Amps that can drive the HiFiMan HE-6 planar headphones
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Armaegis

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Apologies but i still don't quite get it. 3 banana plugs go into which speaker output? Perhaps you could post a picture - much appreciate it.
headphone left = TRS tip = speaker amp left red binding post
headphone right = TRS ring = speaker amp right red binding post
headphone ground = TRS sleeve = one of the speaker black binding posts
 
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robthemac

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I have an HE-6 on the way. It will be used in a separate system from my WA7, so I'll be building from scratch.

Any suggestions for the best-value USD$500 system for driving them? Will be going second hand. At this stage, would be probably going for a low-mid range DAC (e.g. VDAC-2 or JDS Element) into a vingtage 50WPC integrated amplifier.

The other option, if the DAC has a volume control and pre-amp out (e.g. Element, but not VDAC), would be spending the rest on a decent power amplifier. For example, I could get a second-hand Element plus Linn LK140 for about $380.
 
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rlawli

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It should have no problem driving your HE6s. It is getting to an age where you might want to have its power supply capacitors checked out by a competent technician.
 
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robthemac

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It should have no problem driving your HE6s. It is getting to an age where you might want to have its power supply capacitors checked out by a competent technician.
"It"? The Linn?
 
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rlawli

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"It"? The Linn?
Sorry, I was referring to the Marantz. I have not heard that particular Linn model but you should definitely audition it if you can.
 
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sahmen

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For those looking for a speaker amp for the He-6, I have listed my vintage, but recently "recapped" Bryston 2b LP in the classifieds. It even comes with complimentary female 4-pin XLR to banana plugs speaker tap adapter for use with the He-6. Sadly, I have been forced by recent unavoidable circumstances to part with my beloved He-6, so I no longer need this amp, which can drive the He-6 quite well.

Check it out here :

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/fs-recently-recapped-bryston-2b-lp.874863/
 
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Armaegis

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Ah the Bryston 2B, one of my favourite recommendations in that price range.
 
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Sabenza

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Hi everyone, I am experimenting the use of speaker amps to drive my pair of Susvara (which I believe is quite close to HE-6 in respect of driving requirements). Recently, I have access to a McIntosh MC275 (Version VI) tube amplifier. I am however unable to get hold of an HE-Adapter (they seem to be out of stock everywhere in Asia) and have to make my own or commission one from local DIYers. I have posted this in the Susvara forum (https://www.head-fi.org/threads/hifiman-susvara.853031/page-81#post-14213287), but since the HE-6 camp has plenty of experience on speaker amps driving headphones, I am also seeking out help here.

I have read up on Robinette Box: https://robrobinette.com/HeadphoneResistorNetworkCalculator.htm

With the Network Calculator on Robinette's site, I worked out that with Susvara 60 Ohm impedance, I will need Resisters in series of 6 Ohms and Resisters in parallel of 2 Ohms. This will give an Effective Speaker Load of 7.9 Ohm, which I believe is close enough to the 8 Ohm output on McIntosh MC275.

However, in Hifiman's website, the published spec of HE-adapter is Resistors in Parallel: 10 Ohm and Resistors in Series: 25 Ohm. When I insert these figures into Robinette's calculator, it gave an effective speaker load of 33.571 Ohm.

I am not an engineer, so I would very much appreciate if someone can point me in the right direction. Thank you in advance for your help.

This is built by a local DIYer:
IMG-20180502-WA0000.jpg
 
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rlawli

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Hi everyone, I am experimenting the use of speaker amps to drive my pair of Susvara (which I believe is quite close to HE-6 in respect of driving requirements). Recently, I have access to a McIntosh MC275 (Version VI) tube amplifier. I am however unable to get hold of an HE-Adapter (they seem to be out of stock everywhere in Asia) and have to make my own or commission one from local DIYers.
For a start try something cheap like these to get started:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/112658854685?rmvSB=true

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Balanced-XLR-to-Speaker-Taps-BANANA-PLUGS-Hifiman-HE4-HE5-HE6-HE500-adapter/172733761468?_trkparms=aid=222007&algo=SIM.MBE&ao=2&asc=20160908110712&meid=04942997278c4413a6fe69ab49e9cc21&pid=100677&rk=3&rkt=30&sd=172733755771&itm=172733761468&_trksid=p2385738.c100677.m4598

Then you can look around for someone to build one using your preferred cable type.

As for the rest, my personal subjective opinion and preference for best sound is to forget the resistors. Regardless of preference, always be careful. Start with everything turned off. Connect the adapter cable to the speaker taps (For the MC275 I use the 8 Ohm taps for my 48 Ohm HE6s which have a low efficiency similar to the Susvaras). Be certain you have your volume control turned completely counterclockwise (if digital, to the smallest negative gain). Turn your equipment on in the following sequence: sound source, preamp or passive volume, amp, start music, very slowly turn the volume control from no gain control to your desired level. When finished listening turn the volume control back to no gain. Then reverse the turn on process: first turn off your amp, then your preamp, then your source.
 
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Drrizzt

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I finally got a Marantz pm6010 and received the cable to connect the he6

First impression: Holly Christ! Tactility of the sound, the attacks have more bite than my lcd3, more transparant, dynamics are equal with the lcd3, maybe the marantz is a bit soft there.

I can't beleive giving the price of this amp (50€). Beyond my expectations, i look to go upward now amp wise.
 
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Drrizzt

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Well, after some hours listening, i have the feeling the Marantz openened up, the bass notes hits harder, its more clean. Is it me or just the effect of an old amp that hasnt been used for a while ?


Im totally flored by the tactility of the He-6. i perfectly see why this piece of headphone is seen as a maspterpiece, my former Lcd3 is so left behind.

There`s so many cheap good desktop amp to test with, i`m ready to fire up upon a Rotel Ra04, wich has outstanding dynamics and soundstaging according to the reviews.
 
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robthemac

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Well, after some hours listening, i have the feeling the Marantz openened up, the bass notes hits harder, its more clean. Is it me or just the effect of an old amp that hasnt been used for a while ?
I strongly suspect that's your brain adapting to the sound. But hey, if it sounds better to you, great!
 
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Drrizzt

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I strongly suspect that's your brain adapting to the sound. But hey, if it sounds better to you, great!
Yeah, i guess it was brain burning!

I got the Rega Brio-r second hand and it's sooooooo musical! Smooth without any harshness in the high, a bit less visceral than the the Marantz but i like it better. A bit emphasis in the mids, very euphonic amp. And the bass, omg, it's tremendous, thunderous bass with great control. Even more bass than with the lcd3.

Great amp with the he6!
 
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LarsHP

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(...) I got the Rega Brio-r second hand and it's sooooooo musical! Smooth without any harshness in the high, a bit less visceral than the the Marantz but i like it better. A bit emphasis in the mids, very euphonic amp. And the bass, omg, it's tremendous, thunderous bass with great control. Even more bass than with the lcd3.
Great amp with the he6!
Nice to know that you also like the Rega Brio-R with HE-6. (Did you read my recommendation of it last spring?)
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/amps-that-can-drive-the-hifiman-he-6-planar-headphones.529873/page-334#post-13400555

Both bass extension, slam and transient rendering ( = PRaT) is simply impressive - which makes it a very good match for amplified rhythmical music like pop, dance, rock, funk, soul etc. The only "fault" I can find with Brio-R is that soundstage is smaller than with other amps I have heard, which is why it's not as good for acoustic music.

And not to forget one more obvious strength - it has the size of a muscular headphone amp.
 
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