HiRes Roon audio on headphones, but of course the H390 has no headphone socket

I would like to hear some HiRes Roon audio on headphones, but of course the H390 has no headphone socket. My only other device is an Innuos streamer, doing server+endpoint duties.

I imagine getting a £1000 pair of wired headphones and a box to drive them, but can’t immediately envisage how I’m going to wire it up.

What clever, minimal solutions and set-ups does anyone here have?

USB out from the Innuos into a headphone DAC/amp is what I do (with a separate USB going out to my H190 for speaker duty).

I’ve used the fixed line out from my H360 to feed a JDS Labs EL AMP II with good success. Only irritation was having to turn down the volume for the speakers (mute sadly mutes both connections). I now just use the unbalanced line out from my DAC (feeding the Hegel with the second, balanced connection). The suggestion from @Ben_Hagens seems perhaps the tidiest option for your setup.

Thanks Ben, but Innuos has only one USB out. Are you splitting it? I’d prefer not to be going ‘round the back’ to move wires every time.
Could the ‘Digital Out (DAC loop)’ on the H390 be used to feed a headphone DAC/amp? Obviously not really the intended use detailed in the manual.

Hello Iain, the digital out is a digital out, so you can surely use this to feed another dac. The dac loop is when you use this output to feed a dac that sends it’s analogue signal back to the H390. That way, you can switch digital inputs on the H390 while still using the external dac.

Odd, my Mini Mk2 has four USB outs (2x 2.0, 2x 3.0). Is yours a Mk1?

I’ve not used this myself (my headphone systems are quite a bit fancier) but it seems like it might work for your purpose with suitable headphones. There are similar gadgets from other vendors at different price points. Ethernet or WiFi in Roon endpoint with built-in DAC and headphone amp.

I would prefer to connect the fixed lineout of the Hegel to a solid headphone amp (for example this one, but it depends on the used headphone), because the Hegel has a good DAC included and all the integrated (DAC and amp) headphone amps in this price area are more or less a compromise.

Ah, no, it’s a ‘Zenith’ (Mk.2) rather than a Zen. Usual story - the more you pay, the less you get - sockets in this case. Four USB outputs! Lucky fellow.

I’ve just re-read the Hegel manual on this. It’s quite an odd facility, allowing you to put a digital signal out to a DAC and back in through, for example, the balanced XLR inputs. Allows you to use the input switching on the Hegel I suppose, for multiple digital inputs.
If going down this route it’s tempting to use something like a Chord TT2 which is both a great headphone amp and might be a step up from the DAC in the 390. A lot of money though and I’ve never felt the 390’s DAC is wanting or lacking for much.
But why, oh why, didn’t they include a decent headphone circuit and socket on the front of the amp, having ‘integrated’ everything else? Too much extra cost, I guess, but one for the wish list, at least as an option.

JDS amp seems like a good option, and now on order, thanks. Going to run it into some Focal Clear headphones.

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Fixed 390 output to JDS amp to Focal headphones is working well but, in my case, muting the Hegel using the remote control mutes the speakers, but not the fixed output. Unmuting restores 390 to previous volume. I wonder why your experience is different.

Good to hear its working well for you - I think it’s a fab little amp.

As to the issue of the mute, it appears to be a design or firmware error with the H360 - the manual suggests it is meant to work in this way but it does not. Hegel acknowledge that it functions as I have described but have no plans to address it. Fortunately I’ve circumnavigated the issue now by feeding direct from my DAC.