Hifiman 4xx Amp Suggestions


Long time lurker, first time poster…

So I recently purchased some headphones, seen in the topic title, and I’m currently using a Schiit Hel to power them. I’m finding it a bit troublesome… not an issue of power obviously rather, the amp feels too bright or harsh in the mids and highs seemly sibilant at times.

I was wondering if this is common with these headphones or amp and if so what remedies are available to me? great amp pairings?


The hel is more brighter analytical leaning, so if you wanted to go with something more warmer and relaxed, a monolith liquid spark stack is pretty solid, the combo should be the same price as a hel. The 4xx is a bit of a brighter headphone at times, but if you mostly like what the 4xx has to offer but looking for a bit more midrange thickness and treble smoothness the spark stack should really help that

Thank for the quick reply and suggestion!

I know tube amps and planars are “no bueno” but would a tube suggestion be viable option as well?

Admittedly in this price range I don’t think a tube option would be viable at all. The closest thing you could get with a tube would be a hybrid. You could squeeze a vali 2+ into there which would drive them ok, but personally at that point I’d just rather spring for the asgard 3 as that’s a more significant upgrade. Going a bit higher, finding a used monolith liquid platinum at around 350 would be another large step forward in performance, but I might suggest stepping up in headphones before you took that jump

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What are your reservations with the Vali 2+ in regards to the 4xx?

So I can only extrapolate my experience with other hifiman (mainly the 5xx, it doesn’t react super similarly but I can pull from it along with my experiences with a 4xx) on the vali 2+ (and how the 4xx acted on the older vali 2) since I recently got the 2+ and don’t have a 4xx at the time, and volume is just fine, but it might lack some control in the bass and some grain in the treble at times (not harshness just graininess, but that grain can be fixed with a nicer tube but the bass remains somewhat of an issue imo), it did really improve timbre and give a nice midrange, and with a different tube the treble was pretty pleasant, smoother and slightly relaxed but still decently extended. Impact was decent enough, as were dynamics, but I think that the magni 3+ or spark did better with the hifiman in that regard. I preferred it in low gain with the hifiman as moving to high gain did give more headroom but also kinda made it sound a bit too sloppy. The vali 2+ was pretty solid at depth and separation but stage width was slightly lacking. So far the vali 2+ ended up doing a bit better job with dynamics, but it wasn’t bad with planar either, it’s just that for the same money I might prefer other options for a 4xx

Thanks again for you insight, it has been tremendously helpful.

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I have the Vali 2+, currently using a 6h23 tube. With the 4xx I find it fatiguing rather quickly. Where the 4xx on the 789 and A-100 I can listen to all day.

The Vali 2+ I bought to specifically tube roll for my education. What I have found, is I need to buy another pair of headphones, a different tube, or a better amp.

Currently using Emotiva GR1’s with my Vali 2+, but I enjoy them more on the 789 as well.

So what I’ve gleaned here is… get a 789? :smirk:

I enjoyed the 4xx w/ the jds atom stack.

With some of the peaks in the treble region for the 4XX, I’m not sure anything THX would be recommended. I enjoyed mine while I had them, but was amp limited at the time to SMSL SH-8 and Topping MX3.