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I just noticed that InnerFidelity measurements puts the efficiency of HE4XX only at 88.3 dB/mW SPL. That makes it considerably harder to drive even than the 400i. Has anyone observed this with their HE4XX units?
This would make sense because these seem to require as much amp as the 400i/560/Q701 from my experience. No idea why they marketed these as portable/friendly other than entry-price demographics who typically don't have a dedicated listening area. Let's not kid ourselves though, these are wide-open and power-hungry.
Can an entry level DAP, like the Fiio x3, drive them?
Most likely, but you'll probably have it cranked near the top.
Thanks, I want these heaphones, I just hope that the Fiio X3 at max volume will not create any distortion. I have a M50x and a fidelio x2 and I never went more than 60%. So it's uncharted territory for me.
Try it out and see if you like the results. You can always buy a more powerful amp.
If you end up feeling like you need more power you can't go wrong with the $99 Magni 3. That's what I use with the 4XXs for my lanai setup and it's an excellent pairing.
Thank you, but I usually use my Dap even at home to listen to music, so I don't need a desk amp.
Well, if you can afford it, iFi iDSD Micro Black Label is one of the very few portable DAC/Amp combo that I have found that can drive these to oblivion. There are some portable amps (amp-only) that you can couple/stack with your DAPs, like Fiio A5 or Cayin C5. They will drive 4XX to about 117 dB, which should be good enough. Also, if you select a device which will need max volume to drive 4XX to your normal listening levels, the sound won't be good as transient peaks would be clipped.
Same here actually. I just use my XDP-100R as a source/DAC in line-out to either of my home amps. Trust me, even good DAPs benefit bypassing the internal amp in favor of a dedicated, external one.
True. I too don't want to spend that much. I am planning on a moderately powered DAC/amp for on-the-go use and connect to a desktop amp when at my table. Something like ifi nano black label or topping nx4 dsd would do.
I don't notice any difference between my 400i and the 4xx. But, if you drive them with the X3, you're not getting nearly the performance out of the cans that they are capable of.
Well I have connected the 4XXs directly to my iPhone 8 and they do work at an acceptable level. And by that I mean with the phone's volume maxed out, the sound quality is acceptable, but not exactly a religious experience.
If, on the other hand, you put a good portable DAC/Amp in between the phone and the 4XXs (maybe an Oppo HA 2SE), you will most definitely hear a heavenly chorus or two!
Cue the Angels!
Have you tried HE4XX with an amp more powerful than the HA2-SE? If so, did you notice any difference from HA2-SE?
Well for home-use, I generally go with a Schitt Jotunheim. I suppose there is some difference, but not Night and Day. They sound good with both and both will get them loud. The 4XXs aren't hard to drive, it's the 6XXs that benefit from a little extra juice--in my experience.
Do you feel the bass is limited (or lean) with HA2SE?
Well, I am away from home a lot, mostly staying at hotels or other type of lodgings. I have been wondering from the moment I joined the drop if a portable DAC/Amp can be a good enough substitute for HE4XX. I was planning on getting the iFi Nano BL, which has marginally more power than HA2-SE, when I started hearing all these confusing remarks.
Other than the InnerFidelity measurement which shows it to be harder to drive than HD6XX, I have even seen some people commenting here saying that this needs the kind of power of Jot's balanced output which is about 25 times that of HA2-SE. That sounded obscenely inefficient even compared to the original HE400i. It could have been due to that person's source (low-output DAC, software attenuation via equalizer of some kind, etc.).
Either amp works well, I prefer the slight (bass and isolation) edge the 4XXs seem to have over the 6XX regardless of dac/amp.
Thanks for the responses. I guess I will try to find a similar powered portable and test with it.
I use a Topping NX4 with my 4xx and its a great pairing. In my experience my iPad Pro and Pixel 2 can play the 4xx adequately, but they really need a boost from an amp to be at their best. I‘m equal happy listenimg to the 4xx via the NX4 or my much more powerful Aune X7S.
Can’t say the same about the 6xx. They are OK with the NX4, but outstanding with the X7S.
I think you may want more power for the HE4XX than the IFI Nano-BL. I have an IFI Nano, and its not enough for me. A Chord Mojo has enough power, and of course the IFI iDSD-BL would have more than enough.
Chord Mojo can push about 1-3 dB more than Nano-BL. Is that significant in transients? Does it affect only the bass or the over-all sound?
PS: We were talking about the Nano Black Label here, which has more than double the power of the previous Nano.
I didn't realize that the nano black was that much more powerful. I'd still think that you want at least .75 Watt to drive it.
Hi, can I ask how you calculated this 88.3 dB/mW efficiency from Innerfidelity's values?