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HiFiman HE-500 (HE as in High End) Proving to be an enjoyable experience in listening.

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by jamato8, Apr 26, 2011.
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  1. StanD
    A lot of people who own and use the Asgard 2 will disagree with you as to your claims of that amp. As far as quality power, 100 mW cannot drive an HE-500 past a 109 dB peak without gobs of distortion, that is certainly not quality. That Little Dot MKII at 100 mW at 32 Ohms is not going to be able deliver on an HE-500 no matter how much you or HiFi (yes you gave it a +1) wish it to. That amp is designed for and works for higher impedance cans. How you can make this claim, makes no sense to me. If pairing this pleases you and that's what you want, go for it. I'll pass on this choice. If on the other hand you desire a boutique amp, that's cool.
    The Asgard 2 is not one of those cheap amps you try to make some odd point about. You might try using an A/B switch to do proper comparisons, it can be an enlightening experience.
     
  2. Ultramus
    I'm somewhere in the middle of this argument. I am of the camp that everything can be empirically measured, the fact that DACs and amps only give vague specs and no one bothers to hard check them against one another to me just proves that the audiophile world is more scared of hard data than it is embracing of it. I have not heard the Asgard 2, just the Asgard 1, and I do not recall which DAC it was paired with, I didn't like it as much as my own setup, and that wasn't owner bias, as the owner of that setup also preferred my rig, again, I only believe that my setup is sufficient, and that any similar rig will not show difference over any other. I look at them the same as I would a gaming computer, a $500 can probably play a game on medium settings or so, a $1000 can play the same game on high, a $2k on ultra, but a $10k can also only play the game on ultra, despite any other technical advantages it has over the $2k because at this point the MEDIA is the bottleneck. Audio is the same way, we can only have a system that under ideal circumstances reproduces the sound as intended, in essence, an adequate DAC with an adequate amp will, regardless of cost, give the same input to a headphone. Things like transparency, PRaT, et cetera are buzzwords to sell uberpriced gear. A DAC?amp working as an ideal system is indistinguishable from another DAC/amp working as an ideal system, because the output is the same, the audio chain can only be either correct, or incorrect, and personally, as I think StanD is saying, we agree upon, we may simply have differing views on where this cost/performance plateau resides.
     
  3. Dragonzeanse
    I just heard these at the Seattle meet this weekend. I know what I'm buying next!
     
  4. hifimanrookie
    Lolz..u had to use my name again huh..hehehe
    Seriously..i only agreed on the fact that power figures is not everything..as i didnt hear a little dot amp yet..so i cant have an opinion on that amp..just to make things clear.. :wink:
     
  5. Dragonzeanse
    What amp would any of you recommend pairing these with? I was thinking about a Bottlehead Crack - or maybe a Bottlehead Quicksand, though I don't think a lot of people have heard it yet, for obvious reasons. Maybe a Little Dot MK III. Realistically, I would probably just pick an Objective2 amp since I want something that doesn't color the sound. But what would a good alternative be if I wanted a more rich, warm sound? Something I could use to toy around with the sound signature?
     
  6. shayson1357
    tubes are love
    tubes are life [​IMG]
    BTW,how does your Philips compare to the he-500 if you've tried it before ?
     
  7. StanD
    Glad to see you're smiling again.
    Well last night I fired up the Asgard 2 with HE-500. I put on some fast music with lots of transients in the way of serious drums (Dave Weckl) and gobs of bass with electric as well as acoustic instruments, It sounded perfect, I dog legged up the sub bass with some EQ and again, no distortion and it sounded smooth, no distortion yet had tremendous impact as recorded. Nice and loud with plenty of volume to spare, Even though I'm not a proponent of excess power, not enough power is not going to work either, Now to add some humor, if I had tried a Little Dot MK II, the sound would have been awful the amp so taxed that the tubes would have popped out of their sockets and burst as it's 100 mW can't cut it in this rodeo as a 109 dB top limit is not enough resulting in clipping on peaks, it would probably have done fine with an HD600 as that's what such an OTL tube amp is made for. I also found the one I tried to be a touch noisy, which could have been due to the set of tubes installed. They don't spec a noise figure, so I'd be a bit suspicious. Once I decided to get an HE-500, this amp was off the table for me.
    At 300 Ohms the Asgard 2 still delivers more power - quality power.
    Moral of the story, inadequate power results in distortion, unless you turn the volume too low to listen Or as Jimi Hendrix once sang, "I have a hummingbird that hums so loud, you think you were losing your mind.". Too low a volume with dynamically recorded music will not deliver the DR some folks are looking for,
     
  8. StanD
    A typical OTL tube amp is not for low impedance headphones that need moderate or more power. If you want a pure tube amp, you will probably have top open your wallet wider to accomplish the mission. IMO, an SS amp that can deliver a clean 1W to an HE-500 is going to do it. And I meant do it well not just adequately.
     
  9. daerron
     
    Garage1217 offers very good value for money amps that are very good with the HE-500. I had the Sunrise 2, but the new Polaris and Ember amplifiers should be ideal for the HE-500 on a budget. Go with Polaris if you are looking for SS and its associated benefits or the Ember if you want to add valves into the mix. If you are looking for a good valve only amp, I'd suggest looking at the La Figaro 339, but you will need to spend some money on better valves and it could be risky importing one.
     
  10. hifimanrookie
    Toy around + enough power + affordable + built and heavy like a tank + sexy as hell:) = darkvoice 337/lafigaro 339

    Check their threads...my own personal experience with a dv337 and a he500 was a very long (more then 2 years) and wonderful one..very recommended with a (he500) planar
    Even stranger..the new owner prefers his 337 over the violectric 200 he already had..and he uses the 337 to drive his he500, hd800 and even his he6...to full satisfation
     
  11. Llloyd
    If you wanted a bottlehead amp, I think the S.E.X. is more what you would be looking for(http://bottlehead.com/s-e-x-2-1-specs/).  The crack is more for high impedance phones.  I'm not sure any of the Little Dot amps are particularly well suited to drive the HE-500, besides maybe the higher end models, I think the LD2 and 3 are both again for higher impedence phones generally.  They're kind of low profile amps so I haven't seen a whole lot of people talking about their synergy.  My experience with the LD amp has been positive but it is for sure not a first choice.
     
  12. Llloyd
     
    And many people have disagreed with me in the past. A lot.  I no longer have my asgard but as I said, when I owned the two amps, I did as close to an a/b comparison as I could with likely an expectation bias in the Asgard's favor.  I found I preferred the little dot amplifier.  It was a little shocking to me that I came to that conclusion.  I'm not saying it was leaps and bounds of a difference.  The difference was small but I found the harmonic distortion of the LD amp provided a sound that was more like music to me and less like a sort of tinny(again, very, very slight and the Asgard sounds overall just fine and very similar to mostly all other ~$200 amps with the he-500), thin sound that overemphasized air.  This is in comparison of course so maybe when compared to a different amp it might sound different since I suppose it's all relative in these sort of listening tests.
     
    Now to me that's not what music in the real world has ever sounded like so I sold my Asgard off and kept the little dot for a number of months after while I searched for something to try to get the HE-500 to sound like others were talking about.  I wouldn't refer to the LD mk2 as a quality amplifier, and that's not what I was referring to when I made that statement, you are getting confused.  It's a little amp that has a nice sound and is super cheap. It's overly tubey, even with the mullard ef92's subbed in for the chinese or russian tubes, which adds a little clarity.  When my amp was in the shop once again I used the LD2 and it sounds just fine
     
    Also what is this nonsense about 109db.  That's horrifyingly, eardamingingly loud sound.  Maybe I am misunderstanding you, but if the sound starts to distort at 109 and 109 only(I don't know the science behind this), then there shouldn't be a problem right?  I don't know many people that want to damage their hearing after 2 minutes of listening so by that measure the little dot may be fine.  Again I could be wrong here and have misunderstood you.  Either way, the LD amp still sounded more real to me even though everything on head fi told me that it shouldn't.
     
    In the end overall I found the asgard to have a thin sound and woolly bass with lacking dynamics. An a/b test would not be required when comparing to either of my current amps (bakoon / decware amplifiers) to show the difference on a well recorded and mastered track.  A cheap amp doesn't really do the phones justice and I will stick to that point if you like the sig and dont want to invest in your system then fine, it's nice to know the phones are the strongest link in your system at the very least, and the 500 has a very pleasing signature.  I best not repeat myself any further though.  It's clear we disagree on this so maybe it's best to let it go.  Feel free to respond if you wish, since I did sort of ask you a question, but I believe I've said all I have to say.
     
  13. FYL941
    I'm a fan of the Lyr 2, well I own one so I guessI have to be [​IMG].  After trying out the woo wa7 and a couple burson hp amps the Lyr 2 sounded best to me.  Plus you can definitely play around with the sound signature of this amp with all the different tubes you can roll with it.  It has it's own tube rolling thread that you can check out.   
     
  14. .Sup
    Crack does not sound good with HE series headphones. It sounds lifeless, dull.
     
  15. hifimanrookie
    As far my personal experiences go and as far its told here on headfi...ur best affordable! choice for a hybrid/full tube headphone amp for a he500 (and probably the he560) is the lyr (2) and the sisters darkvoice 337/lafigaro 339.. They are wellknown to be affordable and pairing really well with he500... Onky problem u could get is getting the tubes..as some are getting really expensive..in my modded 337 i had tubes in it almost same worth of the amp itself..but thats whats the fun of tube amps is all about..u can tune ur sound..to a certain extent ofcourse..and before u know it u spend a little fortune on tubes..i was rather humble with my 9 matched pairs :wink:
     
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