Headphone amps in integrateds are usually a bit of an afterthought, and McIntosh doesn’t specify the headphone power output of your amp in the specs, which would lead me to believe it’s nothing special — could be wrong though. The HE1000s do require some power to get the most out of them, and frankly I think a $3000 pair of headphones deserves and will greatly reward you for a better headphone amp. Just my $0.02 FWIW.
Im using older AKG 340 phones, which are electrostatic/dynamic, and everybody says hard to drive. My Preamp is the McIntosh C15, and the headphone amp can handle these phones quite nicely, and would blow my ears off if I cranked it very hard. SO, try using your headphone amp and see what it will do--you might be surprised!
Old thread, I know, but I had the same question myself, so I’d like to add that while there is not much info on the headphone section, the owners manual DOES specify that it is for ‘low impedance headphones’, which rules out my preferred Audeze and Senns, among many others. Beyond that, if you have Grados or any other low impedance cans, whether or not it does the trick for you is a matter of personal taste. You can always add the awesome Mc MHA200 which looks and sounds like a mini MC275 and will drive just about anything (except maybe super power hungry cans like HE-6 or Abyss) to its full potential, especially if you do a little tube rolling to fine tune the sound to your taste.
YMMV and all that…
My advice is tread lightly....
I picked up some headphones and enjoyed listening through my preamp.
Then decided to try a headphone amp - the Chord Mojo2...it was a drastic improvement. Oh, yes you guessed it then I listened to a 'high end' non-portable headphone amp. And now I have two headphone amps - 1 for travel and 1 for the bedroom. I'm happy listening to them. But if I know the type of rabbit hole I was going down I might have joined another wine club!
@overthemoon Ah yes, it never ends. But at least when the results are tangible you can feel like it’s worth going down that rabbit hole, no? I started with a Dragonfly Red and was very happy, then upgraded to a Singzer SA-1 amp and Musician Pegasus DAC. Then I added a Denafrips DDC so I could feed my DAC with i2S, and then I upgraded to an LTA MZ2 headphone amp. That’s not even including my headphone upgrades. How’s that for a wabbit hole?