Jazz, I find that the imbalance in the mids is a little off putting to me and I find myself craving something more neutral. I've been turning over in my head whether or not I want to spend the money on the HE-500 knowing that the E9k is going to only be about 90-95% of the necessary power, or invest in a Lyr and hope that it breathes a little more life into my listening experiences. What I'd like to know is would the E9k be adequate with the 500 at least until I was able to purchase a more suitable amp, and/or how much of a sonic improvement, if any, will the Lyr give me compared to the E9k? Any and all opinions will be greatly appreciated.

post #2 of 30

An amp will not change the sonic characteristics of a headphone. It will never magically "restore" mids that were never there, etc. Getting a different headphone will provide a far more palpable change in sound.

 

While I have not heard the e09k with the HE-500, it should be sufficiently powerful.

 

Another option to play around with before dropping the big bucks is to try some easy mods on the HE-400. Switching pads is a simple one. Putting some reflecting disks on the back grill (simple paper/tape will do) can also increase the mid/treble response if you find it lacking.

post #3 of 30

I think upgrading to the HE500 would make a much bigger difference than upgrading to the Lyr.

post #4 of 30

As armaegis said,

http://www.head-fi.org/t/646812/hifiman-he500-he400-jergpad-mod-v2-0

 

Try this mods, my HE-400 became a different monster

post #5 of 30

Then again, if you think long-term... wouldn't the Lyr allow you to skip the HE-500 and go straight for the HE-6 later?

post #6 of 30

Sort of... but that doesn't solve the short term desire to have something better sounding than the HE-400. 

 

Long term planning is all fine and dandy in theory... but music is meant to be enjoyed in the present. 

post #7 of 30

HE-500

post #8 of 30

Sell HE-400, and you have money for a HE-500 and a speaker amp like the emotiva for the same budget as the Lyr and HE-400.

post #9 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandala View Post

So, I've been living with the HifiMan HE-400 for a few months now with MBP>Fiio E17/E9K>HE-400 being my signal chain, but while I like the 400 with cetain genres-- mainly EDM and Jazz, I find that the imbalance in the mids is a little off putting to me and I find myself craving something more neutral. I've been turning over in my head whether or not I want to spend the money on the HE-500 knowing that the E9k is going to only be about 90-95% of the necessary power, or invest in a Lyr and hope that it breathes a little more life into my listening experiences. What I'd like to know is would the E9k be adequate with the 500 at least until I was able to purchase a more suitable amp, and/or how much of a sonic improvement, if any, will the Lyr give me compared to the E9k? Any and all opinions will be greatly appreciated.

HE500.

 

Keep your E9K.  It will power the HE500 fine on high gain (volume is loud at 10ish).  The best amp for the HE500?  nope.  Good enough to be very enjoyable?  very much so, at least for me.  I tried an audio-gd today that has at least as much pwr as the Lyr or even more.  Honestly, there was a bit more pwr coming through the HE500 and slight improvement but not enough for me to abandon my E9K yet.  Well, ppl might say i am deaf and can't appreciate fine improvements.  It's fine with me.  You will have to judge for yourself.  Just don't deceive yourself to justify upgrades :)

post #10 of 30

HE-500.

 

Or.. if you really want a neutral planar magnetic headphone...HE-5LE and a speaker amp! Can probably snag an HE-5LE for $550...the Emotiva mini-X a-100 for $189...and a proper adapter for $30-50...so just under $800. It's even more neutral than the HE-500, and far more comfortable. And just better imo, but some prefer the meatier HE-500...

post #11 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Armaegis View Post

An amp will not change the sonic characteristics of a headphone. It will never magically "restore" mids that were never there, etc. Getting a different headphone will provide a far more palpable change in sound.

 

While I have not heard the e09k with the HE-500, it should be sufficiently powerful.

 

Another option to play around with before dropping the big bucks is to try some easy mods on the HE-400. Switching pads is a simple one. Putting some reflecting disks on the back grill (simple paper/tape will do) can also increase the mid/treble response if you find it lacking.

I do understand that an amp won't change the tonal characteristic of the headphone, but would there not be some increase in dynamics and openness from upgrading to a much higher powered amp? I have minimal experience with desktop amps with the E09K being my first one, so I really wouldn't know what to expect, if anything. I was just hoping that a new amp might bring some depth and dimension to the sound. Plus I'm a little cautious with trying to power the 500 with the E09K, because I know that at 900 mW@32Ω it's slightly less than optimal for the 500.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delirious Lab View Post

Then again, if you think long-term... wouldn't the Lyr allow you to skip the HE-500 and go straight for the HE-6 later?

It's my understanding, although I'm sure that some will disagree, that the Lyr, even at 6 watts isn't powerful enough to optimally drive the HE-6, but that very thought has crossed my mind.

post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delirious Lab View Post

Then again, if you think long-term... wouldn't the Lyr allow you to skip the HE-500 and go straight for the HE-6 later?
No. A used speaker amp for half the price of the Lyr will easily outdo it on the 6s. The 500s would be a better match for the Lyr though there are still better options for less. You get into the 500, speaker amps offer a much broader option, often cheaper.
post #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandala View Post

I do understand that an amp won't change the tonal characteristic of the headphone, but would there not be some increase in dynamics and openness from upgrading to a much higher powered amp? I have minimal experience with desktop amps with the E09K being my first one, so I really wouldn't know what to expect, if anything. I was just hoping that a new amp might bring some depth and dimension to the sound. Plus I'm a little cautious with trying to power the 500 with the E09K, because I know that at 900 mW@32Ω it's slightly less than optimal for the 500.

 

It's my understanding, although I'm sure that some will disagree, that the Lyr, even at 6 watts isn't powerful enough to optimally drive the HE-6, but that very thought has crossed my mind.

 

More power does not equate to more dynamic range, unless your amp was clipping at the peaks. 

 

I've tried the HE-6 with the Lyr. I wasn't a particular fan of the pairing, but there's certainly enough power. 

post #14 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Armaegis View Post

 

More power does not equate to more dynamic range, unless your amp was clipping at the peaks. 

 

I've tried the HE-6 with the Lyr. I wasn't a particular fan of the pairing, but there's certainly enough power. 

I don't understand. If the Lyr has enough power to drive the HE-6, and if an amp has no effect on the sonic characteristics of a headphone, what is there to not be a big fan of?

post #15 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandala View Post

I don't understand. If the Lyr has enough power to drive the HE-6, and if an amp has no effect on the sonic characteristics of a headphone, what is there to not be a big fan of?

I don't hope anybody said amps don't affect sonic characteristics. Because they do (amps). Just won't affect things like tonal balance and such, headphone  won't suddenly change into another headphone... Mostly we are talking about some refinements like more body to the sound, more dynamic sound, more realism, more bass punch and such. HE-400 will always sound like HE-400.


Edited by davidsh - 6/28/13 at 11:15am
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