Which headphone AMP to buy?


ninjenstein

Member
Disciple
Hello!

Currently, I'm looking at Schiit Magni 3+ and will be feeding it through an Apple USB c to 3.5mm dongle, but I don't know whether the warranty is handled well by Headphone Zone.

Or would you recommend any other AMP (or a DAC-AMP) instead? My headphones are HiFiMAN HE400i, with 35ohm impedance and 93db/mW sensitivity -- needs ~51mW to reach 110db and ~500mW for 120db (I'll probably need some room for EQ) according to this calculator.

I've heard these cans benefit from some good power input -- some guy on ASR even recommends 1W to make them shine, but not sure if that's necessary.

Max budget is 10k.
@Nitendra Singh I would greatly appreciate it if you can help here. I saw from your posts that you're heavily invested in audio equipment and have tried so many different products.
 

red dragon

Justiceforall
Veteran
Magni 3 should be fine for HE400i. It's very easy to drive. I've not used the 3+ specifically though.
I'm slightly confused with your input though, I never used magni 3 with a phone ( it's built for laptop use and requires separate power input) Is magni 3+ is a portable amp?
 

Nitendra Singh

Active Member
Disciple
Hi,

Schiit Magni 3+ can easily drive He400i and yes warranty is handled by headphonezone.
Click here

Still can't get what input you're trying. Apple provides official Usb to 3.5mm female headphone jack adapter to plug in headphones or earphones only
it's something like this - click here
so probably you'll be using another cable to convert 3.5mm to RCA input for Amplifier.

Schiit 's new amplifier model is Schiit Magnius. I wonder if headphonezone can provide this for 15k as this sells for US $200
and I think it's worth the price. This one has balanced connection and is very powerful.

Recently I tried these Aune X1s pro , Fiio K5pro , Aune x7s 2019 Amplifier.
X1s pro is a very good DAC with not much powerful amplification but it can drive headphones upto 250-300ohms easily but I feel it's a bit less power at 32-70ohm.

Aune X7s is only a bit more powerful than X1s pro at 38ohm (unbalanced) but it has more clarity. In balanced mode it's almost double the power,
I am yet to try this balanced output, nothing available to test at the moment.

Fiio K5pro has more power than Aune x7s (unbalanced @38 ohm). at 600 ohms it may be equally powerful.

fiio k5pro has neutral sound signature whereas Aune x7s has a hint of warmth and it adds a weight to the sound which makes it pleasing if you've some neutral to bright sounding headphones.

Schiit Magni 3+ is available for 11999/ at HPzone, but if you can extend you're budget a little I suggest you Ifi Zen CAN available at HPzone for 15k.

Zen CAN Click here
also read the reviews at HPzone and specifications at official website.

Though I've not tried it but it's 1600mw power at 32 ohm (Unbalanced) and is a powerful amp which is also feature rich.
here with Zen CAN you've multiple inputs even a balanced input and you can feed it with multiple inputs and change with just pressing a button.
Also with this you've balanced output with even more power, a gain switch and bass/3D switch so basically it's worth the extra features.
With He400i or hifiman sundara you can also try some custom balanced cable connection, which is also worth considering.
My Aune stack looks great on my desk or else I could 've bought Zen Can instead of X7s.
I hope it helps making a decision,
Have a nice Day!
 

ninjenstein

Member
Disciple
Hi again,

Thanks a lot for your input guys!
@red dragon I was talking about using the dongle as a DAC (it has a DAC chip inside) for my desktop. It's quite well-regarded.
@Nitendra Singh yes, I was thinking of using a 3.5mm to RCA converter. I'll look at the K5 Pro and the Zen Can. Seems like they'll be able to satisfy my power needs.

Unfortunately, this just happened yesterday so I won't be buying an AMP anytime soon --
Copy-pasting my message from another place:
"Update on my HE400i:
I've noticed a really weird thing -- When I use the szynalski tone generator with its volume set to 100%, and when I move the left can it produces a weird static noise. Happens only with the left can at upper bass frequencies -- around 75hz to 120hz."

Looks like my headphones are defective :( and Amazon's return window has expired. I called up HiFiMAN India yesterday but no one answered, probably because it was a Saturday. I've sent an email to their customer care, let's see how that goes. I'm hoping their 30-day return policy is global and not US-only.

Also would appreciate it if you guys know anything about that noise thing. I'll try shooting a video and posting it here.

Edit: It happens when I use this test tone from YouTube as well -- so the tone generator is definitely not at fault here. It seems like a physical defect because when the headphones are on my head and my left ear/part of my head is pressing against the pads, it doesn't happen. It also doesn't happen when I press my hand against the pads. It only happens when there is no pressure on it.
 
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Nitendra Singh

Active Member
Disciple
So is it just when trying this tone generator or it also happened while listening something else ?
most probably you've tried this tone generator thing on your mobile.
how about trying these headphones on a different source like some TV headphone out or from any laptop etc. ?
sometimes it happens with incorrect DAC settings but as you've mentioned it's only left channel so it's a bit concerning.
If there's distortion while twisting / moving headphones then it can be physical damage. no clue, but static noise may not be a physical issue.
unfortunately the best option for a return already expired but need not worry as it's weekend and hopefully customer support will do something regarding this.

you can also try calling customer care, here are the details from HPzone -
Service Partner:
Hifiman Electronics India Pvt Ltd
Address:
Hifiman Electronics India Pvt Ltd
No-229, Ground Floor,
18th Main, 5th Cross,6th Block
Koramangala, Bengaluru, Karnataka
Email: customercare@hifiman.com
Phone: +91 9986010039
Landline: 080 -48534996
 

red dragon

Justiceforall
Veteran
Regarding the static noise you are getting...is it coming when you press the cup around your ear? Since air is trapped between your head and the diaphragm it creates a pressure zone, and as the headphones shift with movement you may hear a slight crinkling sound from the diaphragm. This is very common with planar magnetic drivers and is nothing to be worried about. It is the sound of the thin diaphragm moving with the changes in air pressure.
If it is not causing any issues while normal listening (please do not press the earcups in planars) do not bother with it. I just checked with Sundara and LCD X, it is present in both (slightly more in Sundara as the diaphragm is very thin and possibly moves faster) I am pretty sure both of these cans are perfectly fine.
 

ninjenstein

Member
Disciple
Regarding the static noise you are getting...is it coming when you press the cup around your ear? Since air is trapped between your head and the diaphragm it creates a pressure zone, and as the headphones shift with movement you may hear a slight crinkling sound from the diaphragm. This is very common with planar magnetic drivers and is nothing to be worried about. It is the sound of the thin diaphragm moving with the changes in air pressure.
If it is not causing any issues while normal listening (please do not press the earcups in planars) do not bother with it. I just checked with Sundara and LCD X, it is present in both (slightly more in Sundara as the diaphragm is very thin and possibly moves faster) I am pretty sure both of these cans are perfectly fine.
The noise actually happens when there is no pressure zone/no air, not the other way around (Please see the edit in my original post). And it's happening on the left side only! There is also a channel imbalance -- the left side always sounds louder than the right, whatever I do.

Are you saying you checked with your own headphones?
 

red dragon

Justiceforall
Veteran
Yes, I checked both the planars I still have. The strange popping sound is audible intermittently and randomly in both earcups of both headphones ( a touch more louder in Sundara, compared to the Audeze) when I press the cups against ear.
But there's no channel imbalance. Hifiman is infamous for their QC issues. Contact them ASAP. Channel imbalance is a very serious issue and with planars, it's possibly not the cables ( however interchange the cable side to be sure)
 
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Nitendra Singh

Active Member
Disciple
@ red dragon thanks for your confirmation of audible popping sound but still he is facing imbalance issue and it's static noise in one of the earcups.
seems like it may be some other trouble, I think it's better to opt for RMA.
someone else also mentioned this imbalance issue at Amazon india, may be some QC issues.

see review @ amazon
 

ninjenstein

Member
Disciple
Update:

I called them up again today and they answered. Talked to them (talked to two people), they seemed professional, like they know their shit and were actually nice to talk to. Got a reply to my email as well. Will be shipping out the headphones to them in Bangalore at the earliest. Let's see how it goes. I also shot a couple of videos detailing the issue. If you care to check, I'll DM you guys the link. It's basically a rattling sound especially noticeable at bass frequencies, at higher volumes.
 

ninjenstein

Member
Disciple
Update on the HE400i situation:

HiFiMAN service not looking good. They called me up today and said "our service person has checked the headphones, your headphones are working 100% properly" lol. Good thing I shot the videos, which clearly show that the headphones are defective (the rattling). I had sent it in the email, and they hadn't even checked it. Then he kept saying that "we've checked the video, your headphones are 100% fine" like wtf does that even mean... The headphone is literally making a rattling sound right in front of you in the video.

The guy also has the audacity to tell me "these headphones are not supposed to be used with a phone, we tested with HiFiMAN amplifiers." Amp or no amp, an imbalance is an imbalance lol. I've checked for hours on my phone as well as desktop, wearing the headphones backward, swapping the left and the right cable, with mono audio, yada yada yada. The left driver is definitely louder.

Anyway, he said that he'll "ask the service person to check again," so I'm waiting for the final update tomorrow, but it's not looking good :/
I also haven't received any RMA ticket number or anything, is that normal?
 
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Nitendra Singh

Active Member
Disciple
It may be possible that the item is OK, let's wait for them to check again.
Please share that video so we can also 've a look.
Ask them to provide a RMA or ticket number or some request number.
 

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