Sep 19, 2018496 views

Hifiman he4xx headphone amp question

I recently purchased the Massdrop x HIFIMAN HE4XX Planar Magnetic Headphones from massdrop, and I absolutely love them. I'm pairing them with Sennheiser Gsx 1000 gaming amp, but it doesnt seem to be pumping out the best quality. The reason I say this is because I have a pair of sennheiser hd598 openbacks and when I plug these bad boys in to the gsx1000 they sound amazing. Anyone have any links to an amp that I could use to really crank these headphones up to the full potential? I'm new to all of this so any help would be awesome! (Price as far as equipment I need doesnt matter, just want to hear the power)

Thanks in advance!
Mohannad13 and rastus

my favorite amp for the he4xx is the bravo ocean, and its cheap ;)
I'm running mine through the Grace m9XX and they sound amazing on all sorts of material, from youtube through 24-bit FLAC. They won't go to super-high volumes before there's audible distortion coming in, but that's probably a good thing. You can play them loud and clear through the m9XX at volumes that are more than reasonable.
I'm not sure what the output power requirement is for it but I run a panda stack (without the lps because mine took a power hit and I can't find a replacement) which you probably won't be able to find anymore but if you did I would recommend without hesitation. I use it for my mid tier headphones that need that extra push. I us the SMSL SAP-9 for my 1More over ear, and the Sennheiser GSX 1000 which i feed into a multi out Behringer Micro amp HA400 for my Takstar 82, 598 SE and other below mid tiers with great results especially since I can use the presets on the GSX 1000 to tweak the audio. I think you could pick any of those and have great success with it. One note, the feed to my SAP 9 starts at the SMSL Sanskrit PRO-B DAC, Goes to my Aune X7S (I use my higher end headphones with that one) then feed out through the pre out to the SAP 9. I know it sounds confusing so to simplify, the power to drive my mid tiers comes from the Sap, you can hook up any DAC to it. If the HIFIMAN HE4XX does balanced you can run XLR to the SAP-9 as well because the 1/4 inch and the XLR are both balanced, if your into that. Everything is on amazon so you can get it pretty quick, the cost from least to most is Behringer $25, SAP-9 $100, SMSL Sanskrit roughly $150 (if you can find it), GSX 1000 $200, and if your thinking something like the Aune X7S, they are kinda scarce as well and usually run about $300 or so dollars. If all you are using is the 4XX I would say try the Behringer, it is very inexpensive and you can connect up to 4 headphones to it. I am only guessing but I don't think they would require anymore power then the 598 SE or Bdyn DT770 pro that I have hooked up to it at the same time with no appreciable cost to power. If worst comes to worst you keep it on your desk and feed it from another amp for more power and you can still have more than one headphone running if you have someone with you or are changing genres and want to listen using a different pair. Hope that helps.
I was a previous Audio-gd R2R-11 user before upgrading to the R28. The R2R-11 really got me to like my HE4xx again, so much more impressive than my previous schiit stack setup.
Not to test the ‘money no object’ but to show what an end game SS supply could look like; a current driven amp with a small Hoover Dam backing it up ‘power no object’ Jackula on these blogs, introduced me, he has one:
“Summarize Built in regenerative power supply Uses three R-core transformers (In total 260W ) and more than 100,000uf audio grade NOVER capacitors are used to ensure ample and smooth power delivery. Separate class A PSUs power supply for regenerative drivers ,Left and Right channel audio signal amps . Total applied 8 pcs exact matching 150W transistors ( In total 1200W )  as the output stages  for implement large class A output power . Uses most Hi-end grade parts and exactly matched transistors, OCC wires. Four-channel 100 steps digitally controlled relay-based volume control avoids channel imbalance and improves sound quality . Supper Exponential Volume Characteristic,  easy match the volume with very high headphone / speaker without change the gain mode. 20DB gain can drive the low sensitivity headphone very well.”
Many other lower cost amps will take you beyond your GSX1000, and I’m sure other HE4XX owners will chime in.
Edit; Your GSX1000 gamer has a low power processor in it, to be kind; not too impressive:
The Audio-GD R-28, one I have been considering, is something that will give you an R2R DAC and gobs of power to drive the HE4XX's at a bit less $$ than the Hoover Dam level HE-9 (amp only):
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I received my R-28 about 3 weeks ago and still burning in (24hrs on). It's also burning in my new 3 day old dynaudio studio monitors at the same time and I think i achieved my end game for a few years.
That being said, Im already thinking how i would stack an HE9 to my existing setup cause the power regen stuff interests me to a great deal.
Nice,, I was going to go for the R-28 but changed $ plans to get a 300B SET for speakers, a quest for the Siren's Song, that is also incredible with cans btw. The R-28 is also current driven, like the HE-9 with nice reserve power, just not the Hoover Dam Regenerative "no mountain (peak;) too high" level of the HE-9. Interestingly, I see my 300B SET as being somewhat analogous to the HE-9, by having a secondary massive capacitor bank, to handle the transient power requirements, normally deficient in a SET amp.
So how does the R-28 deliver in regards to an "organic live" signature, what files are you playing with it, native DSD? I went with the Denafrips Ares R-2R, in the mail from China, looking forward to this experience. Hopefully end game for me for a few years also;) I was disappointed that the R-2R from MD/Airist skipped over DSD native capability, really... the bias or whatever it is, is strong.... For an SS amp, the HE-9 is also on my list.
Yes, nice looking table top racks for these mid-size units like the GD's, are a missing item in the marketplace... the stuff that is out there is like - crazy custom price level... why you see the DIY oiled wood/threaded rod/nuts& washers... which done right is not a bad look... MD should really package price the THX/R-2R/CTH... the market is there and ready to buy... a calculator, a few keystrokes, upload, and see how it ticks...