Is my Amp giving my Hifiman HE4XX the chance it deserves?
Dec 15, 2020 at 1:39 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 9

torquethunder93

New Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 14, 2020
Posts
8
Likes
0
Location
Wisconsin
I can't figure out if I need to try a different headphone or a different Amp.

The Behringer P2 Amp
Under the stats on the device it says " Max output: 2 x 100mW @ 16 ohms "

Does this mean it is not powerful enough to drive my new Hifimans HE-4XX that require 35 ohms (it has 93 db/mW sensitivity)?

I listen to a lot of classic rock and heavy metal (Pantera, Lamb of God, Devil Driver, System of a Down, Twelve Foot Ninja...)

I've found that the Hifiman HE4XX give really good detail, clarity to vocals, and reduced sharpness/harshness. But I feel like vocals for classic rock are missing that strong intimacy I'm looking for (midnight rider/In the light), and metal screams are lacking guttural impact.
Is there a headphone that can give me what I feel Hifiman is lacking in?
Budget at
$200ish for headphones
$70 for Amp

(edit on budget. Sorry, should have been more clear)
 
Last edited:
Dec 15, 2020 at 2:17 PM Post #2 of 9

PurpleAngel

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Sep 1, 2011
Posts
29,130
Likes
1,849
Location
California
How does the HE4XX sound plugged into your smartphone?
Me, I would buy something like the Schiit Fulla 3, for driving your HE4XX.
 
Dec 15, 2020 at 2:21 PM Post #4 of 9

torquethunder93

New Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 14, 2020
Posts
8
Likes
0
Location
Wisconsin
How does the HE4XX sound plugged into your smartphone?
Me, I would buy something like the Schiit Fulla 3, for driving your HE4XX.
Definitely too quiet. The portable amp does seem to help a lot(with volume at least), I'm just not sure if it's enough. I know Amps are supposed to help with volume, but I've also read elsewhere that they're supposed to help with other qualities of sound as well.
 
Dec 16, 2020 at 1:39 AM Post #6 of 9

ProtegeManiac

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 29, 2009
Posts
16,303
Likes
3,075
Location
Manila
The Behringer P2 Amp
Under the stats on the device it says " Max output: 2 x 100mW @ 16 ohms "

Does this mean it is not powerful enough to drive my new Hifimans HE-4XX that require 35 ohms (it has 93 db/mW sensitivity)?

Rough guesstimate says you could get a bit past 105 peaks...the question is how much distortion and noise the amp has at that output level compared to something like a Schiit Asgard that can get you to 120dB peaks if you don't mind wrecking your ear drums without sweating (which basically means anywhere under that you don't need to worry about anything).


I listen to a lot of classic rock and heavy metal (Pantera, Lamb of God, Devil Driver, System of a Down, Twelve Foot Ninja...)

Dynamics probably compressed on those recordings anyway but perception always thinks louder = better, until you hit audible distortion, noise gets in the way, or you outright clip.

I'd always shoot for having enough power to theoretically be capable of hitting 120dB and with very low noise at the levels I'd actually listen at.


I've found that the Hifiman HE4XX give really good detail, clarity to vocals, and reduced sharpness/harshness. But I feel like vocals for classic rock are missing that strong intimacy I'm looking for (midnight rider/In the light), and metal screams are lacking guttural impact.

They're weak in precisely those areas.
1608100241859.png


It's not that they're universally, unequivocally bad for that kind of music, just that the human hearing when psychology and physiology are factored in is biased for the midrange and ambient noise affects bass frequencies the most, so this comes out as balanced sounding for some people. I like them for Kamelot for example.


Is there a headphone that can give me what I feel Hifiman is lacking in?

Grado RS-1. High sensitivity too so any decent amp, even a portable amp, can drive it.

That said if you don't invest in the amp and don't like this Grado or any Grado, you're stuck with a relatively low output amp and if you change the headphone it remains a problem.


I can't figure out if I need to try a different headphone or a different Amp.
---
Budget at
$200ish for headphones
$70 for Amp

(edit on budget. Sorry, should have been more clear)

As much as maybe you could try a cheaper Grado, not upgrading the headphone amp or just switching to one with low output impedance and thus lower distortion due to better damping factor might then present another problem: you already spent money, but if the Grado is not to your liking, then trying another headphone will likely mean having to get another amp.

I'd just get a two- or three-driver Westone IEM and run it off a portable DAC-HPamp. That deals with ambient noise as a factor as long as you get a good seal. Question is if you can sit for hours (presumably) wearing an IEM even if it's not for example on a plane.
 
Dec 16, 2020 at 1:20 PM Post #7 of 9

torquethunder93

New Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 14, 2020
Posts
8
Likes
0
Location
Wisconsin
Rough guesstimate says you could get a bit past 105 peaks...the question is how much distortion and noise the amp has at that output level compared to something like a Schiit Asgard that can get you to 120dB peaks if you don't mind wrecking your ear drums without sweating (which basically means anywhere under that you don't need to worry about anything).




Dynamics probably compressed on those recordings anyway but perception always thinks louder = better, until you hit audible distortion, noise gets in the way, or you outright clip.

I'd always shoot for having enough power to theoretically be capable of hitting 120dB and with very low noise at the levels I'd actually listen at.




They're weak in precisely those areas.
1608100241859.png

It's not that they're universally, unequivocally bad for that kind of music, just that the human hearing when psychology and physiology are factored in is biased for the midrange and ambient noise affects bass frequencies the most, so this comes out as balanced sounding for some people. I like them for Kamelot for example.




Grado RS-1. High sensitivity too so any decent amp, even a portable amp, can drive it.

That said if you don't invest in the amp and don't like this Grado or any Grado, you're stuck with a relatively low output amp and if you change the headphone it remains a problem.




As much as maybe you could try a cheaper Grado, not upgrading the headphone amp or just switching to one with low output impedance and thus lower distortion due to better damping factor might then present another problem: you already spent money, but if the Grado is not to your liking, then trying another headphone will likely mean having to get another amp.

I'd just get a two- or three-driver Westone IEM and run it off a portable DAC-HPamp. That deals with ambient noise as a factor as long as you get a good seal. Question is if you can sit for hours (presumably) wearing an IEM even if it's not for example on a plane.
Thank you for such a thorough response man. I'll be sure to check out some Grados if given the chance. Need to find a headphone shop first. Also, I listened to Kamelot with the HE 4xx and it rocks it.
 
Dec 16, 2020 at 2:31 PM Post #8 of 9

PurpleAngel

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Sep 1, 2011
Posts
29,130
Likes
1,849
Location
California
Definitely too quiet. The portable amp does seem to help a lot(with volume at least), I'm just not sure if it's enough. I know Amps are supposed to help with volume, but I've also read elsewhere that they're supposed to help with other qualities of sound as well.
Wattage does not equal quality, wattage is more about advertising.
The 35-Ohm HE4XX might not need a lot of voltage, but it might be more demanding for current.
I would suggest upgrading the DAC/amp, then see how that sounds, like with a Schiit Fulla 3 is $100.
The Behringer P2 Amp sells for $40, so how good can it be? (maybe half-way decent at best).
 
Dec 20, 2020 at 8:32 AM Post #9 of 9

tmb821

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 23, 2019
Posts
285
Likes
205
Location
Goodyear, Az
I run my 4xx with either my Schiit heresy or my xduoo xd05 plus. Either one of those power it wonderfully. I can run it with my topping nx3s, but it just doesn’t have the same punch as either of the other two amps. The 4xx is my favorite headphone, over my akg k240s, shp 9500s, and x2hr. With all genres of music.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top