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HiFiMan HE-5LE Planar Magnetic Headphones mini-review

A Review On: HE-5LE


Rated # 73 in Over-Ear
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Pros: Terrific sounding, very comfortable planar headphone at a good price.

Cons: Requires a strong headphone amp to have them sound good

The HiFiMan HE-5LE represent something of a benchmark in terms of price performance, IMO.  They are excellent sounding, with exceptional detail and transparency.  For the money, they provide a level of performance that wasn't possible just a few short years ago.


The HE-5LE have an incredibly open, detailed, transparent and clean sound.  The bass is deep and powerful when called for, but not exaggerated or bloated at all.  The mids are clean as a whistle - not overly lush at all, but not at all thin or brittle.  The highs are also very transparent, with perhaps just a little excess energy in a couple of spots that might make them a tiny bit bright on some systems and for some listeners, even though I did not find them so.  Soundstaging is very good, with good width and depth.


The HE-5LE are also extremely comfortable.  They're not super-light, but they have great pads and headband comfort, and don't clamp too hard.  They do require a pretty strong partnering amplifier, though - they need a good deal of current to really sing.  But given that, sing they do!


I spent quite a bit of time lately with the HE-5LE in balanced mode, via the excellent APS cable, and using the Blossom amp from Moon Audio.  This was a great pairing from the HE-5LE, and used balanced, they were even better sounding - unfailingly smooth, extended, and very detailed.  The balanced HE-5LE with APS cable and the Blossom amp is a pairing I could happily live with for a LONG time.


It should also be noted that the HE-5LE are very, very comfortable.  I can wear them for long periods of time, and hardly feel like they are on.  This is no easy trick, since they aren't the lightest headphone ever made - but they have very comfortable earpads, and a good overall ergonomic design. 



Especially for the asking price, I think the HE-5LE are great sounding headphones that give you a huge measure of what planar magnetic headphones have to offer without costing an arm ans a leg.  I recommend them highly.


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