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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. Chillzone21
    Looking at these options.

    Acurus A2002 200wpc Class A/B
    Lyndorf SDA 2175 200wpc Class D
    Wyred4Sound 250wpc Class D
    Red Dragon Monoblocks 250wpc Class D

    Anyone tried them? Obviously need a pre to go with them.

    I found last time i tried speaker amps, had to use resistors to tame the hiss. Is it better to use resistors to achieve 8ohm or 4ohm for the amp?
    3.3ohm and 1ohm wire wound resistors gives you about 4.26ohm speaker impedance for the amp.
    4.7ohm and 3.3ohm wire wound resistors gives you about 7.6ohm speaker impedance for the amp.
    Hifiman have 25ohm and 10ohm resistors which gives you about 32ohms for the speaker impedance.

    From memory, 250wpc class A/B was way better than 60wpc Class A

    Picked up a really cheap used Hifiman Adapter for like $20, just need to try some different resistor networks to replace the Hifiman ones in there.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018
  2. Armaegis
    Speaking as a guy who at one point has tried monoblocks and literal kilowatt amps for his HE-6...
    - you do not need hundred watt amps
    - if there is hiss, then the amp gain/power/noise floor/etc are too high; using resistors to reduce that is just a band-aid
    - resistors are really only necessary for certain tube amps that either require a load to prevent things going boom, or to keep them operating within a nominal output parameter
    - my current setup is a Benchmark AHB2 amp fed by a Prism Lyra1 dac
    Rhamnetin and cskippy like this.
  3. Chillzone21
    Have not tried the HE6, only the HE400i on 3 different amps, all had hiss at some point in the volume control. I now have the Ananda and want to try some more amps.

    Do you have absolutely no hiss at all, even at %100 volume? That would be great to achieve a dead silent background, it may be my source, the A8 Realiser might have impedance matching issues with Hifi speaker gear, it is primarily designed for headphone amplifiers.
  4. ufospls2
    The Ananda is really sensitive. I wouldn't recommend a speaker amp for them. Better idea to find a quality headphone amp :)
    cskippy likes this.
  5. Armaegis
    Most headphones frankly don't even need gain on the amps.

    The only reason the HE-6 gets away with it on speaker amps is because the headphone has such low sensitivity that it squashes out the inherent noise floor. For anything else, speaker amps are overkill, too noisy, and ill suited for the job. There are a lot of good headphone amps these days that have more than enough power for any other headphone you can throw at them. Leave the speaker amps to us masochistic nutjobs. Your wallet and sanity will thank you.
    weicheheck and cskippy like this.
  6. Rhamnetin
    You can also save a lot of money by getting a speaker amp instead of a really high powered headphone amp. Heck you can even get monoblocks designed by Nelson Pass for under $350.
  7. Armaegis
    Sure, that's all dandy... if you have low sensitivity headphones, a good preamp, ample desk space, and don't mind your room being a couple degrees warmer than the rest of your house (as a Canadian with winter coming up, this is a valid lifestyle consideration). If you've got headphones that will melt your ears off with a single watt of power (like the 400i mentioned above), again, a speaker amp kludged through a bunch of resistors is really not the best choice.
  8. Bonesy Jonesy
    I get no hiss at all with my HE6's linked direct to my Chord Electrinics Choral system (Blu MKI CD Transporter, QBD76 DAC, Prima Pre-amp & Mezzo 140 amp) just a dark silent background. This set up sounds so good it beat my BHSE with Stax 009's linked to my Blu MKI and QBD76 DAC so I sold my electrostatic set up. And now I also have a second great speaker system as well as a great headphone system. My Mezzo 140 only gets warm too and far coooler than my BHSE was.
    I initially ran the HE6's and Chord Choral set-up with the HE Adapter Box as I was initially concerned direct connection to the Mezzo 140 might damage my HE6's. But the Adapter box significantly reduced the sound quality in all frequencies.
  9. Happy Camper
    Speaker amps are not for the novice. There are many things that can go wrong and damage your headphones. When I first started with speaker amps, I had a tube DAC that didn't have volume control. I inserted a passive volume control in line to try because I was so curious and the headphone amp I was running didn't have the power to do what I was reading about the 6s. I tried several low watt amps and while nice, they didn't do what I thought others were hearing. I eventually went up to my current setup with high nerves. Bingo. They sang like I'd never heard them before. Once I felt comfortable, I upgraded my source to a DAC with digital and analog volume control. I've been satisfied since and can run many headphones without the hiss. I agree high wattage amps aren't necessary if you use a well designed amp with ample power supply. Most of us who do use higher wattage amps do so for the power supply, not the massive wattage it provides.

    I would suggest that if you are interested in getting into speaker amps, go to a meet or visit a rig that you can experience.
  10. Chillzone21
    I have read that before about other Hifiman cans, there to sensitive etc etc. But I thought I would try it out for myself with a pair of cheap secondhand 400i's, nothing to lose. Was reading all the audiophile glory of Class A, so tried a 60w Class A amp, sounded alright but was not quite dynamic enough for movies. Went for a 250w Class A/B dedicated pre/amp combo, DAMN that hit the sweet spot, so clean with all that headroom.

    Personal experience trumps. This is my experience in my system and that may vary for others, each to there own.

    I also prefer separates, and to get good separates in headphone gear is much harder. Usually you get Preamps with headphone amplifiers built in. I like a dedicated Preamp linked to a dedicated Amp. More options in the hifi gear, you can get some really good deals on super good stuff. Headphone amps can't compare in that league.

    I wouldn't read into Hifiman's sensitivity ratings to much, Planar drivers require lots of power to sound there best, regardless of there so called ratings. Right now I am running my Ananda's from an iFi Can, if ratings were everything I would be well past it's limits, but I can hear the strain the amp is under when trying to reach the dynamic volume I need to watch movies. Compared to my old system running the 400i's and the 250w amp, night and day.
  11. Chillzone21
    You guys read into the manufacturer ratings too much, when I first tried it out, I was thinking that I would be at full volume the slightest touch of th volume control with the 400i's. But actually it was the opposite, I was able to go right up to 12 o'clock, although a bit loud not, dangerously loud. 10 o'clock was about right, not exactly 1 watt melting your ears off.

    The Ananda's paired with a massively powerful amplifier remind me of what Seaton sound speakers are like. They use pro audio drivers that are extremely sensitive, and each driver is powered by a dedicated ICEpower amplifer rated like 500w for the woofer, 250w for the mid and 250w for the tweeter. Best home theatre speakers you can get. Amps probably only using %10 of there output, but thats were you get the best possible distortion free sound from.

    So clean and dynamic.

    Musical systems are differently designed, mostly use like very inefficient speakers like Dynaudio, but sound lush with 30w tube amps. My system is designed for Home Theater %100, so the Ananda's and there sensitivity are perfect, just like pro audio drivers.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
  12. Happy Camper
    When preproman and I were in our investigation phase, we were running all kinds of headphones from speaker amps and had very good success. To the point preproman moved out almost all headphone amps and I retired mine.
  13. sonorsnoopy
    I am looking for an amp/dac for speakers that have an impedance from 8 to 50 ohm. I know the CHORD HUGO TT 2 is coming, but I would prefer a NOS dac/amp. Is there a powerful NOS DAC/AMP out there? CLASS A?
  14. jerick70
    It sounds like you want an All-in-One DAC/AMP? Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    The only All-in-One NOS DAC/AMP that I'm aware of is from AudioGD. The R-28 should drive the HE-6 nicely with ~8 watts of power @50 ohms.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
  15. SilverEars
    Can you guys list me and rank the amps you have gone though? I'm looking for an integrated amp, and would be helpful if I can get an idea of which amp each of you thought worked best with HE-6.

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