HE4xx and Liquid Spark owners, a question

Hey all, so I bit the bullet last week and ordered a pair of HE4XX’s and a Liquid Spark to drive them, I’m not disappointed, I’m mostly just worried. For anyone that owns this combo, on low gain, can you turn the LS fully and still have it be not ear-bleeding loud, it gets loud, but there’s like no headroom, there’s nothing left. Is this normal? I feel like I shouldn’t have to be at 4 o’clock just to get normal listening levels!

edit to give more info:

I’m not using an external DAC currently - running on front panel headphone output, to a 3.5mm to RCA cable, into the Liquid Spark.

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It’s because of the front panel headphone out. You need to find a way to attach it to a line out.

Is this a desktop or laptop?

You are not getting a strong enough output from the jack. If you have a desktop, check the rear panel of the motherboard and see if there is an audio line out

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Desktop, I’ll give the rear audio-out a try and report back!

Make sure your volume is at 100% as well. Some motherboards have a headphone out on the back that can be changed to a line out

Plugged into mobo’s line out windows volume is maxed is at 100, Foobar & Spotify are max volume as well, and it didn’t seem to do much. Did help my cable management though! but my next purchase is going to be a DAC anyways, so I’ll hold out for a week before I freak out too much. I tried plugging it into my phone as well and it was the same result.

Just slightly worried because both were purchased used and I definitely didn’t expect to be able to max out the LS and not have my head explode lol.

That’s super strange then. Have you tried plugging it into the output of a phone perhaps? You might need another device to see what could be at fault. To me, it just sounds like the spark isn’t getting enough voltage from your source (PC). You could have a faulty product, but it would be less common. Do you perhaps know the exact model of the motherboard?

I guess another question might be is the actual volume of the application you are using to play sound maxed out? Assuming you are using windows, you can check the volume mixer and see if everything is maxed. Also try different programs that could produce sound.

I wonder if plugging it into a power strip could be gimping it of power? Is that a thing that can happen? lol.

When I get home from work I’ll have to experiment some more.

I just plugged my old Logitech G231 headset into the LS, and could turn it all the way up on the normal gain mode with them still on my head. This seems odd. I should have bought new lol.

Not really, no. The spark will not take that much power, and it would be very very unlikely for that to occur without finding other problems that would arise.

If the same happens with the logitech headset, you now at least can confirm that your headphones aren’t causing the problem

Do you have something like a CD/DVD/BluRay player, AVR, or something else with a line out? If you plug into those and it’s still lacking a substantial amount of headroom, then I would say you can confirm that you have a defective unit.

Thats weird. I have my LS at 10-11 o clock on low gain with my dt880, dt990 and t1.2 the 3 are 600 ohms.

I don’t, but I’ll ask friends and see if someone has something I can test it on!

Thanks for all the help! Hopefully I can figure this out!

Well, poop. I took it to a buddies and tried it on his sound card’s line out, and his Blu-Ray players line out, and it still gets barely any louder than it would plugged into my phone. Bummer.

Monoprice already accepted the RMA request and gave me a shipping label to send it back, so at least that didn’t go badly.

My friend wanted me to ask if the cable I was using from the line out to the back of the amp would effect it any?

I’m using this: https://www.monoprice.com/product?c_id=301&cp_id=30109&cs_id=3010903&p_id=5599&seq=1&format=2

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It’s possible that you are getting voltage loss over 10 ft, but I don’t think that was the issue. You would have to use short RCA’s to RCA’s to determine if that was the cause

I found the the difference between plugging it in toy d10 and the line out of mye10k pretty damn substantial volume wise I now run my 990. 250 ohm low gain at 1-2 o’clock vs high gain at 1-2 o clock

That’s why I thought that he was just inputting a weak signal

its odd a pc’s audio out is that weak though.

I don’t have the 4xx to compare but how power hungry is it compared to a 250 ohm 990?

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Not really that different. Perhaps slightly more, but it’s not really a hard to drive headphone. I would say that I scales better though

I thought so too I was under the impression its about the same or less.

Were you using the genuine power plug adapter? That could have caused issues if you were using an aftermarket one that couldn’t provide enough power