Need amp suggestions for Hifiman HE400se

Hello Everyone!
Hope you guys are doing great.

I just bought my first planar headphone. I’m very new to amps and dacs. I do have a apple 3.5mm USB C dongle, which I’m planning on using as a DAC. Now I have around $150 budget for an amp.

Can you guys please suggest me some good budget amps or even a dac/amp combo for the HE400se?

I’d personally consider something like a monolith liquid spark for something to lean it a bit warmer and wider, and a bit smoother in the treble. Solid impact, solid resolution, nice dynamics, overall pretty good for the headphone.

The schiit magni 3+ is good for something overall fairly neutral, good clarity, good speed and separation, good resolving power, sorta a jack of all master of none considering the price.

If you wanted something more cleaner a bit analytical leaning you could consider a jds labs atom+ or geschelli archel 2 gmr, but personally I don’t really like this pairing with the 400se unless you want something more bright and lean

For now I’d stick with the dongle as your dac and get separates (and use a 3.5 to rca cable to connect the dongle), gives you more flexibility/options in the future and personally I don’t like most of the all in ones at this price point. Later on you could grab something like an earmen donald dac, modi 3+, jds atom dac, etc for an upgrade to the apple dongle

I would mention moving up to something like a schiit asgard 3 or lake people g103s would be pretty worthwhile with the hifiman, but it’s not going to be in budget so something to consider later down the line if you wanted to continue

Highly recommend iFi hip-dac or hip-dac 2 as a portable option that can be used on desktop. I use the original hip-dac with my HE-400se, and the sound is very musical and balanced. The hip-dac also offers a 4.4-mm Pentaconn balanced connection, and the HE-400se really come alive with balanced power.

The hip-dac doesn’t offer as much power as a desktop stack or all-in-one, but it’s plenty powerful for a portable and drives my HE-400se, Elegia and 6xx with ease.

Plus the warm, musical sound signature of the Burr-Brown DAC chip works really well with the HE-400se and Elegia, which can be a smidge bright. I probably would be better served with a different combo for the already warm 6xx, but they’re No. 3 among my three cans, so I’m not buying something special just for them.

Good luck.