Portable amp/dac for HifiMan HE400SE - Ifi Hip DAC vs Xduoo XD-05 Plus?

maverick27

New Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
5
Points
3
Location
NCR
Hi all,
I recently bought the Hifiman HE-400SE open back planar magnetic headphones and am trying to decide for a portable amp/dac for them. They are 91db/mW and 25 ohms and I have read recommendation at many places that planars do well with more power.
Currently I have shortlisted Ifi Hip DAC and the Xduoo XD-05 Plus and am a bit confused between them. I listen to pop, jazz, classical, vocals (and not too fond of rock, edm etc) - want bass to be present and good but not overpowering. Will prefer wide/deep soundstage and good imaging.

Ifi Hip DAC :
Pros :
1. Almost every review mentions that it sounds good
2. Similarly, the XBass is appreciated for them
3. Is small and light (though this is not a major consideration for me - I am okay with larger, but portable option too.
4. Has balanced 4.4mm headphone out ([email protected] Ohms) - but nit sure if it truly matters if I get more power on the XD-05 Plus with its single ended output.

Cons :
1. Only USB input & headphone output - no Aux in, line out etc and hence cannot act as pure DAC or pure Amp for future upgradation etc.
2. Limited power - would it give enough headroom for now and future headphones..?
3. Battery life is said to be quite low - between 4.5 to 6 hours

For Xduoo XD-05 Plus:
1. [email protected] ohms which I feel will be enough to drive the Hifiman as well as harder to drive headphones for future
2. Has all types of inputs (aux, coaxial, optical) as well as line out and hence very versatile! Can even be connected to a bluetooth module (either via aux in, or Xduoo's own via coaxial)
3. Good battery life of about 13h in USB mode, even more in other modes!
4. Review mention that it is even good enough to be used as a desktop unit
5. Replaceable op-amps - for future upgradation. But to be honest, I will likely listen to the one it comes with for a long while

Cons:
1. Had only single ended output though with more power from ifi's balanced so not sure if it really is a con!
2. Definately bigger and bulkier, but as I said, I do not mind that much.
3. I have not heard/read too many reviews about its sound so not sure if it is better than Ifi hip or better/worse!
4. Some reviews mention it does not have as wide a soundstage but it is not clear what is it compared with - e.g. as compared to the ifi, will it have equal/better soundstage ?
5. May not be ideal for very high sensitivity headphones, but I do not use them much and I think one can always get something like IEMatch from Ifi to increase the effective impedance

Any suggestions or inputs are welcome to help me decide between the two! Or if I am missing out any other good portable amp/dac within about USD 220 ?
 

Mayasandra_l

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2021
Messages
87
Points
18
Location
Bangalore
Hi Maverick,
I am not sure if you have already purchased any amp by now. In such case, ignore reading further. But if not, my thoughts are as-
I have Hifiman sundara along with a bunch of others. I listen to these using Zen stack (zen can +zen dac). The feedback
1. Sundara naturally struggles at the low ends. Zen stack complements this aspect by providing a healthy bass boost. You could also get a treble boost from the combo if needed. I don't and hence keep this option turned off.
2. Zen can can also act as pure DAC and provide inputs to your stereo amp. Fixed line output works perfectly well.
3. You could connect the output from the Zen can to a future tube amp.
4. Bottomline, you can play around with this combo.
5. Alternate to this and Xduoo , you could demo Acoustic Portrait headphone amp if you are from Bangalore.

All the best.
Lokesh
 
Joined
May 17, 2012
Messages
55
Points
8
Location
Kolkata, India
Hi Maverick,
I am not sure if you have already purchased any amp by now. In such case, ignore reading further. But if not, my thoughts are as-
I have Hifiman sundara along with a bunch of others. I listen to these using Zen stack (zen can +zen dac). The feedback
1. Sundara naturally struggles at the low ends. Zen stack complements this aspect by providing a healthy bass boost. You could also get a treble boost from the combo if needed. I don't and hence keep this option turned off.
2. Zen can can also act as pure DAC and provide inputs to your stereo amp. Fixed line output works perfectly well.
3. You could connect the output from the Zen can to a future tube amp.
4. Bottomline, you can play around with this combo.
5. Alternate to this and Xduoo , you could demo Acoustic Portrait headphone amp if you are from Bangalore.

All the best.
Lokesh
Hi Lokesh - I am looking for feedbacks on Acoustic Portrait Floor speakers and Int Amps. Can you help me?
 

Credoh

Active Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2014
Messages
130
Points
28
Location
Mumbai
Hi all,
I recently bought the Hifiman HE-400SE open back planar magnetic headphones and am trying to decide for a portable amp/dac for them. They are 91db/mW and 25 ohms and I have read recommendation at many places that planars do well with more power.
Currently I have shortlisted Ifi Hip DAC and the Xduoo XD-05 Plus and am a bit confused between them. I listen to pop, jazz, classical, vocals (and not too fond of rock, edm etc) - want bass to be present and good but not overpowering. Will prefer wide/deep soundstage and good imaging.

Ifi Hip DAC :
Pros :
1. Almost every review mentions that it sounds good
2. Similarly, the XBass is appreciated for them
3. Is small and light (though this is not a major consideration for me - I am okay with larger, but portable option too.
4. Has balanced 4.4mm headphone out ([email protected] Ohms) - but nit sure if it truly matters if I get more power on the XD-05 Plus with its single ended output.

Cons :
1. Only USB input & headphone output - no Aux in, line out etc and hence cannot act as pure DAC or pure Amp for future upgradation etc.
2. Limited power - would it give enough headroom for now and future headphones..?
3. Battery life is said to be quite low - between 4.5 to 6 hours

For Xduoo XD-05 Plus:
1. [email protected] ohms which I feel will be enough to drive the Hifiman as well as harder to drive headphones for future
2. Has all types of inputs (aux, coaxial, optical) as well as line out and hence very versatile! Can even be connected to a bluetooth module (either via aux in, or Xduoo's own via coaxial)
3. Good battery life of about 13h in USB mode, even more in other modes!
4. Review mention that it is even good enough to be used as a desktop unit
5. Replaceable op-amps - for future upgradation. But to be honest, I will likely listen to the one it comes with for a long while

Cons:
1. Had only single ended output though with more power from ifi's balanced so not sure if it really is a con!
2. Definately bigger and bulkier, but as I said, I do not mind that much.
3. I have not heard/read too many reviews about its sound so not sure if it is better than Ifi hip or better/worse!
4. Some reviews mention it does not have as wide a soundstage but it is not clear what is it compared with - e.g. as compared to the ifi, will it have equal/better soundstage ?
5. May not be ideal for very high sensitivity headphones, but I do not use them much and I think one can always get something like IEMatch from Ifi to increase the effective impedance

Any suggestions or inputs are welcome to help me decide between the two! Or if I am missing out any other good portable amp/dac within about USD 220 ?
What did you finally settle on and what has been your experience?
 

manek

Active Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2006
Messages
327
Points
43
Hi all,
I recently bought the Hifiman HE-400SE open back planar magnetic headphones and am trying to decide for a portable amp/dac for them. They are 91db/mW and 25 ohms and I have read recommendation at many places that planars do well with more power.
Currently I have shortlisted Ifi Hip DAC and the Xduoo XD-05 Plus and am a bit confused between them. I listen to pop, jazz, classical, vocals (and not too fond of rock, edm etc) - want bass to be present and good but not overpowering. Will prefer wide/deep soundstage and good imaging.

Ifi Hip DAC :
Pros :
1. Almost every review mentions that it sounds good
2. Similarly, the XBass is appreciated for them
3. Is small and light (though this is not a major consideration for me - I am okay with larger, but portable option too.
4. Has balanced 4.4mm headphone out ([email protected] Ohms) - but nit sure if it truly matters if I get more power on the XD-05 Plus with its single ended output.

Cons :
1. Only USB input & headphone output - no Aux in, line out etc and hence cannot act as pure DAC or pure Amp for future upgradation etc.
2. Limited power - would it give enough headroom for now and future headphones..?
3. Battery life is said to be quite low - between 4.5 to 6 hours

For Xduoo XD-05 Plus:
1. [email protected] ohms which I feel will be enough to drive the Hifiman as well as harder to drive headphones for future
2. Has all types of inputs (aux, coaxial, optical) as well as line out and hence very versatile! Can even be connected to a bluetooth module (either via aux in, or Xduoo's own via coaxial)
3. Good battery life of about 13h in USB mode, even more in other modes!
4. Review mention that it is even good enough to be used as a desktop unit
5. Replaceable op-amps - for future upgradation. But to be honest, I will likely listen to the one it comes with for a long while

Cons:
1. Had only single ended output though with more power from ifi's balanced so not sure if it really is a con!
2. Definately bigger and bulkier, but as I said, I do not mind that much.
3. I have not heard/read too many reviews about its sound so not sure if it is better than Ifi hip or better/worse!
4. Some reviews mention it does not have as wide a soundstage but it is not clear what is it compared with - e.g. as compared to the ifi, will it have equal/better soundstage ?
5. May not be ideal for very high sensitivity headphones, but I do not use them much and I think one can always get something like IEMatch from Ifi to increase the effective impedance

Any suggestions or inputs are welcome to help me decide between the two! Or if I am missing out any other good portable amp/dac within about USD 220 ?
If you havent bought your amp yet, I feel you would be better off with the ifi Idsd micro signature. It has everything as features and the ability to drive almost any headphone well.
 
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