hi, i just bought the hifiman he400se headphones which are 25 ohm and 91db sensitivity - hard to drive. looking for a matching interface, thought about the Lexicon IONIX U42S. will it do the work? if not, what interface does? thanks.
While I’ve not tried that specific interface, I haven’t really tried many if any interfaces that are really going to excel at driving a headphone like that for the money. I’d rather suggest to just get a more budget headphone amp and then connect the line outputs of the interface as the dac. Personally I think the monolith liquid spark or schiit magni 3+ are great options for those cans, and then you can just get whatever interface best suits your application/needs/etc. Think you get better sound quality per dollar that way, and a lot more flexibility
okay, if i get you - you mean that an interface with a dedicated amp like the amps you suggested me to buy are expensive, and because of that its better to buy an interface and amp, right?
and also - can the amps you mentioned give me great sound quality?
I just mean that most interfaces don’t even offer a good headphone amp. Most interfaces focus on offering good quality ADC and preamps for microphones, and other inputs DAC performance as well. A lot of interfaces don’t really focus on the headphone out, as many of them are more for convenience or are afterthoughts in comparison to the other aspects of the interface. There are interfaces with nicer headphone amps than others, but even those tend to be focused more on easier to drive headphones rather than harder to drive. I just think most interfaces aren’t really designed around driving headphones from a value perspective
I suggest getting a dedicated headphone amp because it will be better than the headphone amp built into most interfaces, even with more entry level headphone amps. It also allows you to have more flexibility in upgrading or changing things in the future for either the interface or the amp
I think so, the liquid spark is a bit more warmer leaning, smoother, and wider, still technical and detailed though. The magni 3+ is more neutral with a bit of warmth, overall balanced in most aspects. I do think that you can get a step up in sound quality going higher end in amps, but I would start more at the 100 level, although things like the asgard 3 or lake people 103s are a step up from the liquid spark and magni 3+ if you want to take a step above those with the hifiman. I don’t know if I’d suggest going any farther than that with the 400se though (might as well upgrade to other hifiman at that point)
Interface wise there’s a lot of nice options these days, my personal favorites in the 200-300 usd range are a motu m2 for something more cleaner leaning, something warmer and a bit more laid back but still technical I enjoy the audient id14 mk2, and for a bit more crafted sound and feature set I liked the UA Volta 276 since it had a nice built in compressor and tone shift. Never heard the Lexicon interfaces, but lexicon used to be a nice brand so I bet it’s nice. If the interface has rca output then you just need a pair of rca cables to connect the amps. But some interfaces like focusrite for example use 1/4 inch trs connectors for output, you’ll need 1/4 inch TS (not TRS) to rca interconnects
yes i’ve also heard about the motu m2, but i saw that isn’t provide enough volume to low impedance headphones (like mine). and as for the audient and the ua volt, i saw that their output impedance is pretty high and can affect the frequency response of the he400se, as it is low impedance headphones. is that right?
as for the lexicon ionix u42s - i found it on the 2nd hand market so it fit the budget. but i’ll consider buying the amps you mentioned if the lexicon will still not provide good sound quality.
Correct. You could still consider it though if you got an external headphone amp to power the headphones, which is what I’m suggesting
Yes, but I’m not suggesting to use them as the headphone amp. I’m suggesting to consider them as the interface, and use them to line out to a headphone amp. So you’ll be avoiding the issue entirely since you aren’t using the headphone amp inside of the interface, and instead using a separate headphone amp like the aforementioned liquid spark or magni
Only way to really know is to try. I personally think it wouldn’t really provide enough to show what the 400se could do, but I’ve not tried it so I can’t say for sure. You can always add the headphone amp onto the interface later
okay thank you for the help!