Amps that can drive the HiFiMan HE-6 planar headphones
Jan 15, 2015 at 3:15 PM Post #3,661 of 5,703

Anda

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  I've been repeating for the past 4 years that the Lyr does not sound good with HE-6. No body listens...

But it delivers 4 watts into 50ohms?!! 
confused_face(1).gif

 
Jan 15, 2015 at 3:19 PM Post #3,662 of 5,703

TonyNewman

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  But it delivers 4 watts into 50ohms?!! 
confused_face(1).gif

 
Not enough. The Taurus Mk2 delivers similar juice and it is flat and bass-lite.
 
I use a WA5 that pushes 8W with some hefty transformers behind it - that does the job nicely.
 
Jan 15, 2015 at 3:25 PM Post #3,663 of 5,703

Anda

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  Not enough. The Taurus Mk2 delivers similar juice and it is flat and bass-lite.
 
I use a WA5 that pushes 8W with some hefty transformers behind it - that does the job nicely.

I know 
wink.gif

Just the typical response about the Lyr. The power from the Lyr and the transparency from the ODAC, then you're good to go.
 
Actually heard the Taurus and very much agree. Had similar experience with Questyle CMA800 too.
 
Jan 15, 2015 at 3:47 PM Post #3,664 of 5,703

TonyNewman

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  I know 
wink.gif

Just the typical response about the Lyr. The power from the Lyr and the transparency from the ODAC, then you're good to go.
 
Actually heard the Taurus and very much agree. Had similar experience with Questyle CMA800 too.

 
Sorry - I missed the sarcasm in the post - my bad. Morning coffee hasn't quite kicked in yet
basshead.gif

 
Jan 15, 2015 at 3:59 PM Post #3,665 of 5,703

Timestretch

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I just can't wait to bring my setup to a headfi meet sometime. I want to get a close comparison to what I'd say is a very properly driven HE-6 to the other flagships folks have.
 
Jan 15, 2015 at 4:26 PM Post #3,666 of 5,703

preproman

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Not enough watts is not always the culprit.  
 
Look at the F1J and the INT-30.  Low powered pure Class A amps that have a high current draw and a huge transformer for extra reserves works just fine.  Those little ass headphone amps can dish out watts and high gain but without those big Power supplies and huge transformers they sound bright / strident and the bass lacks.
 
Jan 15, 2015 at 7:03 PM Post #3,667 of 5,703

shayson1357

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  Not enough watts is not always the culprit.  
 
Look at the F1J and the INT-30.  Low powered pure Class A amps that have a high current draw and a huge transformer for extra reserves works just fine.  Those little ass headphone amps can dish out watts and high gain but without those big Power supplies and huge transformers they sound bright / strident and the bass lacks.

amps that can provide double digit class A1 watts(8r) AND survive a constant  torture test for a long period of time with minimal distortion would be HUGE, and have HEAVY transformers and a shi*load of PS capacitance, and not to mention be overall EXPENSIVE(as pure cost of materials and not labor).... so yes...a REAL 8W amplifier can be a lot better than a 16W amplifier... it's not about watts... better yet, the wattage should just be a hint at the amp's power delivery capability but not the quality of said power, you know what they say about the "first watt" 
biggrin.gif
 , the importance of power is having enough of it, the rest of the consideration should go to the quality.
 
Jan 15, 2015 at 7:43 PM Post #3,668 of 5,703

SilverEars

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  Not enough watts is not always the culprit.  
 
Look at the F1J and the INT-30.  Low powered pure Class A amps that have a high current draw and a huge transformer for extra reserves works just fine.  Those little ass headphone amps can dish out watts and high gain but without those big Power supplies and huge transformers they sound bright / strident and the bass lacks.

This is what I hear with weaker amps.  Although my prior amp was spec'd to be of sufficient power, I find that it wasn't so after trying a vintage amp which leveled out the sound more and based on this experience not quite sure if my HE-6 is as leveled as it should be and possibilities of SQ increasing is more plausible.  Will have to try the speaker taps on it to see how it affects the sounds.  What I find is that as I use more powerful amp, the sound stage, and increase in frequency response even-ness is apparent.
 
I understand people will be skeptical of an headphone scaling with speaker amps as this is not a common phenomena, but without testing out various amps, there is no argument.
 
Jan 16, 2015 at 11:49 AM Post #3,669 of 5,703

Justin_Time

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  amps that can provide double digit class A1 watts(8r) AND survive a constant  torture test for a long period of time with minimal distortion would be HUGE, and have HEAVY transformers and a shi*load of PS capacitance, and not to mention be overall EXPENSIVE(as pure cost of materials and not labor).... so yes...a REAL 8W amplifier can be a lot better than a 16W amplifier... it's not about watts... better yet, the wattage should just be a hint at the amp's power delivery capability but not the quality of said power, you know what they say about the "first watt" 
biggrin.gif
 , the importance of power is having enough of it, the rest of the consideration should go to the quality.

I absolutely agree.
 
To me, the first requirement to drive the HE-6 is 5-10 watts of pure Class-A power.  Most of the music we listen to at a moderate level through most headphones (or speakers) requires just a few watts of power.
 
The second requirement is a huge headroom for power supply (heavy transformers and humongous capacitors) and a circuitry capable of supplying high current instantaneously when the music demands it for very brief periods of time.
 
My First Watt M2 with a mere 25 Watts (Class-A) can easily drive my HE-6 to ear-bleeding level and makes the bass kick like a mule.  It can also drive my WATT/Puppy 8 with ease.  The FW J2 sounds better overall than the M2 but does not have the tube-like mid-range of the M2 that I love. I was told that the F1J is better than both but alas it cannot drive speakers with passive crossover like the WATT/Puppy.
 
For non-class A speaker amps, the vintage Harmon Kardon 7 and 8 series (HK775, HK770; HK870), for reasons unknown to me--perhaps it has something to do with the low TIM and IIM distortions and low negative feedback that Dr. Otti Matala was talking about in the 70s--are capable of driving the HE-6 better than most high-end amps I have!
 
Now before you run out there and buy these amps--they can be had at a mere $100-$200 each for 100 wpc), please be warned that these are vintage amps that should be restored properly for safe and trouble-free operation.  They run hot (when properly biased) and are prone to bias drift, caps failure--after 15 years or so, most catalytic capacitors will begin to run dry and fail--and unreliable solder joints in the hot pre-driver and driver boards. But when fully restored, they are capable of truly amazing sound with the HE-6: smooth, clear, and at once dynamic and relaxing.  Tough to beat: for less than $500 of total cost you get a great-sounding amp that will last another 15 years.
 
Jan 16, 2015 at 3:56 PM Post #3,670 of 5,703

preproman

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I finally did it.  I just pulled the trigger on the Pass Labs INT-150..  It was a very hard choice to make over the INT-30.  I was thinking pure Class A all the way.  
 
However, talking to Mark at Reno Hifi he gave me some much needed guidance.  I told him what I was looking for in the amp, so he pointed me to the INT-150.  He also said the INT-150 was biased really high at 15% of the total watts into Class A, so that's 22.50 watts of pure class A until it goes to B - is that correct?  
 
Anyway, I will be able to do a side by side with the Master 10 sometime next week when the amp gets in.
 
Jan 16, 2015 at 4:25 PM Post #3,671 of 5,703

NZtechfreak

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I finally did it.  I just pulled the trigger on the Pass Labs INT-150..  It was a very hard choice to make over the INT-30.  I was thinking pure Class A all the way.  

However, talking to Mark at Reno Hifi he gave me some much needed guidance.  I told him what I was looking for in the amp, so he pointed me to the INT-150.  He also said the INT-150 was biased really high at 15% of the total watts into Class A, so that's 22.50 watts of pure class A until it goes to B - is that correct?  

Anyway, I will be able to do a side by side with the Master 10 sometime next week when the amp gets in.


Wow, man, I can't wait for your feedback, this amp has been on my watch list for a while.
 
Jan 16, 2015 at 4:31 PM Post #3,672 of 5,703

musicinmymind

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  I finally did it.  I just pulled the trigger on the Pass Labs INT-150..  It was a very hard choice to make over the INT-30.  I was thinking pure Class A all the way.  
 
However, talking to Mark at Reno Hifi he gave me some much needed guidance.  I told him what I was looking for in the amp, so he pointed me to the INT-150.  He also said the INT-150 was biased really high at 15% of the total watts into Class A, so that's 22.50 watts of pure class A until it goes to B - is that correct?  
 
Anyway, I will be able to do a side by side with the Master 10 sometime next week when the amp gets in.

 
So you are not much interested in HE-1000?
 
Pass Labs INT-150 should be too much power for new Hifiman's and every one at CES had a chance with it, says, it is the best.
 
Jan 16, 2015 at 5:47 PM Post #3,674 of 5,703

TonyNewman

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I have spent a couple of hours this morning doing some A/B testing with my modded HE6, comparing the WA5 K1K output to the speaker taps of a 20W 845 SET power amp via the HiFiMan adapter box. Pic below shows the speaker amp setup.
 

 

 
 
The Auralic Taurus MK2 is acting as a preamp for the Triode Corp TRV-845SE. The Triode Corp SET amp performs much better as a power amp than an integrated, and pairs very well with the Taurus as a preamp.
 
Results were interesting - both rigs produce deep and powerful bass. Whatever the WA5 might lack in bass punch compared to powerful SS speaker amps I think is more about the general SS advantage over tubes in this area, rather than a lack of power from the WA5. The extra power of the 20W 845 based amp did not, in itself, deliver more bass over the WA5.
 
There was an overall improvement in detail, clarity and dynamics from the big rig amp. This was across the spectrum and not noticeably more so in the bass than the mids or treble. This was a small difference, and not unexpected given that the total cost of the amp + preamp + tubes in the big rig is more than twice that of the WA5 (including tubes). Perhaps a 5 or 10% lift - no more than that. Noticeable, but not very significant in terms of listening enjoyment.
 
Which brings me to the last point - musicality and enjoyment. The WA5 still wins here for me. The big rig delivers a better technical rendering of the music, but for most of the listening that I do (vocal centric) the WA5 provides a more engaging and enjoyable experience. If I was heavily into classical or jazz styles of music I might have a different view, but for most of my listening the WA5 is still the winner to drive the modded HE6.
 
One last point some folks might find interesting - I was using a higher gain setting on the Taurus to drive the HE6 than I use to drive the 88dB Brodmann F2 floorstanders. Roughly 9 o'clock to drive the Brodmanns and close to 11 o'clock for the HE6. Admittedly, I listen at low levels on the floorstanders, but it says a lot about the HE6 inefficiency that I use significantly more juice to drive them than I do to drive the Brodmanns (unless the adapter box resistors act as a big power suck).
 
Final thought - I have high end SS power amp on order (Accuphase P-4200). I will do another comparison in a few weeks to A/B/C the 3 amps driving the modded HE6 and see what happens.
 
EDIT - just for fun I plugged the HD800 into the HiFiMan adapter box to see what it could do with 20W behind it. Wow - I have heard the HD800 sound so good. I'm not sure if it is a power thing or just a lucky moment of gear synergy, but the big rig does a MUCH better job driving the HD800 than the WA5. I wasn't expecting that at all. Stunning sound. Imagine a HD800 with a touch of Audeze mid range magic.
 
Jan 16, 2015 at 8:41 PM Post #3,675 of 5,703

negura

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Feeling like getting some planar love again, thus I might venture into the HE-6 business. I've read about the modding part, so I've got all that.
 
How would this combination work in principle:
Pre: Audio-GD HE9
Power Amp: Xindak A600E in power amp mode. I'm using this as speaker amp currently.
160Wpc @8ohms (~60W in class A pc), damping factor: 220, dual mono, fat ass beast, specs below
http://www.audioemotion.co.uk/xindak-a600e-mk-ii-integrated-amplifier-1869-p.asp
 
(DAC: Theta Gen V A - no volume function here)
 
If I get issues with noisefloor I understood I would need to look at adding resistors to headphones wiring? Any suggested values and is there some guidance on how it should be calculated? Also which resistor brands are people using?
 

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