General purchase advice: Ask your questions/for advice here!

I’m not versed in Apple devices but the Go Bar comes with a lightning cable.

Yes, I head that it does. Until recently, Apple kept a tight hold on the USB to Lightning space. Lightning was not really fully compatible with USB, and the only game in town was Apple’s. They called it a “camera adapter” or a “camera kit” and was used to do transfers from cameras, but what it actually did was to make the lightning port much more like a USB port, able to take multiple devices.

In the last couple of years ago, they appear to be letting that choke point go, and have certified many 3rd party “camera adapter compatible” USB to Lightning solutions. I think the GoBar has one onboard.

The ifi lightning cable works well for music. I’m assuming the GoBar cable is the same as the Gryphon.

I tried an Anker lightning cable, which works fine for charging my phone and iPad, and also for connecting my phone to my car stereo, but I wasn’t able to get the Gryphon to connect to my phone using the Anker.

Apple has been forced to let go:

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My DCAs (Noires and Aeon Flow Closed) run fine on my AK DAP. I had a 2.5mm balanced cable fabricated. Plenty of juice to power them…

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Even if the numbers don’t actually suggest it, planar drivers always thank you when they are operated with a higher power output.

And yes, these can be driven with many mobile DACs, dongles, DAPs or bluetooth solutions.

But they only sound really structured with a certain power output, especially in the bass range.

That’s why I bite the bullet and actually always use the:

on the go.

It’s vor shure not the most convenient solution, but it’s definitely the “most sonorous” mobile option.

The Questyle M15

has a lot to offer in terms of sound, but with performance-hungry headphones, I have seen an error message on the iPhone from time to time that the energy consumption was too high.

I actually believe that the GoBar from ifi is indeed a good solution, since the energy output values ​​given sound quite promising.

PS.: Interestingly, the chord mojo 2,

which is outstanding as a mobile solution for dynamic drivers, is rather unsatisfactory in combination with planar drivers, at least for my ears, because it sounds too bloomy for me and lacks dynamics and purity with these types of headphones .

So now suck what you want out of this comment. :person_shrugging:


Thanks, @Lothar_Wolf I always enjoy your picture book responses. I’ve pulled the xDSD out of hiding and am applying a charge. Not an iDSD for certain, but it does have more single-ended power than anything else I have.

I too was impressed with the GoBar numbers, but don’t know how it will draw that power from what Arnold Schwarzenegger would call a “puny” phone battery. I am considering doing some home mods to a solar-powered hard hat, disabling the fan and using it to power a DAC"

There has to be a way to pack reasonable power into a small package.

LATER EDIT: Have been listening to the RAD-0 with my old xDSD. While not up to the desktop mating of Bifrost2 and Lyr3 by any means, it is way better than the DFC. I’ve started listening to some things I use as yardsticks and it’s been pleasant.

I have decided to add this song to my evaluate headphones list. It’s the version of Oye Cómo Va from Tito Puente’s “Anthology” and is exceedingly well done. Oye Cómo Va by Tito Puente, Celia Cruz


@garethofthedead Did you ever order anything?

The only closed headphone that I’ve tried in that price range is the Focal Elegia. (BTW, any links I provide are just to show you what I’m talking about, I’m not suggesting that’s the best price or that you should buy from Richer Sounds). The Elegia isn’t made any more, so you can normally pick it up for a good price. It was well respected by this forum (see this thread). I actually preferred (and bought) the Focal Celestee over the Elegia, because the Elegia didn’t have enough bass for my preferences, whereas the Celestee is a bit more well-rounded, but out of your price range. I may like more bass than you, so it may not be an issue for you. And the combination of the Elegia’s tuning and a very clear sound probably sounds great for TV and classical.

The AKG K371 that @NickZ is also well respected (see this thread) and much cheaper than many other recommended headphones.

Another closed back headphone within your budget is the Shure SRH1540 (see this thread). A friend has a pair of these and likes them a lot, but cautions that they have a lot of bass, so they are at the opposite end of the spectrum than the Elegia.

I haven’t heard the AKG or Shure, just giving you links to do your own research.


Anyone have any experience with the Hifiman EF400? I’m obsessing over Amp and DAC research and just curious what anyone’s impressions of it are. Currently have IFI Zen DAC V2 - Focal Clear OG and HD6XX. I know I don’t need the power currently, but thinking about potential upgrades that may future proof me (I know that once in this hobby, there’s never an end to upgrading though…). I’m not unhappy with the Zen DAC (and I’m not buying Susvara’s anytime soon), but I just have an itch to upgrade. Feel free to talk me out of it too if I should just stand pat or look at a different option!

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Well imo you should base that decision towards the flagship hp you would want in the future, rather than hanging around source gear in the mid-fi realm (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I would save my pennies for a more substantial upgrade that could both benefit the hps you have now (the clear and 6xx both scale nicely) and the hps you would want in the future (assuming they match synergystically that is).

You could take baby steps if you want or you could jump right in to the hi-end. I prefer the latter but that’s just me.

This is also useful to know. You don’t want source gear that can potentially limit your hp options if you’re not sure what you want yet. For example, getting a hi-end amp that is generally very good with dynamics but not so much with planars, then deciding it’s all about demanding planars in the end. It’s a good idea to sort those things out first so you don’t regret it in the future.


This is solid advice - keep your eyes on the prize but be nimble enough to take advantage of any opportunities that come up along the way. Buy once, Crye once as some of my friends used to say.

I’m currently fighting off GAS and FOMO (get behind me ZMF Hot Cup Summer!) by systematically evaluating my own musical and sound signature preferences.^ To quote Harry Calahan, “A good man always knows his limitations.”

The steps I’m taking are as follows:

  1. Building a playlist of test tracks that capture the diversity of the music I listen to, and using this playlist to try out the various pieces of equipment (DACs, amps, headphones, and IEMs) I currently own. There’s a good thread on this topic.
  2. Logging how all of the equipment performs according to that playlist. The easiest person you can fool is yourself so you’ll need a way to keep yourself honest.
  3. Identifying whether or not the equipment I own is good enough. If it isn’t asking why and am I willing to make the effort/spend the money to obtain better equipment.
  4. Not forgetting what it is that I’m seeking to do, which is to have the best music-listening experience possible given a compromise between price, sound, physical comfort, reliability, customer service, labor relations, and environmental costs.


^ Keep in mind that just because an item is reviewed highly doesn’t mean you should buy it, especially if the reviewer has a separate set of values than you (the same goes if it is rated poorly). Also question the motivation behind the review - is ego, money or material benefits, reputation, and/or community reputation involved, and if so, how much will that shape the review? Are they being controversial just to be controversial? Is their criticism warranted, or is their reasoning unsound because the argument is based upon a set of unexamined, incorrect assumptions and why are they going forth with it? Bluntly - What’s in it for them?


Talk you out of it? Ha, ha, ha, HA, HA, HA!!! We are all codependent enablers!

My path was to explore different types of amp technology. There are many options, and some may or may not be to your taste. My favorite solid state amps are Class A, while tube amps open a world of goodness, pointless changes, weirdness, and excessive spending.

To my ears Class A amps are smoother, fuller, more integrated, and easier on the ears than other solid state amps. (On that note, my clean but non-Class A THX AAA 789 has been boxed up for a long time…)

I like tube amps with high impedance dynamic drivers (e.g., Sennheiser HD 6XX, HD 600, and HD 800 S), as they create a really enticing, expansive, and pleasant form of harmonic distortion. I spend the majority of my time with tube amp → high impedance dynamic driver headphones these days. That may change at some point.

Regarding price and learning priorities, I take a forked approach: (1) Visit local audio stores and demo stuff to the extent possible. It’s free, and has helped me avoid several $$$$$$$$$ trendy-but-meh products. If you don’t have local stores where you live, visit an audio show in L.A., Chicago, D.C., N.Y.C., etc. (2) I creep my way up the price ladder, but routinely compare new purchases to cheaper equipment. To that end, I maintain a starter setup comprised of a ZenDAC V1 and Loxjie P20 tube-hybrid amp. I also test equipment with a standardized playlist.

Do not buy based on measurements. Try with your own ears, and listen long enough for the system to settle in.


Coincidentally… :wink:


This is the best advice given here on the forums this week!


The type of headphone/amp/DAC I am looking for is: Wired open back headphones. Amp/DAC possibly.

My price range is: 400€

I like to listen to: Fairly varied. Though I don’t listen to things like techno.
I would personally say I enjoy “warm” sounds? Think, acoustic guitar.

I will be using them for: General music and gaming (game wise I’m looking for an immersive experience, I don’t need any FPS super focus listening for someone’s breath)

I currently have a pair of Sennheiser Game One’s, but need to change them due to damage.
I tried Beyerdynamic TYGR 300 R, but my left ear touched the inside of the earcup so that was a no go.
Then tried the Fidelio X2HR/00’s, but the headband was simply far too hard on my head.
So as one may guess, I’m fairly picky when it comes to the comfort of my headphones.
Currently have my eyes on the H560S’s or perhaps the HE400SE’s. Though I reckon I’ll be needing an amp for those, which has had me set for the Fiio K3.
I’m completely new to the whole headphone scene, so feel free to educate me or ask questions which can aid you offering choices.

NOTE: I live in Europe, so DROP means import fee’s added, I don’t mind it, but should be noted for overall budget.
Shiit products are incredibly hard to come by, they have an EU store, but there is never any stock.

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The HE400se are a great set of headphones in my opinion but comfort may be an issue. This can be fixed with a headband mod or with nuggets, but it is worth taking into consideration (I find they create a hotspot on my head).

If you do get on with the comfort, then your budget would leave you plenty to get an amp to drive them (maybe something from iFi).

Ok so maybe a bit of a dumb question but here we go.

Just replaced my SMSL SU-9 with Gustard X26pro.

I was told by a friend that my amps would probably be louder(not by much but still louder) with the Gustard as this outputs 5v out and the SMSL SU-9 is 4.5 or 4.7 from the output.

But have found this to be the contrary. The volume of my amps now seems to be quieter so I have to turn my amps up by a few clicks more compared to before.

Hopefully this makes sense and someone can explain why this is happening.

My only listening experience with the EF400 was at CanJam Chicago this year, trying to drive a Susvara. It was the only amp that Hifiman had brought, which was mindboggling, as I had the EF400 on high gain and volume at 100% to get to a reasonable listening level. So don’t buy this if you’re planning on using it to drive a Susvara. On the other hand, it did sound good, a smooth, rich sound, so I would have liked to have tried it on some other headphones.

I would just caution you about buying an all-in-one as an upgrade, unless you have limited space. At some point, if you want to go down the rabbit hole, you’ll probably end up getting a separate DAC and amp.

@hifiDJ gave good advice about not spending a ton of money on side-grades, but IMO, if you want to live in the moment a bit, and not be constantly waiting to afford a TOTL device, it doesn’t do any harm to have a stop here and there on the way to end-game (which is when you’re happy with what you have, not necessarily based on how expensive the equipment is).

Maybe keep the Zen DAC as a DAC and get a separate amp to see if you notice an improvement. Then later on, you can replace the Zen DAC. Or buy a tube amp. It’s a way to learn what you like and don’t like before you commit the big bucks on higher-end gear.


Excellent point that always need to be kept in mind, your last purchase isnt necessarily what is at the upper limit of your budget but simply what gets you to where you want to go.


I think I’m going with the recommendation to focus on an amp, like several folks here have given me (thanks for that). My IFI ZenDAC has a 4.4mm balanced line out. If I buy a nicer amp, is using a cable like below what I should get to be able to run balanced?

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