Amps that can drive the HiFiMan HE-6 planar headphones
Oct 3, 2014 at 11:43 AM Post #3,241 of 5,616

Xenophon

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I don't know where you gt the idea that the LCD-2 bass is better than the HE-6. Au contraire, anyone making that claim is simply not using a properly amped HE-6. If clarity and gaming are major concerns, your budget limited, you don't wan't to hassle finding a vintage receiver/amp, and don't want to hassle with the space requirements they can entail, you might consider a NuForce DDA-100 and bypass the expense of a DAC altogether. In any event, you need to go listen to both headphones first, before you make any decision as to which will suit you better.


+1 on the above.  They're totally different headphones.  I'm not into gaming but if you like accuracy and crispness then my money 'd be on the 6.  But yes, it takes commitment to take it to its potential.  On the bright side:  if you make the investment you're set, can't see how it could be better as far as headphones go - haven't heard the totl Stax though.
 
Oct 3, 2014 at 2:19 PM Post #3,243 of 5,616

Canadian411

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I've decided I won't be getting the HE-6 I guess. I was originally choosing them over the LCD-2 because of the better treble and more clarity but after reading some more things I found out that the HE-6 has inconsistant centering (can be fixed by using an amp like the EF-5 but I could spend less by just getting the LCD-2) and the bass isn't as good as with the LCD-2 (which matters because I'll be listening to a LOT of rock, some EDM, and a lot of rap. And separation/center/clarity is important because of competetive gaming (CS:GO).



I'll just get the LCD-2 and try to find a Toxic Silver Poison cable or other good silver cable to make up for the treble.



I presume I am right with everything I just said, correct me if I'm wrong lol

 


I hope you are not serious, getting a LCD2 is downgrading, big time.
If you are getting LCD2 just save money get SR80i, you will have 80% of LCD2.2.

And in terms of amps, just get the vintage amps :) I did.
 
Oct 3, 2014 at 2:25 PM Post #3,245 of 5,616

preproman

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Ok if I do go with the HE-6, for an amp should I go for an emotiva mini-x, schiit lyr 2, or the hifiman ef5?

 
If you go with the HE-560 you have more choices of headphone amps.  Like all the Schiit stuff.
 
If you go with the HE-6 - none of the schiit stuff works good exect the new Ragg (that's what they say).  
 
The Emotiva mini-X is a good start.  You'll need a good warm DAC like the Jkenney Ciunas DAC or a Metrum DAC.  The amp can be a bit bright with some music.  
 
It will take some work - but sooner or later you're going to want to upgrade.  Then down the rabbit whole you go.
 
Oct 3, 2014 at 2:25 PM Post #3,246 of 5,616

Canadian411

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@Canadian411 I've rethought that decision and I'm gonna go with the HE-6. I'm just trying to find a good amp for it now.



Will the Schiit Lyr2 drive the HE-6 well?

 


Sorry I never heard Schiit, I think vintage amps will drive better. If you have any stereo receiver hanging around you can try there too :)

I had and sold lcd2.2 and never looked back. :)
 
Oct 3, 2014 at 2:57 PM Post #3,248 of 5,616

rlawli

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Ok if I do go with the HE-6, for an amp should I go for an emotiva mini-x, schiit lyr 2, or the hifiman ef5?

 
If you want a HiFiMan, you should get an EF6, the 5 just won't do it. I don't know much about the Emotiva but I'd suggest 45-50 watts is about the minimum to consider, unless you're looking at serious Class A amps. A number of thread members have commented the Emotiva is a good starter amp: search the tread. My understanding is the Schiit Lyr 2 is more refined than the original Lyr but with the same power. I had an early Lyr and found it ok, not exceptional, but underpowered for the HE-6s; and if you want to get into tube rolling, you can easily spend several or more times the cost of a Lyr: all the way into a black hole.
 
Given your application, I think you might also want to consider a direct digital amp, either NAD or NuForce, and save yourself the ordeal of finding an acceptable DAC.
 
Oct 3, 2014 at 3:10 PM Post #3,249 of 5,616

Justin_Time

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I'm thinking of getting some HE-6 soon and I need to know a good amp+DAC combo for them. I don't want to spend a huge amount of money, and I'm not sure I even need a dedicated DAC because I'm getting the Asus X99-Deluxe motherboard for my computer build and it has pretty good audio.



Would the Schiit Modi with the Asgard 2 be good with the HE-6? Or should I go tube and go for the Valhalla 2 with the Modi? Would either of these be able to drive the HE-6 at all?



Is there another option for the same price range?

 


The HE-6 is absolutely unsuitable if you are on a budget. It requires--no, demands--the very best DAC and highest-quality (read $$$$) amp to sound right and it is so power hungry very few amps can satisfy its demand.

Though not having exactly the same familiy sound, the HE-560 is a far better choice if you are on a budget. You do not sacrifice much--if any at all--on sound quality in an affordable system.

If you must have the HE-6, then the V181 in balanced mode (4-pin XLR) is one of the few "affordable" amp (< $1000) that can drive these headphone to very high volume. From my experience, the V200 has a slightly more refined sound but does not have nearly enough power to drive the HE-6 to anything beyond moderate volume. Someone recommended the V200 for the HE-6 so I went back and checked quickly: definite insufficient power.
 
Oct 3, 2014 at 3:21 PM Post #3,250 of 5,616

hifimanrookie

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If you want a HiFiMan, you should get an EF6, the 5 just won't do it. I don't know much about the Emotiva but I'd suggest 45-50 watts is about the minimum to consider, unless you're looking at serious Class A amps. A number of thread members have commented the Emotiva is a good starter amp: search the tread. My understanding is the Schiit Lyr 2 is more refined than the original Lyr but with the same power. I had an early Lyr and found it ok, not exceptional, but underpowered for the HE-6s; and if you want to get into tube rolling, you can easily spend several or more times the cost of a Lyr: all the way into a black hole. 

Or go the custom way...another he6 owner is selling (or sold already) his ef6 to get a custom BC headphone amp also (built specific for him on his own specs) .. He is going same way as i went..maybe a bit less extensive..but in base its same amp as i got...

Maybe an idea for others?..i believe and i hear that a he6 (my modded code-x is almost just as hard to drive as a he6)doesnt need a multi 10ts of watts to sound (from a huge and good quality vintage amp..although that would be the more budget friendly way) on its best..humble honest 5watts (and a bit) into 50ohm do well also..but the magic behind driving the he6 with that low watt figures lies in its powerreservers from its huge seperate powersupply thats even bigger then some 200w speaker amps use.
I had a powerful modded 337 (with expensive 5998 tubes) and i found that that amp..although able to drive the he6... Lacked the punch and power to drive it to extremes..the lyr (original version) sounded less capable...if u want to drive ur he6 by a tube amp i guess u have to look for tube speaker amps with power...imho ofcourse.

Have fun searching for ur right amp..thats half of the fun in this hobby...the search for it :p

And i agree with justin_time....maybe its best to get the he560 instead... Is easier to find a good amp for it..and much more affordable..and with the right mods almost just as good according to the specialists here on headfi :wink:
 
Oct 3, 2014 at 3:27 PM Post #3,251 of 5,616

TonyNewman

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I'm thinking of getting some HE-6 soon and I need to know a good amp+DAC combo for them. I don't want to spend a huge amount of money, and I'm not sure I even need a dedicated DAC because I'm getting the Asus X99-Deluxe motherboard for my computer build and it has pretty good audio.



Would the Schiit Modi with the Asgard 2 be good with the HE-6? Or should I go tube and go for the Valhalla 2 with the Modi? Would either of these be able to drive the HE-6 at all?



Is there another option for the same price range?

 


The HE-6 is absolutely unsuitable if you are on a budget. It requires--no, demands--the very best DAC and highest-quality (read $$$$) amp to sound right and it is so power hungry very few amps can satisfy its demand.

Though not having exactly the same familiy sound, the HE-560 is a far better choice if you are on a budget. You do not sacrifice much--if any at all--on sound quality in an affordable system.

If you must have the HE-6, then the V181 in balanced mode (4-pin XLR) is one of the few "affordable" amp (< $1000) that can drive these headphone to very high volume. From my experience, the V200 has a slightly more refined sound but does not have nearly enough power to drive the HE-6 to anything beyond moderate volume. Someone recommended the V200 for the HE-6 so I went back and checked quickly: definite insufficient power.

 
+1. Most top end headphone amps deliver around 4 to 5W maximum. That isn't enough to make the HE6 shine. It will sound good at that level, but you won't get the deep bass, imaging and other magic that the HE6 can deliver (the stuff that makes such devoted fans of these headphones).
 
I was using a Taurus Mk2 to drive my HE6 - that is a rather beefy amp - but not enough for the HE6. The WA5 delivers 8W via the K1K socket - and that transforms the HE6.
 
Oct 3, 2014 at 3:42 PM Post #3,252 of 5,616

Justin_Time

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+1. Most top end headphone amps deliver around 4 to 5W maximum. That isn't enough to make the HE6 shine. It will sound good at that level, but you won't get the deep bass, imaging and other magic that the HE6 can deliver (the stuff that makes such devoted fans of these headphones).
 
I was using a Taurus Mk2 to drive my HE6 - that is a rather beefy amp - but not enough for the HE6. The WA5 delivers 8W via the K1K socket - and that transforms the HE6.

 


Ditto.

I use the K1K output of my WA5 to drive the HE-6: wonderful sound.
 
Oct 3, 2014 at 3:47 PM Post #3,253 of 5,616

hifimanrookie

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+1. Most top end headphone amps deliver around 4 to 5W maximum. That isn't enough to make the HE6 shine. It will sound good at that level, but you won't get the deep bass, imaging and other magic that the HE6 can deliver (the stuff that makes such devoted fans of these headphones).

I was using a Taurus Mk2 to drive my HE6 - that is a rather beefy amp - but not enough for the HE6. The WA5 delivers 8W via the K1K socket - and that transforms the HE6.

The wa5 pumps 10w into 8ohm out per channel through its speaker taps..so thats not a lot also compared to, lets say an higher end headphone amp that pumps out 5watt into 50ohm per channel with a beefy quality powersupply.

I tried a 120 watt dual mono balanced 50.000euro amp with seperated pre amping and a extremely expensive dac also..and to be honest...considering the price difference... It wasnt day and night..it WAS better and by a huge margin...but that was not because of the xtra watts..but because of the expensive parts inside...my humble amp surprised them big time..they didnt expect such a low wattage amp could sound so big, balanced and powerful (their words!)...

Am sure other higher end headphone amps (built to drive the he6) would be a good choice..BUT..they are almost always very expensive! Budgetwise it would be wise to buy urself a vintage quality amp/receiver to give best performance..but be careful to get a good one...repairing/restoring one can turn out very costly.
 
Oct 3, 2014 at 4:51 PM Post #3,254 of 5,616

ohhgourami

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Ok let's say I have $600 to spend on an amp and DAC for the HE-6, or just amp alone (computer I'll be building has good onboard audio). What should I get?


Skip all the conventional headphone amps. None of them will do it. What you're looking for is something that can drive speakers. For $600, I'd look for a used Crest CA2 on ebay. I don't think the Mini-X can touch this pro amp. I've had one before and was very please for paying $300. The only caveat is the loud fans which you can disconnect. For the loads you will be running, I think it can run passive. If not, you could always swap out the fans for low RPM Noctuas.
 
Oct 3, 2014 at 7:50 PM Post #3,255 of 5,616

TonyNewman

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The wa5 pumps 10w into 8ohm out per channel through its speaker taps..so thats not a lot also compared to, lets say an higher end headphone amp that pumps out 5watt into 50ohm per channel with a beefy quality powersupply.

I tried a 120 watt dual mono balanced 50.000euro amp with seperated pre amping and a extremely expensive dac also..and to be honest...considering the price difference... It wasnt day and night..it WAS better and by a huge margin...but that was not because of the xtra watts..but because of the expensive parts inside...my humble amp surprised them big time..they didnt expect such a low wattage amp could sound so big, balanced and powerful (their words!)...

Am sure other higher end headphone amps (built to drive the he6) would be a good choice..BUT..they are almost always very expensive! Budgetwise it would be wise to buy urself a vintage quality amp/receiver to give best performance..but be careful to get a good one...repairing/restoring one can turn out very costly.

 
Makes me wonder how much further the HE6 can go from the WA5 K1K output using speaker taps. Anyone out there that can compare the WA5 K1K output to speaker taps for the HE6?
 
The specs from the owner's manual for the WA5 give the K1K output as 8W into 120 Ohm.
 
I am using my WA5 to drive a set of Monitor Audio BR5 floorstanders (6 Ohm, 90dB) and it does this perfectly well up to moderately loud levels (louder than I want to go).
 
The power supply unit on the WA5 weighs in at around 30lbs - there's plenty of transformer iron sitting behind those 8W.
 

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