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Looking for a better amp than IFI iCAN and iTUBE combo for Sennheiser HD650 and Hifiman 400

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi,

I have been reading the reviews and forum post of this site for over a year now finally few months back started into joining the hobby for myself. After months of reading I finaly made up my mind and got a Sennheiser HD650. I was very confused at the store where I demoed it few other units. My confusion was between the HD650 and the HE400 by hifiman. Wierdly,after a week I also got the hifiman :P

I wanted a bottlehead crack for my HD650 but I cant happen to find it near where i live, (I am originally from asia,, but now in UK cause of studies). The amps that i got now are iCAN by IFI audio and iTUBE,a tube buffer kind of thing that adds some "tube-like" feel to the setup. I use this for the HD650, it sounds good to my ear but will the Bottleneck crack be an improvement from this?

Also I dont have any amp for the HE400, I use that with a FIIO E12 montblac portable amp and sometimes from a Littledot 1+ tube amp. I want a nicer amp for this one as well.

As I am a student my budget is not very much. right now i can stretch about 200-220 GBP.(about 300 USD) But I am saving so it will grow a little bit. My questions are,

1--- What would be a nice amp to go with HE400 that will be a good update from Fiio E12 and Littledot 1+ at near 200-250 USD.

2---- Will bottleneck crack be a good update from ifi ican and ifi itube combo for HD650?


My source is a HP envy i7 Laptop>Asus Xonar U7 external card or the Fiio X3. I mostly listen to classical, slow rock, country, rnb, hip hop, some raps as well and some instrumentals.

My musics are still mostly 320kbps mp3s but I am slowly shifting towards flacs.

My excuse any typos or mistake if i have made any, writing it at 4:29am after a long day.

Thanks for taking time and trying to help me out smily_headphones1.gif
post #2 of 16
Thread Starter 

On a side note, I would prefer a tube amp if possible. just love the way they glow :D

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

bump...

post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 

another bump :(

post #5 of 16

O2, made by Epiphany for the UK-EU market, will power them fine.

 

I'm very wary of cheap tube amps. Some will tell you to look into Vali; I haven't heard it yet.

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 

O2, made by Epiphany for the UK-EU market, will power them fine.

 

I'm very wary of cheap tube amps. Some will tell you to look into Vali; I haven't heard it yet.

Thanks for the reply :) How does the O2 sound compared to the ones I have?

 

Also can somebody explain how will I know if the system is underpowered for my headphones? cause when i put my HE400 on the portable Fiio E12 and with +16 gain it takes on 25% of the volume to get a decent sound. Does that mean its powered sufficiently?

post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghost-rider View Post

Thanks for the reply smily_headphones1.gif How does the O2 sound compared to the ones I have?

I really don't know because I haven't tried it.
post #8 of 16

Have you tried Aune T1? It's a very fun amp. From what I read in head-fi.org (you can search for it in this forum), I bought one myself and enjoying it. It's also a very fun headphone amp that allows you to roll tubes.

 

Warning: You may spend more monies on tubes replacement as a hobby. He He.

post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghost-rider View Post

Hi,

I have been reading the reviews and forum post of this site for over a year now finally few months back started into joining the hobby for myself. After months of reading I finaly made up my mind and got a Sennheiser HD650. I was very confused at the store where I demoed it few other units. My confusion was between the HD650 and the HE400 by hifiman. Wierdly,after a week I also got the hifiman :P

I wanted a bottlehead crack for my HD650 but I cant happen to find it near where i live, (I am originally from asia,, but now in UK cause of studies). The amps that i got now are iCAN by IFI audio and iTUBE,a tube buffer kind of thing that adds some "tube-like" feel to the setup. I use this for the HD650, it sounds good to my ear but will the Bottleneck crack be an improvement from this?

Also I dont have any amp for the HE400, I use that with a FIIO E12 montblac portable amp and sometimes from a Littledot 1+ tube amp. I want a nicer amp for this one as well.

As I am a student my budget is not very much. right now i can stretch about 200-220 GBP.(about 300 USD) But I am saving so it will grow a little bit. My questions are,

1--- What would be a nice amp to go with HE400 that will be a good update from Fiio E12 and Littledot 1+ at near 200-250 USD.

2---- Will bottleneck crack be a good update from ifi ican and ifi itube combo for HD650?


My source is a HP envy i7 Laptop>Asus Xonar U7 external card or the Fiio X3. I mostly listen to classical, slow rock, country, rnb, hip hop, some raps as well and some instrumentals.

My musics are still mostly 320kbps mp3s but I am slowly shifting towards flacs.

My excuse any typos or mistake if i have made any, writing it at 4:29am after a long day.

Thanks for taking time and trying to help me out smily_headphones1.gif

Out of curiosity, may I ask why you wanted a new headphone amp? Isn't the iCAN and iTube combo performs well? From what I read, the iCAN has a 400mW output, isn't that enough power to drive your HD650 and HE400? I owned the iTube as tube buffer to my stereo setup. Listening from my inadequate Yamaha A-S201 solid state amp using my PSB m4u 2, amidst at 60% vol, the iTube is a "swiss-army-knife" tool. Please tell me more on your experience as I am thinking of buying their iCAN or iCAN nano. Thks.

post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghost-rider View Post

 

 

Also can somebody explain how will I know if the system is underpowered for my headphones? cause when i put my HE400 on the portable Fiio E12 and with +16 gain it takes on 25% of the volume to get a decent sound. Does that mean its powered sufficiently?


If there is no distortion, then your amp has enough power. Mind you, power isn't the only reason to upgrade an amp. Sound quality matters independently of power. 

I'm curious--why don't you use the iCAN with the HE-400? I know some HE-400 owners like the Vali. I haven't heard it, but I'm considering getting one myself. 

post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hk6230 View Post
 

Have you tried Aune T1? It's a very fun amp. From what I read in head-fi.org (you can search for it in this forum), I bought one myself and enjoying it. It's also a very fun headphone amp that allows you to roll tubes.

 

Warning: You may spend more monies on tubes replacement as a hobby. He He.

 

 

No I didnt actually. There was one for sale few days back in a forum im very regular at but after some reading i figured it was close to the little dot being just an amp and the dac is just ok. I though i would rather get a nicer dac or a better amp as a combo wont be much use for me. I would rather spend money on something that i can keep for long. Still i just did an hour of reading so I might be wrong about the A1, please do let me know how it compares as just an amp with little dot 1+?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hk6230 View Post
 

Out of curiosity, may I ask why you wanted a new headphone amp? Isn't the iCAN and iTube combo performs well? From what I read, the iCAN has a 400mW output, isn't that enough power to drive your HD650 and HE400? I owned the iTube as tube buffer to my stereo setup. Listening from my inadequate Yamaha A-S201 solid state amp using my PSB m4u 2, amidst at 60% vol, the iTube is a "swiss-army-knife" tool. Please tell me more on your experience as I am thinking of buying their iCAN or iCAN nano. Thks.

 

 

I liked the sound of the iTube and iCAN combo on the HD650 in the store before buying. It was a nice sound. But for some reason same combo doesn't sound very good with HE400. In the store the HE400 with iCAN seemed fine. Thats why i bought these two as i can change the setup to suit either my HD650 or HE400. But I was after a bottlehead crack for a long time,was reading about it for about a year and finaly ordered one hearing so much good about me. Also I myself like the tubish sound. In the store I really liked the Woo Audio WA3 but could not buy it as it was way out of my budget. Also i just love the way thos tubes glow.I think i got a tube fetish going on right now. I even got two Telefuken UM80 Magic eye all ready to bolt it my crack build. 1 for each channels. I got a Tung sol 5998 and a mazda 12AU7 for the crack so I am hoping that will be a good update from iCAN for the HD650.

 

for the HE400 I did some reading on this forum and found that since its an orthodynamic headphone, it will need alot power to driven "properly". I am very new at the the whole audiophile headphones so I mostly stick with what i read from experienced users. Many people were recommending the schiit lyr as the best for HE400 but lyr being very expensive and then bringing that to uk will be even more expensive so I was and still am,look for an cheaper alternative. My reading said iCAN has 400mW power where the lyr has something 3W i think. besides I do have to crack up the volume more 3/5 to get a good volume on the iCAN with my he400. Seeing all these i thought the iCAN is not powerful enough for the HE400. I am also confused about the power requirements for headphones. I really wish if there was a simpler option to know if my headphones are really being underpowered or not. may be a meter,or a graph or a sign or anything.

 

So far thats my story.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 


If there is no distortion, then your amp has enough power. Mind you, power isn't the only reason to upgrade an amp. Sound quality matters independently of power. 

I'm curious--why don't you use the iCAN with the HE-400? I know some HE-400 owners like the Vali. I haven't heard it, but I'm considering getting one myself. 

 

About the iCAN i do like the 3d sound thing. its nice. Also the bass boost is good for some headphones. About the power,im not very sure. Combining this with the iTUBE does make it some very tube-y. You should use the 3d of the iCAN and keep the iTUBE neutral if you are running them in a series. That gives the better result according to my listening.But it does not give you that nice pretty glow on a dark room :( 


Edited by ghost-rider - 4/7/14 at 11:02am
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghost-rider View Post

 

 

My reading said iCAN has 400mW power where the lyr has something 3W i think. besides I do have to crack up the volume more 3/5 to get a good volume on the iCAN with my he400. Seeing all these i thought the iCAN is not powerful enough for the HE400. I am also confused about the power requirements for headphones. I really wish if there was a simpler option to know if my headphones are really being underpowered or not. may be a meter,or a graph or a sign or anything. 

 



If you use Robrob's power calculator, it says the HE-400 needs about 56 mw for 110dB SPL. As an HE-400, I can attest that 400mw is more than enough. Even though I use a speaker amp, I've lowered the max output to around 120 mw using resistors on occasion, and that gets the HE-400 louder than I can stand to listen.

http://www.head-fi.org/a/headphone-power-calculator-spreadsheet
post #13 of 16

To make the Itube sound about 100% better, get an Astron linear power supply set up for 9V. I paid $94 plus shipping and this makes the Itube sound killer now. Sonics is 10/10.

post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 

which one is it? can you give me a link?

 

Also im outside of US so I use 220V AC.

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghost-rider View Post
 

which one is it? can you give me a link?

 

Also im outside of US so I use 220V AC.

These are US made so you would probably have to call the company. It is the SL11A, here is the long list of power supplies that they make.

 

http://www.astroncorp.com/linear.shtml

 

This is who I called. Larry at Comart (800-777-2708) 

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