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AMP+DAC recommendations for Hifiman He-400

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hello there long time lurker here (first post though)

 

I got into this headphone thing when my old Creative Fatal1ty headset started crumbling after using it for 7 years. 

So I began researching new ones and found out that headsets actually suck (Thanks to Simca from overclock.net, lol).

After months of researching I decided to dive into this and ordered my first pair of the real-deal-stuff the He-400 headphones from Hifiman.

Put simply I am incredibly amazed by those headphones and decided to go even deeper by creating my very own jergpads (thanks to jerg and modulor for the tutorials) and getting the treble fixed by equalizing.

Now the only thing I am missing in this "wallet-killer" of a hobby is a suitable headphone amp and dac.

 

 

Important information:

 

- Must have a nice synergy with He-400 headphones

 

- Cost <= 170 Euro

 

- I do not plan to buy another pair of headphones for some years because my wallet doesnt cooperate anymore

 

- Use at home (indoors) only

 

- Source is Notebook therefore no soundcard

 

- notebook onboard audio is a awful chip from realtek with a 92db SNR

 

- Favorite genres: EDM(70%), Rock(20%), Pop(10%)

 

- note that I currently live in Germany making it expensive to get my hands on stuff from Schiit or JDSLabs

 

 

Options I currently think about:

 

- Fiio E17

 

- Wait for Fiio E10K or other products and hope for a good match

 

 

As I mentioned above I live in Germany and am not a native speaker so please forgive me for my lack of English skills.

If you guys need any more information dont hesitate contacting me.

 

Greetz Teepo

post #2 of 8

I used to have a uha-6s mkii portable amp that I paired with my he400s, but overall the he400s sounded rather unimpressive with it.

Even though the he400s are relatively sensitive for an ortho, I still think it sounds better with an amp that has more power.

 

I remember liking how it sounded out of a schiit lyr.

post #3 of 8
I don't know about amp synergy. I think my HE-400s like transparency the best for great resolution smily_headphones1.gif

Two suggestions:

1) For very portable use with a notebook, how about the Audioquest Dragonfly v.1.2

2) Skip the DAC for now and go all out on the amp to really drive those headphones. Look for an Objective 2 amp. In the UK, it's going under the model EHP-O2. Maybe someone in Germany is selling one as well?
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the responses!

 

First of all, I am not looking for some amplifiers like the O2 or Lyr since the He-400 are supposed to be easy to drive.

Also those 2 are way out of my budget with the Lyr at about 425 Euros and the O2 at 140 Euros(leaving me only with 30 euros for the DAC which I also need due to the SNR on my Notebook).

While the Dragonfly 1.2 seems to have a nice DAC(ESS Sabre Chip) it only is a preamp and not sufficient enough to drive my headphones.

 

I recently looked up the Yulong U100 which is a DAC+AMP and right in my budget of 170 Euros. 

Do you think it would be enough to power the He-400?


Edited by Teepo - 5/6/14 at 4:59am
post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teepo View Post

First of all, I am not looking for some amplifiers like the O2 or Lyr since the He-400 are supposed to be easy to drive.

Well, speaking from speaking from personal experience and not supposition, the HE-400s are not very efficient headphones. They might be easy to drive in terms of impedance, but they do benefit from a headphone amp with some extra power than what many portable devices provide. And the reason to get the O2 is not just the power output, but also the accuracy of the amp. This is why I suggested you start with it and wait on the DAC. Often the best strategy for putting together an audio setup is to buy in stages, rather than buying all at once and making compromises.

However, I would agree that the Lyr seems a lot of money to spend. It is several times more than the O2 and I doubt you would get several times more performance.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teepo View Post

While the Dragonfly 1.2 seems to have a nice DAC(ESS Sabre Chip) it only is a preamp and not sufficient enough to drive my headphones.

I understand that the Dragonfly puts out 125 mW into 32 ohms, which suggests it is more than just a DAC with a pre-amp. You could verify that in the Dragonfly thread, especially since Jude, the owner of Head-Fi, specifically describes it as having an amp in his review in that thread: http://www.head-fi.org/t/617241/audioquest-dragonfly-review-affordable-outstanding-tiny-dac-amp
post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


Well, speaking from speaking from personal experience and not supposition, the HE-400s are not very efficient headphones. They might be easy to drive in terms of impedance, but they do benefit from a headphone amp with some extra power than what many portable devices provide.

 

^ This

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teepo View Post

I recently looked up the Yulong U100 which is a DAC+AMP and right in my budget of 170 Euros. 
Do you think it would be enough to power the He-400?

Seems like you figured it out yourself, just go with that, unless you'd rather have a stack of schiit (like, a schiit dac and amp stacked on each other...)
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Okay, I guess I can reconsider the dragonfly and put it back into my options list which right now consists of:
- Fiio E17
- Yulong U100
- Audioquest Dragonfly 1.x
- Wait for Fiio E10K?
 
Quote:
 Seems like you figured it out yourself, just go with that, unless you'd rather have a stack of schiit (like, a schiit dac and amp stacked on each other...)

 

Unfortunately, I cant get my hands on Schiit products in Germany (not available) and it is way too expensive if I intend to get it shipped through.
 
Do you have any information on how well the Yulong U100 pairs with the He-400?
It seems that almost noone of head-fi has even experience with the U100 since most prefer the more expensive Yulong D100.
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