Using speaker amps for headphones

I’ve already mentioned to DB in the past week, but I just purchased the Parasound ZAMP V3 (rev2) to mess around with the HE6SE v2. It sounds really nice actually. It does have a bit of noise, but you can tune it to reduce or remove the noise since, by default, it has its gain settings to max. It has two dials to fine tune the amp gain on the back and you can lower it until you don’t hear the noise anymore, and seems to work well for me. I actually allow a tad bit of noise into the system because I wanted to calibrate my passive preamp to a specific SPL level but its noise that goes away as soon as music is audible and very faint at best.


I use a vintage Adcom GFA 545 with my Hifiman HE6SE. It’s the only amp that can tame the guitars on the Eagles -Try and Love Again. I was comparing it to the Black Amp from Austin Audioworks that is on tour at SBAF. That amp resolved these phones so well that the bump in the upper mids became so detailed and clear as to be almost painful. The Jot2 was painful. The Black Amp stood toe to toe with my Zana Deux S and even out resolved it with everything but the HE6SE. I am arranging a purchase but the Hifiman needs a dark amp (not a Black Amp) and is excellent with the Adcom.

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So you found that the adcom did the best due to synergy but the Black Amp had the most resolution? I’m guessing maybe the class A portion of the speaker amp is more pleasing with the HE6se? It seems like the hard to drive hifiman headphones really enjoy speaker amps and headphone amps still don’t really push them to their fullest. I’m not sure where the ceiling really is. Maybe when your bank account has been depleted.

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And it just may be luck. The Adcom is around 40 years old. DC offset and bias are fine, caps look good but are still 40 years old and the sound may be affected. I only use it for the Hifiman’s and it works great so I ain’t gonna recap it.

The Jot 2 is a neutral-bright amp to begin with so I can see some not liking that pairing with the HE6SE or other Hifiman. I do like that it’s pretty clean and punchy but it can be fatiguing and sound a little lean overall with the HE6se.

Was looking for a headphone amplifier today on this review saw iFi Micro iDSD Does anyone have any feedback? worth taking?

I think you might have posted in the wrong thread. The ifi Micro isn’t a speaker amp.


Try this thread for more eyeballs:

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Really confused, thanks for the correct topic!


FYI, you can buy a custom speaker tap cable from Blue Jeans Cable. This 5ft. one was only $55 using 16awg Belden speaker cable.


I received my HE6SE V2 this week and I was hoping to power them with eMotiva basX 100 (direct mode), since my other two options were Asgard 2 and full integrated Cambridge Azure 340A - headphone out. Emotiva was a let down, to the extent that all my other much cheaper headphones M570 (with Cambridge) and DT 880 (with eMotiva) sounded much better. So today I was about to either order both Jot 2 and FA 10, or return HE6SE. I decided to try one last thing instead and hooked up Asgard 2 as a preamp to eMotiva. With eMotiva’s knob on max, and A2 at maybe 11 o’clock my HE6SE came to life all of a sudden. The difference was striking, there is no hiss when music isn’t playing, and the sound is rich, full and deep, almost tangible, and also spacious. It was nothing of that sort when I used eMotiva without preamp. I think I’m going to live with this set up for sometime and see if I change my mind later.
*Update after more hours of listening - still convinced that the sound is better but treble is harsher and rings sometime depending on the track.


Thoughts on pairing something like this with sus / HE6 / phi tc ?

Should be a good pairing but I haven’t had a chance to listen to accuphase yet. I was looking at one of the smaller ones before deciding on my Luxman.

I prefer accuphase sound to luxman otherwise I’d just get the luxman p750.

I’m considering just going all in on a speaker amp then running something like this to switch back and forth.