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DAC/Amp for Hifiman HE-400? - E17/E09k, HUD-MX1, Modi/Magni

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hey guys, I was just wondering which of these DAC/Amp set ups - or any others anybody could recommend - would be best for the HE-400?

 

For me they all have their pros and cons in terms of portability (it would be nice to take my set up with my laptop) and versatility (I'd like to plug my speakers into them too) but sound quality is my greatest concern.

 

Obviously the E17/E09k combination offers portability and power, but I'm concerned about the sound quality cause I've seen a couple of people on the internet say they don't match up well with the HE-400 sound-wise. I'm gathering the Modi/Magni will give me the best SQ as it's said to work really nicely with the HE-400s, but it doesn't have the portability or extra RCA outputs I'd like (not a necessity) and it's also the most expensive all things considered. The Audinst seems like the compromise option, and it is the cheapest, but I have no idea how it sounds with the headphones and with it being an all-in-one I'm wary of how much power it can put out.

 

The problem here is that living in NZ, it's incredibly difficult for me to find places that stock these things at reasonable prices in the first place, let alone try them out. So that's why I'm asking here.

 

Any input is 100% appreciated :)

 

EDIT: Should also be said that I listen to literally all types of music, and my price limit is $200 USD. Sorry I didn't mention that at first!


Edited by pompower - 7/10/14 at 1:44am
post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by pompower View Post
 

Hey guys, I was just wondering which of these DAC/Amp set ups - or any others anybody could recommend - would be best for the HE-400?

 

For me they all have their pros and cons in terms of portability (it would be nice to take my set up with my laptop) and versatility (I'd like to plug my speakers into them too) but sound quality is my greatest concern.

 

Obviously the E17/E09k combination offers portability and power, but I'm concerned about the sound quality cause I've seen a couple of people on the internet say they don't match up well with the HE-400 sound-wise. I'm gathering the Modi/Magni will give me the best SQ as it's said to work really nicely with the HE-400s, but it doesn't have the portability or extra RCA outputs I'd like (not a necessity) and it's also the most expensive all things considered. The Audinst seems like the compromise option, and it is the cheapest, but I have no idea how it sounds with the headphones and with it being an all-in-one I'm wary of how much power it can put out.

 

The problem here is that living in NZ, it's incredibly difficult for me to find places that stock these things at reasonable prices in the first place, let alone try them out. So that's why I'm asking here.

 

Any input is 100% appreciated :)

 

Audio-GD NFB-15 ($270+shipping) or NFB-11 ($355+shipping)

They are external DAC/Amps with a separate line-output, not really portable.

http://audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB1532/NFB15.32EN.htm

http://audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB112014/NFB112014EN.htm

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

Audio-GD NFB-15 ($270+shipping) or NFB-11 ($355+shipping)

They are external DAC/Amps with a separate line-output, not really portable.

http://audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB1532/NFB15.32EN.htm

http://audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB112014/NFB112014EN.htm

 

Cheers for the response; those both sound awesome and I've heard great things about the NFB-11, but I probably should've put my price limit in the OP - my bad. My limit is $200 USD, really can't stretch much further than that unless it's a really exceptional deal.

 

Will also add that I listen to all types of music, from classical to metal to rap to country and everything in between.

post #4 of 8

I liked the HE-400 with the Schiit stack. 

post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by lin0003 View Post

I liked the HE-400 with the Schiit stack. 

+1

The Magni will drive the HE-400s well.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Cheers for the help guys. After much deliberation (came really close to getting the Schiit stack, but it was just too expensive when factoring in shipping/cables etc) I went for the E17, as I got a really good price for it + it's portable and versatile.

 

If it's not enough for the HE-400s I'll grab an E09k as well (or wait and get an even better amp), but I've heard it should do the job - so we'll see!

 

Thanks guys.

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

Cheers for the help guys. After much deliberation (came really close to getting the Schiit stack, but it was just too expensive when factoring in shipping/cables etc) I went for the E17, as I got a really good price for it + it's portable and versatile.

 

If it's not enough for the HE-400s I'll grab an E09k as well (or wait and get an even better amp), but I've heard it should do the job - so we'll see!

 

I suspect you'll be satisfied with the E17.  It has enough juice to power the HE-400's adequately and adds a touch of warmth to take the edge off the occasionally hot treble.

post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by wippo808 View Post

I suspect you'll be satisfied with the E17.  It has enough juice to power the HE-400's adequately and adds a touch of warmth to take the edge off the occasionally hot treble.

I agree. The E17 isn't as resolving as my other DAC/amp, the Aune T1. However, the E17 has some tone control and seems to have a slight treble rolloff or low emphasis that is enjoyable on the HE-400. That headphone can be a little sibilant and I'm very susceptible to hot treble.
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