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Misleading recommendations on HE-400?

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone,

 

Just so you know, this is all being said in the sense of a feeling, nothing definitive, so here goes. I found many of the head-fiers were suggesting I get the HE-400 because I like rock music. It seems to be a near-unanimous thing (aside from Grados), and I decided to order a pair. I got antsy, and rechecked all the threads I could. Apparently according to a large group in the owner's thread, the HE-400 is only a great option if the user wants to mess a lot with EQs and mods (grill, foam damper removal, jergpads, etc.). Now I'm afraid that I will have made the wrong decision, and I feel slightly misled. I did order the velours. Also, I thought that I could get a taste for the sound sig without an amp, since my friend has the Mad Dog 3.2, and the sound sig is really obviously the same as others here describe. I read a lot of people saying it will be quite different. Did I screw up a bunch? Is there an amp/dac combo that I can get for around 200 that will be a safe bet with most headphones? sorry for all the questions, but I am just so full of emotions right now T-T

post #2 of 36
Thread Starter 

so I guess I should narrow things down. highest priority question: do you believe I can get a good feel for the sound signature of these headphones unamped?

post #3 of 36
They sound fine without an amp, they just won't go super loud with an iPod.

They also sound great without a bunch of modding. I like mine a lot, even with pleathers, straight off an iPod!
post #4 of 36
Thread Starter 

that's a relief. Just curious, do you use an EQ? 

post #5 of 36

1) First rule of Head-Fi: Take each impression "with a grain of salt".

 

There are too many variables to truly understand how a headphone sounds when other people are listening to it through their setup with their music. Like for example some people on head-fi will review budget headphone's, and use $4K CD Players and their $10K AMP/DAC. I mean a tin can and a piece of string would sound good out of a really expensive setup. Other's will listen un-amped or with horrible bit-rate music, and complain that the headphones aren't what they want. 

 

2) An AMP/DAC will greatly improve the sound of a headphone. Planar headphone's (HE-400 is a planar) are harder to drive then dynamic headphones. 

 

I recommened the schiit stack known as the Schiit Magni/Modi which you can find on Amazon or Schiit.com. For $200 it is really a great deal, and they aren't that many $200 amp/dac's that can drive planars.

 

Most unamped headphones to me sound like poop. An AMP/DAC won't change or color the sound of the headphones at all, but will just increase what the headphones are capable of. IMO headphones really come alive with a good DAC/AMP. 

 

For now I recommend buying a good AMP and DAC. Then, if you still think the HE-400 aren't that good, then you could always sell them. Find your preference, and buy headphones more suited to that sound signature. 

post #6 of 36
Thread Starter 

While I understand all of that, would the magni be too much juice for a dynamic can? I don't want to buy the amp and dac and let the enhanced quality show me the I don't like the HE-400, meaning that I'd be stuck with an amp that may not synergize well with the next headphones I purchase. Lack of a gain switch is very troubling to me

post #7 of 36
I use a magni and love it equally for my he400 and my easy to drive grados. I use a little EQ, for all my headphones not just the 400's. The bass on the 400's is mind blowing good.
post #8 of 36

The Magni is not all that powerful overall, good enough for certain Planars, and will not be too powerful for dynamics. You will just have to be careful with the volume when using different cans with different sensitivities.

post #9 of 36

For $100 the magni is pretty powerful. I don't know many other H. amps for $100 that are as strong. 

 

Plus, he can always upgrade or sell if he doesn't like the schiit stack. 

post #10 of 36
Thread Starter 

so basically I should just bite the bullet on the modi/magni stack, even if I can't be certain they'll synergize well with other headphones? not trying to sound too skeptical, I'm seriously wondering. It would make the process simpler

post #11 of 36
It's a decent starter amp/DAC that will play most things fine. I heard HE400 on it and enjoyed it.
post #12 of 36

I don't know. There are very few good amps at this price range like the Fiio Amps, and the ODAC combo. Might want to read more impressions, but still I would really recommend an AMP and a DAC.

post #13 of 36
Sure, I prefer O2+ODAC but OP asked under $200. Fiio is an OK firm (something like E17) but M/M would be a better investment for home use only.
post #14 of 36

I recently got the HE 400's myself (used from the FS forum) and it has been an enjoyable and enlightening experience. A truly different sound. The only thing is now I'm wondering how good the next step up models are (the HE 500, 560, or 6) so in that sense it may just lead you down a path of spending more money, but anyways, don't sweat it. I'm sure you'll love them, just try not to let yourself be dissuaded by other peoples opinions on them. 

post #15 of 36

Quote:

Originally Posted by UNIFi View Post
 

The Magni is not all that powerful overall, good enough for certain Planars, and will not be too powerful for dynamics. You will just have to be careful with the volume when using different cans with different sensitivities.

 

If you have to be careful with the volume pot then it is too powerful of an amp.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by coletrain104 View Post
 

While I understand all of that, would the magni be too much juice for a dynamic can? I don't want to buy the amp and dac and let the enhanced quality show me the I don't like the HE-400, meaning that I'd be stuck with an amp that may not synergize well with the next headphones I purchase. Lack of a gain switch is very troubling to me

 

 

The magni/modi combo IMO is the best first step you can take to moving out of on-board audio. However, the HE-400 was designed to be driveable using just an iPod. The synergy or whatever is quite minimal with other headphones as it is a neutral sounding combo.  If you will be using higher sensitivity headphones then you will need a gain switch. In which case get an O2 as the volume play with the Magni, when I still had it, was only around 9-11 o'clock using an HE-500. Where greater than 11 was uncomfortable for prolong use and 9 is too loud for low listening levels

 

 

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