Amps that can drive the HiFiMan HE-6 planar headphones
Jul 15, 2021 at 3:17 AM Post #5,641 of 5,689

monkey4054

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 18, 2014
Posts
198
Likes
93
Location
Australia
I ran the FirstWatt J2, and it was incredible with the HE-6. It’s far too big for your desk though.

I’ve not heard it, but I’ve seen recommendations for the Benchmark AHB2. Benchmark makes some awesome kit and the AHB2 gets many top marks. Plus it will fit neatly on your desk.

https://benchmarkmedia.com/collections/all-products/products/benchmark-ahb2-power-amplifier
Thanks, I've heard good things about that amp, but I think I'm really looking for a headphone amp, not a speaker amp. A powerful but compact headphone amp like the VIoletric V550 or IFI Pro iCAN etc. Something that is powerful enough to drive the HE-6SE and Abyss AB1266 which I plan to acquire sometime in the future.
 
Jul 15, 2021 at 7:02 AM Post #5,642 of 5,689

ksorota

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 3, 2014
Posts
1,329
Likes
1,677
Location
Massachusetts
Dollar for dollar. Best SS headphone amp You can pick up IMO is probably the Mjolnir 1. 5watts into 50ohm, fully balanced and sounds incredible! Sounds pretty great with most headphones including HE6 and HE5. the footprint is wide, but it didn’t get very hot on top so you can stack.

The Jotunheim was proficient at running HE6se so really i think you should get what you are most interested in.
 
Jul 15, 2021 at 10:55 AM Post #5,643 of 5,689

jerick70

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jun 25, 2014
Posts
5,931
Likes
6,970
Location
Utah, USA
Thanks, I've heard good things about that amp, but I think I'm really looking for a headphone amp, not a speaker amp. A powerful but compact headphone amp like the VIoletric V550 or IFI Pro iCAN etc. Something that is powerful enough to drive the HE-6SE and Abyss AB1266 which I plan to acquire sometime in the future.
When I had the HE-6 I struggled to find a strait headphone amp that could drive the HE-6 to it's potential. I tried some top end headphone amps too. The one that came close was the Woo WA5. It didn't quite do it for me though. It sounded awesome with everything else I had. I also tried the Violectric V281, so I'm a little hesitant to say the newer Violectric kit will do it. This could have been a pairing issue too. The HE-6 seems to work best with high current, clean SS amps, not necessarily high watt.

You may want to try Benchmark's matching headphone amp the HPA4

https://benchmarkmedia.com/products...AFFl6c_VKJtGK8pd-UlLaojZS4hyX22IaAlpPEALw_wcB

I also think the Pass Labs HPA-1 and the Rogue Audio RH-5 are worth a serious look too.

https://www.passlabs.com/products/hpa-1/
http://www.rogueaudio.com/Products_RH5.htm
 
Jul 15, 2021 at 11:41 PM Post #5,645 of 5,689

monkey4054

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 18, 2014
Posts
198
Likes
93
Location
Australia
@monkey4054 One other amp that may do it is the new iFi iDSD Diablo. It breathed new life into my ZMF Blackwoods. Blackwoods are notoriously hard to drive like the HE-6 and the Fostex T50RP it's based on.
Thanks, I like the iFI for a portable option definitely. Any thoughts on the Cayin IHA-6 and its high current mode? Apparently, it can drive inefficient planars well.
 
Jul 16, 2021 at 12:19 AM Post #5,646 of 5,689

jerick70

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jun 25, 2014
Posts
5,931
Likes
6,970
Location
Utah, USA
I’ve owned the IHA-6. I wasn’t in love with the sound signature, but that’s just me. It would probably run the HE-6, but I had it after I sold my HE-6 so not 100% sure on the pairing.

FYI from my experience, the iFi has more competence than the Cayin. It’s much more than just a portable amp/dac. It’s small but trumps many desktop amps that I’ve heard and owned.
 
Jul 17, 2021 at 8:38 PM Post #5,647 of 5,689

Bonddam

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 17, 2014
Posts
2,077
Likes
1,813
Location
PA
Wells Audio Dragon LvL 3.made to drive the two hardest headphones. Amp does not make use of wattage but current for power there's only 5 watts but current is 1 amp on the level 2 and 3. Level 1 is smaller transformer and .5 amp of of current. My unit has all bells and whistles. Here simpler to do this.
Dragon features:
  • Up to 8 different switchable gain settings
  • 4 switchable ground settings
  • .500 milliamps of gain
  • Choice of 12BH7 or 6DJ8 tubes
  • All wire and PCBs are cryogenically treated
  • XLR inputs are standard
  • Premium Rike S-cap2 output coupling caps used
The Dragon Level II tube headphone amplifier-$2500.00

The Dragon Level II tube headphone amplifier-$2500.00
Dragon Level II Features in addition to Level I:

  • Bybee AC Noise Filters
  • Upgraded 17v power supply
  • Power increase to 1 amp of current
Interior image of the Dragon Level II with upgrades to Level I.

Interior image of the Dragon Level II with upgrades to Level I.
Level III Dragon Tube Headphone Amplifier-$5500.00

Level III Dragon Tube Headphone Amplifier-$5500.00
Interior image of the Dragon Level III with upgrades to Level II

Interior image of the Dragon Level III with upgrades to Level II
Dragon Level III upgrades in addition to the Level II:

  • 4 Wells Audio proprietary DC Noise Filters
  • Mundorf capacitors in tube gain stage filter caps
  • Khozmo Opto Sensor attenuator
  • Upgraded 17v power supply with film bypass treble and midrange caps and hexfred diodes
  • Hexfred diodes instead of fast diodes in solid state gain stage
  • WBT RCA inputs
  • Furutech IEC
1626568223945627888710838932536.jpg
 
Jul 19, 2021 at 6:01 PM Post #5,648 of 5,689

randytsuch

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 31, 2002
Posts
542
Likes
33
I've been thinking about building an amp for my HE6SE's, a diy clone version of a Pass class A amp.

Seems like the Aleph J2 is well regarded, but I don't think I can build one. Has some obsolete parts that seems like Pass has a stockpile of, and no where else to be found.

Of the other options, I was thinking I'd build the Aleph J. I could also build a F5, the diyaudio store has parts for both of them.

Opinions?

Thanks
Randy
 
Jul 19, 2021 at 6:49 PM Post #5,649 of 5,689

jerick70

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jun 25, 2014
Posts
5,931
Likes
6,970
Location
Utah, USA
I've been thinking about building an amp for my HE6SE's, a diy clone version of a Pass class A amp.

Seems like the Aleph J2 is well regarded, but I don't think I can build one. Has some obsolete parts that seems like Pass has a stockpile of, and no where else to be found.

Of the other options, I was thinking I'd build the Aleph J. I could also build a F5, the diyaudio store has parts for both of them.

Opinions?

Thanks
Randy
I think you would do well with either amp. I built a Pass ACA amp and paired it with the Elekit TU-8500. It sounded fantastic with the OG HE-6. Not as good as the J2 I owned, but very competent. Pass makes some of the best amps IMO.

You may want to look at Zen Mods Aleph J clone the Babelfish J. I've been meaning to build one but lost my omph during COVID. Have the PCBs right here....

IMG_1342.jpg
 
Last edited:
Jul 19, 2021 at 6:57 PM Post #5,650 of 5,689

paradoxper

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 10, 2012
Posts
8,812
Likes
3,814
Dollar for dollar. Best SS headphone amp You can pick up IMO is probably the Mjolnir 1. 5watts into 50ohm, fully balanced and sounds incredible! Sounds pretty great with most headphones including HE6 and HE5. the footprint is wide, but it didn’t get very hot on top so you can stack.

The Jotunheim was proficient at running HE6se so really i think you should get what you are most interested in.
I like this. Original Mjolnir is a forgotten gem.
I've been thinking about building an amp for my HE6SE's, a diy clone version of a Pass class A amp.

Seems like the Aleph J2 is well regarded, but I don't think I can build one. Has some obsolete parts that seems like Pass has a stockpile of, and no where else to be found.

Of the other options, I was thinking I'd build the Aleph J. I could also build a F5, the diyaudio store has parts for both of them.

Opinions?

Thanks
Randy
Build a J2 or F5. Another option I'd evaluate is the CFA3 headamp - 16W into 50 ohms and a SuSy-optional stage for very nice dynamic drive.
 
Jul 20, 2021 at 10:19 AM Post #5,651 of 5,689

randytsuch

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 31, 2002
Posts
542
Likes
33
I like this. Original Mjolnir is a forgotten gem.

Build a J2 or F5. Another option I'd evaluate is the CFA3 headamp - 16W into 50 ohms and a SuSy-optional stage for very nice dynamic drive.
I'd build a J2, but you can't find any 2SK3497's to build it with. The CFA3 is an interesting idea, but I'm pretty set on a Pass class A clone at this point.
 
Jul 20, 2021 at 10:23 AM Post #5,652 of 5,689

randytsuch

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 31, 2002
Posts
542
Likes
33
I think you would do well with either amp. I built a Pass ACA amp and paired it with the Elekit TU-8500. It sounded fantastic with the OG HE-6. Not as good as the J2 I owned, but very competent. Pass makes some of the best amps IMO.

You may want to look at Zen Mods Aleph J clone the Babelfish J. I've been meaning to build one but lost my omph during COVID. Have the PCBs right here....
Thanks, I'll look into the Babelfish J. Did look at other Zen Mod's designs. He is selling ludef kits, but not many out there so wanted to go with a something safer.

Does the Babel J fit in the diyaudio 4U chassis?
I may end up building more than one amp, reusing the chassis and hopefully the PS.

Randy
 
Jul 20, 2021 at 10:31 AM Post #5,653 of 5,689

jerick70

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jun 25, 2014
Posts
5,931
Likes
6,970
Location
Utah, USA
Thanks, I'll look into the Babelfish J. Did look at other Zen Mod's designs. He is selling ludef kits, but not many out there so wanted to go with a something safer.

Does the Babel J fit in the diyaudio 4U chassis?
I may end up building more than one amp, reusing the chassis and hopefully the PS.

Randy
Yes I think it will. If you look on his blog, he uses a 4u chassis.

https://www.zenmod.in.rs/babelfish-j-v2/
https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/pass-labs/273318-babelfish.html
 
Last edited:
Aug 6, 2021 at 7:30 PM Post #5,654 of 5,689

weicheheck

New Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Posts
14
Likes
2
Location
Miami
I've been thinking about building an amp for my HE6SE's, a diy clone version of a Pass class A amp.

Seems like the Aleph J2 is well regarded, but I don't think I can build one. Has some obsolete parts that seems like Pass has a stockpile of, and no where else to be found.

Of the other options, I was thinking I'd build the Aleph J. I could also build a F5, the diyaudio store has parts for both of them.

Opinions?

Thanks
Randy
I've used the F5 as well as a Vidar to drive my He6s and I found the F5 had a very soft and round transient attack relative to the Vidar.

Music is more tactile and physical with the Vidar, it feels more aggressive and energetic and I prefer it for that.

The F5 I would get distracted because of the lack of intensity I felt in the transients. This is using a Gungnir MB A2 running balanced to rca cables to a saga and into the F5/Vidar.

Maybe if you have a preamp that can add more gain to feed the F5 you may have a different experience, but I ended up prefering the Vidar just based on that, as well as having a more controlled and powerful bass.

Otherwise the F5 had a lot of great characteristics, excellent detail retrieval, a warmth that goes well with the OG He6 (idk about the SE) and great staging/imaging iirc, I just couldn't get over the roundness of the transients, if that makes sense.
 
Aug 9, 2021 at 5:50 PM Post #5,655 of 5,689

Sebbai

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 25, 2021
Posts
133
Likes
126
Location
Norway
I want to buy a amp for 3k $, what do you recommend? I have A90 and a crappy Burmeister 933 clone from Weilang audio ATM. The Weilang amp blew my second pair of HE6SE, and I want to spend real nuggets on a TOTL amp for my HE6 (already ordered a third pair of HE6SE)
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top