Q & A - Headfonia Headphone Reviews

Headfonia Q & A

Feel free to post any questions you may have below at the comment section and I will try my best to answer them promptly. I try to answer all the questions, but I may miss one or two at times. Do repost your question if it’s left unanswered for a few days.

Please also go over the Buyer’s Guide articles before you post your questions, they may help to answer your questions.


Here is a link to the older Q & A pages:


  • Guys, please ignore the long post from “Guest” from two days ago, sorry for creating a mess. I left a comment with some questions and since then I responded to some questions myself so I came back to delete the post, but in fact I just lost the ownership for this post.

    • No problem, Tomasz

  • ryan

    Hi mike, any experience with yulong 1704 dac or d18?

    Let’s say I am using a particular dac, digital signal ouput from a rp300k dvd player and rp6juta marantz cd player. Any difference between the 2 since it’s using the same external dac?

    • No experience with those DACs.

      Can’t say, you’ll have to try it out.

  • Hey question if you guys have any idea, I’m using my HRT MS2+ and Crack to play a track and get tonz of sibilance. Run it through the E17 and it’s gone. Is this an indication of a bad track? Or is it just because the E17 is far less resolving?

    • Trent_D

      What is the track? Are you using the HD650, because that seems like a perfect storm of things that WONT give you sibilance.

      • Exactly the problem. I’m getting Sibilance on my HD650 for the very first time

        • Trent_D

          I am speechless. A dac that doesn’t push the treble on a tube amp known for behaving very well on treble with a dark headphone known for rolling off the high treble? I obviously have no idea the culprit, unless it is the recording? What were you listening to?

          • Trent_D

            I actually just ordered the Pan Am. They have a deal where you buy it with the passport for 700. Half off the pp.

            • … your decisiveness has served you well.

              • Trent_D

                I actually think it is more my indecisiveness served me well. Will have to send the dacport back.

                • Oh wait… you pulled the trigger on the Dacport LX then ordered a Pan Am… lol

          • Some instrumentals recorded by Japanese artists. I’m suspecting it’s the usual crappy equipment that they used…

            • Trent_D

              I thought I recalled Mike talking about some music, of what I don’t remember, where he either had to use the AIAIAI headphone or the e17 with the treble nerfed as far as it would go. Perhaps that is similar?

      • Lots of chinese and japanese vocal recordings have a boost in the top treble region and you almost can’t get a sibilance free playback with those recordings, regardless the system.

        I don’t know what Nick is listening to though, just making guesses.

        • Was listening to vocals first. Then tried violin instrumentals also by Jap artists. Same thing. Tried some other good Jap instrumentals don’t exhibit sibilance. However, the latter was an open mic recording where the first two were probably studio closed mic.

    • Yes, less resolving and something to do with the frequency balance too.

    • A miracle happened. I just rolled in another less resolving tube on the driver side on my Crack and the sibilance disappeared. Hooraah for going “backwards” in tube rolling

      • Trent_D


      • L.

        My 5998 just went KABOOM

        • Vern

          Sad as it sounds, just figured out who you are on head-fi.org, lol

          • L.

            Why is that sad? I figured the secret was out? 🙂

            • Trent_D

              Who are you? Jude? NWAVguy?

              • L.

                Damn, trent has it!

        • Back to the Westinghouse Tung Sol 6080WA for you la

          • L.

            I still have 7 backups 😉

  • YS

    Hi Mike,

    What is your amp recommedations to pair with LCD2 r2?
    I currently using Graham Slee solo Ultra Linear with PSU1.

    I mostly listened to classical-orchestra, jazz, dan a little bit of pop.

    I currently looking at burson or beta22 2ch (i can get this 2nd hand for about Usd600)

    What is your thoughts?


    • do give the pan-am with passport a try. it’s not a step up from the graham slee but is by far the best amp (in terms of synergy) known to the LCD r2

      • YS

        Thanks Nick for ur input.

        • With the HD800 however, you definitely need a heavy duty tube amplifier to go with classical orchestrals and jazz. And I’m not expecting you to play pop with the HD800 either. The HD800 should work very well with the Graham Slee UL so I wouldn’t think of the Burson as a particular upgrade to it either. The Beta 22, definitely an upgrade though.

          • YS

            Hi Nick.

            So your recommendations for HD800 is tube amplifiers or beta22. And for LCD2 is the Pan Am.

            Having an amp that pair well with both headphone at the same time is not available at this moment, is that right?


            • See Trent’s comment. Mike mentioned that the Pan Am is a killer combo with the LCD-2 and HD650, but didnt quite have the soundstage to fill the HD800. You can’t expect an amplifier to pair well with the plannar LCD2 and the HD800 since those are vastly different headphones in terms of technology and sound signature. The Pan Am will do the LCD2 justice. The HD800 still asks for a very expensive setup.

              • YS

                Ok. Got it..

                Thanks for your explanation about the different technology between the two headphones

            • HD800: tube amp. I won’t use it with the Beta22.

        • Trent_D

          Mike mentioned that, while the HD800 was very clean and sounded quite good on the Pan Am, it didn’t have quite the soundstage to satisfy the 800’s massive earcups. So, maybe not the Pan Am then

    • What Nick said.

      The HD800 is pretty good with the PanAm, not the best.
      Burson is good with the LCD-2
      Beta22 is pretty decent with the LCD-2, nothing special.

  • JC

    I read the HD 700 review and it was great! I would like to know if the HD 700 is a good companion with ALO Pan Am..

    Also I notice the Woo Wa7 will be released soon and just wonder if i should wait for the Wa7 instead of buying a Pan Am now for a HD700..both of them are around the same price, but one has 24/96 DAC and one has 32/192..

    • I’m trying to get a WA7 for a review. I wouldn’t worry about 24/96 vs 32/192, more about the sound signature.

      • JC

        Thanks for the reply! I would like to know if Pan Am is good for HD700 or not. If not, I think I may give LCD2 a try…Please advise! thanks!

        • JC,
          The PanAm I actually have never tried with the HD700. 🙁

          • JC

            no problem Mike! Thanks a lot!

            • Trent_D

              That would be interesting. If the Pan Am fills the HD650 soundstage, but not quite the hd800, it would be fun to see on which side the hd700 errors.

              • I think the PanAm still not wide enough for the HD700. Reason is I tried the HD700 with the Fostex HP-A8 DAC’s headphone out (and the thing is very spacioius) and it fills in the HD700’s soundstage just nicely.

                Not saying it’ll be a bad pairing, but just saying I don’t think it would do the high end Senns justice the way a WA5 amp would (or some other big tube amps).

                • Yep. Forget it Trent, the Senns doesn’t cheat on its wife, the Crack.

                  • Trent_D

                    I know for a fact that the HD650 will be cheating on the crack. And it will be doing so over and over again. And it will LIKE IT!

  • Two Qs for Mike:

    1 – Does the HE-500 have two qualities that you have mentioned in reviews, namely “free of grain” and “dark background” ?
    2 – (This one totally out of curiosity) What is the level of ebook usage in Indonesia ? Is there any significant level of interest ? Is there a language barrier to adoption (my guess is that most ebooks are in English or European languages – but I could be wrong) ?

    • HE-500, very low grain levels almost none. Dark background, not so much though not that bad.

      Ebook? Well it depends on the demographics. English literacy in the capital is pretty good and I can say better than some other Asian cities like Hong Kong. I really don’t have the figure though.

      • Thanks for the reply.
        On Ebooks, I was just looking for an unscientific impression, based on observing friends, people you see, etc. – do you see people with Kindle-style ebook readers ? (Again, just curious)

        • Kindle: I know some people have them, but I never see even one person in public with them.

  • Laurencewayne

    Mike- I purchased the Fostex HP-P1 (to use with Fostex TH900). It’s great except at the high-end…a bit harsh, violins strident. I’m wondering if there’s a break-in period and how long? (I’ve logged about 30 hours so far.) And do you think a custom LOD (Tangv2 from Whiplash?) would make a difference? Once again, thanks so much for “being there”. Laurence Wayne

    • Laurence,
      Don’t think break in should take longer than 30 hours.

      Violins on a digital recording is never easy. What are you comparing the HP-P1 sound to? It’ll be hard to get natural violin tone on portable gear even the likes of the HP-P1.

      Something more serious like the Hifiman HM-801 player or the Altmann Tera would do better, but still violin on a portable digital system is not easy.

      I still can’t get violin to play right on any digital based playback the way I hear them on vinyl.

      • Laurencewayne

        Thanks Mike-You’re right: I want vinyl violins! How about the LOD TWag V2? Make a difference?

        • Maybe slightly better but not leaps and bounds.

  • not trying to annoy you but im afraid you miss this since i already posted before and i gave another reply afterwards so i think you might have missed it. my question is did you get to test the ibasso dx100 with its latest firmware?

    • Sorry I read that question but I forgot to reply to it — that happens, sometimes you’re interrupted by something and forgot to return to it later.

      The DX100, I failed to take note of the firmware. I asked the distributor who is the owner of the unit I use and he said it’s not the most recent one.

      I will try to get a chance to audition the DX100 with the latest firmware.


      • thanks, looking forward to your impression of the dx100 with the latest firmware!!!

  • lucky

    Hi Mike, I’ve always been a big fan of Tfriple Fi10, and for an upgrade, which one do you suggest for me, the new ue900 or just go custom with the JH 5pro?

    I mainly use IEM for mainstream songs, most of them are rocks..

    Technically, which one is better the ue900 or JH5 and which one has more fun and prat factor? thanks.

  • Mike or L – Have you heard the HE-400 Revision 2 (released this past summer) ? The comments on head-fi indicate that it is a major change in the sound balance (with the implication that it brings it closer to the HE-500).

    • Yes I’ve listened to it though briefly and not in an A-B situation with the old one. I thought it was very musical and my impression with it was very good, however the sound balance is not that different from the first version.

      L has both version on hand so he should be able to make a more in-depth comparison.

    • L.

      yes I have it, and yes I will do a review update as soon as I have the time 🙂

      • L: Have you tried the HE-400 Rev 2 with velour pads (most people also find those improve the sound relative to the included pleather pads) ?

        • L.

          Yes I only use Velour with the Hifimans, much better 😉

        • L.

          Yes I only use Velour with the Hifimans, much better 😉

        • L.

          Yes, i use the velours on Hifiman, always

      • I have obtained the HE-400 Rev 2 with the HiFiMan new accessory velour pads, and I find that they have managed to successfully incorporate the sort of bass response you get from speakers into headphones, without drowning out the mids and highs. I’m finding this more compelling than the accurate reference headphones that present the actual amount of bass present at their input (even when that sounds psychologically “wrong”). While the HE-400 is usually mentioned for rock and dance music, it is also excellent with classical music that has significant bass and/or rhythmic elements, especially things like pipe organ music.

        I haven’t heard any of the other HiFiMan products, but if the HE-500 has less bass, I would likely find that less compelling, even if it has better “technicalities” (as does the SRH-1840 which I also have).
        It seems that the HE-400 is quite popular, so a “Rev 2 Review” seems to be in order.
        (It’s also worth noting that a lot of products are not the same as what is first delivered to reviewers – the HRT Music Streamers are another good example, and of course, the LCD phones.)

        • L.

          I’m waiting to publish the comparative review but I couldn’t publish anything this week, blame Mike 😉

        • Julius

          The HE-500 is less punchy and more middle ground in comparison to the HE400 – HE-6. It is right in the middle. The HE-6 is slick and smooth, relaxed and easy to listen to with minimal impact and kick factor. The HE-500 has some punch to it but not enough to call it punchy or harsh, its still very nice and my main home use headphone now. The HE-400 is the wild child of the bunch, heavy bass and geared more for rocking out. Definitely snappier than the others.

          • L.

            I do find the HE6 to have a larger kick factor as the HE500. I find the HE500 to be more smooth & relaxed (and the LCD3 even more)

            • Julius

              I highly recommend you give the Hifiman EF-6 a try with the LCD3 and HE-6 and get back to me. Your view will certainly change on that. Out of the EF-6, which was specifically tailored for the HE-6, the sound is noticeably more smooth on the HE-6 than the LCD3. The Audeze is more forward and lively. The HE-6 is wider and less tall, more distant sounding. No question the HE-6 is more balanced sounding, generally that sound is not associated with slam or kick. Hifiman improved on all of that in the HE-500.

              Due to the extremely deep and prominent low end of the Audeze Headphones, I can’t agree they are more smooth and relaxed than the HE-500. That bass hits pretty hard on Bass heavy tracks and the HE-500 and HE-6 has noticeably less weight and extension. Just my two cents, everyone hears different.

  • Atriya

    Hello Mike, Nick, Trent_D: I just purchased a HE-400. It was a hard choice between the HE-400 and HD650, but I eventually got the Hifiman. Enjoying the headphone so far, but I need a DAC and Amp. What DAC and Amp (in one package or separate – both are fine) under around $300 has best synergy with the HE-400?

  • Hi there Mike,

    I just purchased a standard cMOYbb v2.03 and am currently
    pairing it with the bose oe2(32 ohm), samson sr850(32 ohm), superlux
    hd668b and a panasonic rp-htf600(55 ohm).Surprisingly, the difference in
    sound quality(e.g. soundstage) without bass boost is almost
    insignificant if not absent when driving it using my mp4 player(a sony
    A864 walkman).In fact, the bass is ever so slightly reduced compared to
    w/o the amp. Also, when connected to my laptop, the hissing noise coming
    from the headphone is really audible when the volume knob is turned
    about half-way up. Any idea whether this could be due to 1) a faulty amp
    unit 2) the difference in sound quality can only be perceived when
    driving bigger ohm headphones? Read on head-fi about double-amping
    problem whereby if the music player’s amplifier output is good enough,
    the external amp will not make much of a difference in sound quality. Is
    is true? Lastly, I ain’t sure whether adding the extra virtual ground
    chip will help with the sound too as I prefer a larger soundstage[which
    isn’t apparent with the standard unit 🙁 ]….Thanks:)

  • Hello Mike.

    If (and that’s a big if) I decide to lend you my Fostex TH900 for just one month by sending it to your home in Indonesia, would you be eager to write a thorough review on it on Headfonia and send it back to me? Of course, you have to handle it with great care and make sure no scratch or harm is done to it, as it is a very expensive headphone that cost me an arm and a leg.

    I can’t make any promises now, but I think I might be able to make this possible sometime during next year spring. If you’re feeling up to it, do let me know.

  • Mike, I was about a millimetre from ordering JDSLabs cMoyBB v2.03 when I saw c421 (new Black Edition) on their website.

    I thought I would better check what you thought about c421 and I got to your “Flyin’ High” review. Now my question: considering that I was planning to buy cMoy for my Grado sr80 (+ iPhone), would it be an overkill to go for c421 instead?

    • Tomasz,
      No it wouldn’t be an overkill. You get better sound, slimmer package and a more convenient USB charging.

      Lieven has the new black edition. I don’t think its sound is any different than the one I reviewed, but Lieven may be able to give more information on that.

      • L.

        It sounds exactly the same because my Black Version didn’t get the ferrite change. But even with that doen it should sound the same, you just get better volume control with sensitive iems

        • Mike & Lieven, thanks a lot for your help. I was trying to thank you earlier but somehow I could not login to the forum from my iPhone/iPad nor Windows7 machine at work. Really strange! It only works on my Mac.
          My C421 has been delivered today to one of my American friends. She’s coming to Europe next month, so I hope it will pass quickly. I could have chosen it to be shipped directly to me, but it won’t be much faster and on top of it I will probably pay 50% more because of customs and other taxes.
          Thx again!

          • Thanks, Tomasz.

            I hope you’ll enjoy the C421. You’re getting the all black or the black-silver version ?

          • L.

            Keep us posted 🙂

  • I’ve been following your site for a few months now and love your work. I am looking to upgrade my current DAC and amp and was hoping you could lend your opinions.

    I currently have a C421 (OPPA2227) and an ODAC. I know you love the C421 here, as do I, but I am looking to upgrade to a more powerful desktop amp. My budget is about $350 and I have been considering the Schiit Asgard and the Matrix M-Stage. I should add I would like to stay with a solid state amp for now. I am really curious how you feel about these two compared to each other and also compared to the C421. Also if you have any others you would recommend instead, I am open to those as well.

    As for the DAC, I am not sure if you have any experience with the ODAC, but i am looking for an upgrade with a budget of around $300-$350. I am after transparent with a black background and little to no coloration. Perhaps for this price, an upgrade does nitnexist and I understand that, but I have been considering the Schiit Bifrost, Centrance Dacport LX, HRT Music Streamer II+, and Cambridge Audio Dac Magic.

    I have read all of your reciews for the products I mentioned that you have reviewed. I also understand if you cannot comment on the ODAC, but any opinion and advice is welcome for all the products! Thanks!

    • Trent_D

      Get the dacport lx. You can get it for $250 easy. I got mine at audioadvisor.com for $199.50. Easily the best performance/value ratio you can find in a dac right now. I had the ODAC at one point and I was not a fan. I would swap out the dac first and then go from there. Also, what headphones are you using? What kind of music do you listen to?

      • Trent_D

        Or, if you combine your dac and amp budget, you could snag a Pan Am with the Passport power supply. It is a tube hybrid design, but it suppose to be an excellent amp, with a very nice dac build it.

        • Thanks for the quick response. My current headphone inventory consists of: HE-400, HD600, T50RP Mad Dogs, D5000, AD900, Pro 900, HM5, and HFI780. I mostly listen to rock and alternative, but also a little bit of punk, rap, dub step, and pop.

          I would like to stay with a solid state amp. I am definitely going to upgrade to a desktop amp, its just a matter of which one. I will only be upgrading the DAC if it seems worth it for the price. The ODAC might be perfectly fine for the amps I am considering, but I have read great things about the Dacport LX, Music Streamer II+, and Bifrost, but I’m not sure if they are really considered an upgrade to the ODAC, or just a side grade.

          • Stop right there. There won’t be a single DAC or amp to match all your headphones because of different driver technologies as well as sonic characteristics. The main problem is that you have a orthodynamic Hifiman and a high Z Sennheiser which requires different amplifiers to drive. Furthermore, sonic character wise, the HE-400 is very dark compared to the rest so the DAC won’t be able to have good synergy if you choose a specific DAC to match with the rest of your headphones.

            • I can certainly understand that and I realize what works amazingly for one headphone might be mediocre for another one. That is true with the gear I currently have. I am not trying to upgrade based on one or two specific headphones, but rather raise the bar of my Amp/DAC combo compared to what I have now in terms of general performance for a wide variety of headphones, but certainly not every headphone. That simply isn’t possible, just as you mentioned.

              • Trent_D

                Maybe an asgard… might be a good all around bet. And as I have heard all three, the MS2+ and the dacport lx will be definite steps up from the ODAC. I prefer the LX myself. But Nick is right. With that selection, there is no one size fits all. Unless you want the $1000 Burson soloist.

                • I am glad you suggested the Asgard because that is what I have been heavily leaning towards. It seems like the Dacport LX is more refined and cleaner with a blacker background than the Music Streamer II+. How about the Bifrost? Any experience there?

                  • Trent_D

                    none with the frost.

                    • I think I am going to get an Asgard and hold off on the DAC for now, but I am leaning towards the Bifrost.

                  • You can’t go wrong with the LX with its price tag and its clean refined sound. I just prefer the MS2+ over the likes of the LX because I lean towards a more warm, “emotionally involving” sound while balancing out my Crack amp and over the Matrix DAC because it isn’t overly warm or thick sounding. I’m using the HD650 myself so I find the balance of my setup MS2+/Crack to be just around right.

                    • Trent_D

                      It’s all a matter of preference. Both the LX and the MS2+ are fine dacs. Just depends on the sound you like. I do think, however, that it is time for HRT to knock the price of their dacs down a bit. As you can get the LX for almost the same price as the MS2, it’s hard to ignore that price gap.

  • Pkrdlr

    Hi Mike, Can you suggest a portable amp/dac that can be used with my laptop at home as well as on the go with my ipod classic for under $200 usd ?. Headphones are ath-ad900 and senn hd 239.Thanks

    • I can only think of the E17 since not many DAC/Amps run off batteries doubles as a portable amplifier…

      • Trent_D

        Nick, I keep forgetting to ask, are you mac or pc? What audio player do you use?

        • PC, foobar2k on Kernal streaming or WASPI out to the HRT MS2+, why?

          • Trent_D

            Just curious

  • Mike – any rumors/rumblings of a new HiFiMan headphone model soon ?

    • L.

      maybe 😉

      • Does the smiley mean ” joking ” or have you heard something ?

        • L.

          I haven’t heard anything of a new headphone

  • RuEXP

    Hi Mike,

    I am looking into a new pair of headphones, which ideally will serve two purposes. I listen to a wide variation of music, I would say mostly along the lines of folk, rock, and some light electronica. I am not looking to have separate headphones for each type of music I listen to, and was considering something like the Sennheiser hd598’s. The problem I ran into, is I would also like to use my headphones to use when I play my bass guitar through my amp (since I can’t play through an amp in an apartment). These headphones often get comments about low bass.

    I am not looking for anything with a lot of bass, because that’s not what I look for in music quality, but I don’t want to be underwhelmed when I play my bass guitar either.

    Any suggestions as to whether get 2 lower end headphones, or monitoring headphones are greatly appreciated. I am partial to Sennheiser due to previous success with their products, but I’m open to other options as well.


    • dalethorn

      HD598 sounds right for these applications. Not heavy in bass response.

  • L.

    If these are your only 2 options, go for the M50, the COP isn’t that detailed

    • Jason

      any other option? thx btw!

      • Trent_D

        DT 770 AE seems to be popular around here.

  • Hi,
    I want to buy a DAC, but I’m wondering if using the RAC output from DAC/Amp combos such as the Audinst of Styleaudio ones will by pass the amp section. If not, should I set the volume on the dac/amp to min or max?

    • Using the RCA outputs will bypass the amp section. Just make sure to set your output to line out if any on your DAC.

  • Trent_D

    Selling a like new K550 on head-fi if anyone is interested.

    • L.

      what are you buying in stead?

      • Trent_D

        The HD650 will do for me. Through which I am listen to Mahler’s fifth as I type.

        • Trent_D

          and with the sale (it sold almost instantly) I am most of the way to a Bottlehead Crack.

          • L.

            can you mail me trent? thx

        • Mahler and HD650, I don’t think there is a better combo.

  • Pkrdlr

    Mike, Any plans to review the Dragonfly Usb Dac from Audioquest ?.

    • L.

      nothing concrete but one day we probably will

  • Markus

    Hey Mike or Lieven,

    sry to post it here again, because I already posted the question on facebook.
    But this is quite urgent
    There is a very audible constantly noise coming out through the headphone out of my Topping D1 Mark 2, regardless of
    the volume setting. The noise is even audible when listening to music at low volumes.
    Also although the D1 Mark2 is recognized by Windows XP and seems to work properly I can’t adjust the volume in Windows.
    Do you think my unit is defective?

    • No. You shouldn’t be able to control the volume on windows anyways as the volume control is usually handed down to the DAC itself. Could you describe the noise?

      • Markus

        Thanks for your answer Nick,
        Strange, as far as I know I should be able to control the volume of the DAC-part of the D1 Mark2 in Windows, like with any soundcard? With the ODAC for example I could do this and always adjusted the volume to 100% (max signal strength).

        Regarding the noise, I realised that it should be hiss, but I am using it with Sennheiser HD 598 (50 Ohm impedance) therefore I am a little bit shocked. The hiss is killing it for me because it’s ruins all the quite passages in the songs I like.

        Do you have similar experiences Nick? I wouldn’t consider 50 Ohm headphones as very sensitive, so that I have to worry about hiss.

        • For some devices, digital volume control is possible if you enabled the OS to handle the volume control. If you use output via Kernal streaming or WASPI on windows the DAC usually bypasses the digital volume control regardless from my experience. Hiss sounds is probably inert in the DAC or amp, sounds like the noise floor to me.

          • Markus

            Thanks for your thoughts Nick.

            What do you mean by “hiss sounds is probably inert in the DAC or amp”?

            Ok just spent some more time with the Topping D1 Mark2 Today.

            When using the line out into another amp, the hiss or noise floor is gone. Complete black background with my HD 598 as I would expect.

            But when using the headphone out of the D1 the constant hiss or noise floor is very audible. I tried to figure out if the noise or hiss gets louder when I increase the volume, but the noise is constant. I mean when the volume is zero it is as loud as if the Volume is at maximum.

            What do you think? Is it caused by design or because of defect?

            • Markus let me try the Topping D1 with the HD598 and get back to you.

              Volume control, depending on the DAC you can control it through the OS (windows in this case).

            • If the noise floor is gone with another amplifier, there’s definitely something wrong with the D1MK2’s amp section. Let Mike get back to you on that since he has all the gear.

              And about the volume control, usually I would just set the OS volume to maximum if the DAC/Amp has analog volume controls. Reason being, analog potentiometers may have low level channel imbalance so you want the pot gain to be around at least 40% or above so you don’t want to adjust the attenuation from the digital side too low unless the gain is really too high for you.

            • Markus,
              I’m listening to the D1 Mk2 with the HD598 out of my Mac. Music playing, no hiss. No music playing, 100% vol, absolutely quiet. Something must be wrong with your set up.

              Can you try finding another laptop, perhaps a Mac to pinpoint the source of the hiss?

              • Markus

                thank you soo much for your help in this regard.
                Firstly, the good news. I solved the volume problem in windows. Now I am able to adjust the volume in windows as expected. (I leave it at 100% as you suggested)

                Some interesting observations regarding the hiss problem so far:
                The hiss or noise floor (still don’t know how I should call it) is much lower now, after I burned-in the device for approximately 20 hours, though it’s still audible. When not playing music it’s not absolutely quiet but I think I can live with that amount of hiss or noise.

                I also plugged the Topping D1 into different USB ports to see if there was going to be a difference between them and discovered that the amount of hiss or noise really

                • Markus,
                  I use any USB cable that happens to be lying around. I don’t remember if it’s the one that came with the D1. In my experience, USB cables never cause a hiss. Some bad cables simply don’t work/no connection, but the ones that work simply work.

                  If I were to guess, probably you got a bad batch on the D1? Just pure guessing. Another guess is OS-driver compatibility, that’s why I asked if you could try it on a different computer.

                  • Markus

                    Wohooo. Good news guys.
                    I finally figured out what the problem was. Must have been some kind of ground loop noise! I replaced the power supply of my Dell notebook and now the Topping D1 is dead silent as expected. I realised that “hiss” is something completely different when I tried the Topping with my Shure 535 Limited Edition. Hiss also gets louder when increasing the volume, whereas the noise I heard before was more like a hum… something very strange.

                    But now that I fixed the problem I have to say that the Topping is really really great value. Thanks headfonia for introducing relatively unkown products to the (western) head-fi world.

                    P.S. Listening to a new Beyer DT770 LE at this very moment and lovin’ it :)))

  • Jason

    need some suggestion for a good headphone for detail sound and great bass and good noise isolation.. price between 100USD – 300 USD. for metal rock, alternative, also jazz. Thx!

    • L.

      Have you read our DT770 AE review?

      • Jason

        yes.. any other suggestion besides DT770 AE?

        • Jason

          need an over-ear headphone.. it’s kinda hard for me to find a good headphone for detail sound, bass, and noise isolation for metal, rock, alternative, jazz.. need a recommendation immediately.. anybody?

          • DT770 80Ω, Shure SRH940, Denon D2000, Senn HD25-1

          • Over ear.

            Try the DT770 AE or 80Ω, Denon D2000.

    • Jason,
      Beyer DT770 or Denon D2000.

  • Apogee

    I was wondering out of the schiit lyr/Panam/WA6 you would recommend as an amp for a pair of AKG Q701 with a pair of sennheiser HD650 or HD700 probably coming in the future.

    • I would go with the Woo.

  • Hello again for Mike and L. Need some advice for buy an amp right now. I have an iem tf 10.. After read some reviews here, i decide for buy an amp.. I want the mid fuller, the treble roll off and smoother.. How about matrix mini or alo national?What would you recommend ?

    Btw my portable setup only ipad2.. Sometimes using the cck to connecting usb pico dac for transportable setup..


    • Hello Steven,
      The Matrix Mini should cut down the treble on the TF10 more effectively. Both amps should help with the mids.


  • Gurtej Virdi

    Hi guys, am planning of getting the he-500, just wondering how it pairs with the clas/rx mk3b combo which i currently own. Looking to upgrade my d2000’s. Thanks.

    • Gurtej,
      I recommend pairing the RX MK3-B with the HE-400 especially if you’re moving from the D2000. The HE-500 is going to be a lot brighter than your D2000, and bass is not going to be as powerful. The HE-400 is a more appropriate upgrade.

      • Gurtej Virdi

        Thanks for the reply. Never considered the he-400 will have a look into them. If i ever decide to get the h5-500 will the mk3-b have enough power for it, or will it be a waste. Thanks.

  • Jessie,
    Are you hearing distortions? The sound of distortions are very obivious like brap brap brap.. if you don’t hear it then the amp is fine.

    Yes it’s true the Cmoy is not very good for low impedance but it also depends some low impedance headphones are still very easy to drive.

  • dalethorn

    Anyone looking at the Senn IE800 yet?

    • I am desperately waiting for it…

  • Sasmit

    Hi Mike,

    you reviewed the fidelio L1 in March. I was looking at the lower
    range but similar downtown and uptown primarily as the L1 is out of my
    current Budget. have you ever tried out these portables? What is your
    view on their strengths and weaknesses? Thanks for your help.

    • Sasmit,
      I’m so sorry but I haven’t tried the down and uptown.