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Introduction and request for help in picking first setup - Page 2

post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ImperialBlade View Post
 

@ Manbear - The only Hi-Fi listening equipment I use are KEF Onkyo TX-NR818 and KEF KHT3005BL for speakers. For person listening I have Ultimate Ears TripleFi 5 (I think this is the model, they are no longer made) IEMs. So nothing all that awesome.

 

I guess I am going to to go the route of the HE-400s.Having made that decision, I am llon for the amp/dac combo that will balance out the somewhat bright HE-400s. Regardless of bulbs or solid state which would be the best pairing? Also, any need to swap cables at the time of purchase?

Run optical cable from Mac computer to Onkyo receiver, plug whatever headphones you get directly into the Onkyo's headphone jack.

Philips Fidelio not recommended as they have a low impedance (Ohm), and receiver's headphone jacks usually have  high impedance headphones jack, but I believe the HE-400s are not really negatively affected by high impedance headphone jacks.

post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

Run optical cable from Mac computer to Onkyo receiver, plug whatever headphones you get directly into the Onkyo's headphone jack.

Philips Fidelio not recommended as they have a low impedance (Ohm), and receiver's headphone jacks usually have  high impedance headphones jack, but I believe the HE-400s are not really negatively affected by high impedance headphone jacks.

 

I think this would be a good idea, at least initially. Most receivers can drive headphones at close to the same quality as an entry-level solid state amp. This way, you can hear what they sound like and base your amp decision off of what you're hearing instead of just what you're reading. You might find that they are more or less bright than what you're expecting, and then you can adjust your DAC/amp quest accordingly.

Both the Magni/Modi and the ODAC/O2 probably aren't going to reduce brightness at all, but this isn't necessarily a problem if you're willing to EQ. The HE-400 responds to EQ very well, so the main advantage of using a DAC/amp is going to be in terms of detail and soundstage.

I have an average Sony receiver from the 90's that can drive the HE-400 competently, but it's missing those last few layers of detail, clarity, and air compared to my dedicated headphone amp. Bass/mids/highs balance is more flexible when EQ is in the equation. 


I'd suggest also looking at Audio-GD.for a DAC. Most of their products are reputed to be a bit more on the warm side of neutral (as far as solid state goes) than Magni/Modi/ODAC/O2. They make several DAC/amp combo units that have a lot of power and get good reviews as well. I'm thinking about getting one of their Compass models for my next DAC so I can have a chance to try a nice solid state amp too.

If you want to go tubes, there are a lot of choices out there. A Little Dot Mk 1 might be a good place to start -- it is a hybrid amp that can deliver a lot of current, which is what planars like. Power isn't just a matter of volume. I have the MK3 (which I really like), but I've read that it's not ideal for planars due to being an OTL design. I had it before I got the HE-400, so whatever, I'm content for the time being, but it's probably not the best choice if you're trying to build around the HE-400. 

My first and only dedicated DAC is the HRT Music Streamer 2. I'm very happy with it, and it's supposedly on the warm side based on what people say (I have no reference for comparison other than my stock soundcard), so you might want to check that one out too. But the design is relatively old compared to the many other low-cost DACs that have come out in the past year or two, so there might be better values out there. 


Edited by manbear - 10/6/13 at 9:30pm
post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 

Ok, Headphone  - HE-400...got it.

 

Brand for AMP/DAC - Schiit...got it.

 

Now one last choice... Modi  /Magni or  Bitfront / Lyr

post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ImperialBlade View Post
 

Ok, Headphone  - HE-400...got it.

 

Brand for AMP/DAC - Schiit...got it.

 

Now one last choice... Modi  /Magni or  Bitfront / Lyr

 

It depends on your budget... Obviously Bifrost/Lyr would be ideal, but I would put Bifrost/ Magni over Modi/ Lyr, for example. As long as the amp is competent, the DAC should make a bigger difference. An amp can't add detail to the sound, it can only let the detail from the DAC shine through. Unless you want Lyr for the sake of the tubes. 

post #20 of 25
Thread Starter 

Manbear,

 

 

Thanks for the answer, I really appreciate it.

 

Eric

post #21 of 25

@imperial blade, what is the quality of music files that you normally listen to? If HE 400 is your first audiophile headphones, I am sure that you would them.

I pair them with E 17. It is not a best combination. But for a noob audiophile like me can enjoy it. I will go for amp/dac upgrade after sometime.

post #22 of 25
Thread Starter 

Will the E17 have enough "juice" to push the HE-400? I know the HE-400s don't require a lot.

 

Eric

post #23 of 25

My noob ears can identify the difference in soundstage between K240 MK II and HE 400 driven by E17 (music source: FLAC). Yes, E17 can drive HE 400, but not HE 4.

If your budget allows you to buy buy tube amp, you could buy it straight away rather than investing on E17.

post #24 of 25
Thread Starter 

Had to bring this thread up again, any thoughts on upgrades to the HE-400? I know

 

I am going to change out the stock Pleather pads for HE velour ones - http://www.head-direct.com/Products/?act=detail&id=117

 

How about cables?

 

http://www.thecablepro.com/review/product/list/id/920/

or

http://www.head-direct.com/Products/?act=detail&id=139

or

http://www.head-direct.com/Products/?act=detail&id=140

or

http://www.head-direct.com/Products/?act=detail&id=146

 

or is there any brand I should look at as an upgrade?

 

Thanks all!

post #25 of 25

I don't know about cables, but the velour pads will noticeably change the sound. Many prefer them to the pleathers. Essentially, they make the sound cleaner and a little drier, with more midrange emphasis and smoother upper midrange to treble transition. The bass loses a bit of weight IMO, but this is mostly relative to the increased midrange in terms of volume.

You can also try the jergpad mod, or at least the first part of it (cutting holes in the pads -- step 1 of the v 2.0 modding guide at the bottom of the first post). It looks a bit intimidating at first, but cutting the holes is very simple if you take your time and use sharp scissors. The velour top mod is more complicated if you try to do it cleanly, I've only done the holes in pads. I will be adding the spacers once I get around to it though. This mod brings out the mids of the pleathers without sounding quite as dry as the velours. IMO the pleathers are more fun than the velours, but also more colored. This mod splits the difference somewhat, though many prefer it to the velours.  You only lose the cost of new pleathers if you mess up. 

 http://www.head-fi.org/t/646812/hifiman-he500-he400-jergpad-mod-v2-5-new-measurements-posted-modulor-orders-updated



 

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