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Amps that can drive the HiFiMan HE-6 planar headphones

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by milosz, Dec 23, 2010.
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  1. Drrizzt

    Yeah but once i pushed the eBay button :)

    The other drawback to me is the transparancy, it has kind of a veil over the sound, rendering classical music less pure than with my 60€ Marantz. This is a pretty disapointment in thiat regard. I suspect the amp working like a tube amp it has a very seductive tone over it, tubey sound. They don't even give the numbers for the distorsion, that speak a lot i think.

    Seems that the quest for the right amp will continue (or simply sell them all And buy a Focal Clear :D )

    Edit: Okay, there was a distorsion problem with the Marantz Pm6010 ose because of the proximity of the dac. I couldnt say what was the issue but i felt there was some haze over the sound with the marrantz, i wasnt entirely happy with it.

    Now it's totally clear of disturbance and it's funny to see how this old cheap amp (60€ second hand) is much resolving than the english dandy that cost more than the double new. It's more clear, spacious, vivid and neutral.

    I higly recommand it.
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
  2. Silent One

    Just the member I've been looking for! Could really use your advice. I've great habits inside the listening room (sequential turn-on/off and volume control), it's always great to see members with friendly, important reminders.

    Regarding resistors, don't care much for 'em either. But still use them out of fear to my tube mono blocks - formerly the HE-6 via the HE-adapter and currently just 16 ohm resistors dangling naked off the 16 ohm outputs. But of course I'd like to ditch 'em...like right now!!! Obviously I'd like to ask despite your confidence runnin' the MC275 (nearly bought one and still want one, btw) naked, have you slight concerns at all that are merely overcome by being careful? Despite good practices, I'm concerned with bricking my Shindo Lab monos. If you could convince me to go "naked," that'd make my entire summer when it comes!!!
  3. LarsHP
    A theory for amping HE-6 well

    Some "experts" claim that (theoretically) planar magnetic headphones are not affected by (even) a high output impedance in the amplifier since there is no driver resonance (in the bass).

    I think that this is might not true based on the following:

    1) speaker amps are often better at driving HE-6 than high powered headphone amps (speaker amps providing tight bass have low output impedance)
    2) tube speaker amps have softer bass than solid state amps (tube amps are known to have higher output impedance than SS amps)
    3) the balanced amp card in HM901S which is doing only 440mW, but has low output impedance, provides better and more sub bass than a 5W headphone amp I have

    So - in short - having enough power / ampere is not enough to get HE-6 sound right. We need apparently need an amp with very low output impedance too.

    Unfortunately output impedance is almost never stated in the amplifier spec's. This might explain why many people have bought several amps that from a power viewpoint should have no issues driving HE-6, but in practice sounds lean.
  4. jarnopp
    This may be why i felt Hugo2, and to a lesser extent, Mojo, could drive the HE-6 pleasantly, if not totally. The new Hugo TT2 with 18W per channel balanced into 8 ohms (6W into 50 ohms) should sound pretty good.
  5. Drrizzt
    I think it's pretty well know that plannars magnetic doesn't work well with high output impédance amp. I remember having a Garage 1217 project Solaris,. With an impedance switch. On high output imp setting, my he500 was flabby in the bass.
  6. LarsHP
    I frankly haven't seen anyone saying that planar magnetic drivers doesn't work well with high output impedance amps before. However, your experience with the output impedance switches on the Polaris(?) makes a strong point here. This surely suggests that output impedance in fact does impact planars.
  7. Sabenza
    Just want to let everyone know that I have taken rlawli's recommendation and tried "naked" with the MC275 VI, and it works.

    I am now trying to get someone to mod a speaker cable for the Susvara.
  8. Drrizzt
    Yes sorry, it was the Polaris.

    Indeed the change was quite dramatic when i switched the impedance setting. Yet with the hd600 it didnt affect the sound at all, they work well with high output impédance headphones
    Last edited: May 28, 2018
  9. Brooklyn70
    Has anyone ever Dept with Had Audiolab? I’ve tried to reach out to them a few times and got no responce. I’m very interested in the
    Project Zephyr ONE - 2a3 headamp If anyone can let me know
  10. Drrizzt
    I just got a Denon PMA 1500-AE for the he-6.

    Okay, full potential unleashed now. My jaw is on the floor.

    This tremendous punch, visceralness, vastness, speed, details, the highs are perfectly tamed.

    This amp is a real champ. (300€ second hand).
  11. wuwhere Contributor
    I finally got a Linn Klout for my HE-6. I won't be able to set it up for a few weeks since I'm away from home.
    This is what it looks like. Got to get some BFAs too.

    Klout 1.jpg

    Klout 2.jpg
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018
    Silent One and cskippy like this.
  12. Rhamnetin
    Regarding output impedance, I always just adhere to the at least 8x lower than the headphone's impedance rule. Don't see a reason to deviate from it. The HE-6 being a low impedance headphone suggests a very low output impedance amp works best for it. I used my modded HE-6 (LFF Code-6) with a Mjolnir Audio Pure BiPolar and was pleased with the results once I got adequate pads for them (FocusPad-A ended up being my favorite). It's a fully balanced amp, not sure what the output impedance is other than it's no more than 1 ohm. Would need to crank the volume quite a bit though, if I were keeping that headphone or the SUSVARA then I'd try to acquire a Super Symmetry Dynahi as my end game amp for it.
  13. MadSounds
    So Audio-gd has a new 125 watt at 8 ohm power amp out? As I've understood it (and i don't) the critical factor in driving these old HFM cans is slew rate, swinging on demand current fast. a mid power current domain amp like this could be ideal.

    I'm a NOS11 owner who had a he-6 for over a year before i stupidly sold it in January. I always felt this amp did 'good enough' because it let the he-6 easily beat the LCD-3f (2015?) to my ear. Now I'm lucky enough to have purchased a code-6 and it probably deserves a proper amp down the line. Looks like there are a few very solid options for amps well under 1k$, at 950$ plus crazy shipping is the new a1 amp a contender? probably going to be a few months before i can pull the trigger.

    They also have a 15 watt at 40 ohm amp also, the Precision 3.
    On paper this is about 2/3 more power then i have now. In the opinion of this thread, how much would this amp leave on the table when driving an he-6?

    I sort of like the idea of using audio-gd's current interconnects just because its an option. I'll be looking into other amps also.

    Edit: had my code-6 just about an hour now, sounds so amazing with just under 9 watts available from my NOS11, 60-70/100 on volume gets to listening levels no problem. I'll be really eager to take off work next time there's a major headphone meet in the upper Midwest, I cant believe my current amp is lacking, but the first hand accounts are nearly unanimous.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
    marcepanluj and Rhamnetin like this.
  14. ambchang
    Could you describe a little, even based on memory, how is the code 6 different from the stock?

    Much appreciated.
  15. MadSounds
    code-6 is mod done by @LFF. no one knows the exact mods done, they actually have a far more opaque fabric over the drivers and grills then stock. probably the best answer for leveling treble according to a few people's opinion and some measurements here

    I believe @LFF says his mods don't lower sensitivity, but there was some speculation on another forum that they might. Both those points are second hand and should be taken with a grain of salt.

    I can't really compare to my last he-6 cause its been half a year, but it defiantly seams to be that same flavor i loved so much. crisp and clean but with force, like an elephant dancing effortlessly on its tip toes. sound stage probably sounds a bit different, my last pair were blue take modded and had screens removed. i remember it sounding infinitely open before, now its like the sound stage edges are wide but diffuse, like things on the edges sort of fade into the distance. but i might not say that if i was double blind and didn't know there was much more fabric.

    more to the point it gets to good listening volume fore me around 60-75/100 volume, 75 being too loud to listen continuously. very close the my last he-6
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
    Rhamnetin and ambchang like this.
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