Pros: Comfort, Realism, Efficiency
Cons: Slightly bright, Connectors
Okay, these are my thoughts after a few hours. I recognize that's it's only been a few hours, but my opinion rarely changes with additional time.
As has been mentioned almost ad nauseam, the comfort is supreme with the new design. What HFM has done with regard to the design and improved comfort is impressive. This is all day comfort folks. It's not just about being lighter in weight, they are. It's also about "balanced" weight. That being said, this is what I have issues with:
*For goodness sake, please get the pad design issues resolved. For me personally, my left ear touches the dust fabric over the driver. Drives me nuts…yes, even more than my usual nutty. After learning that the pads were supposed to be locked in at 6:00, I noticed my pair were not oriented to the right position. After adjusting them, I no longer have an issues with my ear touching the driver.
*I still don’t like the connectors. I would have opted for mini xlr...but I will not beat that dead horse anymore (although I’d like to).
*There are some very slight inconsistencies with the veneer cups. Most people would likely not notice…I’m not most people.
*The overall design and execution is good but not on par with say, Oppo or Sennheiser and others. Take that for what it’s worth.
*The first thing that strikes me about the signature was that these sound like a mixture of the he500 and he6…somewhere in between, leaning a little more towards the he6.
*The mids are very nice. Coming from the he400 you’d be floored by the improvement in the mids (even MLE would probably like these mids. Vocals are natural but just a touch thin from my favorite (hd650). I listen to a lot of vocal centered music and I could be happy with these as my daily driver with the likes of Dianna Krall, K.D. Lang and Eva Cassidy.
*The treble is more resolving than the he500 but not harsh like the he4 can be. Highs are closer to the he6 on a good amp. Very resolving and extended, but remain confidently in control with everything from hi-hat cymbals to the upper register of the violin. Still, if you prefer a darker treble response, you would likely have issues here as the treble here is pretty well extended and holds nothing back.
*The transition from the mids to the bass is very coherent and I could not detect any bleed from the bass into the mids. The bass presents itself in a very linear fashion, meaning that I didn’t find the 560 to color bass into a recording where it wasn’t there in the first place. On jazz tracks, the acoustic upright bass plucks are satisfying and with appreciable texture (this is important to me, as I don’t like hp’s that make that “one note” bass response). Becoming Insane by Infected Mushroom is a good EDM test track for me. The 560 images the acoustic guitar nicely as the track opens. The track builds quickly and drops a seriously hard bass line. This track gives a lot of hp’s trouble with the heavy electronic sub bass. The 560 carries the bass out with aplomb…never out of control. While the quality, texture and speed of the bass is certainly there, there were some tracks where I would have appreciated more quantity and weight. While this is not a “bass light” hp by any means, it does not match the sub bass ability of the he400 or lcd-2.2 (pre-fazor).
Overall and would I buy it…
Does the 560 get the MattTCG seal of approval?
Hm…this is an enjoyable hp and I don’t question that in the least. Will I run out and purchase it? Well, no…not yet. My gut feeling is to let the dust settle and see if there are any furthers changes or revisions. Plus, I’m very curious as to how the 400i fits into the puzzle. Does it warrant the sticker price? Honestly, it’s a tough call. I’d have to admit that I’d be more comfortable at the $800 mark. In the end, I come away with an appreciation for what Hifiman has done and applaud their ability to produce a better product…well done Fang!!
*These are my observations based on my personal preferences and nothing more than that. YMMV . All testing done with uberfrost>lyr (telefunkens)